The Philadelphia Flyers have unveiled new home and road uniforms for the 2023-24 season, both of which feature a burnt orange color. It marks the first time since 2010 that the organization has altered their uniforms in any capacity.
The new jerseys will also feature the franchise’s first jersey path partner.
“This New Era of Orange is all about honoring our franchise’s storied past while writing an exciting, new chapter of Flyers history,” Flyers CEO and Governor Daniel J. Hilferty said in a statement. “These new uniforms represent that sentiment perfectly with details to honor previous eras paired with a fresh, modern design. And there’s no better company than Independence Blue Cross to be our first jersey patch partner! It is an organization that has meant so much to me personally and the entire Philadelphia region.”
Burnt Orange is back. https://t.co/GVr6Ajt1f2 pic.twitter.com/HHFHpFbmam
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) June 20, 2023 The team worked with Flyers season ticket holders, former players and broadcasters throughout the process of selecting these new uniforms.
The Flyers combined some past elements into these new uniforms to “form a modern adaptation” of the team’s storied history.
The home jersey will feature a burnt orange color, a throwback to the Flyers teams of the 1980s and 1990s. A similar jersey was worn in the late 1990s when players like Eric Lindros, John LeClair and Mikael Renberg formed the Flyers’ “Legion of Doom” line. The burnt orange is featured on the arm and shoulder, as well as on the large player numbers for the team’s away jerseys. The team will also sport burnt orange socks. The bold striping along the shoulder and down the arms have been a key element in Flyers uniforms of the past. The numbers on the sleeve are a single-color design, which was a characteristic of the original 1967-70 uniforms. It’s the first time in several decades that Philadelphia will have single-color numbers. The Flyers also have a black horizontal stripe at the bottom of the their jerseys with black pants, which was first introduced in 1982. These new jerseys have a name-plate design that differs in color from the rest of the jersey. The Flyers are the league’s only team that have a different color name-plate than their jersey. The new uniforms are the latest in several changes that the franchise has made since the 2022-23 season came to a close.
The team hired former player Danny Briere as the team’s general manager after he served in that post in an interim capacity after former general manager Chuck Fletcher was fired in March. The Flyers also hired Keith Jones as the team’s new president as well adding former Flyers Patrick Sharp and LeClair to positions in the front office.
Shortly after becoming the permanent general manager, Briere made his first big splash as he traded defenseman Ivan Provorov to the Columbus Blue Jackets for a haul that included a 2023 first-round pick.
Starting in the 2023-24 season, NHL teams will no longer wear specialty jerseys during warmups for themed nights. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced the decision following the league’s Board of Governors meeting.
This decision from the NHL comes after a season that was filled with how various Pride nights were handled across the league. Some individual players refused to wear the warmup jerseys, and several teams chose not to wear an LGBTQ-themed warmup jersey at all.
Immediately following the meeting, Bettman spoke with Sportsnet about the decision. Bettman said the debate about the jerseys became more of a “distraction.” He also suggested that nixing the jerseys would put more focus onto the nights themselves.
“Actually, I’ve suggested that it would be appropriate for clubs not to change their jerseys in warmups because it’s become a distraction and taking away from the fact that all our clubs, in some form or another, host nights in honor of various groups or causes,” Bettman said. “We’d rather those continue to get the appropriate attention that they deserve and not be a distraction.”
Bettman acknowledged the jerseys can make fans the LGBTQ community feel more included and that the NHL made this decision during Pride month but re-emphasized his opinion that the jerseys had become a distraction.
“Those are legitimate concerns, but in the final analysis, all of the efforts and emphasis on these important various causes have been undermined by the distraction in terms of which teams and which players (are wearing them),” Bettman said. “This way, we can keep it focused on the game. On these specialty nights, we’re going to be focused on the cause.”
Bettman said that Pride nights — and all specialty nights — are here to stay in the NHL. The only change will be that players no longer wear themed jerseys in warmups.
“Absolutely, 32 of our clubs did Pride nights. Some do Heritage nights,” Bettman said. “Everyone does Hockey Fights Cancer. Some do military nights. All of those nights will continue. The only issue will be — or the only difference will be — we aren’t going to change jerseys for warmups because really that has become more of a distraction from the essence of what the purposes of these nights are.”
The discussion around NHL Pride nights began when then-Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov chose not to wear the team’s warmup jersey for religious reasons. Throughout the rest of the season, Eric Staal, Marc Staal, and James Reimer sat out Pride Night warmups for the same reason.
