New Heat Sked Brings Showtime to Prime Time

The Miami Heat will be the featured NBA national game 23 times during 2009-2010 season

We hope Pat Riley was also out recruiting a make-up artist in L.A. while trying to woo Lamar Odom last week.

Somehow the Miami Heat have become the East Coast equivalent of the L.A. Lakers for the NBA and will be the feature attraction in 23 nationally televised NBA games in 2009-10. Next season's schedule, released Tuesday, will shine a pretty bright spotlight on the Triple-A and the exploits of Flash and the Flashettes (Trademark pending).

The Heat also grabbed the coveted Christmas day spot for the fifth time in six years.

This time, D-Wade will get to pick the hated New York Knicks apart in Madison Square Garden. The NBA -- and Heat fans -- are no doubt banking on a repeat performance from Wade's last two games versus the Knicks.  He took over the game in the fourth quarter after getting a bloody lip from a Knick benchwarmer. Then, in the Heat's final match up with the Knicks, Wade dropped a double-nickel on New York.

The 23 nationally televised games are subject to change, meaning if the Heat stinks up the joint like in the 2007-08 season or D-Wade gets hurt, they'll be pulled faster than the T.O. Show.

But Heat fans are probably most amped about a chance to face the King and Shaq-Fu when the team faces Cleveland twice at home on Nov. 12 and Jan. 25. The two Eastern Conference powers play in Ohio on Feb. 4.

Miami plays eight of its first 10 games at home and has a six-game homestand in December, ending two days before Christmas.
But when the Heat start hitting the road, they might be taking some extra luggage.

After Miami hosts Boston Jan. 6, the Heat play 19 of 24 games on the road. Starting March 2, Miami plays nine out of 10 at home, and the regular season also ends in South Florida against New Jersey on April 14.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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