Today the NBA released the 2011-12 schedule. Teams will only play 66 games thanks to the lockout. A total of 990 games will take place in the regular season over a 119 day period. That works out to 8.3 games per day. That means you will be seeing a lot of basketball. Teams will have to play just not back to backs , but back to back to backs. Each team will have to play at least one back to back to backs, but no more than 3 of them. Each team will play 48 Confernece games and 18 non Confernece games.
Here are my top 10 games to watch for this upcoming season
1. Heat at Mavericks (Dec. 25th) – This will be a rematch of last year’s NBA finals in which Dallas won. Dallas star Dirk Nowitzki outplayed Miami’s Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. James came up really small especially in the 4th quarter. Wade and James mocked Nowitzki illness, but still Nowitzki got the last laugh as he was named finals MVP.
2. Lakers at Heat (Jan. 19th)- Last year on Christmas Day the Heat got the better of the Lakers. This year there is no question that Kobe Bryant wants to change that. Every time Bryant and LeBron James are on the same court there is a debate to who is the better player. Give me Bryant any day of the week; he’s got the rings to prove it. Could the Lakers have there big 3 by then with Dwight Howard and Chris Paul?
3. Celtics at Lakers (Mar. 11th)- Any time these two rivals get together it’s a big deal. Many thought that they would play in a third straight NBA finals , but that didn’t happen. Still though both of these fans and players hate each other, and whenever the two best NBA franchises get together it is must watch TV.
4. Heat at Celtics (Apr. 1st) - There was a lot of trash talk back and forth from both of these teams last year. They were supposed to meet in the Eastern Conference playoffs but that never happened. This year might be the Celtics last long run in the playoffs. This game might decide who will be a higher seed in the playoffs.
5. Lakers at Knicks (Feb. 10th)- Finally, it looks like the Knicks are back with Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire. This is great for the NBA; they need the Knicks to be good. This will be a huge game with the NBA’s two biggest markets going head to head. Every time Kobe Bryant plays at the Garden it’s a must watch, he seems to really go off there.
6. Bulls at Thunder (Apr. 1st) – This game will feature the two best young stars in the game. The Bulls have Derrick Rose and the Thunder have Kevin Durant. Rose won the MVP of the league last year, and I know Durant will win one in the future.
7. Knicks at Nuggets (Jan. 21st)– Carmelo Anthony returns to Denver after forcing a trade out of Denver last year. Anthony spent seven and a half years playing for the Nuggets. No, this won’t be as bad as LeBron James heading back to Cleveland, but the Nuggets fans will definitely give it to Anthony.
8. Lakers at Magic (Jan. 120th)– Even though the Magic and Lakers faced each other in the NBA finals a couple of years ago, this game will be all about Magic star center Dwight Howard. Howard is a free agent after this season, and he has been linked most to be headed to L.A. So Lakers fans could be getting a preview of Howard in a Lakers uniform or could he already be in a Lakers uniform.
9. Heat at Cavaliers (Feb. 17th) - Yes, I had to put this game on the list. Every time LeBron James goes back to Cleveland it will be a big deal. Will Cavs fans be as loud and nasty as they where last year probably not, but they will still show their displeasure with James. Cavs fans should just be happy the Heat didn’t win the title.
10. Nets at Jazz (Jan. 14th) – Last year Deron Williams was traded to the Nets from the Jazz midseason. So as you would guess the Jazz fans will be all over Williams. As of now the Jazz are still a better team that the Nets.