Jul 30, 2014, 9:55 AM EDT
The NBA will release its schedule for the 2014-15 season sometime next month, and there are few select dates that always grab some well-deserved additional attention.
Opening night is important, certainly, and we already have rumblings of one of the potential matchups — even though the defending champion Spurs going on the road to start the season in Cleveland would seem to go against the league’s recent trend of having the winners of the title receive their rings before anything else.
Christmas Day, however, is perhaps the most important day of the NBA schedule, because it’s the time when more casual fans of the sport truly begin to turn their attention to basketball. For that reason, the league always tries to put together a full slate of its most compelling matchups.
Barring an unexpected change of heart by the NBA, Christmas in Miami will feature LeBron James’ much-anticipated return to Miami in an opposing uniform.
Though the NBA’s schedule will not be finalized and released until mid-August, an unofficial internal schedule of select games has Cleveland playing the Heat in Miami on Christmas on ABC, according to a person familiar with the situation.
This was a completely obvious choice.
LeBron James facing his former teammates on the road, in the city he played in for the last four seasons — all of which resulted in trips to the NBA Finals — is something everyone wants to see. But technically, it won’t be the first time we’re treated to this particular matchup.
The NBA will play five preseason games in four countries as part of its Global Games schedule, and in a stroke of genius (or just unbelievable luck), Cleveland and Miami will play against one another on October 11 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
It’s a preseason game that doesn’t mean anything in the standings, and of course, there’s no guarantee that either team will be at full strength for an exhibition contest. But it’s going to be intriguing nonetheless.
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