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The Miami Heat will host the opening night of the NBA season, with a date against Eastern Conference rival Boston on October 30 that will be televised on TNT. Miami will also host a Christmas day tussle against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Miami Herald reported the news on Monday in advance of the release of the full NBA schedule on Thursday. The NBA usually schedules an opening night game in the city of the most recent NBA champion.
With the Marlins fading in the second half of baseball season and the Dolphins starting a rebuilding basketball season cannot come soon enough for South Florida Sports fans. The Heat will look to defend its title with a revamped roster, having added free agents Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis to an already stacked roster.
Miami last hosted the first game of the season in 2006, when the Heat received 2006 championship rings before getting blown out by the Chicago Bulls. This time, Miami will face the team it defeated in a seven-game Eastern Conference Finals.
Adding fuel to an already heated rivalry is the fact that Miami signed former Celtic guard Allen earlier this month. Allen won a championship with the Celtics in 2008. This will be his first game against his former team in addition to his first game with the Heat.
As they did in 2006, the Heat will likely give out championship rings to returning players before the game. Between that, anticipation and the game against Boston
The game against the Thunder on Christmas day will be one of the most anticipated match-ups of the regular season. Miami defeated the Thunder in five games to win the 2012 NBA title, and both teams will be among the favorites to appear in the 2013 NBA Finals.
Additionally, the Herald reported that the Heat will visit the New York Knicks on November 2 (to be televised on ESPN) and face the Magic in Orlando on New Year's Eve.