New York - The new-look Miami Heat and two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers will both be in action on the first day of the 2010-11 NBA season, October 26.
The Heat will open the season in Boston against the Celtics in the first game of a doubleheader aired by TNT.
Miami will unveil its star trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in a potential Eastern Conference Finals preview. The Celtics are the defending East champions and also feature a 'Big Three' -- Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, who led the Celtics to the 2008 NBA title. This past season Boston pushed the Lakers to seven games in the Finals.
The opening-night doubleheader will continue with the Lakers, as they begin their quest for a third consecutive title at home against the Houston Rockets.
Led by two-time defending Finals MVP Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles was an antithesis of Miami this offseason, having made few big headlines but remaining a top contender for the title. One of the team's biggest questions was whether head coach Phil Jackson would return. However, Jackson announced last month he would be back for another year in an attempt to record his 12th NBA coaching championship.
The Rockets, meanwhile, expect center Yao Ming to return after he missed the entire 2009-10 season with a foot injury.
A set of premium matchups comes on October 29, when ESPN airs a doubleheader. In the first game, the Heat host Dwight Howard and Orlando in a Southeast Division battle. That contest is followed by the Phoenix Suns hosting the Lakers in a Western Conference Finals rematch.
The NBA released a schedule of five Christmas Day games, highlighted by the Lakers playing host to Miami and Orlando hosting Boston in a rematch of the East finals. Additionally on Christmas, the New York Knicks host the Chicago Bulls, the Oklahoma City Thunder host the Denver Nuggets, and the Golden State Warriors host the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Magic and Celtics play again on January 17 as part of the Martin Luther King Day schedule, in Boston.
The NBA released select nationally televised games Tuesday, and will announce the full 2010-11 schedule on August 10.