When the season kicks off on Tuesday, October 26th, the Los Angeles Lakers will still be the defending NBA champions and the Celtics will still be the 2009-10 Eastern Conference champs, despite all the talk and commentary about the Miami Heat this offseason. The league's first games in the 2010-11 will pit this year's favorites, Miami featuring LeBron James, two-time defending MVP, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh against Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo and the Celtics. The night's second game will feature the Lakers and the Houston Rockets, who may or may not have their star center, Yao Ming, back in the lineup.
Some other notables of the schedule released today?
LeBron James and the Heat travel to Cleveland for the first of two visits on December 2nd. Cleveland, the best team during the regular-season the past two years, watched their hometown superstar from Akron turn the Cavaliers into one of the league's worst teams when he went on ESPN last month to announce he was leaving town as a free agent in favor of South Beach. Chris Bosh, who, like James, went to Miami, will face his old team, the Toronto Raptors, on February 16th.
The Heat's home opener will be on October 29th against the Orlando Magic and visit the defending champion Lakers on Christmas Day. Also on that day, the Chicago Bulls will be in New York taking on the Knicks, Denver will travel to Oklahoma City and Portland will take on the Warriors in San Francisco.
The Lakers and Celtics will have to wait until January 30th for a rematch of the seven-game 2010 NBA Finals. This meeting is in Los Angeles, while the rematch in Boston comes on February 10th.