2011-12 NBA Schedule Highlights: Lakers, Mavs, Heat and More

| by Alex Groberman

Although the ongoing NBA lockout (which began way back on July 1) doesn’t leave much in the room of optimism for the upcoming 2011-12 NBA season, the league remains positive. Like the NFL did despite their lockout, the NBA opted to release a full and complete schedule for next year on Tuesday morning -- to relatively little fanfare.

Here is how the schedule breaks down for the more renowned teams:

Los Angeles Lakers

As expected, the Lakers kick off their year on November 1 against Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder. From there, schedule highlights include a meeting with the Miami Heat on December 8 (on the road) and then again on March 4 (at home), a Christmas Day game against the Chicago Bulls at home, and games against the NBA champion Dallas Mavericks on December 15, January 16 and April 15.

Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks come into 2011-12 (maybe) with a total of 30 nationally televised appearances on deck, tied for most in the league with the Boston Celtics. They kick the year off at home against the Chicago Bulls and get a grueling back-to-back against the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder. They will also host a rematch to this year’s epic NBA Finals on Christmas Day against the Miami Heat.

Miami Heat

The Miami Heat get a relatively easy schedule to begin the year (assuming, of course, it begins this year) as the league has graciously given them nine out of their first 12 games at home. Theoretically, they are supposed to kick the year off against the New York Knicks on November 2 at Madison Square Garden and then come back the next day to host the Orlando Magic at home. On Christmas Day, LeBron James and Co. are scheduled for a rematch against the world champion Dallas Mavericks. Other Heat schedule highlights include a November trip to square off against the Cleveland Cavaliers and a home game against the Los Angeles Lakers on December 8.

Thanksgiving Day

On Thanksgiving Day, the NBA will showcase a doubleheader beginning with the Atlanta Hawks hosting the Philadelphia 76ers and then the Los Angeles Clippers hosting the New Orleans Hornets.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

For Martin Luther King Jr. Day, four nationally televised games are scheduled to be shown beginning with the Memphis Grizzlies hosting the Chicago Bulls. From there, it’ll be the Atlanta Hawks taking on the Toronto Raptors, the Boston Celtics hosting the Oklahoma City Thunder and as mentioned, the Lakers hosting the Mavericks.