Blog Entry

2011-12 schedule breakdown: The big ones

Posted on: July 19, 2011 2:51 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2011 3:57 pm
Posted by Royce Young

With everything regarding "next season" in the NBA, you've got to put the disclaimer on it that the lockout could very well wipe out all of these games. So with the 2011-12 schedule being released, I suppose it's realistic that this might just evolve into the 2012-13 schedule if things go bad.

But if you're an optimist in these negotiations, you've got 2011-12's lineup. You can start planning your evenings around big games, TNT double-headers and of course, the NBA's showcase games which come on opening night, Christmas (only three games!) and Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Let's take a look at those.

Chicago at Dallas (8:00 ET, TNT)
The champs will be handed their rings against the MVP and the Bulls to kick off the 2011-12 season. Honestly, the Mavs' ring ceremony may be better entertainment than the game. Mark Cuban has hinted at doing something bigger than just rings, so we'll see what he has in store, if anything. It'll be an emotional night in Dallas as the Mavs raise their first championship banner into the rafters as Dirk, Cuban and Jason Kidd all soak it in and get handed a ring.

Houston at Utah (9:00 ET)

Not a marquee game and it's really just kind of filler, but it'll be our first look at the remade Jazz with Enes Kanter and Alec Burks against the Rockets without Yao. Not necessarily a game full of stars, but it's two teams looking to get off to a good start on the path to a playoff push.

Oklahoma City at Los Angeles Lakers (10:30 ET, TNT)
The young Thunder travel to L.A. to take on the veteran Lakers to finish up opening night. It's Kendrick Perkins versus Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, Kevin Durant against Kobe Bryant and Russell Westbrook against whoever the Lakers try and stick on him. The Thunder and Lakers always play entertaining games as evidenced by their opening round series in 2010. Maybe there's a chance that either Durant or Kobe will catch fire and push Michael Jordan's opening night record of 54 points. At least that could be in play with these two terrific scorers facing off.


Boston at New York (12 ET, ESPN)
It's not Christmas Day basketball without the Knicks. Actually, I don't know if that's totally true, but it's somewhat of a tradition to kick things off after present opening wraps up with a day game at Madison Square Garden. This one features a rematch of the opening round of the playoffs last season with the Knicks hosting the Celtics. The Knicks have a bunch of star power and should be improved from last season. The Celtics are the Celtics and will be good. There's a chance that this game could reasonably feature two of the top three or four teams in the East. Which of course would make Christmas afternoon at MSG that much more fun.

Miami at Dallas (2:30 ET, ABC)

Feels like these two teams have a history or something. Did they play recently? The league loves to come back with a Finals rematch on Christmas and not only is this going to be a good game featuring two good teams, but these organizations really don't care a lot for each other. It's in Dallas which is an edge, but it'll be the first time LeBron steps on the floor with Dirk after the wrenching defeat in Miami in six games.

You can be sure that both teams will approach this game almost as if it were more important than just a late-December regular season game. It's bigger than that. Maybe just in terms of pride, but for two teams that aren't keen on each other that just finished up facing off for the title, Dallas against Miami on Christmas could be one of the NBA's premier games this season.

Chicago at Los Angeles Lakers (5:00 ET, ABC)
The reigning MVP taking on Kobe Bryant and the Lakers in what'll certainly be a majorly hyped showdown. Both teams will be at or near the top of their respective conference and both teams might be looking at the other as a potential Finals opponent. The Lakers have had a history of big letdowns on Christmas, but Kobe said emphatically last season that the Lakers need to get up more for those games. Well, here's another chance, this time against the suffocating Bulls and their MVP point guard.

Chicago at Memphis (1:00 ET, ESPN)

Completely fitting for the game to be in Memphis. Honestly, I think it should become league traditional that the showcase game in the afternoon happens there. But not only will it be a special day in Memphis, it'll have two pretty darn good teams. The surging Grizzlies will host the Bulls in a game featuring two terrific front courts and a couple of scrappy defensive teams.

Oklahoma City at Boston (8:00 ET, TNT)
Two contenders, yes, but the hook to this one honestly might be that it's Kendrick Perkins' return to Boston. He was adored by fans, coaches, player and the front office, so no doubt it'll be emotional. Then once that's out of the way, we'll have a game with two really good, fun teams.

Dallas at Los Angeles Lakers (10:30 ET, TNT)

One of the West's most underrated rivalry games closes it all out. Late last season, the Mavs and Lakers scuffled a couple of times which led people to assume the Mavericks were soft as the Lakers pounded them in an important game. Didn't matter obviously in the end, but no doubt the Mavs haven't forgotten.

Since: Mar 13, 2007
Posted on: July 22, 2011 1:31 am

2011-12 schedule breakdown: The big ones

not that it matters at all

but i seriously wish the Celtics would get to play christmas day in boston for once in my life

Since: Oct 30, 2009
Posted on: July 20, 2011 11:53 pm

2011-12 schedule breakdown: The big ones

As a LifeLong Knicks fan the New York Knicks have indeed received plenty of love as far as i see it 29 NYK games will be televised on (ESPN,TNT,ABC) which is one less than the Dallas Mavericks who will have 30 games televised on those same networks...Heck the New York Knicks will play more nationally televised games than the Miami Heat..

Since: Apr 7, 2009
Posted on: July 20, 2011 11:07 am

2011-12 schedule breakdown: The big ones

Wow, can the Lakers play a road game on one of these meaningful days!  These dudes always at home! 

Since: Aug 25, 2006
Posted on: July 20, 2011 9:36 am

2011-12 schedule breakdown: The big ones

that's what she said

Since: Oct 18, 2007
Posted on: July 19, 2011 10:17 pm

2011-12 schedule breakdown: The big ones

All the hype and it probably won't happen. Even if they do play this season in, say January or February, the schedule will still get shuffled around.

Since: Oct 13, 2007
Posted on: July 19, 2011 7:06 pm

2011-12 schedule breakdown: The big ones

The Lakers have had a history of big letdowns on Christmas, but Kobe said emphatically last season that the Lakers need to get up more for those games.
....meaning that by the time 12/25 rolls around, the lakers won't remember kobe said this, nor will they get up for it.  Many players on that team like to go thru the motions, be on autopilot, not be too excited, talk about "the switch" (lol!)  - look at last year, Miami killed them in LA.  kobe also said they would come back from 0-3 in the Dallas Mavericks series and that he "had a feeling" about Game 4 in that Dallas sweep.  That feeling: Must have been indigestion? 

Since: Mar 21, 2010
Posted on: July 19, 2011 3:46 pm

2011-12 schedule breakdown: The big ones

It is good to see the young and upcoming teams in the league (Oklahoma City Thunder and Chicago Bulls) now starting to get an even increased nationwide spotlight with these matchups. After last season's playoff run the Memphis Grizzlies could have gotten a little more in the way of the spotlight in my opinion. 
Also how about a little more love for my New York Knicks?Wink

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