As the NBA lockout continues to grow in age, the league released it’s 2011 – 2012 regular season schedule in hopes of teasing fans about future match-ups. If the NBA lockout ends in a timely fashion before the start of the upcoming season, the Dallas Mavericks will raise their championship banner and host the Chicago Bulls on November 1. At the conclusion of the Mavericks – Bulls game, the NBA is taking viewers out to Los Angeles as the Lakers welcome the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Opening Night is packed with tremendous story lines. Let’s start with the Mavericks and the Bulls.
Dallas is coming off an NBA championship season and fans across the world are anticipating what Mavericks owner Mark Cuban will present his team for their astonishing season. Cuban basically said that NBA championship rings are played out and he wants something better for his players. Whatever that “something” is, Cuban will make sure that every player in the league will take notice of how he spoils the Mavericks players.
The last image of the Chicago Bulls season was LeBron James blocking a desperation 3pt attempt by MVP Derrick Rose in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals. It will be interesting to see what Tom Thibodeau’s club has learned after falling short to the Miami Heat.
In Game 2 of Opening Night, the Lakers will start a new era of head coaching as former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown throws out the Triangle Offense and replaces it with, well, motion offense. It’s going to be odd not seeing Phil Jackson sitting in his high chair on the Lakers’ sidelines. Kobe Bryant’s relationship with Mike Brown isn’t getting off to an ideal start, but hopefully they can break the communication barriers before Nov. 1.
The not so young Oklahoma City Thunder has one main story line that followed them throughout last year’s NBA Playoffs. Russell Westbrook. The young point guard padded his achievements throughout the 2010 – 2011 season, but assumed a role that many spectators deemed “Stephon Marbury-like”. Never afraid to battle the Lakers in Los Angeles, the Thunder will look to embarrass Mike Brown’s new system and force Kobe Bryant into “Hero Mode” (I’ll explain later).
Other marquee games for the 2011 – 2012 NBA season will take place on Christmas Day. The Celtics will showcase their talents inside Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks, Miami will face the Mavericks in Dallas and the Lakers, who are Christmas Day veterans, welcome the Chicago Bulls into Staples Center.
For the time being, mask your excitement for the games listed above. The NBA lockout still exists.
You can find complete NBA team schedules on NBA.com