The NBA released the full, 82-game schedule for all teams Friday. The Denver Nuggets are slated to open the season Oct. 20 at the Phoenix Suns, last year’s Western Conference champions, in a rematch of last season’s second-round playoff series. The Nuggets close the regular season at home on April 10 against the Los Angeles Lakers. The schedule features 12 sets of back-to-back games.
The Nuggets will have 14 games on national television but do not have a Christmas Day game for the first time in a few years, but there are plenty of intriguing matchups, including these five:
Oct. 22, vs. San Antonio Spurs
Denver fans will get their first look at this season’s squad when San Antonio comes to town for a Friday-night home opener at Ball Arena. While most members of last season are set to return, Nuggets fans could get their first in-person looks at rookie Bones Hyland and newcomer Jeff Green. The Spurs game also serves as a homecoming for San Antonio’s Derrick White, a guard who played at Legend High School, UCCS and Colorado.
Nov. 14 vs. Portland Trail Blazers
If the recent playoff meetings between the two teams, including the Nuggets win in six games last season, wasn’t enough excitement, Portland’s first trip to Denver this season will also feature Chauncey Billups’ first game as an NBA coach in his hometown. The Trail Blazers and Terry Stotts parted ways after the Nuggets’ ended Portland’s season in June. Billups, a standout at Denver’s George Washington High School and Colorado before a long and decorated NBA playing career, got his first NBA head coaching gig with the Trail Blazers weeks after Stotts departed.
Nov. 26 vs. Milwaukee Bucks
This star-studded contest between Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Bucks and Nikola Jokic’s Nuggets will feature the league’s last three Most Valuable Players and last year’s champions after the Bucks beat the Suns in six games. Jokic, last season’s MVP, will lead the Nuggets against Antetokounmpo, who won the two previous MVP awards before adding a Finals MVP this summer. Milwaukee is also among the favorites to come out of the Eastern Conference this season.
Jan. 15 vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Nuggets fans who thought last season’s playoff series against Portland would be their last chance to cheer or boo Carmelo Anthony will get another chance. Anthony, the Nuggets’ pick at No. 3 in the 2003 draft, signed with the Lakers to join forces with LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook this offseason. There was a mix of cheers and boos whenever Anthony touched the ball during his most recent games in Denver.
March 24. vs. Phoenix Suns
The Nuggets will have their last chance to show the Suns how far they’ve come since being swept in the second round of last season’s playoffs in the final 10 games of the regular season. The game also comes just under a year since Jamal Murray tore his anterior cruciate ligament, forcing Denver’s star guard to miss all of Denver’s playoff run. JaVale McGee, the Nuggets’ reserve center for parts of last season, also signed with the Suns in the offseason.