5. NEW YORK AT DENVER, MAR. 13
Finally, Carmelo Anthony returns to Denver. It’s been a long minute since ‘Melo forced his way out of Mile High before proceeding to make no impact whatsoever on New York’s position in the standings. The Nuggets look like a completely different team, and you can make the case they’re better off because of their financial position and flexibility. But the fans won’t care. They’ll boo Anthony until they shear the smile off his face.
4. NEW YORK AT BROOKLYN, NOV. 1
Does the phrase above even make sense? Not really. But get used to it. This matchup will be the Nets home opener, and it’ll occur against the team that’s their most immediate rivals. The Knicks’ brass might not take them seriously, but it’s an honest question now: Which team is better? If Brooklyn wins this one in their awesome new arena, the question will get louder.
3. BOSTON VS. MIAMI, OCT. 30 IN SOUTH BEACH…JAN. 27 IN NEW ENGLAND
Perhaps the best rivalry in the game resumes on opening night, but probably won’t entirely pick up steam until the Celtics and Heat face off a few months later in Boston. The Celtics should be 100 percent by then; Avery Bradley will miss opening night. If they are, they have a legitimate chance to challenge the East champs.
Then there’s Judas Allen, as they have taken to calling him in the Northeast. Has there ever been a nicer guy to get booed religiously than Ray Allen? It’ll probably happen.
2. OKC AT MIAMI, DEC. 25
The two best teams in the league on Christmas day? It doesn’t get better than that. The Thunder will return to the place they saw their season go up in flames, and even though this one will be tightly-contested, I doubt it brings Kevin Durant to tears. I’m already predicting OKC will swoop in and take control of this one. They’ll have more to prove.
1. DWIGHT HOWARD’S FIRST GAME IN ORLANDO
Whether he’s a visitor or still donning the home uniform, not even Bart Scott wants to see this more than me. I truly CAN’T WAIT to see the venom coming down from the stands, and it’s not because I don’t like Howard. I have no problems with the man, and find myself constantly defending him whenever people try to spew obnoxiousness like “Dwight Howard couldn’t make it in the ’90s!” or “Andrew Bynum is better!” But hate just makes for great entertainment, and a bunch of angry fans will cover Howard in the Dark Side no matter what uniform he’s wearing.
“They are going to boo the [expletive] out of him,” one Magic player told Yahoo! Sports.
Yes, they will, and with a truly nice guy like Howard, I’m looking forward to seeing how he responds.
Which games are you most excited to see?
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