Kobe vs. LeBron set for Christmas Day, Yao vs. Lakers Opening Night

By: 08.04.10  •  38 Comments

Remember when we actually bought CD’s (or tapes) and album release dates were a really big deal? For basketball fans, that level of excitement has been replaced by two things: NCAA Selection Sunday, and the release of the new NBA schedule. Knowing everybody was hyped to see when and where LeBron, D-Wade and Bosh make their official debut, plus the first Lakers/Heat matchup, the NBA gave us a little taste of the schedule yesterday before the full version is released next week … Opening Night (Oct. 26) features Miami at Boston, followed by Houston at the Lakers. We figured the matchup of Big Threes was a no-brainer, but that still sucks for Mario Chalmers, who gets thrown into an inferno immediately by facing Rajon Rondo in Game 1. And how about the big Shaq vs. Magloire matchup? .. Picking the right opponent for the Lakers was tough. The League wants a good game, but since it’s L.A.’s moment to shine with the ring ceremony — and maybe the last time we’ll see Adam Morrison on an NBA court — they also want a game the champs most likely win. Phoenix-sans-Amar’e would have worked, but the return of Yao Ming is another good story line. And it won’t be an easy game. Kobe‘s first defensive assignment will be Kevin Martin, a guy who can give him 40 on any given night. Pau Gasol will have to deal with Luis Scola, Derek Fisher‘s ’09 playoff nightmare returns in Aaron Brooks, and Yao and Bynum will battle to see who can finish the game without crutches or a walking boot … On Christmas Day, the two marquee matchups are Boston at Orlando, then Miami at the Lakers. Everybody knew Heat/Lakers was going to happen, and Celtics/Magic makes sense. The rest of the schedule is Bulls/Knicks, Blazers/Warriors and Nuggets/Thunder. Good picks, but we wouldn’t have minded Bulls/Wizards (Derrick Rose vs. John Wall), Mavs/Spurs (always entertaining) or Knicks/Suns from MSG … On Martin Luther King Day we’ve got Magic/Celtics again, Thunder/Lakers, Bulls/Grizzlies and Kings/Hawks on national TV. If you don’t have League Pass, make sure to catch those because Tyreke Evans and Rudy Gay may not get much more basic-cable shine than that … Meanwhile, the Nets and Raptors are going to play two regular season games (March 4 and 5) in London. Why not the Bulls and Luol Deng? Maybe because he’s involved in a trade rumor every three days and there’s no telling where he’ll be playing come next March. Still, bringing Nets/Raptors to a new audience is like deciding to show somebody your vaunted sneaker collection, then breaking out pair of well-worn Shaqnosis kicks and some Dada’s … What’s the over/under on how many combined wins the Nets and Raps will have by the time they touch down in London? Thirty-eight? Looking at all the Euroleague vets on Toronto’s roster, they might just want to stay over there for the rest of the season. Would you notice? … If what we’re thinking is true and Tony Parker eventually lands in New York to complete a Big Apple Three with Carmelo and Amar’e, one of the big winners is George Hill. Dime’s Daniel Marks got up with Hill for an exclusive Q&A yesterday, where the Spurs’ future building block talked about TP trade rumors, his brief soccer career, and how to get down to 3 percent body fat … Ten years ago, if you’d been told Jason Williams would be making as much money as Jason Collins, would you believe it? White Chocolate has re-signed with Orlando for the vet minimum, the same $1.3 million deal that Collins inked with the Hawks. End of an era for real … We’re out like Favre …

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