2012-2013 NBA Regular Season Schedule Released

VIA ESPN

Miami’s championship defense will begin where they won last season’s title, and the first game for the Brooklyn Nets will be at home against their now-crosstown rival.

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Heat will raise their title banner at home on Oct. 30 against the Boston Celtics as part of an opening-night tripleheader, meaning Ray Allen’s first game with Miami will come against his former club and in a rematch of last season’s seven-game Eastern Conference finals.

Also on opening night, Washington visits Cleveland (technically the season’s first game, starting an hour earlier than the Boston-Miami matchup) and Dallas plays at the Los Angeles Lakers, Steve Nash’s debut as Kobe Bryant’s teammate.

“We all know this season is a very important one. We’d like to get back on top as a team,” Lakers forward Pau Gasol said Thursday in London, where he and the Spanish national team were wrapping up preparations for the start of the Olympics.

The Nets, having now moved from New Jersey, will open the year Nov. 1 at home against the New York Knicks — whose Manhattan home is about six miles north of Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. And NBA finalist Oklahoma City starts the season that same night, playing at San Antonio in a Western Conference finals rematch.

A dozen games are on the first Friday night of the season, including ESPN’s opening doubleheader — Miami at New York (8 p.m. ET), followed by the Clippers against the Lakers (10:30 p.m. ET).

Jeremy Lin won’t be in that Knicks-Nets opener — his return to Madison Square Garden comes Dec. 17. The Knicks play in Houston on Nov. 23.

As for the NBA Finals rematches, both will get national-television treatment. The Thunder visit the Heat as part of a five-game slate on Christmas Day (to be aired on ABC), and the Heat will head to Oklahoma City on Feb. 14, a game to be shown on TNT.

The All-Star Game is in Houston on Feb. 17. The regular season ends April 17.

The Christmas Day schedule features five games — all on ESPN or ABC. Boston visits Brooklyn at noon ET on ESPN, followed by an ABC doubleheader — New York at the Lakers (3 p.m. ET) and Oklahoma City at Miami (5:30 p.m. ET) in the first meeting of last year’s Finals participants. Later, Houston visits Chicago (8 p.m. ET) and Denver is at the Clippers (10:30 p.m. ET) — both games on ESPN.

James, the NBA’s reigning MVP, spent seven seasons chasing a title in Cleveland, then finally won one in his second season with Miami. But the season will be winding down by the time he and the Heat head to Cleveland again: Miami is set to play there on March 20, and then again on April 15 in the regular-season road finale for the champions.

Wade will be spending his birthday in Los Angeles, a secret he tipped his Twitter followers off to earlier this week: The Heat wrap up a six-game road trip against the Lakers on Jan. 17, the day Wade turns 31.

The NBA has an eight-game schedule on Jan. 21, commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. Day with four national TV matchups — Indiana at Memphis, the Nets at the Knicks, the Spurs at Philadelphia and the Lakers at Chicago.

Maybe the game’s most storied rivalry resumes in February: The Lakers are in Boston on Feb. 7, and the Celtics go to Los Angeles on Feb. 20.

Top draft pick Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Hornets start their season at home on Oct. 31 against San Antonio. Another Hornets game that will almost certainly get some attention is scheduled for Jan. 16 in Boston — where New Orleans rookie Austin Rivers would be facing a Celtics team coached by his father, Boston’s Doc Rivers.

Meanwhile, one NBA star who was widely expected to change teams and still has not — Dwight Howard — would have his season-opener with the Orlando Magic on Nov. 2 at home against Denver.

Among other matchups of note involving players who changed teams in recent weeks:

• Nash will play in Phoenix, the city where he won two MVP awards, as a visitor again on Jan. 30.

• Joe Johnson returns to Atlanta for the first time with the Nets on Jan. 16.

• Brandon Roy joined Minnesota this offseason, so he’ll get his first view of the visiting bench in Portland on Nov. 23.

• Jason Terry’s return to Dallas would be March 22, when the Celtics make their trip to play the Mavericks.

