NBA schedule 2013: Bulls, Heat headline opening night

Mike Ehrmann

The NBA is back with three games to start the season, headlined by an Eastern Conference gem.

It's been three months since an NBA game has been played that wasn't summer league or preseason, but basketball makes its return Tuesday with three games to break in a new season. The action starts at 7 p.m. ET with the Indiana Pacers hosting the Orlando Magic to open the season.

Danny Granger will miss the game with a calf strain, pushing back his return to the Pacers after playing five games last season with the team. For the Magic, it marks the first game for potential Rookie of the Year candidate Victor Oladipo, the No. 2 overall pick of the 2013 NBA Draft. Oladipo led the Magic in scoring through preseason, averaging 13.9 points per game along with 4.6 assists.

The jewel of opening night, though, features the Chicago Bulls visiting the Miami Heat in an Eastern Conference heavyweight bout on TNT.

Derrick Rose will play in his first regular season game in over a year, finally returning from his ACL injury after a season filled with anticipation and doubt. Joakim Noah has been dealing with a groin injury, but appears set to play.

This game is a great starting point for the season with two of the NBA's best teams facing off. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh begin their journey toward a fourth straight NBA Finals and third straight championship and will wear championship themed jerseys to celebrate their back-to-back titles. There's also David Stern's final championship ring ceremony as NBA commissioner prior to tipoff.

The Los Angeles Clippers "visit" the Los Angeles Lakers to cap off the three-game night. Kobe Bryant is not expected to play as he continues to rehab after tearing his Achilles.

The Clippers have a revamped roster, new head coach and a shot to take down the hallway rival Lakers right out of the gate. For the Lakers, this is an opportunity to start the season on the right foot after a disappointing summer. For the Clippers? A chance to make a statement on opening night.

The NBA is back. Here's the full opening day schedule for Tuesday (all times Eastern):

Game Time TV
Orlando Magic at Indiana Pacers 7 p.m. FSFL, FSIN
Chicago Bulls at Miami Heat 8 p.m. TNT
Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers 10:30 p.m. TNT

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