11 matchups to watch from the 2019-20 NBA schedule
Mitchell Leff / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The NBA announced its schedule Monday, with the regular season kicking off Oct. 22 and coming to a close April 15.

Here are 11 games to watch throughout the season:

Oct. 22: Raptors get their rings

The defending champion Toronto Raptors will host the New Orleans Pelicans as they officially receive their championship rings. The contest also marks the debut of rookie sensation and No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson.

Although the Raptors lost key pieces in Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, they bring back the majority of their title-winning core and will look to add to their franchise-best playoff streak by reaching the postseason for a seventh-straight year.

It'll be worth watching budding star Pascal Siakam's development, as he looks to add an All-Star appearance to his resume.

Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Oct. 22: The first battle of L.A.

The league is wasting no time getting the Lakers and Clippers on the court together. LeBron James finally has a superstar running mate in Los Angeles in Anthony Davis - both he and the Clippers' newly formed dynamic duo of Leonard and Paul George will be making their L.A. debuts in this intracity clash.

Both franchises sit atop the championship odds, with the Clippers owning a slight edge over their fellow Staples Center residents.

Oct. 25: Zion's home debut vs. Doncic's Mavs

Williamson will host Luka Doncic's Dallas Mavericks in his official Louisiana debut, as the new face of the Pelicans franchise hopes to help people forget about the Davis era.

Doncic is coming off of a spectacular Rookie of the Year season, and his battle against this year's award favorite will be one worth watching. Both franchises view their young cores as potential playoff contenders in the deep Western Conference.

Chris Elise / National Basketball Association / Getty

Nov. 27: Brow back in the Crescent City

The Pelicans refused to comply with Davis' initial trade demands, as the two parties played through the awkwardness over the final few months of the 2018-19 season. However, the team eventually gave in and shipped the superstar to L.A. in exchange for a glut of draft picks and young talent, including Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart.

Davis will surely receive loud boos despite the Pelicans being well-positioned for a bright future. An argument can be made that the perennial All-Star did them a favor, as the dark cloud looming over the franchise is now seemingly gone.

Nov. 27: Kyrie returns to Boston

It hasn't even been a year since Kyrie Irving told the Celtics faithful, "If you guys will have me back, I plan on re-signing here."

Boston's future soon unraveled, as the team performed well below expectations and was eventually forced to move on from both Irving and fellow All-Star Al Horford.

The Brooklyn Nets managed to land both Irving and Kevin Durant this summer and are in position to eventually contend for a championship just six years after a massive 2013 trade with the Celtics sent them into obscurity.

Vaughn Ridley / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Dec. 11: Kawhi gets his championship ring

He came, he saw, he conquered, and he left.

Leonard helped lead a deep Raptors roster to several firsts, including the franchise's first-ever NBA title versus the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors.

The superstar forward will collect his hard-earned ring in his first visit north of the border since bolting to the Clippers.

Dec. 25: East's best square off on Christmas

Giannis Antetokounmpo's Milwaukee Bucks will visit the City of Brotherly Love on Christmas Day to face Joel Embiid's new-look Philadelphia 76ers in the first of four games between the two powerhouses.

The 76ers and Bucks both fell to Leonard's Raptors last postseason. However, both now stand on top of the Eastern Conference with seemingly little resistance.

Layne Murdoch / National Basketball Association / Getty

Jan. 9: Westbrook's 1st game back in OKC

Few believed they'd ever see the day that Russell Westbrook would play in Oklahoma City as a visitor.

He's once again paired with James Harden, as the dynamic duo looks to get the Houston Rockets over the hump and fight for a shot at a title.

For what it's worth, the first matchup between the two teams will be Oct. 28, marking the first time Chris Paul returns to Houston since the trade that sent Westbrook out of OKC.

Jan. 10: Zion, Barrett clash in the Big Apple

Williamson is once again expected to be in the spotlight as he heads to New York City to face his former Duke teammate RJ Barrett.

The Knicks struck out on several marquee free agents this summer and are left with the hope that the No. 3 pick in June's draft will live up to his lofty expectations.

Nathaniel S. Butler / National Basketball Association / Getty

Feb. 5: Russell back in Brooklyn

The Nets moved on from D'Angelo Russell after adding Irving and Durant, allowing the star guard to surprisingly sign a max deal to join Stephen Curry and the Warriors.

Russell will be a crucial part of a Warriors offense missing Klay Thompson until some time after the All-Star break. We'll have a better idea of Russell's role with the franchise by the time of his return to Brooklyn.

April 15: Vince Carter's (likely) finale

Pending a surprise playoff appearance, dunk legend and former All-Star Vince Carter will play the last game of his long-tenured NBA career against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Carter rejoined the up-and-coming Atlanta Hawks for his own farewell tour in season No. 22. The soon-to-be 43-year-old is expected to retire as the fourth-oldest player in league history.

11 matchups to watch from the 2019-20 NBA schedule
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