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The Timberwolves will play on Christmas Day for the second straight year

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The first two games of the Wolves’ schedule were revealed today, and both are marquee matchups, but for very different reasons.

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Los Angeles Lakers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It’s about the time of year where the NBA should release the 2017-18 regular season schedule. Some expected it to come out this week, and Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today noted a probable release of early next week. However, the NBA released some season-opening highlights and the Christmas Day games, and the Minnesota Timberwolves are involved in both.

The Wolves will open their season on Wednesday, October 18 in San Antonio, the late game on the second night of the season (and first night for ESPN’s broadcast). The full slate of national TV games for the opening week is below.

This is obviously quite the challenge for the new-look Wolves to kick off the season. The Wolves haven’t defeated the Spurs since April 2014, losing eleven straight games over the last three seasons (although they did push a game to overtime in March). It would be a massive statement win to take an opening-day win against the class of the Western Conference on their home court, but that seems like a very difficult prospect.

The Wolves will also make their second straight appearance on Christmas Day after last season’s matchup against Oklahoma City. This year, they get the nightcap spot, a late start for those of us watching in the Central Time Zone, as they get the opportunity to play at Staples Center against the ever-lovable Los Angeles Lakers. The complete schedule, featuring a third straight Christmas Day Cavs-Warriors matchup, is below.

This game should be much less of a challenge and much more of an opportunity to beat the crap out of what should be a mediocre-to-bad Lakers team on national television, which would be so very satisfying. However, the pessimist Wolves fan in me knows that however well the Wolves start the season, this is exactly the kind of game the Wolves could lay an egg in and embarrassingly lose. But it’s a new season and a new team, so they’ll beat the Lakers by 40.

As noted above, we should see the rest of the season’s schedule come out early next week, and then we can continue counting down to a now solidified first regular season game: 69 more days.