Several NHL teams chose not to wear special warmup jerseys at all because of new Russian anti-gay laws that may have put players from that country in jeopardy if they promoted pro-LGBTQ causes. Teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins, Nashville Predators, and San Jose Sharks chose to go ahead with Pride Night warmup jerseys despite having Russian players in the lineup.
The Nashville Predators have traded center Ryan Johansen to the Colorado Avalanche, the team announced on Saturday. In return, the Predators will receive forward Alex Galchenyuk, who is set to become a free agent on July 1.
As part of the deal, the Predators will also retain 50% of Johansen’s $8 million salary cap hit over the next two seasons. Nashville retained a portion of Mattias Ekholm’s salary after trading him to the Edmonton Oilers prior to the 2023 trade deadline, so the team can retain salary on just one more player after the Johansen deal.
This move provides the Avalanche with the second-line center that they were missing for much of the 2022-23 season. When Nazem Kadri signed with the Calgary Flames last summer, that left a void in Colorado’s lineup, and Johansen should slot into that role at just $4 million per year, which is a reasonable gamble to make.
Johansen is just a couple years removed from his 2021-22 campaign in which he recorded 26 goals and 37 assists for 63 points in 79 games. Last season, Johansen’s production dipped to 28 points in 55 games, and he suffered a season-ending leg injury on Feb. 21. He should be back in time for the start of the 2023-24 season.
For the Predators, this trade frees up $4 million in salary cap space and gets a big contract off the books, at least partially. Nashville has entered a rebuilding mode, and the team has traded some big names in the last few months, like Ekholm and Mikael Granlund. Johansen played eight seasons with the Preds and played the role of No. 1 center in their run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2017.
Galchenyuk, who will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1, failed to record a point in 11 games with the Avs last season.
The Los Angeles Kings announced they have traded defenseman Sean Durzi to the Arizona Coyotes. In return, the Kings will receive a 2024 second-round draft pick, which was originally owned by the Montreal Canadiens.
Durzi just completed his second NHL season, and at the age of 24, looks like he could develop into a solid top-four option for Arizona. In 2022-23, Durzi totaled nine goals and 29 assists in 71 games. With Durzi on the ice at five-on-five, the Kings controlled 51.3% of the expected goals, per Natural Stat Trick.
In the team’s official announcement, Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong said Durzi can contribute at both ends of the ice.
“Sean is a reliable two-way defenseman who has good vision and contributes offensively,” Armstrong said in his statement. “He will be a very good addition to our blue line and we look forward to having him on our roster this season.”
Durzi is entering the final season of his two-year contract at $1.7 million per year, and he is set to be a restricted free agent next summer.
The Kings, who just recently signed Vladislav Gavrikov to a two-year contract extension, already have a strong stable of defenseman. Trading Durzi frees up some cap space for Los Angeles to improve its team in other areas, whether that is in goal or up front.
The Boston Bruins had a regular season for the ages and goaltender Linus Ullmark was a big reason for that success. On Monday, Ullmark won the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goaltender, beating out other finalists Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets and Ilya Sorokin of the New York Islanders.
Ullmark is the fifth goaltender in Bruins history to win the Vezina Trophy and the first since 2014, when Tuukka Rask won the award. Pete Peeters became the first Boston goaltender to win the award in 1983, while Tim Thomas earned the honor in both 2009 and 2011.
Ullmark had a phenomenal regular season:
He tied the Bruins’ single-season wins record (40) while also posting a league-leading 1.89 goals-against-average and .938 save percentage in 49 games (48 starts). The Bruins netminder also had a pair of shutouts throughout the year, as he helped lead the Bruins to an NHL record 135 points alongside fellow goaltender Jeremy Swayman. Ullmark, 29, yielded just two or fewer goals in 36 of his 49 games throughout the 2022-23 season. In his 49th game of the season, Ullmark became the fastest goaltender in NHL history to reach the 40-win mark. It also tied him for the franchise wins record in a single season with Pete Peeters, who accomplished the feat in 63 games during the 1982-83 season. According to MoneyPuck, Ullmark produced a league-best .966 save percentage when facing unblocked shots during the regular season. Ullmark also led the NHL with a 0.883 goals saved above expected per 60 minutes and a 0.88 goals-against-average better than expected.
On top of that, Ullmark even made some wild history as he became just the 13th goaltender in NHL history to score a regular-season goal. He scored in the Bruins’ 3-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks on February 25.
