MILWAUKEE — Giannis Antetokounmpo vs. James Harden — it doesn't get much better than a matchup of the NBA's past two MVPs.
Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks will open defense of their Central Division title against Harden, newly acquired Russell Westbrook and the Rockets on Thursday, Oct. 24, in Houston, the NBA announced Monday.
TNT will air the season opener, the first of 24 scheduled appearances on ABC, ESPN or TNT this season for the Bucks, who played 18 nationally-televised contests a year ago. That schedule also includes the Bucks' second consecutive Christmas Day game, a 1:30 p.m. matchup with the 76ers in Philadelphia that will be carried by ABC (Ch. 27).
The Bucks will play their home opener on Oct. 26 against the Miami Heat, with another home date two days later against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
ABC will air three additional Bucks games this season: a home game against Philadelphia on Feb. 22; Golden State's visit on March 14; and a meeting at Boston on April 5.
The Los Angeles Clippers, featuring Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, will visit Milwaukee on Friday, Dec. 6, and the Los Angeles Lakers, who added Anthony Davis to the LeBron James-led roster, will come to town on Thursday, Dec. 19.
The Bucks will play one game overseas this season when they face Charlotte in the league's first-ever regular-season game in Paris, France, on Friday, Jan. 24.