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NBA releases first half of 2020-21 regular-season schedule

NBA releases first half of 2020-21 regular-season schedule
LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers will play the L.A. Clippers in one of the league's two opening-day games on Dec. 22. In the other game, the Brooklyn Nets will take on the Golden State Warriors. File Photo by Erik S. Lesser/EPA-EFE

Dec. 4 (UPI) -- The NBA unveiled the first half of its 2020-21 regular-season schedule Friday, as the league continues to adjust during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to the coronavirus, the NBA announced only half of its 72-game regular-season slate instead of revealing the full schedule. The league typically releases its full 82-game schedule on one date.

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The NBA previously said it will reveal the second half of the schedule shortly before the first half of the season concludes. The league is doing so to allow for more flexibility during the pandemic, which will likely cause multiple schedule disruptions as the NBA attempts to conduct a season outside of a bubble.

The NBA's pandemic-shortened season is scheduled to begin Dec. 22, when the Golden State Warriors visit the Brooklyn Nets in the first game of the opening-day doubleheader. In the other matchup, the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers will battle the L.A. Clippers.

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The first half of the schedule will run through March 4. At that time, the league will have a six-day All-Star break.

The NBA's first-half schedule contains plenty of marquee games, including Kevin Durant and the Nets traveling to Golden State for a Feb. 13 matchup. It will be Durant's first time playing at Golden State since leaving as a free agent.

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The opening slate also has two matchups between the Washington Wizards and Houston Rockets, who exchanged All-Star point guards Russell Westbrook and John Wall last week in a blockbuster trade. The Wizards will travel to Houston on Jan. 26, and the Rockets will make the return trip Feb. 15.

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LeBron James and the Lakers will host the Miami Heat on Feb. 20 in a rematch of last season's NBA Finals. The Lakers topped the Heat in six games to win the franchise's 17th championship.

The NBA has five games scheduled for Christmas Day, beginning with a matchup between the New Orleans Pelicans and Heat. The Warriors will play the Milwaukee Bucks at 2:30 p.m. EST, followed by the Nets taking on the Boston Celtics at 5 p.m.

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In the two night games, the Dallas Mavericks will battle the Lakers, while the Clippers will square off against the Denver Nuggets.

During the opening portion of the 2020-21 season, all 30 NBA teams will play either 37 or 38 games, including at least 17 home games. Out of 1,080 total games to be played this season, 558 have been scheduled to this point.

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