Article Written by Jacob Pacheco (@JacobPacheco6)
Yesterday the full 82-game NBA season schedule was released for all 30 teams across the league, including the defending NBA Champions - Toronto Raptors.
We received confirmation last month of three highlighted games for Toronto throughout this upcoming season; one being the season home opener against the NBA’s number one draft pick Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans on October 22nd. That is also the night where the team will receive their Championship Rings and ceremonial banner raising prior to winning their first ever Championship back in June. Another highlighted game that was announced last month is the return of former Raptor and reigning NBA Finals MVP, Kawhi Leonard, who will be in Toronto on December 11th with his new look Los Angeles Clippers squad. Raptor fans have had their time to heal and move on when Leonard announced his departure from the team to head back home and sign with LA in early July.
The preseason schedule is also out, with the Raptors only playing four games during that stretch; two of which being in Tokyo against Houston, one at Scotiabank Arena against Chicago and one on the road against Brooklyn in mid-October.
After much anticipation, for the first time since 2001 the Toronto Raptors will have a Christmas Day game when they host the Boston Celtics at the Scotiabank Arena at 12 p.m. EST. This is only Toronto’s second Christmas Day game ever in the team’s 26-year history. Raptors fans were rejoiced to hear the news of a Christmas Day game after a hard-working season paid off to capture the Championship.
Those were the games that were announced prior to the full 82-game schedule being released. Now that the full schedule is out, let’s dive into some of the games you should look forward to. Just one week after the 2019-2020 NBA season kicks off, on November 2nd the Raptors face off against quite possibly the real contenders of the Eastern Conference this year - Giannis Antentokounmpo and the Bucks in Milwaukee.
Shortly after that match-up in Milwaukee, the Raptors’ grueling Western road trip gets underway starting on:
November 8th @ New Orleans
November 10th @ Los Angeles Lakers
November 11th @ Los Angeles Clippers (first meeting against Kawhi Leonard on the road)
November 13th @ Portland
November 16th @ Dallas
It doesn’t end there. To wrap up November, the NBA’s 3rd overall selection in this year’s draft and Canadian, RJ Barrett and the New York Knicks, will visit Toronto on the 27th.
December is highlighted by the return of Kawhi Leonard and the Christmas Day Game vs the Celtics, but the Raptors quickly turn the calendar in January of 2020 where they will welcome another former Raptor in DeMar DeRozan back to Toronto for just the second time in his career on January 12th.
The Raptors then fast-forward to March where a few notable games are highlighted. The team travels to Golden State on March 5th 2020 for the first time since winning the Championship back in June. This is also the first game Toronto will be playing in Golden State in their new home, the Chase Center. Not long after this first match-up, Toronto then again welcomes the Warriors to the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on March 16th. A few weeks after that, as the season nears an end, Toronto welcomes LeBron James and his new look Lakers on March 24th.
Then to cap it all off in April, the Raptors will welcome the Atlanta Hawks to Toronto on the 10th where that might very well be Vince Carter’s last time playing in Toronto depending on what he does in that 2020 off-season. Toronto will then finish off the season on a back-to-back on April 14th and 15th against the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic, respectively.
Throughout this 82-game season, the Raptors will have 11 games on US national television; six on ESPN and five on TNT. The Raptors had a total of 15 nationally televised games last season to this year’s 11. Although, 11 nationally televised games this season is still the fourth most they ever had since 2001.
This season will be no short of exciting and will show a great battle of competitiveness for each and every guy on the roster, which will set up an interesting 2020 off-season.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Basketball is back sooner than ever with the preseason kicking off on October 8th in Tokyo vs Houston and the regular season kicking off on October 22ndvs the Pelicans.
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