Nuggets schedule release: The 10 must-see home games of the 2022-23 season

Schedule Day! It’s finally here.

The NBA released its schedule on Wednesday, and the Nuggets, expected to be one of several Western Conference contenders, got no shortage of nationally televised games.

The NBA rewarded back-to-back reigning MVP Nikola Jokic with eight ESPN games, seven TNT games, one ABC game and 12 NBA TV games. That’s 28 nationally televised games in total. Oh, and Jamal Murray’s back. No more flirting with a comeback. After a year and a half, Murray’s devilish two-step with Jokic will once again confound opposing defenses.

One of the marquee matchups, as first reported by The Denver Post, will be a Christmas Day showdown against the Phoenix Suns in Denver. Forget about the result of the game for just one second. If the Nuggets can arrive at Dec. 25 healthy, consider it a win.

The 82-game schedule is packed with intriguing matchups. Here are the 10 most highly anticipated games on Denver’s schedule.

10. vs. Boston on Jan. 1

Last season, the Celtics came to Denver and smacked the Nuggets in a 20-point March win. In a nutshell, it underscored the gap between the Nuggets and the Celtics, who eventually went on to make the Finals. The effort was so lackluster Celtics fans who’d invaded Ball Arena all-but took it over with “MVP” chants for their two stars, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Now healthy, the Nuggets can redeem themselves from that awful showing. What’s more, given Calvin Booth’s shrewd offseason additions, the Nuggets are better equipped to handle Boston’s aforementioned wings with defensive stoppers Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Bruce Brown.

9. vs. Memphis on Dec. 20

The Grizzlies gave the Nuggets trouble last season, engineering a 3-1 record against Denver. In the three games he played in, Ja Morant cooked the Nuggets’ backcourt for more than 27 points per contest. Morant is appointment viewing. His astounding athleticism is a test for any defense. Couple that with the pieces Memphis has around him, and Denver will face a stiff challenge. Both teams are on the same trajectory in the West. It’s a safe bet a playoff showdown isn’t too far down the road.

8. vs. New Orleans on Jan. 31

Anyone need a reminder of the masterpiece Sir Nikola authored (yes, a Sir after that game) against the Pelicans on March 6? Jokic scored 30 of his 46 points throughout the fourth quarter and overtime, dictating and controlling everything about the result of that contest. He averaged 34.8 points in four outings against the Pelicans, shooting a princely 68.9% from the field. Now toss in a healthy Zion Williamson? That’s tastier than a beignet from New Orleans’ City Park.

7. vs. Clippers on Jan. 5

Ever since Denver burst the Clippers’ Bubble in Orlando, there’s been a little extra juice between these two. Denver went 3-1 against Los Angeles last season, albeit without Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in the lineup all four games. The first three were decided by a total of seven points. Consider last season the preamble. Now that both teams are healthy, could we be watching a preview of the Western Conference Finals? (Honorary mention: Oct. 26 against the Lakers will be spicy, if for no other reason than LeBron’s visits to Denver are, we assume, dwindling. There’s also a non-zero chance Michael Malone is still stewing after dropping the regular season finale to the Lakers, when Malik Monk and Austin Reaves torched Denver for 72 points).

6. vs. Philadelphia on March 27

The funny thing is the media (*raises hand*) has made this a bigger matchup than it is in reality. Of course it’s fun to see the two best big men in basketball match wits on the court, but it’d be so much more intriguing if they, you know, had any ounce of disdain for one another. Jokic has routinely praised Joel Embiid, while the 76ers star center has been overtly complimentary of the two-time MVP. Plus, there’s always the possibility that Bones Hyland will upstage both of them, as he did in his emotional return to Philadelphia last season.

5. vs. Miami on Dec. 30

Did someone say disdain? As in cheap shots and shoulder shivers, hallway posturing and inflammatory Twitter accounts? Markieff Morris is back in Denver! Let the boos rain down like the deluge that’s drowned Denver the past few days. Here’s to wondering how Morris felt upon the Heat’s drafting of, wait for it, Nikola Jovic, a rookie big man from Serbia.

