Schedule release is much ado about nothing
By John McMullen, NBA Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Give the NBA credit, it has managed to turn a necessary exercise into an annual event which people actually care about.
NBA TV's one-hour Schedule Release Special exclusively announced the 2012-13 NBA regular season sked on Thursday, highlighting the season's most- anticipated games including those scheduled for Tip-Off 2012 as well as Christmas Day and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
I've never really understood why people get so worked up over the release of a schedule even in the NFL, where a 16-game process makes just about every week meaningful.
Forget about the other major sports. Combing through Major League Baseball's 162-game schedule when it's released is akin to reading War and Peace, while the NBA, whose 82-game schedule means you will face each team at least once at home and once on the road, means little expect for ticket buyers who like to plan ahead.
Oct. 30 will serve as opening night in 2012 with LeBron James and the world champion Miami Heat highlighting things when they see their championship banner raised to the rafters in South Florida before a rematch of the Eastern Conference finals with the Boston Celtics.
That showdown will also feature Ray Allen against his former team, as the NBA's all- time three-point leader joined the Heat via free agency this offseason just weeks after getting bounced in the playoffs by Miami.
Steve Nash and his new team, the Los Angeles Lakers, will also be in action on Oct. 30 hosting Dirk Nowitzki and the 2011 NBA Champion Mavericks. The two- time league MVP was acquired by the perennial contenders in a sign-and-trade with the Suns several weeks ago and figures to team with Kobe Bryant and one of the league's best backcourts.
Meanwhile. Nash's first trip back to Phoenix will be on Jan. 30.
Christmas Day is always the marquee date on the NBA's regular season calendar with five games again scheduled. The first present will be unwrapped at noon ET with the Celtics visiting the Nets at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The Knicks and Lakers will then serve as the appetizer to a rematch of last year's NBA Finals -- the Oklahoma City Thunder versus the Heat in Miami.
Finally, Jeremy Lin and the Houston Rockets square off with the Chicago Bulls before the nightcap of the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers.
Other big storylines figure to be the Nets hosting the intra-city rival Knicks in their home opener on Nov. 1, and Linsanity making his Rockets debut on Halloween in Detroit.
Oklahoma City and the San Antonio Spurs, last season's Western Conference Finals combatants, will do battle for the first time in November while the NBA will celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with a slew of afternoon games, starting with the Pacers and Grizzlies in Memphis.
The Grammy Road Trip will be back for the Lakers as well as the Clippers while the Spurs will have their annual Rodeo trip and the Sixers will exit Philadelphia around Christmas time for Disney on Ice.
In other words, it's the same old, same old, although the full 82-game slate is a refreshing change from the lockout-shortened, 66-game campaign from a year ago.
At the end of the day, it's not who you play -- it's who's available when you play them.
Knicks fans may be very excited thinking about booing Lin when he is scheduled to return to Madison Square Garden with the Rockets on Monday, Dec. 17 but what if he turns an ankle the week before?
All of a sudden a marquee matchup turns into a glorified Summer League affair.
That said, if you get off playing Mike Franceca's patented "It's a win, it's a loss game," knock yourself out.
07/27 13:32:44 ET