NBA unveils 2018-19 national TV schedule for opening week, Christmas Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day

NEW YORK – The NBA today announced its national television schedule for the opening week of the 2018-19 regular season as well as its lineup of five Christmas Day games on ESPN networks and three Martin Luther King Jr. Day games on TNT.

The league’s 73rd season will tip off on Tuesday, Oct. 16.  The complete game schedule and broadcast schedules for TNT, ESPN, ABC, NBA TV and ESPN Radio will be announced on Friday, Aug. 10.

2018-19 Opening Week

The first six days of the 2018-19 season (Oct. 16-21) will feature 15 different teams playing 11 national television games across TNT, ESPN and NBA TV as part of Kia NBA Tip-Off 2018.  TNT and ESPN will each present two doubleheaders during the season’s first four days.

The season will begin on Oct. 16 with TNT’s exclusive doubleheader featuring the Philadelphia 76ers visiting the Boston Celtics (8 p.m. ET) and the defending NBA Champion Golden State Warriors hosting the Oklahoma City Thunder (10:30 p.m. ET).  Before the second game, the Warriors will receive their championship rings and unveil their championship banner for the 2017-18 season.  This will be TNT’s 23rd consecutive season with a doubleheader on opening night, marking Turner Sports’ 35th straight year of NBA coverage.

ESPN will open its 17th consecutive year of NBA coverage with a doubleheader on Wednesday, Oct. 17, beginning with reigning Kia NBA Most Valuable Player James Harden and the Houston Rockets facing the New Orleans Pelicans in Houston (8 p.m. ET).  In the second game, the Phoenix Suns will host the Dallas Mavericks (10:30 p.m. ET) as the No. 1 overall pick in NBA Draft 2018 presented by State Farm, Phoenix’s Deandre Ayton, and the No. 3 pick, Dallas’ Luka Doncic, make their regular-season debuts.

On Thursday, Oct. 18, four-time Kia NBA MVP LeBron James will play his first regular-season game with the Los Angeles Lakers when they visit the Portland Trail Blazers in the second game of TNT’s doubleheader (10:30 p.m. ET).  The opener showcases the Chicago Bulls and the 76ers in Philadelphia (8 p.m. ET).

Kia NBA Tip-Off 2018 will continue on Friday, Oct. 19 as ESPN’s doubleheader starts with a matchup between last season’s top two Eastern Conference finishers, the Toronto Raptors and the visiting Celtics (8 p.m. ET), followed by the Warriors meeting the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City (10:30 p.m. ET).  ESPN will wrap up its Week 1 coverage on Saturday, Oct. 20 with the Lakers taking on the Rockets in James’ first home game with Los Angeles (10:30 p.m. ET).

The Oct. 20 schedule will also be highlighted by NBA TV’s first telecast of the season as the Washington Wizards host the Raptors (7 p.m. ET).  On Sunday, Oct. 21, NBA TV will complete the national TV schedule for opening week when the Rockets face the LA Clippers in Los Angeles (9 p.m. ET).

Kia NBA Tip-Off 2018 will include the earliest start to a regular season since the 1980-81 season began on Oct. 10.

Christmas Day

The NBA will feature five games on Christmas Day (Tuesday, Dec. 25) for the 11th straight year.  ESPN and ABC will combine to televise all five matchups.

The 71st edition of the NBA on Christmas Day will tip off on ESPN with the Milwaukee Bucks taking on the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden (12 p.m. ET).  ABC’s coverage will start with the Thunder visiting the Rockets (3 p.m. ET), followed by the Celtics hosting the 76ers (5:30 p.m. ET).  Next, the Lakers will visit the Warriors in a game televised by both ESPN and ABC (8 p.m. ET).  ESPN will close Christmas Day with a matchup between the Trail Blazers and the Jazz in Salt Lake City (10:30 p.m. ET).

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

TNT will present a tripleheader on Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019.  Coverage will tip off with the Memphis Grizzlies holding their 16th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Game as they host the Pelicans (5:30 p.m. ET).  The Rockets will then meet the 76ers in Philadelphia (8 p.m. ET).  To conclude the tripleheader, the Warriors will square off against the Lakers in Los Angeles (10:30 p.m. ET).

Below is the NBA’s national television schedule for the opening week of the 2018-19 season as well as ESPN networks’ lineup for Christmas Day and TNT’s tripleheader on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

2018-19 Opening Week

Date  Road Team   Home Team  Time (ET)  Network
Tue., Oct. 16  Philadelphia 76ers   Boston Celtics   8:00 p.m.   TNT
Tue., Oct. 16  Oklahoma City Thunder   Golden State Warriors   10:30 p.m.   TNT
Wed., Oct. 17  New Orleans Pelicans   Houston Rockets   8:00 p.m.   ESPN
Wed., Oct. 17  Dallas Mavericks   Phoenix Suns   10:30 p.m.   ESPN
Thu., Oct. 18  Chicago Bulls   Philadelphia 76ers   8:00 p.m.   TNT
Thu., Oct. 18  Los Angeles Lakers   Portland Trail Blazers   10:30 p.m.   TNT
Fri., Oct. 19  Boston Celtics   Toronto Raptors   8:00 p.m.   ESPN
Fri., Oct. 19  Golden State Warriors   Utah Jazz   10:30 p.m.   ESPN
Sat., Oct. 20  Toronto Raptors   Washington Wizards   7:00 p.m.   NBA TV
Sat., Oct. 20  Houston Rockets   Los Angeles Lakers   10:30 p.m.   ESPN
Sun., Oct. 21  Houston Rockets   LA Clippers   9:00 p.m.   NBA TV


Christmas Day (Dec. 25, 2018)

 Road Team   Home Team  Time (ET)  Network
 Milwaukee Bucks   New York Knicks  12:00 p.m.   ESPN
 Oklahoma City Thunder   Houston Rockets  3:00 p.m.   ABC
 Philadelphia 76ers   Boston Celtics  5:30 p.m.   ABC
 Los Angeles Lakers   Golden State Warriors  8:00 p.m.   ESPN/ABC
 Portland Trail Blazers   Utah Jazz  10:30 p.m.   ESPN


Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 21, 2019)

 Road Team   Home Team  Time (ET)  Network
 New Orleans Pelicans   Memphis Grizzlies  5:30 p.m.   TNT
 Houston Rockets   Philadelphia 76ers  8:00 p.m.   TNT
 Golden State Warriors   Los Angeles Lakers  10:30 p.m.   TNT