Yesterday the NBA released the schedule for the 2012-13 season. With all the drama and hyped-up stories we have seen during this off-season, there looks to be some must-see games during the season, so we’ve highlighted a few of them below. Several of these games will appear on national television, so be sure to catch them throughout the season.
1. Boston Celtics @ Miami Heat – October 30
Coming off a hotly contested Eastern Conference Finals, the reigning champs take on the Celtics to start the season. With the off-season acquisition of Ray Allen, the Heat look to be an even better team, and you can bet Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo will do anything in their power to start the season 1-0.
2. New York Knicks @ Brooklyn Nets – November 1
A brand new stadium, a brand new logo, and a brand new team will host their crosstown rivals in the home opener. This will likely be the start of a long-standing rivalry between the two, and the league made a great choice to pit them against each other for the first game of the season.
3. LA Clippers @ LA Lakers – November 2
With this still-developing rivalry, most of the games between these two should be pretty interesting. Both teams added key pieces and will likely have improved from last season, so seeing them compete so early in the season could be a precursor to a potential playoffs matchup.
4. New York Knicks @ Houston Rockets – November 23
After a tumultuous summer, Jeremy Lin plays his first game against the team that made him a star. Knicks fans were sad to see him go and Houston fans were elated with his arrival, and Lin himself said he felt that the Knicks never made a true push to keep him. Expect him to make a big splash in this one.
5. Minnesota Timberwolves @ Portland Trailblazers – November 23
These two teams went back and forth over RFA Nicolas Batum this summer, with Portland matching Minny’s offer. Brandon Roy came out of retirement to sign with the TWolves and will play his first game in Portland wearing something other than a Rip City jersey. While probably not the greatest contested game of the season, this one should prove to have some interesting storylines, including how the fans will treat Roy’s return.
6. Oklahoma City Thunder @ Miami Heat – December 25
At least we all know one present we’ll receive this Christmas. OKC and Miami face off for the first time since the NBA finals in a game that could very well preview the 2013 Finals. OKC will have something to prove in this one, but you can bet the Heat won’t go down easily.
7. LA Lakers @ Phoenix Suns – January 30
Steve Nash makes his return to Phoenix after 8 seasons with the team. Not that this should be much of a matchup with the strength of this Lakers team, but seeing if the Phoenix fans resent Nash for moving to their conference rival should up the stakes.
8. Philadelphia 76ers @ Chicago Bulls – February 28
Derrick Rose went down in Game 1 of the matchup between these two teams during the first round of the playoffs and could very well return around this time. Joakim Noah said recently he felt extra motivation for the Bulls’ games against Philly after the Sixers fans cheered when Noah went down with an ankle injury in the same series. Expect Chicago to do everything in their power to take this one.
9. New York Knicks @ Denver Nuggets – March 13
Carmelo Anthony makes his long-awaited return to Denver after his trade demands two seasons ago. With the Knicks a somewhat middling team last year without many improvements this offseason, as well as Denver’s strong top-to-bottom lineup, both the story and the game should be fun to watch.
10. Miami Heat @ Cleveland Cavaliers – March 20
LeBron James will return to Cleveland with a ring on his finger, and Cavs’ owner Dan Gilbert will have to eat his words for claiming Cleveland would win a title before Miami. You have to admire his passion, but I doubt there was a single person across the country who believed this would pan out. Winning a championship will either have exacerbated Cavs fans hatred for James or it will have allowed them to move on and celebrate their hometown hero. I’d guess the former…
11. LA Clippers @ Sacramento Kings – April 17
Okay, this definitely isn’t the most exciting matchup on this list, but the reason it makes the cut is because this could turn out to be the Kings’ final game in Sacramento. Depending on the in-season developments, Kings fans may be dealing with the loss of their franchise, so this has the potential to be an emotional game.
12. Dwight Howard @ Orlando Magic – Brooklyn-November 30/Dallas-January 20/Houston-March 1/Lakers-March 12
Count me in the group who believes Howard will be dealt to one of the above teams before the All-Star break. While we don’t know where he will end up, Howard’s antics over the past year have put off fans across the NBA, but you can bet Magic fans will be all over him in his return.
Got any games you’re excited to see this season? Comment below!