The NBA went into the 2020-21 season with plans to announce the schedule in two parts. We’ve basically made it through the first half of the season and the League announced the rest of the schedule on Wednesday, February 24th. So now that we have the second half of the season, we can look toward some marquee matchups. There are a few teams that haven’t seen each other and some teams that will be playing with big-time playoff implications. Let’s take a look at some notable games to circle on the calendar for the second half.
Date: Thursday, May 6
Time: 10:00 p.m. ET on TNT
This is the latest into the season that the Lakers and Clippers will face each other, so there could be seeding implications. By this time, we should expect the Lakers to have Anthony Davis back from injury with plenty of time to get back to 100 percent. Depending on how seeding shakes out, this could end up being the Western Conference Finals preview. It would also be a big game for LeBron James’ MVP chances with defeating Kawhi Leonard and Paul George as a “last boss” of sorts.
Date: Sunday, May 2 and Tuesday, May 4
Times: 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC and 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT
The Bucks are still struggling in the first half. The Nets are not. By this time, we could see the Bucks make a move and this could be the difference between being the 2-seed or being the 3-4 seed in the Eastern Conference. Kevin Durant is sidelined right now but we should expect him to be back for a crucial two-game set. It will be a big test for Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks to see if they can be legit title contenders. The Nets could make a statement by sweeping the reigning East regular-season champs.
Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Date: Saturday, April 17 and Monday, April 19
Times: 4:30 p.m. ET on ESPN and 10:00 p.m. ET on ESPN
Nothing against the Clippers, but depending on how the second half goes, these two games could end up deciding the No. 1 overall seed in the Western Conference. If that is the case, it could be the difference between playing the play-in tournament winner and facing a much tougher opponent like the Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets or Golden State Warriors. The Jazz have been dominant, but again, by this time we can expect the Lakers to be at full strength — plus this isn’t a spot the Lakers can coast through and rest LeBron or AD.
Toronto Raptors vs. Los Angeles Clippers
Date: Tuesday, May 4
Time: 10:00 p.m. ET on TNT
The Clippers and Raptors didn’t face each other in the first half of the season. So this is the first time Serge Ibaka will be taking on the Raptors since leaving the team in free agency this past offseason. We also have the Kawhi Leonard going up against Toronto narrative, which isn’t too shabby either. The Raptors could be the late-blooming team that makes some noise in the East, so this isn’t out of the question as an NBA Finals matchup. We could also see a few moves before the Trade Deadline to make one or both teams more formidable.
Brooklyn Nets vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Date: Wednesday, April 14
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN
The two top teams in the East will be going at it in the second half with the No. 1 seed on the line. With the play-in tournament being a thing again, there’s a bit of emphasis on securing the No. 1 overall seed in the East. The League is more competitive than we’ve seen in the past, so there won’t be a gimme in the first round (at least not like seasons past). If both teams are at full strength, we’ll have 5 All-Stars taking the court for Nets-Sixers. That’s a ton of star power with big-time playoff implications.