Blog Entry

2011-12 schedule breakdown: 20 can't-miss games

Posted on: July 19, 2011 5:16 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2011 5:54 pm
Posted by Royce Young

With everything regarding "next season" in the NBA, you've got to add a disclaimer 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, which means you have to start getting ready. Clearing your schedule on a holiday isn't really a challenge and you're most definitely not going to miss opening night, but what about the can't-miss, super-showdowns littered throughout the schedule? Here are 20 games you absolutely cannot miss.

Nov. 2: Cleveland at Boston
And thus kicks off top pick Kyrie Irving's NBA career. Too bad for him it comes in Boston against one of the best defensive teams in the league. It might not be a pretty start for young Kyrie, but it'll definitely be a learning experience. And a quick welcome-to-the-NBA moment.

Nov. 2: Houston at Sacramento
Jimmer Mania will finally get off to its NBA start and the league was kind enough to let it begin at home. You can be sure Sacto will be buzzing but not just over Jimmer. There could be a little optimism for the Kings are Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins and company might have a little something brewing this season.

Nov. 2: Atlanta at Minnesota
Before there was Jimmer Mania, there was Rubio Fever. Kevin Love will finally be able to believe what he sees as the floppy-haired Spaniard takes the floor with the Timberwolves for the first time against the Hawks.

Nov. 2: Memphis at Clippers
The Blake Show returns. Enough reason to be excited about this one.

Nov. 3: Orlando at Miami
The first showdown. It could be Dwight Howard's beginning to his farewell tour and one a few games against the Heat he has left. But there's never any love lost between these two Florida squads and with an early leg-up at stake, you can be sure this game will be intense.

Nov. 16: New York at Denver
Melo returns. It won't be near as monumental or should I say, angry, as LeBron's return to Cleveland, but you can be sure that Nugget fans will be ready for it. Carmelo made it very clear that he didn't want to be in Denver and I'm sure fans there don't appreciate that. Plus a bonus: Unlike the Cavs, the Nuggets shouldn't suck.

Nov. 18: Miami at Cleveland
LeBron returns, again. It's the third time he's played in Cleveland since "The Decision" and some of the sting certainly has worn off, at least in that fans won't be buying tickets ONLY to yell at LeBron. But you can be sure that an unusual amount of Maverick blue will be littered throughout Quicken Loans Arena.

Dec. 1: Miami at Boston
LeBron and Wade return to the scene of one of their greatest crimes. The Heat opened the season in Boston and took an embarrassing, humbling loss at the hands of the Celtics but got revenge in the postseason, besting the Celtics in five with the final game coming on the parquet. It's not exactly a rivalry, but the Heat don't enjoy the Celtics and the Celtics certainly don't enjoy the Heat.

Dec. 8: Lakers at Miami
I'm not totally sure, but I think Kobe is still in American Airlines Center shooting. Kobe loves beating LeBron and you know the feeling is mutual. Two of the league's biggest, most visible teams with the two biggest, most visible stars. If you aren't watching, I have to wonder what the heck you could possibly be doing.

Dec. 23: Oklahoma City at Miami
LeBron and Kevin Durant. Two of basketballs most enjoyable, explosive talents that are always easy on the eye. The Thunder have always been painted as the anti-Heat, but the young kids from OKC don't care about making a statement for the little guy. There may be a good storyline, but it's more about a really good Eastern team versus a really good Western team.

Dec. 27: Clippers "at" Lakers
By no means have the Clippers caught up to the Lakers, but there is a chance that this team could be pretty decent. After a horrific start to last season, the Clippers put together a solid last four months of the season. Some might be looking at this game as a changing-of-the-guard type of affair -- which it's not -- but the Clippers could definitely raise some eyebrows.

Dec. 29: Dallas at Oklahoma City
The first Thunder opportunity for payback and redemption comes almost two months into the season. It’s a long time to wait, but you can be sure the Arena Formerly Known As The Ford Center will be amped about this one. The last time the Mavericks were in Oklahoma City, they broke the Thunder’s heart with that ridiculous 15-point comeback. No way Durant, Russell Westbrook and the Thunder fans have forgotten.

Jan 14: New Jersey at Utah
It'll certainly be more unceremonious as Melo's return to Denver which was more unceremonious as LeBron's return to Cleveland, but Deron Williams coming back to Utah will definitely have the attention of Jazz fans. There's some that still blame Jerry Sloan's retirement on Williams and that whole situation didn't sit well in Salt Lake. Williams will likely feel some anger from Jazz fans, even if it's not entirely deserved.

Jan 19: Chicago at Miami
A rematch of the Eastern Finals. Derrick Rose's last memory of the Heat is LeBron and Wade storming back in Chicago and stealing Game 5 when the Bulls had it all but won. These two teams will likely be the class of the East and with this being the first meeting of the season, somebody's going to make a statement.

Jan. 29: San Antonio at Dallas
The old champs versus the new ones provides a new twist to an old rivalry. These two Texas titans have never gotten along and have had some pretty awesome games over the past decade or so. You can be sure that for once, Dirk and the Mavs will have a bit more swagger in Dallas as the Mavs take the floor against Tim Duncan and the Spurs. Funny how a ring can do that.