This was just Ullmark’s second season with the Bruins after signing a four-year, $20 million deal in the 2021 offseason. He had spent the first six seasons of his NHL career with the Buffalo Sabres after the team selected him in the sixth round of the 2012 NHL Draft.
The Chicago Blackhawks have the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, and as such, the Connor Bedard hype train has reached terminal velocity ahead of Wednesday night.
It may seem like too much buzz for a 17-year-old stud who has yet to play an NHL shift, but Bedard really does have the pre-draft resume to justify it.
Few of the top NHL Draft prospects over the last decade have received as much attention as Bedard — and that list includes Nathan MacKinnon, Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews. It’s because Bedard completely dominated his draft year, both in the Western Hockey League and at the World Junior Championship.
In his time with the WHL’s Regina Pats, Bedard posted some eye-popping numbers, especially for his age.
2021-22: Bedard became the first 16 year old to score 50 goals in a single WHL season. 2022-23: Bedard tallied 143 points (71 goals and 72 assists), which led the WHL by 36 points. 2023 playoffs: Bedard notched 10 goals and 10 assists in seven playoff games. In addition to those numbers in junior hockey, Bedard has two World Junior Championship gold medals. He was a superstar at the 2023 tournament.
2022: Bedard scored four goals and added four assists in Canada’s gold-medal run. 2023: Bedard set a Canadian record with 23 points and was named tournament MVP. Even before 2023, Bedard cemented his place atop the 2023 NHL Draft board. He compares quite favorably to some of the most highly-touted No. 1 overall picks in recent memory. To prove it, let’s look at how Bedard stacks up with MacKinnon, McDavid and Matthews.
Nathan MacKinnon, 2013 draft class In the 2013 NHL Draft, MacKinnon was the top pick, selected ahead of players like Aleksander Barkov and Seth Jones.
Entering that draft, MacKinnon was highly regarded as a franchise player after a fantastic career with the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL. Even at the age of 16, MacKinnon put up gaudy numbers in Halifax.
2011-12: MacKinnon totaled 31 goals and 47 assists in 58 games as a 16-year-old. 2012-13: MacKinnon scored 32 goals and tallied 75 points in just 44 games. MacKinnon’s junior hockey career was good enough to make him the best prospect in the 2013 draft, but he wasn’t able to find as much success as Bedard in the World Junior Championships. MacKinnon earned a spot on Team Canada in 2013, but he tallied just one assist in six games as the team stumbled to a fourth-place finish.
Connor McDavid, 2015 draft class McDavid was the definition of a generational prospect. He had the size, speed, production and intangibles necessary to succeed at the NHL level, and he has delivered on the goods (he still hasn’t won a Stanley Cup, though) in eight seasons with the Edmonton Oilers.
Even at an early age, McDavid had the makings of a potential NHL superstar. He was only 15 years old when he began his career with the OHL’s Erie Otters, but didn’t look out of place at all.
2012-13: McDavid scored 25 goals and 66 points in 63 games in his first junior hockey season. 2013-14: McDavid displayed his elite passing ability with 71 assists and 99 points in 56 games. 2014-15: McDavid took his goal-scoring to another level with 44 tallies in 47 games while posting 120 points. 2015 OHL playoffs: In just 20 playoff games, McDavid recorded 21 goals and 28 assists. McDavid was already a superstar before the draft because of the way he torched the OHL, but he also played well in two World Junior tournaments. He played in the 2014 tournament at 16 and helped lead Canada to a gold medal in 2015.
2014: McDavid scored one goal and added three assists while Canada finished fourth. 2015: McDavid was tied for the tournament lead in points (11) as Canada won gold. Between his physical tools and his production in the OHL and World Junior Championship, there wasn’t any doubt that McDavid was an incredibly rare prospect. The fact that Bedard has the statistics and the accolades to match McDavid only makes him more tantalizing to NHL scouts.
Auston Matthews, 2016 draft class Matthews’ pre-draft path to the NHL was a less traditional than others, but it was still clear that he was an elite prospect.
In his final season on the U.S. National U-18 Team, Matthews led the team in scoring by 10 points, and that roster included players like Matthew Tkachuk and Jack Roslovic. In his draft year, Matthews went to play for Zurich SC of the Swiss-A League and held his own against professionals in Europe.
2014-15: Matthews led the U.S. national team in goals (20), assists (28) and points (48). 2015-16: Matthews led Zurich SC in goals (24), which was tied for fourth in the league — despite missing 14 games. Matthews’ goal-scoring ability also translated to the World Junior Championship. He had a relatively quiet tournament as an 18 year old in 2015, but he bounced back in 2016.
