NBA Schedule Released As Teams Discover Pain Of Compressed Slate

The NBA schedule was released on Tuesday. The calendar begins with a star-studded Christmas line-up, but will quickly slip into pain mode as teams crunch 66 games into four months.

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NBA Schedule On TNT Heavy On Celtics, Lakers

TNT's 2011-12 NBA schedule is heavy on the glamour teams, as you'd expect. The revamped 66-game schedule was released on Tuesday, and TNT -- which primarily hosts Thursday doubleheaders, but has some other special occasions mixed in -- will feature the Boston Celtics and L.A. Lakers 10 times each.

TNT will show 45 games this season, beginning with the season's very first match-up at 12 p.m. ET on December 25 between the Celtics and New York Knicks. The Knicks will be featured seven more times on the network.

The Miami Heat, a huge ratings driver last season, will be on TNT nine times, including in the opening slot in the network's first weekday doubleheader of the season on Tuesday, December 27 against Boston. The defending champion Dallas Mavericks have eight appearances on TNT scheduled, with the team debuting on Thursday, December 29 against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Viewers will note a distinct lack of familiar TNT combatants the San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns. Over the last decade, perhaps no team but the Lakers has been featured on TNT as frequently as the Spurs and Suns. But Phoenix and San Antonio (who finished with the best record in the West last season) have just two appearances each scheduled.

Other teams with multiple scheduled appearances include the Chicago Bulls (seven), Orlando Magic (six), Thunder (six), Portland Trail Blazers (four), Golden State Warriors (four), L.A. Clippers (four), Utah Jazz (two), Memphis Grizzlies (two) and Denver Nuggets (two).

Teams that will make just one appearance on TNT this season include the Sacramento Kings, Charlotte Bobcats, Atlanta Hawks and New Orleans Hornets.


NBA Schedule On ABC On Sundays Limited To 15 Games, Eight Teams

The 2011-12 NBA schedule features 15 games on broadcast network ABC, with a Christmas Day doubleheader starting off the campaign followed by an absence for most of January. In those 15 games, only eight teams -- the best of the best in the league -- will be featured.

Unsurprisingly, the Miami Heat have the highest number of games on ABC, as LeBron James and friends are featured in six of the 15 games. In addition to the marquee opener against the Dallas Mavericks at 2:30 p.m. ET on Christmas, the Heat visit the L.A. Lakers in a blockbuster on March 4.

The Lakers and Chicago Bulls each have five games scheduled for ABC. Oddly enough, all of the Lakers' ABC Sunday games will be played at home, while the Bulls' five will come on the road. The two teams match up at STAPLES Center on Christmas (5 p.m. ET).

Rounding out the ABC Sunday ranks are the Boston Celtics (four games), New York Knicks (four), Mavericks (three), Oklahoma City Thunder (two) and Orlando Magic (one). ABC has apparently yet to learn the power of Blake Griffin to draw viewers.


NBA Schedule Released

The revamped NBA scheduled for the shortened 2011-12 season was officially released on Tuesday as the league turned to NBA TV for a release show. We've known the opening slate scheduled for December 25 for a week now, but there are some other items of interest.

  • The Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat will do battle four times, with the first meeting coming on January 29 in Miami. The teams meet twice in April, where the East's top seed could be at stake.
  • The New York Knicks and Heat will hook up three times. The first match between the teams is slated for January 27 in Miami.
  • The NBA champion Dallas Mavericks will renew their feud with the L.A. Lakers -- a team the Mavs swept in the playoffs last season -- on January 16 on TNT. They'll meet three more times.
  • The Lakers and Heat hook up twice, on January 19 in Miami (TNT) and on March 4 in L.A. (ABC).
  • The Bulls and Mavericks, originally scheduled for opening day before lockout erased all of the November, are slated to meet once, on April 21 in Chicago (ESPN).
  • The Minnesota Timberwolves first face off against the Sacramento Kings on January 16. This is the most important game on the schedule.

Suns Schedule Lacks Visits From Heat, Bulls And Knicks, According To Report

When the Phoenix Suns' schedule is released late Tuesday, it will show that the most popular teams in the Eastern Conference, from the Miami Heat to the Boston Celtics to the Amar'e Stoudemire-led New York Knicks to the Chicago Bulls, will all skip a trip to the Valley of the Sun this season, reports Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic.

The NBA lockout forced the league to shorten the season from 82 games to 66. In a normal season, every team visits every other team at least once, and usually twice if the teams share a conference. But the NBA elected to remove some interconference games from the schedule to focus on regional and intraconference rivalries. That means that some cities will be locked out of the traditionally major draws.

The Suns will have two visits each from the L.A. Lakers and Clippers, both of which are huge road draws (the latter thanks to Blake Griffin). Coro reports that the Suns have two back-to-back-to-backs scheduled, one in mid-February and the other in mid-March. Phoenix opens the season at home on December against the New Orleans Hornets.

For more on the Suns, visit Bright Side Of The Sun and SB Nation Arizona.


Lakers Open NBA Schedule With Three Games In Three Nights

For years, the L.A. Lakers' schedule has been soft early as the necessity to spend a long stretch of time in March on the road due to the Grammys has skewed the slate. There will be no such arguing about early cupcakes this season, as Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Lakers will open the schedule with three games in three nights, also known as the dreaded back-to-back-to-back. Kobe Bryant's knees will surely love that.

The Lakers will host the Chicago Bulls in the third game of the league's five-game national TV slate on December 25. Bresnahan reports that the Lakers will then fly to Sacramento to take on the Kings on December 26, and then to Salt Lake to face the Utah Jazz on December 27. All the while, the team will miss Andrew Bynum, who was suspended five games for a nasty flagrant foul on J.J. Barea during the Lakers' Game 4 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Semifinals in May. (That Mavs win finished a sweep of the Lakers.)