Feb. 12: Chicago at Boston
It's the Thibodeau Bowl. The Celtics might be aging but you know they aren't going to just hand the East over. The Bulls are rising and you know they want to rub last year's triumph over the Celtics in the regular season in their face.

Feb. 17: New Orleans at New York
Take a good look at Chris Paul and wish, Knicks fans. You know he's a free agent in 2012 and you know he'd look pretty nice alongside Amar'e and Melo. But he's on the other side right now and there's a pretty good chance he's going to drive you crazy, at least on this night.

March 11: Boston at Lakers
It's the league's best rivalry, maybe sports' best rivalry. Every Celtics-Lakers game is an event. I don't think I even need to give you reasons why this game is huge.

April 1: Memphis at San Antonio
It was stunning at the time, but after watching the Grizzlies rip through the Spurs before bowing out to the Thunder in seven-game, it felt like we should've seen this coming. And this was with the Grizzlies missing their best scorer in Rudy Gay.

April 8: Lakers at Oklahoma City
The Lakers visit the Thunder Nov. 23 for the first time, but go almost four months between trips as they return with just a week left in the season. That’s a bummer, but there’s a chance this game could have major Western playoff seeding implications. The Lakers always bring out the best in Thunder fans, but if the stakes are raised, it’ll just be that much better.

Since: Jan 16, 2011
Posted on: July 21, 2011 2:58 pm

2011-12 schedule breakdown: 20 can't-miss games

You named 20 can't miss game and Miami was included in six of them with Boston and LA Lakers mentioned in four each.  That right there is the NBA's problem.  The parity in the league is pathetic.  That is why soccer is more popular in the United States than the NBA.  The league is a joke.  And by the way, I'd rather watch The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood than watch Miami, LA, or Boston play...I'm a Pistons fan, why would I want to watch them?

Since: Oct 24, 2007
Posted on: July 21, 2011 8:04 am

2011-12 schedule breakdown: 20 can't-miss games

Lakers lost in Dallas in playoffs..that's what he meant..kobe stayed after games and shot baskets in DALLAS.

Since: Jun 20, 2011
Posted on: July 20, 2011 7:53 pm

2011-12 schedule breakdown: 20 can't-miss games

You want to know how many "can't miss games" the NBA has each season? NONE!

The NBA regular season in long, boring, and pointless

Since: Jul 20, 2011
Posted on: July 20, 2011 7:05 pm

2011-12 schedule breakdown: 20 can't-miss games

"besting the Celtics in five with the final game coming on the parquet" really? i thought it was in miami considering, you know miami had home court

where do they get these scrub writers?

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: July 20, 2011 6:27 pm

2011-12 schedule breakdown: 20 can't-miss games

Your list of can't miss NBA game starts out with a bang - four loser games in a row. Looking through the list there are easily counted ten loser games along with 10 winner games. Perhaps there is another motive for this list. Perhaps Royce is intending to attend these 20 games and presents this listing to facilitate his travel authorization.

Come on, Cleveland, Sacramento, Minnesota are much better in blackout. The Clippers. the Hornets and the Grizzlies are all struggling to win more than they lose. It is an uneven struggle. So where are the marquee games that belong on this list? How about more Dallas games (you have two) as they are the Champions. Or Portland which is the only team in the playoffs to take Dallas to six games besides Miami. San Antonio is worthy of more games as are the Lakers.

Schedules are funny. Every person seems to read them with a personal bias. Concerned over back to backs, concerned with long road trips, and concern for home-away splits. But rarely do people suggest the Clippers, Cleveland or Minnesota are can't miss teams.

Since: Aug 25, 2006
Posted on: July 20, 2011 9:35 am

2011-12 schedule breakdown: 20 can't-miss games

really? 20?? there isn't a game worth watching unless kobe breaks a femur

Since: Apr 22, 2009
Posted on: July 20, 2011 9:33 am

2011-12 schedule breakdown: 20 can't-miss games

Read: "Clearing your schedule on a holiday isn't really a challenge and you're most definitely not going to miss opening night, but what about the can't-miss, super-showdowns littered throughout the schedule? Here are 20 games you absolutely cannot miss"

Since: Dec 14, 2008
Posted on: July 19, 2011 11:56 pm

2011-12 schedule breakdown: 20 can't-miss games

"Can't-miss games"??  Royce, was this article written as some kind of bad joke?  Houston at Sacramento is a "can't-miss" game?  Outside of the fan bases of Houston, Sacramento, and BYU, nobody on the face of the Earth cares about that game (nor should they).  Memphis at the Clippers?  Really?  Somehow the defending champs Dallas opening the season on their home floor against last year's #1 overall seed Chicago is less compelling than the Clippers and Memphis?  And somehow LeBron's return to Cleveland (old news... even Cleveland fans are losing interest in that story line) is more of a can't-miss game than a rematch on Christmas Day of last year's Mavs-Heat final?

By the way, Royce, Miami plays in the American Airlines ARENA.  Dallas plays in the American Airlines CENTER.  So if you want to talk about Kobe visiting the Heat, you might want to at least get the name of the building correct.

Since: Jul 22, 2010
Posted on: July 19, 2011 11:15 pm

2011-12 schedule breakdown: 20 can't-miss games

 I would love to see many of these games.  I'm guessing these are the games we wish we could have seen.  I think we may be watching the best games in the Europeon leagues next season.  I hope not, but wishfull thinking on what games we want to see.

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