The defending world champion Dallas Mavericks are national darlings. For proof, just look how the Mavs will be featured on national television if a lockout doesn't prevent the 2011-12 NBA season from being played.
The Mavericks have 30 scheduled national television appearances -- matching the Celtics for the most in the NBA -- highlighted by an opening night home game against the Chicago Bulls on TNT and hosting a Christmas afternoon Finals rematch against the Miami Heat on ABC. The Mavs' return to Miami on March 29 will be televised by TNT. The Mavs are scheduled to play 10 games on ESPN, 10 on TNT, seven on NBA TV and three on ABC.
The Mavs' longest road trip of the season would be four games, with three such stretches on the schedule. That includes a four-games-in-five-nights road trip that goes from Golden State to Portland to Los Angeles (Lakers) to Utah in the final week of the season. Dallas, which has had the NBA's best road record the last two seasons, plays five of its final seven games away from home.
In terms of competition, the Mavs' most difficult stretch might be the first three games. They'll open with the Bulls, who won an league-high 62 games last regular season, before facing two of their West rivals in a road/home back-to-back: the Spurs in San Antonio and the Thunder in Dallas.