By Peter Brennan
The Sixers 2019-20 schedule was released yesterday, and here’s an inside look:
Opening Night at home against Boston.
Hosting Milwaukee Christmas Day.
Twenty-four nationally televised contests.
Rivalry rekindled Opening Night…
Al Horford won’t wait long to face his former team, as the Sixers open their 2019-20 season against the Boston Celticson Oct. 23 in South Philadelphia (7:30 PM ET / ESPN). The Celtics, which now have three-time All-Star Kemba Walker, will also visit the Sixers Jan. 9. The Sixers will visit Boston Dec. 12 and Feb. 1.
May your holidays be filled with Sixers basketball…
For the first time in over 30 years, the Sixers will play at home on Christmas Day.
The last time Christmas festivities were held in South Philadelphia?
Dec. 25, 1988, when Sir Charles Barkley led the Sixers to a 125-110 win over the Washington Bullets.
This year, the opponent is the Milwaukee Bucks and defending MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, with the good cheer beginning at 2:30 PM ET on ABC.
Later in the week, the Sixers will close out 2019 on the road, facing the Indiana Pacers at 3:00 PM ET on New Year’s Eve.
The best in the West…
While the offseason and free agency have ushered in new looks for many of the leagues’ best, the City of Angels might enter 2019-20 with the most buzz, as six-time All-Star Anthony Davis joins LeBron James and the Lakers, while the Clippers added 2019 Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and six-time All-Star Paul George.
The Sixers will meet the King and Co. for the first time on Jan. 25 at The Center (8:30 PM ET / ABC), and the new-look Clippers will visit South Philadelphia on Feb. 11 (7:00 PM ET / TNT).
The squad will welcome Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors to town on Jan. 28 (7:30 PM ET / TNT), and the Houston Rockets (with their pair of MVPs in tow) will visit South Philadelphia on March 31 (7:30 PM ET / TNT).
The team will play 24 nationally televised games, shared between ESPN, TNT, and ABC. The team’s six contests on ABC markes a league-high for the network (tied with the L.A. Lakers).
The road trips shorter, and the back-to-backs fewer.
While the last few seasons have featured road trips of five or even six games apiece, the Sixers will this year have no trip longer than four games. The squad’s four-game jaunts take place Nov. 2-8, Dec. 27-Jan. 3, Jan. 30-Feb. 6, and March 1-7.
The team’s longest homestands are also four games apiece, with a pair of four-game stretches between February 7-20 and March 11-18.
The league focused on reducing back-to-backs for the 2019-20 season, with no team playing more than 14 pairs of two games in two days.
The Sixers have 13 sets of back-to-backs scheduled, with the first pair on Nov. 12 and 13 hosting Cleveland and Orlando, respectively.
Other noteworthy matchups:
- The team will play its first road game on Oct. 26 vs. Detroit (7:00 PM ET).
- The squad visits Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum and the Portland Trail Blazers, which reached the Western Conference Finals last season, on Nov. 2 (10:00 PM ET), while the Blazers make their lone trip to South Philadelphia on March 29 (7:30 PM ET).
- The Sixers will visit Mike Conley, two-time defending Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, and the Utah Jazzon Nov. 6 (9:00 PM ET), and Utah passes through Philadelphia on Dec. 2 (7:00 p.m. ET).
- The team will visit the defending NBA Champion Toronto Raptors for the first time on Nov. 25 (7:30 PM ET).
- 2019 first overall draft pick Zion Williamson, former Sixer JJ Redick, and the New Orleans Pelicans will visit the Center for the first and only time on Dec. 13 (7:00 PM ET).
- On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Sixers will play a matinee against Kyrie Irving and the new-look Brooklyn Nets (Monday, Jan. 20 at 3:00 p.m. ET).
- The Sixers will start and end their regular season at home, as April 15 welcomes the Charlotte Hornets to town for the final game of the regular season.