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NBA schedule features earlier starts

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some key warriors matchups

Oct. 24 vs. Clippers: The regular-season opener and the debut of Chase Center will mark the first NBA game in San Francisco since January 29, 1971.

Nov. 13 at Lakers: The first meeting of the season vs. the Lakers with Anthony Davis joining LeBron James.

Dec. 20 vs. Pelicans: Rookie Zion Williamson will make his first appearance against the Warriors.

Dec. 25 vs. Rockets: Playing on Christmas Day for the seventh consecutive year, the Warriors meet a Rockets team that has added Russell Westbrook.

Jan. 20 at Trail Blazers: On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Warriors will take on the Portland team they faced in the playoffs last season.

March 5 vs. Raptors: A different team with Kawhi Leonard having left for the Clippers, but the first matchup between 2018-19 NBA Finals opponents.

April 13 vs. Trail Blazers: Regular-season home finale.

April 15 at Kings: Finals regular-season game.

Date: auseptausep taset ase tase

The NBA schedule is a little bit easier on players.

Fans might be catching a break — and some more sleep — as well.

The league announced its 2019-20 schedule on Monday, featuring another dip in back-to-back games for teams and a major change in the number of nationally televised games starting at 10:30 p.m. on the East Coast. The Warriors and the Los Angeles Lakers will start several games a half-hour earlier than usual, while broadcasters ESPN and Turner are going to earlier start times on many midweek doubleheader nights.

The Warriors will be featured in 30 national television appearances, tipping off the season at Chase Center on Oct. 24 against the LA Clippers, the first regular-season NBA game in San Francisco since 1971.

Changing the schedule has been on NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s mind for some time, especially since roughly half of the nation’s television homes are in the Eastern time zone — but now, a number of the league’s biggest stars play on the West Coast. It wasn’t uncommon for nationally televised midweek games to end around 1 a.m. ET or even later last season, and that was not good for ratings.

“It’s something that I think we have to address,” Silver said in May.

And changes are definitely coming.

ESPN’s Wednesday doubleheaders will begin at either 7 or 7:30 p.m. ET, followed by a second game at either 9:30 p.m. or 10 p.m. in the East. TNT had nine Tuesday doubleheaders last season with the second game starting at 10:30; this season that number is down to two.

In all, there were 57 games on national television starting at 10:30 p.m. ET last season. That number falls to 33 this season, a dip of 42 percent.

Meanwhile, players might be getting a touch more rest this season as well. For the fifth straight year, the NBA has found a way to lower the average number of times a team has to play on consecutive days. The league average is 12.4 back-to-backs this season, down from 13.3 last year and 36 percent down from the average of 19.3 five years ago.

Other highlights from the 2019-20 schedule:

Opening night

Toronto will get its rings on Oct. 22, when it plays host to New Orleans and No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson. The Lakers — now featuring Anthony Davis to play alongside LeBron James — will play at the Clippers — now featuring Kawhi Leonard and Paul George — in the second half of that doubleheader, and that will be one of the late nationally televised midweek games that will otherwise be largely avoided this season.

Christmas

Toronto gets to host a Christmas game for the first time, playing host to Boston. The other Christmas matchups: Milwaukee at Philadelphia; Houston at Golden State; Clippers at Lakers; New Orleans at Denver.

Martin Luther King Day

There are 14 games scheduled for Jan. 20, the day honoring the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., including the traditional home games for Atlanta (against Toronto) and Memphis (against New Orleans).

Europe in prime time

The schedule features 48 games — 24 on Saturdays, 24 on Sundays — that will air in prime time in Europe. That doesn’t include the Jan. 24 game in Paris between Milwaukee and Charlotte.

Four-in-fives

The stretches of four games in five days might be gone. This will be the third consecutive season where no team gets tasked with handling one of those. No team will play eight games in 12 days, either — though there are 19 instances of teams having to play five times in a span of seven days.

Closing night

The regular season ends with 13 games on April 15. Miami, Detroit, Denver and Utah all finish on April 14. The playoffs start April 18.

some key warriors matchups

Oct. 24 vs. Clippers: The regular-season opener and the debut of Chase Center will mark the first NBA game in San Francisco since January 29, 1971.

Nov. 13 at Lakers: The first meeting of the season vs. the Lakers with Anthony Davis joining LeBron James.

Dec. 20 vs. Pelicans: Rookie Zion Williamson will make his first appearance against the Warriors.

Dec. 25 vs. Rockets: Playing on Christmas Day for the seventh consecutive year, the Warriors meet a Rockets team that has added Russell Westbrook.

Jan. 20 at Trail Blazers: On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Warriors will take on the Portland team they faced in the playoffs last season.

March 5 vs. Raptors: A different team with Kawhi Leonard having left for the Clippers, but the first matchup between 2018-19 NBA Finals opponents.

April 13 vs. Trail Blazers: Regular-season home finale.

April 15 at Kings: Finals regular-season game.

Date: auseptausep taset ase tase

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