Season Starts With The Heat On Miami

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The Miami Heat open their latest title defense with a back-to-back, and they face two top challengers in the Eastern Conference in the first three games it was revealed Tuesday when the 1,230-game schedule for the NBA’s 2013-14 season was released.

Miami plays host to the Chicago Bulls on Oct. 29, joining Orlando at Indiana and the Clippers at Lakers on the opening-night docket. Heat-Bulls and the newest installment of the Los Angeles showdown — maybe with and maybe without Kobe Bryant, definitely with Doc Rivers, definitely without Dwight Howard – will be nationally televised by TNT.

Opening Night games on national TV

Date Time (ET) Matchup Network
Oct. 29, 2013 8 p.m. Bulls vs. Heat TNT
Oct. 29, 2013 10:30 p.m. Clippers vs. Lakers TNT

Miami, with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the rest of the two-time defending champs, plays the next night in Philadelphia, too. Then, on Nov. 1, the Heat will be in Brooklyn for a very early read on the Nets following the additions of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.

One of the most bruising matchups in the East, the Heat-Pacers, will not get under way until Dec. 10 in Indianapolis. That will mark those teams’ first meeting since the Heat muscled past the Pacers in a seven-game Eastern Conference finals last spring.

(The Heat won’t have it too hard before then. They have an 11-game stretch beginning Nov. 9 that goes: Celtics, Bucks, Mavericks, at Bobcats, Hawks, at Magic, Magic, Suns, at Cavaliers, at Raptors, Bobcats.)

The NBA Finals rematches with the Spurs are Jan. 14 in Miami and March 6 in San Antonio. The Spurs, the reigning Western Conference champions, will have run the schedule obstacle course long before that, though. They play 16 of their first 27 games on the road and have four back-to-back sets in the opening 13 games. (Prepare for Gregg Popovich to ration minutes for his veterans.)

The annual rodeo trip — so named because the Spurs vacate AT&T Center for a massive rodeo — is technically a nine-game swing this season. It actually is a six-gamer, mostly to the East, followed by five days of All-Star break, followed by three games in the West. After that, the payback is eight of 10 at home.

Other similar challenges jump out of the schedule. The Nets are gone for six straight games on a greased calendar of nine days. The Bulls have a pair of six-game trips. The Bobcats go out for five after Christmas and over New Year’s, come home for one game, go out for two, come home for one more, then go out for two more. All before a three-game homestand that includes the Heat and Clippers.

The Clippers have a seven-game trip that includes the return of Rivers to Boston on Dec. 13, before they go out for seven more in January. (The latter is at the same time the Lakers also leave Staples Center for seven games, part of a stretch of 12 of 16 on the road.  A 13th contest, against the Clippers, is officially as the visiting team.)

Christmas Day games on national TV

Date Time (ET) Matchup Network
Dec. 25, 2013 Noon Bulls vs. Nets ESPN
Dec. 25, 2013 2:30 p.m. Thunder vs. Knicks ABC
Dec. 25, 2013 5 p.m. Heat vs. Lakers ABC
Dec. 25, 2013 7 p.m. Rockets vs. Spurs ESPN
Dec. 25, 2013 10:30 p.m. Clippers vs. Warriors ESPN

Both L.A. teams are part of the Christmas lineup that begins at noon Eastern and goes into the night with Bulls at Nets, Thunder at Knicks, Heat at Lakers, Rockets at Spurs, and Clippers at Warriors, the last a 10:30 p.m. ET start.

Howard faces the Lakers for the first time on Nov. 7 and plays his former team at Staples Center on Feb. 19 at April 8, in case Los Angelenos want to plan exercises to strengthen their vocal chords. And Howard is in Orlando on March 5, if people there want to boo him for old time’s sake. Or thank him for leaving.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day games on national TV

Date Time (ET) Matchup Network
Jan. 20, 2014 2:30 p.m. Nets vs. Knicks ESPN
Jan. 20, 2014 5 p.m. Pelicans vs. Grizzlies NBA TV
Jan. 20, 2014 8 p.m. Lakers vs. Bulls TNT
Jan. 20, 2014 10:30 p.m. Pacers vs. Warriors TNT

The Lakers, Heat and Knicks lead with 25 scheduled appearances on TNT, ESPN and ABC national telecasts, followed by the Thunder and Bulls with 24, the Clippers with 21 and the Rockets with 20.

In addition, NBA TV will show all of those teams and many others as part of a 96-game schedule that includes 19 Fan Night games. Fans will vote on NBA.com each week to determine which games will appear on NBA TV for the Tuesday night Fan Night games.

33 Comments

  1. FrankL2010 says:

    Lakers will make it to the playoffs… an upset would however be a miracle

  2. theking0522 says:

    Wow!!! I am soo excited right now. I don’t care what the haters think. SA wanted him, Dallas wanted him, and Boston wanted him. They must have seen something good on this guy. This was the missing piece in Miami’s roster. This guy can rebound the ball for sure. This move will give Chris Bosh more confidence because he can focus on being the PF he is. Lebron is a good rebounder, Wade is a great rebounder for his position, Bosh will now be more aggressive knowing that Oden got his back. Miami will handle him properly. Miami is already in the playoffs, as of today. Oden will get lots of rest and we don’t really need him that much during the regular season. During the playoffs, we can put him in during key situations to rebound the ball. Again, we don’t need him during the regular season and this guy at 50% is a better rebounder than Bosh at 100%. By the way, this guy can finish and score around the rim. Can we start the season already?

