The NBA has released the schedule for the shortened 66 game season and basketball fans across the nation will have plenty of opportunities to cheer or boo LeBron James and the Miami Heat.
The Heat will be in the national spotlight a total of 27 games spanning four networks (ESPN, ABC, NBA TV and TNT)
Both their road and home opener will be televised beginning with a Finals rematch against the Dallas Mavericks (2:30PM, ABC) on Christmas Day.
Two days later the Heat open things up at home against the Boston Celtics (8:00PM, TNT)
Here are other notable games being televised nationally:
January 11 (10:30PM, ESPN) – The Los Angeles Clippers are getting almost as much exposure nationally as the Miami Heat. Having Blake Griffin is a big reason why. But if the Clippers manage to trade for Chris Paul, this game could have the entire east coast staying up late to watch this battle. Either way this will be a tough game for the Heat. It will be their 4th game of a 5 game road trip and their 2nd game in as many nights.
January 19 (8:00PM, TNT) – Kobe Bryant and The Los Angeles Lakers visit Miami in their first of two meetings. If Chris Paul isn’t a Clipper, he could be a Laker along with Dwight Howard. This game could have the potential to be one of the most anticipated matchups ever if Paul and Howard are traded to the Lakers. Even if Howard and Paul don’t end up in Los Angeles, interest will still be high for this game. Fans have another chance to see this matchup March 4th (3:30PM, ABC) when Miami travels to the Staples Center.
January 29 (8:00PM, ESPN) – The Chicago Bulls visit Miami to take on the Heat in an Eastern Conference Finals rematch. This will be the first of their four matchups all of which will be televised nationally. These games will almost certainly play a role in determining playoff positioning.
February 19 (3:30PM, ABC) – As long as Dwight Howard is still an Orlando Magic, this will always be a marquee division matchup. If Howard is gone by the time Orlando visits Miami, ABC will be wishing it had ‘Flex Scheduling.’
March 29 (8:00PM, TNT) – The Finals rematch has Dallas returning to Miami where the Mavericks were crowned NBA Champions. Miami will feel the affects of the lockout here as this will be the first of three games the Heat play on consecutive nights. After playing Dallas, the Heat hit the road and head to Toronto (March 30, 7:00PM) followed by a trip to Boston (April 1, 3:30PM, ABC)
April 4 (8:00PM, ESPN) – Some have argued Kevin Durant is already the best player in the NBA. In the second meeting between the Heat and Thunder, three of the best players in the league will be on display in Miami. Oklahoma City will be looking to show the world that they are a legitimate contender for the championship and that last year’s trip to the Western Conference Finals was no fluke.
April 15 (1:00PM, ABC) – The Heat take on the New York Knicks in their only regular season meeting at Madison Square Garden. If history is any indication The Big Three will come to play. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have all put up big numbers at MSG and they will look for more of the same when they take on Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony’s Knicks.
For Miami’s full schedule click here