The Boston Celtics, led by Jayson Tatum, face the Philadelphia 76ers, led by Joel Embiid, in an NBA regular season game on October 18, 2022 (10/18/22) at the TD Garden in Boston , Mass.
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Here is what you need to know:
What: NBA regular season
Who: Celtics vs. 76ers
When: Tuesday, October 18, 2022
Where: Garden TD
Weather: 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Channel Finder: Verizon Fios, DirecTV streaming, Comcast Xfinity, Spectrum/Card, Optimal/Altice, Helmsman, DIRECTV, Dish, Hulu, fuboTV, Sling.
Live broadcast: Sling TV, DirectTV Stream (free trial)
Here’s a preview of the NBA season, courtesy of the AP:
Nikola Jokic is about to begin his pursuit of something that hasn’t been done in nearly 40 years.
It’s rare for a player to win back-to-back NBA MVP awards, something that’s happened just 13 times in league history. And having done that last season, Jokic, the cornerstone of the Denver Nuggets, is now attempting something even more unusual: winning it three years in a row.
The only players to have accomplished that feat are Bill Russell (1961, 1962, 1963), Wilt Chamberlain (1966, 1967, 1968), and Larry Bird (1984, 1985, 1986).
The Nuggets don’t hide that fact from Jokic.
“No, I challenged him,” said Nuggets coach Michael Malone, who flew to Serbia last summer to surprise Jokic with his second straight award.
Jokic is obviously among the favourites. Until last season, there had never been a streak of four consecutive international MVPs in the NBA. Jokic changed that, winning each of the last two awards after Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece) won in 2019 and 2020.
And right now, it seems almost likely that the MVP streak for players not born in the US will reach five in a row, with Jokic, Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic of Dallas (Slovenia) and Joel Embiid of Philadelphia among the favorites. Embiid was born in Cameroon and has French and now American citizenship.
FanDuel Sportsbook says that Doncic is the favorite, just ahead of Embiid and Antetokounmpo. Jokic is fourth in terms of lowest odds, tied with Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant and just ahead of Memphis’ Ja Morant, Boston’s Jayson Tatum and Golden State’s Stephen Curry.
San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich has faced 163 different trainers so far in his legendary career. That list should reach at least 166 this season, with him scheduled to oppose Los Angeles Lakers coach Darvin Ham, Boston interim coach Joe Mazzulla and former Spurs assistant Will Hardy, now the coach at Utah, all for the first time.
There have been 322 coaches in NBA history, not including Popovich, who have managed at least 10 games. Popovich, the NBA’s all-time wins leader, has faced more than half of them: 50.3% or 162.
Popovich turns 74 on Jan. 28 and is the oldest active head coach in the NBA.
It’s no secret that Popovich likes to talk and, of course, enjoy a good wine. But six of the players on San Antonio’s season-opening roster probably won’t have much to say on that subject; Jordan Hall is 20 years old and the Spurs have five other players — Joshua Primo, Blake Wesley, Dominick Barlow, Malaki Branham and Jeremy Sochan — who are still 19 at the start of this season.
The Spurs’ 19-year-old group, by the way, are five of the 17 youngest players in the NBA to make rosters or get bilateral deals to start the season.
Miami’s Erik Spoelstra, whose tenure with the Heat is the second longest of any current coach in his current job, behind only San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich, should move into the top 20 on the NBA’s all-time wins list. this season.
Spoelstra begins the season with 660 wins, behind No. 22 Mike Fratello (667), No. 21 Mike D’Antoni (672) and No. 20 Red Holzman (696). No. 19 John MacLeod (707) is also within Spoelstra’s legitimate range this season.
Philadelphia’s Doc Rivers enters the year No. 9 on the list with 1,043 wins, 55 behind No. 8 Larry Brown. Indiana’s Rick Carlisle has 861 wins, three behind No. 14 Jack Ramsay.
SUITABLE TO BE TIED
For the second time in the past 23 seasons, the Western Conference failed to win an all-season series against Eastern Conference teams.
In the regular season, the East went 226-224 against the West, bolstered by a 3-0 record on the final day with Chicago beating Minnesota, Boston beating Memphis and Atlanta beating Houston.
Add in Golden State’s 4-2 record against Boston in the NBA Finals, and the final win tally for the entire season was West 228, East 228.
