For every action there is a reaction. The NBA’s decision not to hold games on US Election Day (November 8) had the opposite effect a day earlier: a night where every team in the league would take its place.
Basketball Fest precedes a voluntary famine designed to encourage anyone of age and citizenship to cast their ballot. This emphasis was brought to light during the Bubble Games in Orlando ahead of the 2020 election, with pre-match jerseys and even the word “vote” on the back of jerseys.
If that’s the four-letter word for November 8th, “Hoop” might be appropriate for November 7th as that night is dominated by the maximum amount of NBA action. Here’s a look at some of the best storylines and notes going into the 30-team free-for-all.
1. The 15-minute stagger
On a normal heavy NBA board, a game block starts at or around 7:00 p.m., with additional games starting an hour or two later and being completed by one group at 10:00 p.m. or 10:30 p.m.
However, Monday will see a steady rain of basketball, with a new game tapped every 15 minutes. About six minutes into the game you just started watching, another one will start.
Here is the full schedule*:
* All times Easter
2. CrunchTime Coverage
Want to catch all the action but worried about missing out while flipping through your League Pass feeds? NBA CrunchTime gives you live insight into every game, especially in the closing minutes of hard-fought finals. Tune in to the live stream in the NBA app starting at 8:30am ET.
3. The depth of the league is fully displayed
Last year’s All-Star and All-NBA teams made for excruciating selections, and that didn’t include the injured absences of Kawhi Leonard, Zion Williamson, Jamal Murray and others.
On Monday night, 62 players with All-Star credentials will be listed on their career resumes, from 18-time honoree LeBron James to recent rookies like Ja Morant and Andrew Wiggins.
4. A historical audience
Fifteen home arenas will host games on Monday night. Attending any of these would make you a part of a potential league-wide in-person presence of over 285,000 fans. That’s more than four times the single-game record of 62,046 set at the George Dome when the Atlanta Hawks welcomed Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls on March 27, 1998.
5. Top rookies emerge early
No. 1 overall Orlando Magic’s Paolo Banchero started the season in historic fashion, becoming only the seventh rookie in league history to score 20 points or more in his first five career games. His debut performance was the first 25-point, 5 rebound, 5-assist performance by a freshman year player since LeBron James.
Even with those numbers, Banchero gets an early Kia Rookie of the Year contest from an unexpected source. Sixth overall pick Bennedict Mathurin has proven to be an NBA-qualified top scorer. The Pacers’ sixth rookie has amassed double-digit points in each of his games, including a trio of performances that topped 25 points.
Banchero (7:15 p.m.) and Mathurin (7:45 p.m.) each took the floor within the first hour of Monday’s busy schedule.
6. Will Booker make Philly shine again?
A single game by Zion Williamson and the career averages of Michael Jordan, Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain. These are the only examples of players who have averaged more points against the Philadelphia 76ers than Devin Booker, who has made searing the Sixers almost a routine.
The three-time Phoenix All-Star heads into Philadelphia on Monday, averaging 29.7 points in 14 career games and has not lost to the Sixers since Jan. 2, 2019.
7. Playoff flashback
Between interconference games and non-playoff opponents, Bucks-Hawks is the only matchup to feature recent playoff history. The two teams went head-to-head in 2021 to win the Eastern Conference championship, with Milwaukee emerging victorious in six games.
Since then, each team has seen some changes. The Hawks now have an all-star backcourt with the pairing of Dejounte Murray and Trae Young. The Bucks, meanwhile, have relied on new depth while awaiting Khris Middleton’s return from wrist surgery.
8. Portland’s Gameday Trail
The Blazers came up short for the furthest trip that All-Hoops Day. Portland will make a seven-hour, 2,700-mile flight to South Beach to battle the heat.
The game will attack two of the more enduring All-NBA talents of the past decade (Damian Lillard and Jimmy Butler) as well as two up-and-coming young guards (Anfernee Simons and Tyler Herro).
9. Familiar Faces
A handful of player-team reunions will also take place. Bulls All-Star DeMar DeRozan takes on the Toronto Raptors franchise, which he has made synonymous with the playoffs. Grizzlies forward Desmond Bane is up against the same Celtics team that traded him on draft night. Jordan Clarkson leads the surprising Jazz against one of his old teams, the Lakers. And Derrick Rose returns to Minnesota, where his injury-stricken career found the feel-good restart that’s kept him playing ever since.
10. LeBron’s hunt continues
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time goal record has stood for nearly four decades. Barring an injury, LeBron James will last this season. The Lakers star forward is inching closer with every game to a success few believed was possible given Abdul-Jabbar’s combination of star production, consistency and longevity.
11. Luca vs. Durant
Doncic was on a different world tour earlier in the season. The three-time All-Star averaged 30+ points in each of the first seven games of the season, a feat not matched since Wilt Chamberlain.
Durant, meanwhile, has barely seen his signature goal-scoring ability dulled by the Nets’ general struggles. The 12-time All-Star is averaging his highest points per game since his 2013-14 MVP and scoring title season.
12. Tatum vs. Morant
Silky smooth shooting meets electric drag in this clash of under 25-star power. Neither the reigning Eastern champions Celtics nor the rapidly rising Grizzlies got the desired starts. This is a high-profile chance for each of them to claim a clear win against a dynamic opponent.
13. A story of two Californian teams
The Warriors built a championship dynasty through the draft that’s still alive after last season’s title. The Kings have enjoyed many more high-draft picks but are stuck in the longest playoff drought among the four major sports leagues in the United States.
These resumes will compete against each other on Monday. Golden State will feature homegrown success stories Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Jordan Poole.
The Kings, meanwhile, are still looking for their first non-DeMarcus Cousins All-Star since 2004.
14. Size and launcher vs. wings and wingspan
The early returns of the offseason’s most impressive trade were mind-blowing. Donovan Mitchell looks like a contender alongside the talents of Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley Cleveland. The fit couldn’t have been more seamless for Mitchell, nor more stimulating for the Cavs, who were shy of a scorer against title hopefuls last season.
Cleveland’s top-heavy, double-big-man look will get quite the litmus test against the LA Clippers, a team that really only plays a true center (Ivica Zubac). The Clippers’ strong defenders will no doubt try to slow down the Cavs’ short backcourt. Cleveland will try to counter on the inside where LA is weakest.
15. All hands on deck
It’s not just the teams, arena staff and fans who will turn out en masse. 15 games mean 60 referees on site (three plus one substitute per game). That doesn’t include the replay center, which will need enough eyes for a continuous and simultaneous stream of basketball broadcasts.
Then there are the highlight crews, digital teams and all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into a whole league going all out in about six hours.