The last time most people watched NBA Basketball, they were likely watching something like the scene above — wherein the San Antonio Spurs dismantled the Miami Heat en route to an NBA Championship. Off the court, in the offseason, NBA fans got to watch as LeBron James bailed on South Beach, Paul George broke himself, and the balance of power shifted a little more evenly around the Eastern Conference through free agency. But unless you watched the Summer League (we did, and we’re not ashamed), you haven’t seen organized NBA Hoops in nearly two months. This is, of course, awful.
Luckily, with the release of next season’s NBA schedule, and less than eleven weeks before basketball kicks again, we can begin to salivate over what the next batch of eighty-two games will hold. Will this be the year that San Antonio finally gives up the ghost? Can LeBron bring a championship to Cleveland? Will Chandler Parsons still look like the third most popular member of a boy band in a Dallas Mavericks uniform? The questions are already formed, and now all that we’re left with is the agonizing trudge of the last two months and change before tipoff.
The season is long, and it’s easy to go on autopilot, watching just the nationally televised games and tuning in halfheartedly until the playoffs start, but the price paid there is missing out on some truly tremendous hoops. Sure, there’s SportsCenter and YouTube, both repositories for the newest batch of highlights repeated ad nauseam, but nothing beats watching one of those plays happen live. Here’s five games you won’t want to scour the Internet for after the fact.