The only other time since 1998-99 that the East won the regular-season series against the West was in 2008-09, 231-219. In the other 21 regular seasons during that span, prior to last year, the West had gone 5,149-3,910 against the East, a .568 winning percentage.
The youngest player in the league to enter this season is Detroit’s Jalen Duren, who was born on November 18, 2003.
Yes, that means that it was not yet born when some current players were already in the league. LeBron James and Udonis Haslem played their 11th career games on the day Duren was born.
That’s not the only age quirk this season.
Haslem, 42, is older than five current head coaches: New Orleans’ Willie Green, Memphis’ Taylor Jenkins, Oklahoma City’s Mark Daigneault, Utah’s Will Hardy and Boston interim coach Joe Mazzulla. Andre Iguodala of Golden State is older than the last four names on that list; James is older than the last three.
Currently, there are 19 players on the rosters who are older than Hardy (including Jazz players Rudy Gay and Mike Conley) and 23 players older than Mazzulla (including Boston forward Al Horford).
THE ODDS ARE
Oklahoma City has been a favorite in five games the past two seasons. That’s the fewest games in a two-year span by any team in the last decade; Philadelphia was favored in a combined six games during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons.
That said, the Thunder were a big bet last season. They covered 63% of their games, just behind Memphis (64%) with the best such rate in the NBA. The worst was Portland, which covered 38% of the time.
One thing is certain: The team that was favored in more games than any other last season will not have the same distinction this year.
Last year, the Utah Jazz were favorites in 73 of 82 regular-season games, ahead of Phoenix (70), Milwaukee (66), Golden State (62), Boston (61) and Miami (59). With Donovan Mitchell now in Cleveland and Rudy Gobert now in Minnesota, the Jazz won’t be favored anywhere near that frequency this season.
LeBron James isn’t just on his way to becoming the NBA’s all-time leading scorer this season; he is 1,325 points behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and at his career average scoring rate he would need about 49 games to move up to the No. 1 spot.
It’s also set to continue climbing a ton of other charts, including:
— Assists: James is seventh right now with 10,045, behind No. 6 Magic Johnson (10,141), No. 5 Mark Jackson (10,334) and No. 4 Steve Nash (10,335). That would put him behind only John Stockton (15,806), Jason Kidd (12,091) and Chris Paul (10,977 entering this season).
— Games: James has been to 1,366, currently the 14th highest of all time. He needs to appear in 27 games to pass Tim Duncan (1,392) for 10th on the NBA career list, and could potentially catch Kevin Willis (1,424) for eighth.
— 3-pointers: James ranks 11th in NBA history with 2,140, three behind Portland’s Damian Lillard and the retired Paul Pierce, who enter this year tied for ninth.
— Seasons: James is entering his 20th year. He will be the ninth player to appear in 20 seasons.
SPEAKING OF 20
Miami’s Udonis Haslem will be the 10th player to appear in 20 seasons, assuming LeBron James enters a game before Haslem.
Haslem is one of only three players to spend 20 years with a team, joining Dirk Nowitzki (21) of Dallas and Kobe Bryant (20) of the Lakers.
If Carmelo Anthony, who is not signed, plays in a game this season, that will mark year 20 for the former Syracuse great as well.
All players will wear Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Russell’s number 6 on the right shoulder of their jerseys this season, commemorating the life of the 11-time NBA champion Boston Celtics and civil rights activist who he died this summer.
Additionally, all NBA courts will have a “6” on the sideline near the scorer’s table. And no player who is not wearing the number 6 will be able to wear it ever again; Russell is the first to have his number retired in the entire league.
Among those still wearing the No. 6 jersey because they wore it before: LeBron James, Washington’s Kristaps Porzingis and Chicago’s Alex Caruso, who wanted to change numbers as a tribute to Russell this season but said his request was denied.
The NBA is 26,324 points away from reaching 14 million all-time.
Last season a record 291,912 points were scored, including the playoffs. There have been years in which more points were scored on average per game, 16 of them, actually. NBA games saw an average of 220.6 points last season, down 16 points per game from the 236.6 record set in 1961-62.
At last year’s rate, the 14 millionth point would be scored roughly 120 games after this season. or sometime in early November.
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Ryan Novozinsky can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.