In perhaps the most anticipated contest of the NBA's season-opening showcase on Christmas Day, the Miami Heat go to the heart of Texas and take on the Dallas Mavericks in a rematch of last year's riveting NBA Finals. The Heat look very much like the team that disappeared in the fourth quarter of the last four games of the season, while the Mavericks lost the anchor to their defense, Tyson Chandler, and adding an offensive chameleon, Lamar Odom.
The Heat, on the other hand, lost only Mike Bibby, who came up flat in every area for them last year, but added Eddy Curry and, more importantly, Shane Battier, in a move widely lauded as a key for the Heat getting over the hump this year.
The Mavericks will obviously still be reliant on Dirk Nowitzki for much of their offensive production, but how their defense can maintain without Tyson Chandler will be the key to determining whether or not they can repeat as champions. An early home game against this year's favorites will be an indicator of how they will fare.
Game Date/Time: Sunday, Dec. 25, 2:30 p.m. ET
Location: American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
TV: ABC (National)