  3. TheAll-Star136 says:

    The Heat playing at Lakers on Christmas Day isn’t fair. Don’t the champions deserve to have a home game for Christmas? I mean what team goes on to win a championship which is a tough task and they play on the road on Christmas? The Lakers had a horrible season last year. The Lakers almost missed the playoffs. They got eliminated by the Spurs in the first round. Later, they lost Dwight Howard and they still get to host? This is wrong. Wrong. Wrong,

    • Sit Down says:

      If I’m not mistaken, the Lakers have always played on their home court during Christmas because of all the celebrities that come and watch. Although I agree that the Heat should be playing on their home court, whether its against the Lakers or not. All I want to see is whether or not Kobe’s Grinch-inspired shoes would look sick this year.

  4. Brian Scalabrine says:

    I tried to take my talents to South Beach but they were waiting for me at the airport and wouldn’t let me off the plane.

  5. ac says:

    Love being from NY. We always get the most national games. Its further proof that we’re more important than the rest of you. Don’t feel bad.

    • Sit Down says:

      Too bad no one ever considers you guys as a serious title contender. Enjoy your games, too bad you won’t make it in the East Conference, and maybe not even in the 2nd round.

  6. erwin says:

    Lakers is a big market so whether they make it to the playoffs or not, they will be on national tv. So many haters would love to see L.A. lose and so many fans would cheer them to win. Its all about ratings! Its business…….

  7. max033 says:

    and no last season finals Spurs in top 5 for national TV ))

  8. Zohan says:

    Making it to the playoffs in either conference is gone be tough this year

  9. theholyspectator says:

    here comes the 3peat

  10. Kobe-Lebron-Carmelo-Pau-Steve@Manila says:

    They will be in the playoffs for sure… You know why??? It’s because DH is not there anymore.. I hope they can reach the finals.. Anyway, they will be the 2014-2015 Champions because of their newly built team.. GO LA!! GO Lakers..

    • Brian Scalabrine says:

      Yes, the deadly duo of Chris Kaman and Wesley Johnson is just what they needed to get them over the hump.

      • Kei says:

        And you forgot they pick up mini kobe: Nick Young. Let’s shoot the ball and ask questions later! Yeah right, finals for sure.

    • Jay says:

      I would even bet my house that the Lakers wont reach the second round. Maybe I could give them the 7th or 8th seed but that too is not guaranteed.

  11. Armando labaut says:

    I m a heat fan but the pistons even though have a good team this year has it very difficult, their conference is full of good teams

  12. West playoffs says:

    There is only 1 playoff spot to contend for in the West. Teams that can pull it out are Lakers, Wolves and Mavericks. So the Lakers are still a chance to play in post-season.

  13. East playoffs says:

    There are only 3playoffs positions still available to play for in the East. Celtics and Bucks are out. Hawks, Cleveland, Pistons, Wizards and Raptors are the only teams in contention for those spots. With the order above being most likely how they will go in. Pistons are a good chance.

    • ac says:

      I don’t think the Hawks are going to make it this year either. My prediction for how it shakes down in the East:

      Heat – Obviously
      Pacers – Everybody’s talking about how much they improved their bench, I’m not convinced Copeland or Scola will fit well in Vogel’s system but for now its a safe choice
      Knicks – Everybody’s disrespecting them, but they were doing that last season too. No matter what people say, the simple facts are that they lost virtually nobody (Chris Copeland only meaningful loss), gained a career 15ppg player and former DPOY
      Bulls – Remains to be seen what kind of impact Rose will have. Objectively, he hasn’t been the same since 2010-2011 season (dip in 2012 numbers speak for itself)
      Nets – I’m basing this on absolutely nothing other than a gut feeling, but I feel pretty certain that the Nets are going to be this year’s Lakers, except not quite as bad.
      Toronto – Everybodys forgetting them but they have depth at every position, a great coach + new GM. I’m looking for Valencunias to have a breakout season. Fantastic frontcourt depth with DeRozan, Johnson, Gay, Gray, and Jonas.
      Cleveland – If they stay healthy they can be dangerous too. I could see Toronto and Cleveland altering spots all season
      Detroit – They win the consolation prize, the right to be smacked by Lebron and co. A lot of people have them finishing higher than Toronto and Cleveland but I don’t think they have as much depth as either team and as much potential as Drummond and Monroe have, I’m not convinced that they are ready to turn the corner just yet. I think they both need another season.

  14. Kimmy says:

    Detroit is making the playoffs. And so is Cleveland and the Wizards. Milwakee, Boston and Hawks are out. And I’m a Hawks fan…

  15. Martin says:

    Kind of disappointed my Pistons didn’t get a few more national tv games, I mean I know the Lakers are a big market and all but 25 national tv games for a team who probably won’t make the playoffs??

    • sports fan says:

      It doesn’t matter whether or not the Lakers will make the playoffs, it’s all about the tv ratings.

    • allday says:

      LMAO you think the pistons will make the playoffs? with all those terrible dicision makers running the team offense? you must be smoking something..

      • NBA FAN says:

        Dude they got Josh Smith , Brandon Jennings , and Chauncey Billups. Also Andre Drummond improved and they got an italian player thats good at 3’s

      • Ron says:

        The pistons aren’t going to make the playoffs. Their two best players (Jennings and Smith) are incredibly inconsistent and arent willing to put in the needed work on defense. They will get better, but not make the playoffs, even in the east where the the 6-8 seeds dont really deserve to make the playoffs based on their records

      • Game Time says:

        Even though they are in the east, I have to say Pistons have a better team than Lakers.