NBA on TNT

Following the release of the 2021-22 NBA Opening Week and Christmas Day game matchups earlier this week, Turner Sports has now put out their full NBA schedule as part of the overall national schedule release. There are a few notable elements there. One is that their fall NBA on TNT doubleheaders will be on Tuesday, rather than Thursday, with Thursday doubleheaders returning beginning in January. Beyond that, they also announced their lineup for a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day doubleheader (Monday, January 17), featuring the Chicago Bulls against the Memphis Grizzlies and the Milwaukee Bucks against the Atlanta Hawks. Here’s more from a release:

Turner Sports, entering its 38th consecutive year of NBA coverage, will feature a 65-game schedule during the 2021-22 NBA regular season, including:

  • A marquee Opening Night doubleheader
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day doubleheader
  • Regular doubleheader game coverage on Tuesdays and Thursdays (starting in January)
  • A prime time doubleheader to close out the regular season schedule, Sunday, April 10

The network will highlight the league’s biggest stars and most star-studded teams throughout the season, led by:

  • 13 appearances by the Los Angeles Lakers
  • 12 by the Golden State Warriors
  • 11 by the Brooklyn Nets
  • 10 by the defending NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks

Overall, TNT will televise doubleheaders on 18 Tuesdays, 12 Thursdays, MLK Day (Monday) and the regular season’s final day

NBA on TNT’s marquee Martin Luther King, Jr. Day doubleheader on Monday, Jan. 17, will be highlighted by:

  • A rematch of the 2021 Eastern Conference Finals – Bucks at Atlanta Hawks – at 6 p.m.
  • MLK Day game coverage will tip off with the Chicago Bulls and offseason additions DeMar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball visiting the Memphis Grizzlies and Ja Morant at 3:30 p.m.

The move to Thursday in the fall makes some sense, as Thursday Night Football has provided some harsh competition for the NBA on TNT in the past (and has led to them scheduling less-prominent teams for Thursday fall doubleheaders). The most-featured teams here are also notable; the Lakers, Warriors and Nets all make sense, and it’s interesting to see the Bucks promoted to close to that spot after winning a title. One other featured matchup comes Tuesday, Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m. ET, with the Warriors visiting the New York Knicks as part of the league’s “NBA 75 Classic Matchups”; those two teams have played in every NBA season, so they’ve been chosen as part of this NBA 75th anniversary effort. There will be other NBA 75 celebrations on Turner’s channels throughout the season.

Turner’s release also includes details on their NBA TV programming. They’ll have 107 live games there this year, including five games in three nights to start, an early MLK Jr. Day game, and a NBA 75 Knicks-Raptors game. Here’s more on that:

  • The lineup of games will start with a doubleheader on Saturday, Oct. 23. The new-look Miami Heat and Kyle Lowry will visit the Indiana Pacers and Domantas Sabonis at 7 p.m. ET, followed by a meeting of two of the Western Conference’s top backcourts with the Portland Trail Blazers hosting the Phoenix Suns at 10 p.m. One night later, the Boston Celtics and Jayson Tatum will visit the Houston Rockets and No. 2 overall NBA Draft pick Jalen Green on Sunday, Oct. 24, at 7 p.m.
  • The Nets and Kevin Durant will host the Washington Wizards and Bradley Beal on Monday, Oct. 25, at 7:30 p.m. in the first Center Court presentation of the season. NBA TV’s Center Court franchise is the network’s marquee night of programming, which incorporates enhanced viewing options (such as unique camera angles, next-gen analytics and social media integrations) into the originally produced telecast. The second game of NBA TV’s doubleheader will feature the LA Clippers and Paul George hosting the Trail Blazers and Damian Lillard at 10:30 p.m.
  • As part of the league’s “NBA 75 Classic Matchups” highlighting the teams, players, coaches and moments that have defined the league, the New York Knicks will host the Toronto Raptors on Monday, Nov. 1, at 7:30 p.m. The event will mark the 75th anniversary of the league’s first game, which was played between the Knicks and Toronto Huskies on Nov. 1, 1946. The NBA and NBA Digital will be celebrating “NBA 75” throughout the season, with additional details to be announced at a later date.
  • Later in the season, NBA TV will feature a special Martin Luther King, Jr. Day matchup on Monday, Jan. 17, when the Lakers and LeBron James host the Utah Jazz and Donovan Mitchell at 10:30 p.m.

[Turner Sports; photo of a 2020 NBA on TNT broadcast from Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously worked at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.