News: NBA schedule leaks, World Series, Smith and more

The first set of NBA schedule leaks includes the Grizzlies’ Christmas debut. Plus: The start of the World Cup has been brought forward by one day; former sport Center anchor Michael Schmidt has a new appearance; and more.

Early NBA schedule leaks include Grizzlies’ first Christmas game

According to longtime NBA writer Marc Stein, the Memphis Grizzlies are set to play a Christmas Day game for the first time in franchise history. Memphis would face Golden State on the holiday in a rehash of their second-round playoff series last season. Assuming the game would be televised on ABC — a safe bet given the opposition — it would be the first time in franchise history that the Grizzlies have played a national regular-season game on television. The team’s only other regular season game, which aired on ABC in March 2005 against Phoenix, was broadcast regionally in less than half of the markets.

Grizzlies Warriors is one of a handful of nationally televised games to have leaked in the last few days. Stein also reported that the Lakers will face the Mavericks at Christmas in Dallas for the second time in three years Lebron James and Luke Doncic face each other on the holiday.

Additionally, the athlete reported that the Warriors will open their title defense against the Lakers on opening night.

According to Stein, the NBA schedule is set to be released in the coming week. (Stein/Twitter 8.13The Athletic 8.13)

The start of the World Cup is postponed by one day

The start of this year’s FIFA World Cup has been pushed back one day to Sunday 20 November, allowing hosts Qatar to play in the first game of the tournament. Qatar will now receive Ecuador at 11:00 am ET this morning. Under the original iteration of the schedule, the match would have aired on FOX. With the move to an NFL Sunday, that no longer seems likely; The original version of the Worlds schedule featured only one Sunday game on FOX — the finals on December 18 at 10 a.m. ET. (Sky Sports 8.12)

Former SC host Smith joins Amazon NFL studio

Former ESPN sport Center anchor Michael Schmidt was appointed Amazon’s news analyst Thursday night soccer Studio coverage was announced this week. Smith has the NFL covered for that Boston globe and ESPN, who served as the Patriots beat reporter for the former and occasionally hosted “NFL Live” for the latter. As he and co-host Jemele hill Forced out of ESPN in 2018, he appeared mostly on the side on the Peacock sports show Brother From Another Michael Holle. (Amazon PR 8.9)

Also: Field of Dreams, McGrath, Gronkowski

Major League Baseball will not be returning to Dyersville, Iowa, for a third consecutive edition of the “Field of Dreams” game next year due to construction. … ESPN recently announced a contract extension with the college football reporter Molly McGrath. … ESPN announced on Saturday an alternate presentation of next week’s UFC 278 PPV feature Rob Gronkowski. Coverage airs at 9:00 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN+ before switching exclusively to ESPN+ over the following hour. (Des Moines Register 8.10, ESPN PR)

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