NBA

What to watch on NBA League Pass: Wednesday, Oct. 20

The NBA's 75th anniversary season is already underway with the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks defeating the Brooklyn Nets and the Golden State Warriors pulling off a surprise win in Los Angeles against the Lakers on 2021 Opening Night.

For 22 other teams, the 2021-22 NBA season tips off on Wednesday, Oct. 20 with 11 games of action that you won't want to miss.

From offseason improvements and players making their debuts with new teams to the first look at star rookies in their first real NBA games, this jam-packed slate will be must-see TV for fans across the world.

It can be overwhelming looking at so many games on the schedule, so we're here to provide you with an NBA League Pass viewing guide on how to navigate the schedule and a reason to tune in to each contest.

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Let the games begin!

What to watch on NBA League Pass: Wednesday, Oct. 20

All times Eastern.

7:00 p.m.: Pacers at Hornets, Bulls at Pistons

It's 7 o'clock and settling in on the couch ready to consume as much NBA basketball as possible, but where to start?

While the new-look Bulls are certainly worth your attention with DeMar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball joining forces with All-Stars Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic this offseason, there will be other opportunities to tune in. No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham will not be making his rookie debut in this one, ruled out because of a sprained ankle suffered in training camp.

Because of that, I would direct your attention to Hornets-Pacers.

The LaMelo Ball show rolls on in Charlotte, looking for revenge after Indiana ended the Hornets' season in the first round of the Play-In Tournament last year. Charlotte looks like it will be in the running for the unofficial title of League Pass Team of the Year and you'll see just why right away, with Ball dishing jaw-dropping passes to high-flyers like Miles Bridges and rookie guard James Bouknight.

Let that game hold over your attention until the next chunk of games tip-off.

7:30 p.m.: Celtics at Knicks, Wizards at Raptors

The Celtics-Knicks game is going to be a slugfest, as were all of their meetings last season when the two teams were jockeying for playoff seeding in the East. But with that game on ESPN in the United States, expect a delayed tip-off, which works out perfectly in this instance.

I promise you, you will not want to miss out on watching pregame introductions for the Raptors in their first game back at Scotiabank Arena since February of 2020. It will be one heck of a viewing experience listening to 20,000 fans erupt for their favourite team back in Canada for the first time after a long season in Tampa, Florida last year.

Once the game gets underway, you can stick around to watch No. 4 overall pick Scottie Barnes' rookie debut against a completely new Wizards team, but I would suggest going back to Boston-New York. All the narratives are there with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown hungry to get back toward the top of the East, Kemba Walker playing his first game at Madison Square Garden against his former team and the Knicks having plenty to prove after a playoff shortcoming last year.

Celtics-Knicks will be one of the best, if not the best, game of the night.

8:00 p.m.: Cavaliers at Grizzlies, Rockets at Timberwolves, 76ers at Pelicans

At this point, there will be seven games rolling. This could be a good chance to tap into NBA League Pass' quad-box feature that allows you to watch multiple games at once, but if you're more of a one game at a time-type person, you have plenty of solid options.

If none of the previous games are hooking your attention, may I suggest a game that will be a diamond in the rough? Rockets-Timberwolves has the potential to be an intriguing one, with 2021 No. 2 overall pick Jalen Green making his NBA debut against 2020 No. 1 overall pick Anthony Edwards. They're both prolific scorers who will produce electrifying highlights at any given moment. There will almost surely be a point in the game where you're watching two players under 21 years old trade buckets. That sounds like fun to me.

Elsewhere, it's always worth tuning into Ja Morant because of his "wow" factor. Zion Williamson will be out for the season opener (and beyond) due to a foot injury and Ben Simmons is suspended for the first game so the Pelicans-76ers game loses some steam, aside from watching MVP candidate Joel Embiid dominate.

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8:30 p.m.: Magic at Spurs

No. 5 overall pick Jalen Suggs makes checking in on this game worth it, even if just for a few possessions. Although, at this point in the night, things will start heating up as the earlier games enter the late-third, early-fourth quarter.

9:00 p.m.: Thunder at Jazz

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is enough of a draw for me to give this game a look, but you might find yourself sticking around for a bit to watch 2021 No. 6 overall pick Josh Giddey. The Australian rookie flashed some highlight potential in preseason and he'll make his debut against a tough test with the Jazz's defence.

But no need to flip over right away, this game isn't going anywhere this early. You're better off finding the closest score from the early games and locking in until the final buzzer.

Celtics-Knicks and Hornets-Pacers should both be tight ones.

10:00 p.m.: Nuggets at Suns, Kings at Trail Blazers

A rematch of last year's Western Conference Semifinals, Nuggets-Suns is my pick for the best game of the night. Fatigue might be setting in from a long day but it's worth staying up to tune into this one.

For those of you who forgot, reigning MVP Nikola Jokic was ejected in the fourth quarter of Game 4 against the Suns, which allowed Phoenix to close out the series and complete a sweep to advance to the Conference Finals. To add to that, Devin Booker and Chris Paul will be fired up to get a new campaign underway and try and replicate another run to the NBA Finals.

Keep an eye out for any close finishes in those 8 o'clock games, but otherwise, turn your attention to NBA TV for this battle.

Oh, and of course, any time Damian Lillard is playing, he needs to be on your radar. Who knows, he could provide an Opening Night 50-point outburst against the Kings. Also, if that game is coming down to the wire, you always have to check in when it's Dame Time.

The NBA has finally returned. Kick back and enjoy all the action!

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