The NBA released the 2021-22 regular season schedule on Friday, so in anticipation of some of the blockbuster matchups throughout the season, let’s take a look at a few of the premier matchups for the reigning NBA Champions.
The Bucks finished the 2020-21 season on the highest note possible, coming back from a 2-0 deficit against the Phoenix Suns to win four games in a row and take home the NBA title in six games, with Giannis Antetokounmpo winning the NBA Finals MVP trophy in the process. The Bucks will be bringing back the majority of the guys who were on the championship team, although they lost PJ Tucker to the Miami Heat this offseason. They brought in young forward Semi Ojeleye in hopes that he’ll help fill the void left by Tucker.
Now Milwaukee will gear up to defend their title, and they’ll obviously have to take on some of the best teams in the NBA to get there.
Tuesday, October 19, 7:30 p.m., TNT — Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee
Friday, January 7, 7:30 p.m., ESPN — Barclays Center, Brooklyn
Saturday, February 26, 8:30 p.m., ABC — Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee
Thursday, March 31, 7:30 p.m., TNT — Barclays Center, Brooklyn
Milwaukee took down the Brooklyn Nets in the conference semifinals in seven games after losing the first two straight. They came back and went 4-1 in the final five games of the series to send the Nets packing. With the Nets bringing back all of their “big three” with James Harden, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant locked in for next season, they’ll look to improve and make a deeper run in the playoffs especially with the addition of veterans like Patty Mills and James Johnson. The Bucks didn’t have to go up against all three of those guys at once very much in their series as both Irving and Harden had to sit out with injuries of their own. If all three guys are healthy, Milwaukee could have a tough time.
Wednesday, November 17, 7:30 p.m., ESPN — Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee
Tuesday, February 8, 10 p.m., TNT — STAPLES Center, Los Angeles
The Lakers couldn’t do much last year as both LeBron James and Anthony Davis had to sit out huge chunks of the season with injuries. Now with both guys back in the lineup, presumably healthy heading into this season, plus the addition of Russell Westbrook, they’ll look to finish at the top of the Western Conference and make a real playoff run. The Bucks met with the Lakers twice in the regular season but split the results, with the Lakers taking the first game 113-106 while Milwaukee got the next won 112-97. Unsurprisingly, both LeBron and AD played in the first meeting, but both were absent for the second.
Thursday, February 10, 10 p.m., TNT — Footprint Center, Phoenix
Sunday, March 6, 3:30 p.m., ABC — Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee
These are the surely the games everyone is itching to watch — a rematch of the 2021 NBA Finals as the Bucks and the Suns go head-to-head once again while the Suns will look for some shred of redemption during the regular season. Phoenix is bringing back its biggest guys as they re-signed Chris Paul to a 4-year, $120 million deal in hopes of ensuring the same level of excellence they showed last season. Paul and Devin Booker were a lethal combination last season, and Deandre Ayton was just the icing on the cake. While the Suns lost Torrey Craig to the Pacers, they brought in Landry Shamet from Brooklyn to add more depth in the guard position. Regardless, most of the key players from last year’s finals will be back in these games and it’ll be interesting to see how they turn out.