Not only is the Blazers' first game of the season its biggest, it might be the most hyped Oregon sports event of the year, as LeBron James makes his for-realsies debut as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers in front of the Moda Center faithful. Naturally, tickets are…pricey. But don't worry—there's, like, 40 more of these things to come, many of them equally worth attending, and at much more affordable prices. Best of all? You won't have to be surrounded by Laker fans. (We're the worst.)
For getting the best ball for your buck this upcoming season, these are your five best options.
New Orleans Pelicans, Nov. 1 (current prices: $18-$59)
A rematch of the accursed 3-6 playoff series. Dame probably still has nightmares about Jrue Holiday, and Anthony Davis is like if someone taught the Cloverfield monster how to play basketball. But Rajon "Goddamnit" Rondo is gone, so maybe the Blazers stand a chance now.
Minnesota Timberwolves, Nov. 4 (current prices: $18-$59)
Given the Timberwolves' so far stubborn refusal to honor Jimmy Butler's trade demand, Coach Thibs might force him onto the court via cattle prod, where he'll proceed to wing passes off Andrew Wiggins' face and try to dunk on his own teammates. Can't spell dysfunction without fun!
Milwaukee Bucks, Nov. 6 (current prices: $18-$59)
All the Monstars are coming through in November. In the post-LeBronalyptic East, Giannis Antetokounmpo might be the best player in the conference, and it's still unclear whether he knows what he's doing or he's just figured out that when you can get from half court to the rim in two strides, there's no reason to learn how to shoot.
Dallas Mavericks, Dec. 23 (current prices: $23-$78)
Mavs rookie Luka Doncic is the Great New Euro Hype, while Dirk Nowitzki is the old Bavarian legend on an as yet unofficial retirement tour. Plus, maybe we'll get a weird Seth Curry "revenge game."
Brooklyn Nets, March 25 (current prices: $18-$59)
Say hi to your old pals Allen, Shabazz and Big Ed, who it's fun to imagine are living together in a 1,000-square-foot apartment in Williamsburg, grumbling about how Portland got e-scooters right after they left town.