4. vs. Golden State on Feb. 2

It’s way too early to consider it a rivalry. The Nuggets were the obstacles that the Warriors blew through last season — in five games — to advance in the NBA playoffs. Of course, it could be different with a healthy Murray and Michael Porter Jr. The Nuggets might have the shooting to contend with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole, and their theoretically improved defense might offer way more resistance than it did last April. But until another team knocks them off, the Warriors’ dynasty still reigns.

3. vs. Dallas on Dec. 6

It’s a Balkan shame that Jokic and Luka Doncic haven’t battled in the postseason yet. Rather than any animosity, the two European wizards have such a joy and genuine affection for each other that it’s inevitable both guys get up for this matchup. Similar to the Grizzlies, the Mavs are on the same trajectory as Denver, each sharpening their elbows in the West. No one would’ve been disappointed had this been the Christmas nightcap.

2. vs. Phoenix on Dec. 25

Would a Nuggets win erase the 4-0 humbling handed down by the Suns two postseasons ago? Of course not. Would it portend a different outcome? Perhaps. Murray has a career record of 15-3 against the Suns, but this isn’t the same Phoenix team since the last time he was healthy. The Suns have both reached the NBA Finals and been stung, last season, by an up-and-coming Dallas team. Here’s to hoping both teams are at full strength.

1A. vs. Minnesota on Jan. 18

How much do fans care about the exodus of a team president? Does it matter that it was to a division rival? Does the fact that former Nuggets Austin Rivers and Bryn Forbes jumped ship to Minnesota move the needle? Nuggets fans definitely have a certain passion about propping up Jokic in comparison to Karl-Anthony Towns. They do the same thing with Rudy Gobert. Now toss in similar size markets and similar ambitions, and there’s a healthy cocktail of tension brewing ahead of Minnesota’s first game in Denver.

1B. vs. OKC on Oct. 22

The Jamal Murray game. If Jokic is Denver’s backbone, then Murray is its soul. The Nuggets open their season on the road at Utah, followed by a trip to Golden State. But on Oct. 22, after a grueling 18-month recovery from ACL surgery, Murray is scheduled to be back at home. No more flirting with a return, or testing out his left knee. Murray’s long road to recovery will finally reach a significant milestone: his first game back. Expect this night to be emotional. Not just for Murray, but for Michael Porter Jr., too. He’ll be back after missing the majority of last season as well. Huge bonus: Nikola Jokic will be awarded his second consecutive MVP. Ball Arena just might explode.