2015: Matthews scored one goal and notched two assists as Team USA failed to medal. 2016: Matthews tallied seven goals and 11 points in seven games; USA won bronze. Matthews was a big center who could score goals at an impressive clip, and that has translated very well at the NHL level. Bedard doesn’t have Matthews’ size, but he has shown a similar penchant for filling the net.
The verdict No matter how you slice it, Bedard is in rare air in terms of his pre-draft resume. Even those best prospects of the last 10 years above struggle to compete when it comes to Bedard’s achievements in junior hockey and on the international stage.
In a recent poll of five NHL scouts and executives conducted by The Athletic, Bedard was ranked as the second-best No. 1 prospect of the last decade, dating back to 2014. Only McDavid ranked ahead of Bedard, due to the Oilers star’s larger size and unmatched speed.
That doesn’t mean Bedard will be just as good or better than McDavid, Matthews and MacKinnon. Physical traits like size and speed can’t be overlooked when projecting a prospects NHL career, and no two prospects develop at the same rate.
That said, it’s easy to look at what Bedard has done to this point in his career and imagine him as one of the top five players in the league sooner rather than later.
Rafael dos Anjos and Vicente Luque say their matchup Saturday in the main event of UFC Fight Night presents a prime opportunity to get their careers back on track. Their five-round battle tops the main UFC fight card starting at 7 p.m. ET from the Apex facility in Las Vegas, and the winner will have a step forward towards title-contention in the welterweight division. Dos Anjos is a former lightweight champion and one-time welterweight title challenger who will try to make one final late career run at another belt. Luque is a seasoned veteran who hopes to end a two-fight skid and potentially move into the top-five welterweight rankings.
Dos Anjos is a -125 favorite (risk $125 to win $100), while Luque is priced at +105 in the latest UFC Fight Night: Luque vs. Dos Anjos odds. In the co-main event, featherweight sluggers take the spotlight as prospect Hakeem Dawodu (-230) meets veteran Cub Swanson (+190). Before settling any UFC Fight Night: Luque vs. Dos Anjos picks, make sure you see the MMA predictions and betting advice from SportsLine expert Daniel Vithlani.
Vithlani is a highly analytical UFC bettor who profited more than $6,200 for $100 bettors in 2022. This includes a documented 24-14 record on his well-respected, two-leg parlays. Every pick was documented on his public Instagram account.
From breaking down film and following fighters and their camps closely, to tracking sharp action and betting market signals, Vithlani covers the breadth of the MMA betting landscape top to bottom. He also trains amateur boxers and speaks regularly with MMA fighters to understand the sport’s nuances.
In his SportsLine debut for UFC 283 in January, Vithlani swept the main card and his 5-0 ledger included advising SportsLine members to support Jamahal Hill (-125) against Glover Teixeira (+105) for the vacant light heavyweight title in the main event. Anyone who has followed him has seen massive returns.
Now, with UFC Fight Night: Luque vs. Dos Anjos in sight, Vithlani has scoured the UFC fight card from top to bottom and released his top MMA picks. Vithlani’s UFC Fight Night picks are only available at SportsLine.
UFC Fight Night: Luque vs. Dos Anjos preview Dos Anjos (32-14) remains widely regarded as one of the most complete fighters in the UFC. His arsenal starts with a strong stand-up base that is formidable enough to compete with world-class strikers. But he’s even more lethal on the ground, using his elite wrestling and grappling to secure 11 submissions among his 24 career victories.
The 38-year-old Brazilian lost his first two UFC outings but responded with a run that saw him win 13 of 16 fights and capture the lightweight title with a decision win over Anothny Pettis in March 2015. He made one successful defense against Donald Cerrone before dropping the belt to Eddie Alvarez.
Dos Anjos moved up to welterweight and used a three-fight winning streak to land an interim title shot but dropped a close decision to Colby Covington in June 2018. He has split his last eight fights and notched a win over veteran Bryan Barberena at welterweight last December. A victory Saturday would likely give dos Anjos a top-10 welterweight ranking and present a path to title contention.
But it won’t be easy against a venerable ranked competitor in Luque. He used a stretch of nine wins in 10 fights to achieve a top-five ranking, but saw his momentum stalled behind consecutive losses to veteran contenders Belal Muhammad and Geoff Neal.
