It is hard to believe, but we are almost at the end of the year already. The excitement of having a proper NBA season back has made the last part fly-in, but there is still a long way to go in that season.
Around a month into the action, some teams like Miami Heat and Golden State Warriors already look like championship contenders. Teams have started strongly and faded before, though, so it is too early to tell.
Here we are going to look at some of the crucial dates yet to come in this season. These are the moments that will determine the destination of the title.
The best is yet to come
Although the season started last month, fans know that significant games are still to come. As we move into the Christmas period, the action will heat up and won’t let up until June.
The Brooklyn Nets are the current bookmakers’ favorites for the 2022 championship, but they won’t have it all their way. They are third in their division and seventh in their conference right now, while the 76ers and the Heat make the running. NBA fans worldwide will be placing early bets at online sportsbooks, predicting the winner for this season.
It is not possible to say who will go the distance at this point. There are specific vital points between now and then that will decide it, though, and that fans won’t want to miss.
November 16th – Brooklyn Nets vs. Golden State Warriors
This is a key date on the 2021/22 NBA calendar because it matches up two sides expected to contend for the title. Brooklyn have players like James Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving that can make the difference, but the Warriors are off to a flyer. This fixture should give us an idea of whether either or both of these sides can seriously compete for glory.
December 8th – Miami Heat vs. Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks are the reigning champs, having overcome the Phoenix Suns last year. They have started a little slowly this time out, though, and need to prove they were no fluke title winners in a weird season.
By comparison, the Heat have started like they want to burn their way into the playoffs, with a .700 win percentage. Apart from PJ Tucker, the Bucks are more or less the same side that won the 2021 title, and this game will show us whether they can defend it and whether Miami can really contend.
February 10th – NBA Trade Deadline
This is the last point at which trades between clubs can be made and a final chance for title contenders to strengthen. After the trade deadline, fans putting money on the championship have a clearer idea of who is worth a shot.
February 20th – NBA All-Star Game
This might be an exhibition match, but it is still the highlight of the season for most fans. An opportunity to see the top 24 players compete against each other is a buzz and a break from the tension of the season.
There is another note of interest this year, with LeBron James having the chance to match Kobe Bryant’s 18 All-Star appearances. It depends on his NBA performances and voting, but it would be one of the stories of the season.
April 10th – Regular season ends
This is when dreams die for some fans if their teams fail to qualify for the playoffs. The top six in each conference are in automatically, but the recent rule changes give more sides a chance at the championship.
April 12th to 15th – Play-In Tournament
For any team lying between seventh and tenth in their conferences, this is the most important NBA 2022 date. It is their chance to grab a precious playoff place and compete for the NBA championship.
The format sees the sides that finished seventh and eight playing each other and the winner going into the playoffs. The ninth and tenth sides then play, with the losing side knocked out and the winning one playing the eighth-placed side for the final playoff spot.
April 16th – Playoffs start
This is the critical point of the season, with a knockout format to determine which two sides compete in the Finals. It is thrilling even if your side doesn’t make it.
June 2nd NBA Finals
This is when we find out which team will be crowned NBA champion. It is something no basketball fan can miss.
Increasingly those basketball fans do not just live in the US, either. The NBA is now a sport that has billions of fans around the globe watching every move.
It is ranked third in overall sports popularity, with just soccer and cricket ahead of it. The NBA has really worked to grow its audience, helped by the fact basketball is inherently fast and exciting to watch.
All the big excitement of the 2021/22 season is still in front of us. The regular season still has plenty of match-ups between in-form sides to come.
Then there is the real meat of the playoffs in the spring. These matches are nail-biting stuff, even if your side is out of the title running.