New York, NY – The National Basketball Association unveiled its full 82-game regular-season schedule on Tuesday night.
Three games will be played on Opening Night on Oct. 29, highlighted by the return of Derrick Rose when his Chicago Bulls visit the two-time defending champion Miami Heat. Rose missed the entire 2012-13 season while recovering from knee surgery and was on the sideline when the Heat eliminated the Bulls in the second round of the playoffs en route to their second straight title.
The Orlando Magic will play at the Indiana Pacers on the Opening Night undercard, and the nightcap features the Staples Center patrons battling one another as the Clippers and Lakers vie for the best team in Los Angeles. That game will also feature Doc Rivers on the Clippers' sideline for the first time.
There will five games from coast-to-coast on Christmas Day, starting at noon (et) with the Bulls playing against the new-look Brooklyn Nets, who revamped their roster with title-proven veterans Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry.
The Oklahoma City Thunder and New York Knicks suit up at Madison Square Garden, the Heat visit the Lakers, the Dwight Howard-led Houston Rockets play at the defending Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs, and the Clippers visit the Golden State Warriors in the finale on Christmas Day.
The first rematch of last season's NBA Finals will take place Jan. 26 in Miami when the Heat host the Spurs, who lost the final two meetings of the back-and- forth seven-game series in heartbreaking fashion.
Other marquee names will be making their mark in new places this season.
Jason Kidd, mere months after finishing up a 21-year playing career, will make his coaching debut for the Nets on Oct. 30 against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs will debut the No. 1 overall pick in June's draft, Anthony Bennett, as well as Andrew Bynum, whom they signed as a free agent after he missed an entire season due to knee issues.
Howard, who spurned the Lakers to sign with the Rockets, will visit his former team for the first time on Feb. 19, while Garnett, Pierce and Terry travel to Boston on Jan. 26. Pierce will be playing against the Celtics for the first time in his career after spending 15 seasons with Boston, which selected him with the 10th overall pick in the 1998 draft.
The All-Star Game will take place in New Orleans on February 16.
The regular season ends on April 16 with 15 games, and the playoffs will start three days later.