Five NBA exhibition games are scheduled for Thursday, and the headline contest that pits LeBron James and the Miami Heat against Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers got off to a very early start (7:30 a.m. ET) because the game is in Beijing, China. The reigning NBA champions jumped out to a commanding 53-35 halftime lead thanks to 16 points on 6-10 shooting from LeBron, and the raucous crowd celebrated every minute of the action. Grant Hill hasn't shined so far in his Clippers debut -- two points on 1-5 shooting and two turnovers through the first half -- but he won't be judged on what happens during the preseason.
The best game of the night is a bit unexpected. The New Orleans Hornets take on the Charlotte Bobcats in what would otherwise be an uninspiring regular season game, but in this case it marks the second of back-to-back meetings for the top-two picks from the 2012 NBA Draft.
No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis and No. 2 selection Michael Kidd-Gilchrist became the first college teammates in NBA history to be drafted with the first two picks, and the former Kentucky Wildcats stars will both be in the spotlight again on Thursday. Davis posted an impressive line in his preseason debut (22 points, nine rebounds and one block), while Kidd-Gilchrist scored 10 points and dished out four assists in an 97-82 loss.
The night is capped off with Maccabi Haifa visiting Oracle Arena to take on the Golden State Warriors, in a game where rookie SF Harrison Barnes will make the start as he attempts to become the opening-night starter for Mark Jackson's squad.
Here is a look at the complete schedule for Thursday (all times Eastern):
Miami Heat at LA Clippers 7:30 a.m.
New York Knicks at Washington Wizards 7 p.m.
Philadelphia 76ers at Orlando Magic 7 p.m.
New Orleans Hornets at Charlotte Bobcats 7:30 p.m.
Maccabi Haifa at Golden State Warriors 10:30 p.m.