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Lin, Rockets To Invade MSG In December; Nets Get Wish, Will Host Knicks In Opener

(credit: Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)

(credit: Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — The NBA certainly knows how to schedule drama.

The first game for the Brooklyn Nets will be at home against their now-crosstown rival, but the most anticipated game in the Tri-State area might be Jeremy Lin’s return with the Rockets in December.

The Nets, having now moved from New Jersey, will open the year Nov. 1 at home against the Knicks — whose Manhattan home is about 6 miles north of Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. And NBA finalist Oklahoma City starts the season that same night, playing at San Antonio in a Western Conference finals rematch.

“We asked the league to give us the most dramatic game to open the season,” Nets CEO Brett Yormark told the New York Daily News. “I was obviously for playing the Knicks and thankfully the league felt the same way.”

Lin won’t be in that Knicks-Nets opener — his return to Madison Square Garden comes Dec. 17. The Knicks play in Houston on Nov. 23.

As for the NBA Finals rematches, both will get national-television treatment. The Thunder visit the Heat as part of a five-game slate on Christmas Day (to be aired on ABC), and the Heat will head to Oklahoma City on Feb. 14, a game to be shown on TNT.

The All-Star Game is in Houston on Feb. 17. The regular season ends April 17.

In all, 238 games are expected to be televised nationally, with 96 on NBATV (including Lin’s trip back to New York), 75 on ESPN, 52 on TNT (highlighted by Brooklyn’s first game and All-Star weekend) and 15 on ABC (with Allen’s return to Boston on Jan. 27 among those). The Finals in June will again be aired on ABC.

While Miami might be the site of the marquee matchup on Dec. 25, Los Angeles will get a Christmas doubleheader: The Lakers play host to the Knicks, and five hours or so after that game ends, the Clippers will get a visit from the Denver Nuggets.

Reigning NBA MVP LeBron James spent seven seasons chasing a title in Cleveland, then finally won one in his second season with Miami. But the season will be winding down by the time he and the Heat head to Cleveland again: Miami is set to play there on March 20, and then again on April 15 in the regular-season road finale for the champions.

Miami guard Dwyane Wade will be spending his birthday in Los Angeles, a secret he tipped his Twitter followers off to earlier this week: The Heat wrap up a six-game road trip against the Lakers on Jan. 17, the day when Wade turns 31.

The NBA has an eight-game schedule on Jan. 21, commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. Day with four national TV matchups — Indiana at Memphis, the Nets at the Knicks, the Spurs at Philadelphia and the Lakers at Chicago.

Maybe the game’s most storied rivalry resumes in February: The Lakers are in Boston on Feb. 7, and the Celtics go to Los Angeles on Feb. 20.

Top draft pick Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Hornets start their season at home on Oct. 31 against San Antonio. Another Hornets game that will almost certainly get some attention is scheduled for Jan. 16 in Boston — where New Orleans rookie Austin Rivers would be facing a Celtics team coached by his father, Boston’s Doc Rivers.

Meanwhile, one NBA star who was widely expected to change teams and still has not — Dwight Howard — would have his season-opener with the Orlando Magic on Nov. 2 at home against Denver.

Among other matchups of note involving players who changed teams in recent weeks:

— Joe Johnson returns to Atlanta for the first time with the Nets on Jan. 16.

— Nash will play in Phoenix, the city where he won two MVP awards, as a visitor again on Jan. 30.

— Brandon Roy joined Minnesota this offseason, so he’ll get his first view of the visiting bench in Portland on Nov. 23.

— Jason Terry’s return to Dallas would be March 22, when the Celtics make their trip to play the Mavericks.
Your thoughts on the schedule? Be heard in the comments below!

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)