Nuggets’ full schedule

Day Date Opponent Time TV

Wednesday Oct. 19 At Utah 7 p.m.
Friday Oct. 21 At Golden State 7 p.m. ESPN
Saturday Oct. 22 Oklahoma City 7 p.m.
Monday Oct. 24 At Portland 7 p.m. NBATV
Wednesday Oct. 26 L.A. Lakers 8 p.m. ESPN
Friday Oct. 28 Utah 7 p.m.
Sunday Oct. 30 At L.A. Lakers 6:30 p.m. NBATV
Thursday Nov. 3 At Oklahoma City 7 p.m. NBATV
Saturday Nov. 5 San Antonio 7 p.m.
Monday Nov. 7 At San Antonio 8:30 p.m.
Wednesday Nov. 9 At Indiana 7 p.m.
Friday Nov. 11 At Boston 7 p.m. NBATV
Sunday Nov. 13 At Chicago 7 p.m.
Wednesday Nov. 16 New York 8 p.m.
Friday Nov. 18 At Dallas 7:30 p.m.
Sunday Nov. 20 At Dallas 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday Nov. 22 Detroit 7 p.m.
Wednesday Nov. 23 At Oklahoma City 7 p.m.
Friday Nov. 25 At L.A. Clippers 7:30 p.m. NBATV
Monday Nov. 28 Houston 7 p.m.
Wednesday Nov. 30 Houston 7 p.m.
Friday Dec. 2 At Atlanta 7:30 p.m.
Sunday Dec. 4 At New Orleans 2:30 p.m.
Tuesday Dec. 6 Dallas 8 p.m. TNT
Thursday Dec. 8 At Portland 7 p.m. NBATV
Saturday Dec. 10 Utah 7 p.m.
Wednesday Dec. 14 Washington 7 p.m.
Friday Dec. 16 At L.A. Lakers 7 p.m. ESPN
Sunday Dec. 18 Charlotte 6 p.m.
Tuesday Dec. 20 Memphis 8 p.m. TNT
Friday Dec. 23 Portland 7 p.m.
Sunday Dec. 25 Phoenix 8:30 p.m. ESPN
Tuesday Dec. 27 At Sacramento 7 p.m.
Wednesday Dec. 28 At Sacramento 7 p.m. NBATV
Friday Dec. 30 Miami 7 p.m.
Sunday Jan. 1 Boston 6 p.m.
Monday Jan. 2 At Minnesota 7 p.m.
Thursday Jan. 5 L.A. Clippers 8 p.m. TNT
Friday Jan. 6 Cleveland 7 p.m.
Monday Jan. 9 L.A. Lakers 7 p.m.
Wednesday Jan. 11 Phoenix 7 p.m.
Friday Jan. 13 At L.A. Clippers 7 p.m. ESPN
Sunday Jan. 15 Orlando 6 p.m.
Tuesday Jan. 17 Portland 7 p.m.
Wednesday Jan. 18 Minnesota 8 p.m. ESPN
Friday Jan. 20 Indiana 7 p.m.
Sunday Jan. 22 Oklahoma City 6 p.m.
Tuesday Jan. 24 At New Orleans 7 p.m.
Wednesday Jan. 25 At Milwaukee 7 p.m.
Saturday Jan. 28 At Philadelphia 3 p.m. ABC
Tuesday Jan. 31 New Orleans 8 p.m. TNT
Thursday Feb. 2 Golden State 7 p.m.
Saturday Feb. 4 Atlanta 7 p.m.
Sunday Feb. 5 At Minnesota 6 p.m.
Tuesday Feb. 7 Minnesota 8 p.m. TNT
Thursday Feb. 9 At Orlando 7 p.m.
Saturday Feb. 11 At Charlotte 7 p.m.
Monday Feb. 13 At Miami 7:30 p.m. NBATV
Wednesday Feb. 15 Dallas 7 p.m.
Thursday Feb. 23 At Cleveland 7 p.m.
Saturday Feb. 25 At Memphis 7 p.m.
Sunday Feb. 26 L.A. Clippers 8 p.m. ESPN
Tuesday Feb. 28 At Houston 7 p.m.
Friday March 3 Memphis 8 p.m. ESPN
Monday March 6 Toronto 7 p.m.
Wednesday March 8 Chicago 7 p.m.
Friday March 10 At San Antonio 7 p.m.
Sunday March 12 Brooklyn 1:30 p.m.
Tuesday March 14 At Toronto 7:30 p.m. NBATV
Thursday March 16 At Detroit 7 p.m.
Saturday March 18 At New York 1 p.m.
Sunday March 19 At Brooklyn 3:30 p.m.
Wednesday March 22 At Washington 7 p.m.
Saturday March 25 Milwaukee 7 p.m.
Monday March 27 Philadelphia 7:30 p.m. NBATV
Thursday March 30 New Orleans 8 p.m. TNT
Friday March 31 At Phoenix 7:30 p.m. NBATV
Sunday April 2 Golden State 6:30 p.m. NBATV
Tuesday April 4 At Houston 7 p.m.
Thursday April 6 At Phoenix 7 p.m. TNT
Saturday April 8 At Utah 1:30 p.m.
Sunday April 9 Sacramento 1:30 p.m.
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