August 4, 2010: The NBA 2010-11 season does not officially begin until Oct. 26, but league marketing and media partners already are salivating over a schedule that will feature a lot of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat on national TV as well as numerous national holiday games that have the potential for significant viewing numbers.
The NBA beings its 2010-11 schedule with Kia Motors NBA Tip-Off '10 with a doubleheader on TNT on Oct. 26. This is the third consecutive season that Kia Motors, the official automotive partner of the NBA, has been title sponsor of NBA Tip-Off.
The opening game will feature the Heat and its new "three amigos" of James, Wade and Chris Bosh visiting the defending Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics with Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo. That will be followed by the two-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers led by 2010 finals MVP Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol hosting the Houston Rockets, who are expected to have center Yao Ming in the starting line-up after he missed last season with a severe foot injury. Prior to the game, TNT's coverage will include the Lakers' championship ring ceremony.
Fast-fowarding into the season, TNT likely will seek a spike in casual and non-NBA viewers on Dec. 2 when the James leads the Heat to his former and jilted stomping ground in Cleveland to play the Cavaliers. The Heat return to Cleveland on March 29 after hosting the Cavaliers twice (Dec. 15 and Jan. 31).
ESPN will open its NBA coverage on Oct. 27, with a doubleheader featuring the Chicago Bulls at Oklahoma City Thunder followed by the Portland Trail Blazers at the Los Angeles Clippers.
TNT continues its Kia Motors NBA Tip-Off '10 schedule with another doubleheader on Oct. 28, with Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic hosting John Wall, the top pick in the 2010 NBA draft and the Washington Wizards, followed by the Utah Jazz hosting Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns.
ESPN gets another hot doubleheader on Oct. 29 when it covers the Heat's 2010-11 home opener in which James-Wade-Bosh and teammates host Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic, followed by the Lakers visiting the Suns.
The Kia Motors NBA Tip-Off '10 national television schedule concludes Tuesday, Nov. 2 with NBA TV's Fan Night in which fans vote on NBA.com for the game they most want to see.
Christmas Day features five nationally televised games for the third consecutive season. ABC will open its season coverage with the Magic hosting the Celtics followed by the Heat at the Lakers. ESPN will also televise three games, beginning with the Chicago Bulls visiting Amar'e Stoudemire and the New York Knicks, then the Denver Nuggets at the Thunder and the Portland Blazers at the Golden State Warriors.
The NBA will again celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with a full schedule of games on Jan. 17. ESPN will have the Bulls at the Memphis Grizzlies and then the Sacramento Kings at the Atlanta Hawks. TNT will feature Orlando at Boston the Thunder visiting the Lakers.
The league goes overseas for two games in London on March 4-5 between the New Jersey Nets and the Toronto Raptors. The NBA preseason for the fifth consecutive time also includes several games overseas as part of NBA Europe Live presented by EA Sports, including stops in London, Barcelona, Paris and Milan with the Lakers, Knicks and Minnesota Timberwolves and several top European teams.
The full NBA schedule will be unveiled on Aug. 10.
KIA MOTORS NBA TIP-OFF '10 (ET)
10/26 Miami at Boston - TNT - 7:30 PM
10/26 Houston at Los Angeles Lakers - TNT - 10:30 PM
10/27 Chicago at Oklahoma City - ESPN - 8 PM
10/27 Portland at Los Angeles Clippers - ESPN - 10:30 PM
10/28 Washington at Orlando - TNT - 8 PM
10/28 Phoenix at Utah - TNT - 10:30 PM
10/29 Orlando at Miami - ESPN/ESPN Deportes - 8 PM
10/29 Los Angeles Lakers at Phoenix - ESPN - 10:30 PM
10/30 Denver at Houston - NBA TV - 8:30 PM
10/31 Utah at Oklahoma City - NBA TV - 7 PM
11/1 Portland at Chicago - NBA TV - 8 PM
HOLIDAY NATIONAL TV GAMES (ET)
12/25 Chicago at New York - ESPN - 12 PM
12/25 Boston at Orlando - ABC - 2:30 PM
12/25 Miami at Los Angeles Lakers - ABC - 5 PM
12/25 Denver at Oklahoma City - ESPN - 8 PM.
12/25 Portland at Golden State - ESPN - 10:30 PM
1/17 Chicago at Memphis - ESPN - 1 PM
1/17 Sacramento at Atlanta - NBA TV - 4 PM
1/17 Orlando at Boston - TNT - 8 PM
1/17 Oklahoma City at Los Angeles Lakers - TNT - 10:30 PM