Five must-watch games during NBA opening week

The best basketball players on the planet are back in action starting Tuesday night in Boston, kicking off a week featuring plenty of compelling matchups. Here are the must-see games. All times Eastern.

Cover photo by Kelvin Kuo/Associated Press

76ers at Celtics

Tuesday, 8 p.m., TNT

Bill Streicher/USA Today Sports; Gerry Broome/Associated Press

The future of the Eastern Conference kicks off the season with a rematch of last year’s conference semifinal series. Philly will be looking to get a quick start to follow up on last season’s success. Boston will be hoping to get through the game without any of its players’ legs snapping in half.

Thunder at Warriors

Tuesday, 10:30 p.m., TNT

Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press; John Locher/Associated Press

Golden State gets its championship rings and raises a banner for the third time in four years while Oklahoma City, which may be without Russell Westbrook, begins its attempt at a return to contender status after each of the past two seasons ended in a first-round playoff exit.

Timberwolves at Spurs

Wednesday, 8:30 p.m., NBA League Pass

Andy Clayton-King/Associated Press; Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Will Jimmy Butler really still be a member of the T-Wolves? If so, will Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins cower in his presence? Without Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker — and facing a slew of injury problems — will Gregg Popovich’s Spurs still look like the Spurs?

Heat at Wizards

Thursday, 8 p.m., NBC Sports Washington

Lynne Sladky/Associated Press; Nick Wass/Associated Press

Washington embarks on its attempt at a bounce-back season with a visit from Miami, coming in on the second night of a back-to-back. One extra bit of intrigue in this division matchup involves Minnesota’s Butler, who was nearly traded to the Heat last week and may still be on its radar.

Rockets at Lakers

Saturday, 10:30 p.m., ESPN

Butch Dill/Associated Press; Kelvin Kuo/Associated Press

LeBron James’s Lakers debut comes a couple of nights earlier in Portland, but his first home game with his new team is far more compelling. For the Lakers to compete in the West, they’ll need to hang with contenders like Houston, which will look to make amends this season for falling just short of a trip to the Finals last June.