Luque (21-9-1) is noted for numerous highlight-reel finishes, and the explosive striker has 11 knockouts and eight submissions on his record while earning eight UFC performance bonuses. The 31-year-old has a 93% finish rate, which ranks second in UFC history. Gerald Meerschaert leads that category with finishes in all 10 of his UFC victories. You can only see who to pick at UFC Fight Night here.
Top UFC Fight Night predictions We’ll share one of Vithlani’s UFC Fight Night predictions here: He is siding with Iasmin Lucindo (-190) to get past Polyana Viana (+160).
Lucindo (14-5) is a versatile and powerful fighter who has 10 stoppages among her 14 professional MMA victories. The 21-year-old Brazilian entered the UFC on a seven-fight winning streak before splitting her first two outings with the promotion. She earned her first UFC win with a decision over Brogan Walker in April.
Viana (13-5) is a similarly balanced fighter who has eight submissions and five knockouts to account for her 13 victories. She has never won by decision but has come up short on the scorecards in four of her five losses. The five-year UFC veteran overcame a three-fight skid by winning three of her past four. She notched a first-round knockout of Jinh Yu Frey in 47 seconds last November.
“Lucindo also has excellent takedowns and can look to control Viana on the mat. I see Lucindo out-boxing and out-wrestling Viana for a decision win,” Vithlani told SportsLine. See who else to back here.
How to make UFC Fight Night picks Vithlani also has strong picks for Luque vs. Dos Anjos and other bouts on the UFC Fight Night card. He’s backing a fighter who “is in great physical shape” to emerge with a dominant victory. See Vithlani’s picks and analysis at SportsLine.
James Harden’s tour across China continues, and after calling Philadelphia 76ers president Daryl Morey a liar earlier this week, the former league MVP is now flirting with the idea of playing in China at some point. It’s unclear if he meant actually signing with a team in China to play a season, or if he would be interested in the NBA hosting a game in the country like the league has done in the past. But it’s clear that he has a fondness for the fans in the country.
“Every time I come here, the love is just like … it’s crazy, you know what I mean?” Harden said, per the Philadelphia Inquirer. “So I feel like they deserve to actually see me come play here. … Love is always crazy here.”
Those comments come just a few days after the former league MVP publicly called Morey a liar and said he would never play for a team ran by Morey, amidst a contract and trade dispute. Harden requested a trade back in June, with the hope of landing on the Clippers. However, after on-and-off trade talks over the past couple months, it was reported last week that Philadelphia was ending those discussions with L.A. and planned to bring Harden into training camp.
Harden is reportedly prepared to sit out training camp if he isn’t traded, however, sitting out for an extended period of time could impede with him signing with a new team next summer when he’s set to become an unrestricted free agent. There’s a clause in the league’s collective bargaining agreement that says if a player in the final year of their contract “withholds services” for more than 30 days, they will be in violation of their contract and could be blocked from becoming a free agent until the team he last played for “expressly agrees otherwise.” So even if Harden did want to go play in China next year, he would need the Sixers approval if he holds out for more than 30 days and isn’t traded by the team this season.
But let’s say Harden did manage to get himself over to China, there’s no doubt he would put up ridiculous numbers as many former NBA players have in the past. He would be the biggest former NBA star to ever go play overseas, and would immediately become the face of any team he signed with. The money is nowhere near as lucrative, as the Chinese Basketball Association, the biggest league in China, allows just $5 million to be spent on foreign players. It would be a significant pay cut for Harden, who is set to make $35.6 million this season alone. But if Harden chooses to play there closer to the end of his career, perhaps that money won’t matter as much as it does right now.
James Harden has stirred up some drama between himself and the Philadelphia 76ers. Harden’s former Houston Rockets head coach, Kevin McHale, is not exactly shocked that the relationship has begun to sour.
After a big contract extension with the 76ers didn’t materialize, Harden picked up his player option for a one-year, $35.6 million deal with Philly but quickly requested a trade. Harden reportedly wanted to be dealt to the Los Angeles Clippers, but that trade has not come to fruition, and the 76ers star has now called general manager Daryl Morey a “liar.”
These are not sunny times in Philadelphia. McHale, a Boston Celtics legend, coached Harden for seasons in Houston and spoke with Heavy Sports about the bitter situation.
McHale said he feels for Morey because sometimes general managers are caught between the player and ownership in these stand-offs. McHale said he suspects Morey may have wanted to work on a long-term extension for Harden, but that might not have been 100% his call.
