The dust has barely settled from the sweltering Las Vegas heat and NBA Summer League. Yet the NBA stays in the news with the release of its 2012-2013 schedule.
Key matchups, opening night, and of course the Christmas Day games highlight what looks to be another exciting season. Via the NBA communications department is here is how the schedule breaks down:
The league’s 67th season begins Tuesday, Oct. 30, as part of Kia NBA Tip-Off ’12, with a TNT doubleheader, marking the 17th straight season the network has tipped off with two games on opening night. In the first game (8 p.m. ET), the Heat opens up defense of its NBA title by hosting a Boston Celtics team that took Miami to seven games in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals. Before the game, TNT will televise the championship ring ceremony. The second game features two Western Conference teams with their own championship aspirations as the Dallas Mavericks visit the Los Angeles Lakers (10:30 p.m. ET).
Analysis: The NBA shows no love to Boston by forcing them to stomach the ring presentation of their 2nd biggest rivals while their former mate, Ray Allen, has switched allegiances. Steve Nash will make his Lakers debut against the Mavericks which should provide us our first insight into the chemistry L.A. has built.
Wednesday, Oct. 31 the New Orleans Hornets welcome the Oklahoma City Thunder (8:30 p.m. ET), followed by the Lakers visiting the Portland Trail Blazers (10:30 p.m. ET).
Analysis: The 2012 NBA Draft number one selection, Anthony Davis, will make his debut against the defending Western Conference champions. Davis will have a very stiff test going up against the OKC front line. My pick for Rookie of the Year, Damian Lillard, will take on the Hall of Fame bound Steve Nash in a classic battle of young vs. old.
Thursday, Nov. 1, will feature the debut of the Brooklyn Nets as they host the New York Knicks (7 p.m. ET) at Barclays Center, followed by a rematch of the 2012 Western Conference Finals as the defending conference champion Oklahoma City Thunder visits the San Antonio Spurs (9:30 p.m. ET).
Analysis: The Knicks are the first guests of the Nets as the NBA attempts to create an instant rivalry between the two New York teams. The OKC vs. San Antonio game provides little drama to me as the Lakers have leapfrogged the Spurs in my opinion out West.
Friday, Nov. 2, the Heat visit their conference rival in the Knicks (8 p.m. ET), followed by an intra-city matchup in Los Angeles as the Lakers play host to the Los Angeles Clippers (10:30 p.m. ET).
Analysis: The Knicks have a bit of disrespect to start the season having to open in Brooklyn and then playing Miami the very next night. The battle of L.A. part one takes place as the revamped City of Angels teams lock halos. Should be great TV.
Highly anticipated television matchups throughout the regular season include:
- Both games between 2012 Finals opponents will be televised nationally. The Thunder and Heat will help tip off ABC’s coverage of NBA games in Miami on Christmas Day (5:30 p.m. ET); the Heat travels to Oklahoma City on Feb. 14 (TNT, 8 p.m. ET). (No brainer here)
- The Lakers lone visit to Madison Square Garden will be part of a TNT twin bill on Dec. 13 (8 p.m. ET), with the second game featuring the Trail Blazers hosting the Spurs (10:30 p.m. ET).
- The Houston Rockets will visit the Knicks on Dec. 17 (7:30 p.m. ET) in a game carried by NBA TV. (Linsanity returns to New York)
Christmas Day games begin when ESPN tips off the day with Nets hosting the Celtics (12 p.m. ET), and concludes with a Christmas night doubleheader featuring the Houston Rockets visiting the Chicago Bulls (8 p.m. ET) followed by the Clippers hosting the Denver Nuggets (10:30 p.m. ET). ABC’s afternoon double dip includes the Lakers hosting the Knicks (3 p.m. ET) followed by the Thunder-Heat game.
Analysis: Boston gets the short end of the stick having to be on the road on Christmas for the 3rd straight year. Houston’s rookies alongside Jeremy Lin get prime time exposure against the Derrick Roseless Bulls. Clippers and Nuggets might be the least watched game of the day. L.A. and N.Y. will be a great game between two proud franchises while Miami and OKC is a Finals rematch that will be the most watched game of the day.
- The NBA again will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a full schedule of games on Jan. 21, including four nationally televised contests. On ESPN, the Indiana Pacers visit the home of the Civil Rights Museum, Memphis, to tip off against the Grizzlies at 1 p.m. ET. The Knicks host the Nets on NBA TV (3:30 p.m. ET). TNT will feature an evening doubleheader beginning with the Spurs visiting the Philadelphia 76ers (7 p.m. ET), followed by the Lakers playing at the Bulls (9:30 p.m. ET).
Analysis: The NBA always does a phenomenal job on MLK with a full slate of basketball. The day could be highlighted by the return of Derrick Rose but that is pure speculation as Rose could be out most of the season.
- Both games between the NBA’s two winningest franchises will be nationally televised as the Lakers visit the Celtics Feb. 7 (TNT, 8 p.m. ET) and Boston travels to Los Angeles Feb. 20. (Their history speaks for itself)
Other games of note:
- January 16: Brooklyn Nets at Atlanta Hawks: Joe Johnson makes his return to Atlanta. I would expect the fans to give Johnson a sarcastic cheer as his massive contract is finally off of Atlanta’s books.
- January 27: Miami Heat at Boston Celtics: Ray Allen makes his return to Boston. Not sure if there will be boos or ovations for Allen but it surely is something fans should tune in for.
- January 30: L.A. Lakers at Phoenix Suns: Steve Nash will be welcomed warmly even though he fled for the enemy in the same manner Ray Allen did.
- March 13: New York Knicks at Denver Nuggets: Carmelo Anthony finally will return to Denver. I am very curious to see if the fans out there still even care enough about Melo to boo him. I suspect they won’t as they got more than equal value for his services.
- March 22: Boston Celtics at Dallas Mavericks: Jason Terry makes his first visit to Dallas. Might see Terry get emotional and I expect Mark Cuban to make sure the fans treat him warmly.
Circle your calendars as this NBA season promises to be a wild one full of dramatic returns, the renewal of rivalries, and creation of discord between a host of different teams.
About the Author
Written by Warren Shaw
I am an avid Basketball fan who has worked for the New York Knicks, Alonzo Mourning Charities and various other sports organizations. Having covered many NBA and various professional sporting events has given me the opportunity to provide insight with an unbiased but flavor driven view. I look forward to providing NBA content and interacting with knowledgeable fans and readers. Follow me on Twitter @shawsports or Email your questions to me at Warrenshaw@prosportsblogging.com