The 2021-22 NBA schedule has been released, with a star-studded Opening Night set for Tuesday, Oct. 19.
For Toronto Raptors fans, you'll have to wait an extra day to see your favourite team in action, with their opening night set for Oct. 20 against the Washington Wizards.
And while opening night turns the page on a new season after missing the playoffs for the first time in eight years, there are a handful of other games you'll want to have circled on your calendar.
We have you covered with those matchups below.
Can't miss Toronto Raptors games for 2021-22 NBA season
Oct. 20 vs. Washington Wizards: Back in Toronto
After going an entire season playing home games in Tampa, Florida, the Raptors will cherish the opportunity to be back at Scotiabank Arena. Fans will travel from all over Canada to support their favourite team being back in Toronto, creating an atmosphere like no other.
In recent history, the Raptors have been one of the best teams at home in the NBA, but with any sort of a home court advantage stripped from them last season, they settled for an underwhelming record of 16-20 at "home." This first game back in Toronto will be the first chance to get things back on track, playing in front of some of the best fans in the world.
Scotiabank Arena will be rocking.
Nov. 1 at New York: 75th Anniversary Game
On Nov. 1, 1946, the Toronto Huskies hosted the New York Knickerbockers in the NBA's first-ever game.
On Nov. 1, 2021, the Raptors will face the Knicks in New York on the 75th anniversary of the game, the start of a season-long celebration.
Knicks and Raptors tip off #NBA75 Classic Matchups throughout the landmark 75th Anniversary Season on Monday, Nov. 1 at 7:30 PM ET on NBA TV.- NBA (@NBA) August 20, 2021
75 years ago on November 1, 1946 if you were taller than the tallest Husky (6-8), you got in free! https://t.co/QpEIzV12HN pic.twitter.com/qHnQhfolWS
Feb. 3 vs. Miami Heat: Kyle Lowry's return to Toronto
Nine long seasons. The franchise's all-time leader in assists, steals, 3-pointers and triple-doubles while ranking second in points, games played and minutes played. Six All-Star appearances and seven playoff appearances. He was responsible for the franchise's first-ever trip to the Conference Finals and NBA Finals, before ultimately making his mark as the greatest player in Raptors history when he led Toronto to the 2019 NBA title.
Lowry's return to Toronto will be an emotional one, especially after missing out on playing his final Raptors season in Canada due to the country's health and safety protocols.
There will be plenty of well-earned praise and cheers before the game, but you know Lowry - it will be an on-court battle against his brothers the second the ball is tipped.
This will be the most highly anticipated return game in franchise history.
Oct. 25 vs. Chicago Bulls: New-look DeMar DeRozan
No matter which team he is playing for, it will always be a marquee game when the Raptors face off against DeRozan.
He is the franchise's all-time leader in games played, minutes played and points, and he helped lead Toronto to its first-ever Conference Finals appearance in 2016, followed by the best single-season record (59-23) in franchise history in 2018.
Since being traded from the Raptors in the 2018 offseason, DeRozan has gone 3-3 against his former team as a member of the San Antonio Spurs, averaging 21.5 points, 8.2 assists, 6.8 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game. It's no coincidence that he recorded the first triple-double of his career in his first contest against Toronto.
Now, as a member of a revamped Bulls roster, playing alongside two All-Stars in Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic, as well as new offseason signing Lonzo Ball, DeRozan will be in the same conference as the Raptors, possibly jockeying for playoff positioning at some point this season.
These meetings will have more meaning than ever before because of that.
Oct. 29 vs. Orlando Magic: Scottie Barnes vs. Jalen Suggs
A matchup we'll all be waiting for: Barnes versus Suggs, the hypothetical battle for the No. 4 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.
The Raptors shocked the NBA world when they went with Barnes over Suggs at No. 4. With the writing on the wall for Lowry's departure, it felt like a seamless transition to slide Suggs into that spot as the floor general of the future, but Toronto's front office had other plans.
In drafting Barnes, the Raptors continued to create a roster that is built around length and versatility. Barnes is a poster child for both of those attributes, but he will always be tied to Suggs because of the decision Toronto made.
Both of these promising young prospects will have this game circled on their calendar the moment the schedule drops, but who will rise to the occasion to try and prove a point about the Raptors' selection?
Jan. 23 vs. Portland Trail Blazers: Norman Powell is back in "The North"
While the focus of the schedule release will be on when Lowry returns to Toronto, don't forget about Powell's first game back.
The sharpshooting wing poured his heart out in a letter to "The North" on The Players' Tribune following the trade deadline deal that sent him to the Trail Blazers, and this will be his first opportunity to be honoured for his hard work and dedication to the franchise as a one-time NBA champion with the Raptors.
Oddly enough, Powell's third game in a Blazers uniform came against his former team, where he scored a modest 13 points in a win in Portland. So although he has already checked off his first game against his old teammates, the atmosphere will be significantly different playing back in Canada.
This also acts as a revenge game for 22-year-old wing Gary Trent Jr., who will get an opportunity to show the Blazers what they missed out on by trading him away.
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