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Miami Heat Take 2-1 NBA Finals Series Lead

The Miami Heat played team ball last night and their big 3 showed up to hold the lead for a 2-1 finals lead over the OKC Thunder. Lebron James led the way with 29 points, 14 boards and Dwayne Wade added 25 points in a 91-85 win.

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Houston Rockets & Derek Fisher Agree To Buyout

VIA ESPN

The Houston Rockets have finalized a buyout with former Los Angeles Lakers guard Derek Fisher.

“After much discussion and expressing their desire to welcome Derek to their team this season as well as the 2012-2013 season, the Houston Rockets and Derek have negotiated a buyout,” Fisher’s business manager Jamie Wior said in a statement late Sunday night.

Fisher, 37, had played in 537 consecutive games prior to being dealt to the Rockets.

The Rockets had acquired the Lakers icon on Thursday afternoon with the hopes of convincing him to stay with them the remainder of the season. Houston currently sits eighth in the Western Conference and hoped his locker room presence would help them make the playoffs and influence what had been a relatively young roster. They also have a need for another point guard while Kyle Lowry recovers from a bacterial infection over the next few weeks.

Fisher was genuinely torn by the situation, according to a source close to Fisher, which is why the Lakers and Rockets mutually decided to extend the deadline for him to report by 24 hours.

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Sources close to the situation told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein that the Oklahoma City Thunder, who are still trying to fill the void created by Eric Maynor’s season-ending knee injury, are deciding whether to register a formal bid for Fisher.

Sources say that the Los Angeles Clippers, by contrast, are not likely to try to sign Fisher, though they also have a need for a playoff-tested guard after Chauncey Billups’ season-ending Achilles’ tear and with Chris Paul carrying a heavy load.

Fisher is said to be strongly interested in joining the Chicago Bulls or Miami Heat, according to one source close to the situation. The San Antonio Spurs, sources told Stein, have not yet ruled out pursuing Fisher because their planned signing of former Portland Trail Blazers guard Patty Mills has been held up by the fact that Portland has not yet renounced rights to Mills.

Fisher had made no public statements since his surprising trade from the franchise he’d spent most of his career with. Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak admitted that he hadn’t given Fisher or his representatives a heads-up that a trade was in the works, and that he understood if he was “emotional” over the situation.

“He may have caught wind of the rumor a day or two ago, but there was no heads up given,” Kupchak said on Thursday. “It’s not necessary, because a lot of times there’s nothing to the rumors. How many times was one of our players traded in the last 10 days and it never took place? So you can’t spend your time dispelling or confirming rumors.

“But when something like this does happen, I can imagine what he’s going through. I’ve never really gone through it, but to be in one place, to have the kind of contribution, midseason, it’s got to be pretty emotional. We’ll talk at the right time.”

Fisher would normally have had 48 hours to report to Houston for a physical for the trade to be completed, however the Lakers and Rockets mutually agreed to extend that deadline to 72 hours, a source with knowledge of the situation told ESPNLosAngeles.com.

Fisher had a $3.4 million player option for next season. Fisher is free to sign with any other team but the Lakers if he clears waivers by Wednesday.

A five-time NBA champion, Fisher has no plans to retire. “Derek’s desire to win a sixth championship is what drives him and will continue to drive him as he moves forward,” Wior said.

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Oklahoma City Thunder Advance To Western Conference Finals

The Oklahoma City Thunder survived!!! They had a tough series with the gritty Memphis Grizzlies but the one-two combo of Kevin Durant and Russel Westbrook showed up. Durant scored 39 points and Westbrook had a triple-double in the 105-90 win over the Grizzlies. Now it is on to Dallas to play the Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals.

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OKC Thunder Win A Thriller In 3OT VS. Memphis Grizzlies

Westbrook scored 40 points and Kevin Durant scored 35 in a triple overtime game last night versus the Memphis Grizzlies. The Thunder were in Memphis and down 2-1 in the series. It was a thriller but in the end the Thunder were able to hold off the Grizzlies 133-123 to tie the series at 2.

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