Every night in the NBA is busy, but this week starts with a magnificent and manic Monday night of action.
All 30 teams are in action with a bonanza of live games slated – and even better than that, tip-offs are 15 minutes apart, so there is going to be six straight hours or so of uninterrupted basketball from the best players on the planet.
The way the fixtures have been put together means that about six minutes into whatever game you happened to start watching, another one will be getting under way.
The basketball feast precedes a voluntary famine as the NBA’s decision to hold no games on US Election Day (Tuesday November 8) has spawned the opposite effect one day earlier: a night in which every team in the league will take the court.
Every game will be available to NBA League Pass holders and the ‘NBA CrunchTime’ will have you covered with live look-ins on every game, especially in the closing minutes of tightly-contested finishes, in a style similar to that of NFL RedZone coverage.
Monday’s NBA games and tip-off times
- 12am (midnight): Wizards @ Hornets
- 12.15am: Rockets @ Magic
- 12.30am.: Thunder @ Pistons
- 12.45am: Pelicans @ Pacers
- 1am: Suns @ 76ers
- 1.15am: Bucks @ Hawks
- 1.30am.: Trail Blazers @ Heat
- 1.45am: Raptors @ Bulls
- 2am: Celtics @ Grizzlies
- 2.15am: Knicks @ Timberwolves
- 2.30am.: Nuggets @ Spurs
- 2.45am: Nets @ Mavericks
- 3am: Kings @ Warriors
- 3.15am: Lakers @ Jazz
- 3.30am: Cavaliers @ Clippers
An amazing amount of talent will take to the court with a host of players with All-Star credentials on their career resumes set to be rostered, including first-timers such as Ja Morant and Andrew Wiggins, although LeBron James has been ruled out of the Los Angeles Lakers’ visit to Utah Jazz with a sore left foot.
The league expects an attendance of over 285,000 fans across the 15 different arenas. That is more than four times the single-game record of 62,046 set at the George Dome when the Atlanta Hawks hosted Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls on March 27, 1998.
Top rookies feature early
No 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero of the Orlando Magic has begun the season in historic fashion, becoming just the seventh rookie in league history to score 20 points or more in his first five career games. His debut performance was the first 25-point, five-rebound, five-assist effort by a first-year player since James.
Even with those numbers, Banchero is receiving early Kia Rookie of the Year competition from an unexpected source. Sixth overall pick Bennedict Mathurin has shown himself to be an NBA-ready scoring machine. The Pacers’ rookie sixth man has put up double-figure points in every one of his games, including a trio of performances exceeding 25 points.
Banchero (12.15am) and Mathurin (12.45am) each take the floor within the first hour of Monday’s packed schedule.
Will Booker light up Philly again?
A single game by Zion Williamson, and the career averages of Jordan, Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain. Those are the only examples of players who have averaged more points against the Philadelphia 76ers than Devin Booker, who has made the practise of scorching the Sixers nearly routine.
Phoenix’s three-time All-Star enters Monday having averaged 29.7 points in 14 career games against Philadelphia, and has not lost to the Sixers since January 2, 2019.
Will he have another big night?
Portland to blaze longest trail
The Blazers drew the short straw for the farthest trip on this all-hoops day. Portland will make a league-long, seven-hour, 2,700-mile flight to South Beach to take on the Heat.
The game will pit two of the more consistent All-NBA talents of the last decade (Damian Lillard and Jimmy Butler) as well as two up-and-coming young guards (Portland’s Anfernee Simons and Miami’s Tyler Herro).
Morant vs Tatum
Electric air defiance meets silky-smooth shooting in this clash of U25 star power. Neither the quickly-rising Grizzlies or the defending Eastern champion Celtics have made the starts they wanted. This is a high-profile chance for each of them to earn a statement win against a dynamic opponent.
Busy night for NBA officials
It is not just the teams, arena staff and fans that will turn out en masse. Fifteen games means 60 referees on site (three plus one alternate per game). That does not include the replay center, which will need enough eyes on a continuous and simultaneous stream of basketball broadcasts.
Then there are the highlight crews, digital teams and all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into an entire league going all-out in roughly a six-hour span.
Luka vs KD
Doncic has been on an otherwordly tear to start the season. The three-time All-Star scored more than 30 points in each of the season’s first seven games, a feat not done since Chamberlain (he is now on eight).
Durant, meanwhile, has hardly seen his hallmark scoring ability blunted by the Nets’ overall struggles. The 12-time All-Star is putting up his highest points per game average since his MVP and scoring-title season in 2013-14.
California, let’s have a party
The Warriors built a championship dynasty, one still active after last season’s title, via the Draft. The Kings have enjoyed many more high Draft picks, yet are mired in the longest playoff drought among the four major sports leagues in the United States.
Those resumés will go head-to-head on Monday. Golden State will roll out homegrown success stories Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Jordan Poole.
The Kings, meanwhile, are still searching for their first All-Star not named DeMarcus Cousins since 2004.
Watch more live NBA later this week as Atlanta Hawks host Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday from 12.30am; 76ers then host Hawks on Saturday night from from 12.30am; Minnesota Timberwolves travel to the the Cleveland Cavaliers in our Sunday game from 11pm, all three live on Sky Sports Arena.