Miami Heat Will Face Early Challenges Next Season

With the release of the 2012-13 NBA schedule, teams can begin looking ahead at next season instead of reflecting on the past. The Miami Heat will attempt to defend their NBA title next season and they will be tested early.

Five of the Heat's first seven opponents made the playoffs last season. The Heat begin their season by hosting the Boston Celtics, who they faced in the Eastern Conference Finals last season. They then move on to face Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks in a rematch of the first round of the 2012 NBA playoffs.

Miami then hosts the Denver Nuggets, who took the Lakers to seven games in the conference quarterfinals last year. The Heat host the Suns after that, before taking on the new look Brooklyn Nets. While the Nets missed the playoffs last season, they re-signed Deron Williams and added Joe Johnson.

Miami will then go on the road to face two more 2011-12 playoff teams, traveling to Atlanta and Memphis to wrap the first two weeks of their 2012-13 schedule.

For more on the NBA and the 2012-13 NBA schedule be sure to stick to SB Nation's dedicated NBA hub.

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