For more on the Lakers, visit Silver Screen And Roll.


NBA Christmas Schedule Official: Five Games Starting At Noon ET

The NBA won't unveil its full revamped 2011-12 schedule until Tuesday, but the league did formally announce its opening day slate. The 2011 NBA Christmas schedule includes five national TV games featuring many of the biggest stars in the game.

  • Boston Celtics at New York Knicks, 12 p.m. ET, TNT. These two teams met in the first round of the NBA playoffs last April, with Boston taking a sweep as the 'Bockers struggled with injuries. If you believe the rumors, each team could look quite different by the time Christmas rolls around.
  • Miami Heat at Dallas Mavericks, 2:30 p.m. ET, ABC. Yep, the Heat have to stand there and watch the Mavs lift the 2011 NBA Championship banner. Expect on-court brutality in the immediate aftermath.
  • Chicago Bulls at L.A. Lakers, 5 p.m. ET, ABC. Reigning MVP Derrick Rose will waltz his Bulls into STAPLES Center for the first game of Mike Brown's Lakers career. All eyes will be on Kobe Bryant, though, as he still hasn't exactly publicly embraced Brown, who beat out longtime Lakers assistant Brian Shaw for the job.
  • Orlando Magic at Oklahoma City Thunder, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN. The league added the final two games to the schedule since the lockout ended last week. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are great fun to watch, but the focus here will be Dwight Howard's future (or lack thereof) in Orlando.
  • L.A. Clippers at Golden State Warriors, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN. This is the equivalent of a Christmas gift to true heads saddened by the lockout. Oracle Arena is one of the best environments in pro sports, and Blake Griffin must be like a champagne bottle that's been in a paint mixer.

Stay tuned for full schedule analysis on Tuesday.


NBA Schedule Release Planned For Tuesday On NBA TV

The NBA schedule release date typically isn't the most newsworthy event. Considering basketball fans have been waiting to watch basketball since the NBA Finals ended last season, and then it was delayed by the lockout, this year's announcement is rather highly-anticipated.

The schedule will be released at 7 p.m. on Tuesday night in a special being aired on NBA TV, according to the station's schedule. It will be discussed on the program NBA GameTime.

This year's NBA schedule will be truncated due to the NBA lockout as it will feature just 66 games, instead of the usual 82, and is scheduled to begin on Dec. 25. Provided the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the NBA has released further details about how the schedule will break down.

Teams will play out-of-conference opponents at least once each, with three teams getting a second meeting. Of the other 12 out-of-conference opponents, six will be faced at home and six on the road. Given the NBA's strong home-court advantage, this could be a real impact in the standings.

The other 48 games will be played within the conference.

Stay tuned to this StoryStream for all games announced prior to the official release date -- including the NBA Christmas game schedule.


NBA Schedule: Christmas Games To Include Blake Griffin, Clippers Visiting Warriors, According To Report

Reigning Rookie of the Year Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers will visit the Golden State Warriors in the fifth game of a Christmas Day schedule on the opening day of the NBA season, reports Marcus Thompson III of the Contra Costa Times.

The NBA had initially scheduled three games for Christmas, but when December 25 became the new opening day in the lockout-shortened season, the league reportedly decided to add two more. The three games that were previously scheduled for Christmas were the Boston Celtics vs. the New York Knicks, the Miami Heat vs. the Dallas Mavericks and the Chicago Bulls vs. the L.A. Lakers.

The new opening in the schedule would be between the games in New York and Dallas, and would like feature a home team in the Eastern or Central time zone. Let me be the first and possibly only person in the world to suggest that the Sacramento Kings should visit the Minnesota Timberwolves for that opener.


NBA Schedule: Two Preseason Games Per Team Likely

NBA teams will likely play two preseason games each, reports John Schuhmann of Teams normally play 7-8 exhibition games over a three-week period, but the NBA lockout has forced everything to scrunch up in order to maximize the length of the season that actually makes money.

The NBA originally had 202 games scheduled for the preseason before they were claimed by the lockout. Many were scheduled for non-NBA cities, a league tradition. But it's likely the new 30-game slate will be held in teams' home arenas.

Schuhmann also says that the preseason games will be organized regionally to minimize travel. It's a good thing David Stern hasn't gotten that London team he's been pining for all of these years.

Training camps are tentatively set to open December 9, assuming there is no major roadblock in the final negotiation and ratification of the lockout deal. The regular season will begin with a national TV triple-header on December 25.


NBA Schedule Details Released By League

The NBA schedule will be released within days, and it's unlikely it will at all resemble the version that the league presented in August. Cutting 18 games from every team will tend to do that.

In the interim, the league has announced what form that schedule will take, confirming reports from the New York Times Sunday that indicated the NBA would shrink the interconference slate in favor of more games against in-conference opponents.

The NBA says that teams will play out-of-conference opponents at least once each, with three teams getting a second meeting. Of the other 12 out-of-conference opponents, six will be faced at home and six on the road. Given the NBA's strong home-court advantage, this could be a real impact in the standings.

The other 48 games will be played within the conference. There are six teams who will share four meetings with any given team, and the other eight with play three-game sets.

The NBA also says that the playoffs will begin on April 28, and that there could be one back-to-back per series in the second round.


2011-12 NBA Schedule To Be Light On Interconference Play, Says Report

The NBA schedule for the 2011-12 season will feature a few back-to-back-to-backs and fewer interconference games.

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