“James wanted a big extension from Philly, and Philly wouldn’t give it to him, and that’s not a Daryl decision,” McHale said. “Daryl’s got a part of that, of course, but that’s an owner decision. So (Harden) was really mad, saying Daryl lied to him, but, you know, maybe they saw Game 7 against the Celtics and said, ‘I’m not interested in that.’
“I think Daryl would have probably tried to extend him and keep everything happy. But as far as trading him goes, you know, Daryl gets stubborn. It’s going to be interesting.”
Harden’s postseason struggles have apparently led to internal strife before. McHale said that after the 2015 NBA playoffs, when he benched Harden in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals, the guard showed up to next year’s camp “fat and didn’t feel like playing.”
At this point, it seems like Harden has sufficiently burned bridges with the 76ers. During an event in China, Harden slammed Morey publicly.
“Daryl Morey is a liar, and I will never be part of an organization that he’s a part of,” Harden said. “Let me say that again: Daryl Morey is a liar and I will never be part of an organization that he’s a part of.”
Now, the 76ers have lost some leverage in trade talks, and Morey might not be inclined to give Harden away for pennies on the dollar. When former 76ers guard Ben Simmons wanted to be traded, Morey took his time, and Simmons even sat out games at the start of the 2021-22 season before he was finally sent to the Brooklyn Nets.
The full schedule for the 2023-24 NBA regular season was released on Thursday afternoon. Or, almost the full schedule. Due to the in-season tournament, only 80 of 82 games have been set for each team. The remaining two games will be determined by how they fare in the new event and will be announced in December. Everything else, though, is locked in. We have the schedule for opening night, Christmas Day and the in-season tournament, as well as key dates throughout the season.
Regular-season action will begin on Oct. 24 and conclude on April 14, with the All-Star break set for Feb. 16-18. As for the in-season tournament, it will run from Nov. 3-Dec. 9.
More early notes on the schedule:
Opening night is set for Oct. 24 and will feature the defending champion Denver Nuggets against the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Phoenix Suns versus the Golden State Warriors. No Eastern Conference teams will be in action. No. 1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama will make his NBA debut on Oct. 25 when the San Antonio Spurs host the Dallas Mavericks. LeBron James and Kevin Durant will play against each other for the first time since 2018 on Oct. 26 when Phoenix visits Los Angeles (That 2018 game was a Christmas Day matchup between the Lakers and Warriors. James injured his groin in the third quarter.) On the same night, Joel Embiid and the Sixers will visit Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks. Miami will visit Boston in a rematch of the last two Eastern Conference finals on Oct. 27. The first matchup between the Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers will take place on Nov. 1. The Heat will visit the Nuggets in a rematch of the 2023 NBA Finals on Feb. 29. Opening night The champs will get their rings before a rematch of the 2023 Western Conference finals, in which Denver swept the Lakers and left James and Anthony Davis agreeing that the Nuggets were probably the best team they had played against in their four years together. As well as being Chris Paul’s first meeting with Phoenix since it traded him to Golden State, the Suns-Warriors game will be Durant’s first at Chase Center with fans in attendance. The arena opened after Durant left Golden State, and he has been injured for all of his visits since, except for a game on Feb. 13, 2021, in which no tickets were sold because of pandemic restrictions. Christmas Day This will be the first time since 2008 that the Lakers and Celtics face off on Christmas. This will also be the Warriors’ 11th consecutive year playing on Christmas and James’ 17th consecutive year playing on Christmas. Last year, James became the first player in NBA history to appear in 17 total Christmas games. Here’s the full Christmas Day slate:
Milwaukee at New York, 12 p.m. ET Golden State at Denver, 2:30 p.m. ET Boston at Los Angeles, 5 p.m. ET Philadelphia at Miami, 8 p.m. ET Dallas at Phoenix, 10:30 p.m. ET In-season tournament The first in-season tournament will begin on Nov. 3 with the first of seven tournament nights. The group stage will continue on Nov. 10, Nov. 14, Nov. 17, Nov. 21, Nov. 24, and Nov. 28 (i.e. every Tuesday and Friday that month, with the exception of Nov. 7, which is Election Day.) The schedule includes Mavs-Nuggets, Lakers-Suns, Heat-Knicks, Bucks-Heat, Warriors-Kings and more. Six group winners and two wild cards will advance to the knockout stage — the quarterfinals will be played on Dec. 4 and Dec. 5, with the higher seed having home-court advantage, and the four winners will advance to Las Vegas, where the semifinals will be played on Dec. 7 and the championship game will be played on Dec. 9.