NBA 2016-17 schedule revealed: Durant's OKC return and other must-see games


The NBA released its 2016-17 fixture on Thursday, and as expected, the schedule makers gave fans some juicy match-ups to anticipate.

The season opens on October 25 with three games, headlined by reigning champions the Cleveland Cavaliers hosting the New York Knicks.

LeBron James and Co. will raise their championship banner and receive rings before the game.

For the third consecutive year, players and coaches will get a week off for the All-Star Break.

And good news for teams: That much-dreaded NBA scenario for players, four games in five nights, has been virtually eliminated from the schedule. Whereas teams could play as many as four such streaks in the 2014-15 season, no team will play more than one this season.

Also, the league has reduced the number of back-to-back games teams will face this season.

The NBA's regular season concludes on April 12 and the playoffs begin three days later.

Here are five marquee match-ups on the new schedule:

-- Oklahoma City Thunder at Philadelphia 76ers, October 26: Number one overall pick Ben Simmons squares off against OKC and Russell Westbrook.

-- Oklahoma City Thunder at Golden State Warriors, November 3: Kevin Durant goes up against his old team for the first time.

-- Chicago Bulls at Miami Heat, November 10: Dwyane Wade returns to Miami for the first time. This will be fun.

-- Golden State Warriors at Cleveland Cavaliers, Christmas Day: Players have mixed feelings about being away from family on this special day, but this is a feast for fans, in a rematch of the 2016 NBA Finals. It is one of five games on the slate.

-- Golden State Warriors at Oklahoma City Thunder, February 11: Durant returns home for the first time since fleeing OKC in free agency. His reception will be interesting.