Schedule to be heavy in-conference

The NBA's 66-game schedule will run from Dec. 25 - April 26 and will include 48 conference games, according to a league source in this ESPN report.

Teams will play about two more games per month, according to the report, and each team will play a back-to-back-to-back at least once, but no more than three times.

Off days in the second round of the playoffs will also be limited.

The 48 conference games are just four fewer than in a regular 82-game season, but it leaves just 18 out-of-conference, meaning teams will not visit every NBA city. In an 82-game schedule, teams play once in every out-of-conference city. The Dallas Mavericks would sure like to keep a date in Washington D.C. to make their championship visit to President Obama at the White House.

The Mavs were scheduled to play in D.C. during the preseason and their lone stop on the pre-lockout, 82-game schedule had them playing at the Wizards on Jan. 10. The league will re-script each team's schedule. The Mavs are expected to keep their Christmas Day home game against the Miami Heat to open the season and then their schedule will change from there.

It's undetermined how many games each team will play within its division. The Southwest Division should be one of the tougher, if not the toughest divisions in basketball with the defending champs, the San Antonio Spurs, who finished with the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference last season, the Chris Paul-led New Orleans Hornets, who pressed the Lakers in the first round, the up-and-coming Memphis Grizzlies, who upset the Spurs in the first round and the re-tooling Houston Rockets after the retirement of Yao Ming.

Last season the Mavs finished 8-8 in the Southwest Division (and 27-9 against the rest of the Western Conference). How Dallas fared in its division:

vs. San Antonio: 1-3

vs. Memphis: 1-3

vs. Houston: 4-0

vs. New Orleans: 2-2

Here's how the NBA breaks down the 66-game schedule from a release it sent out Sunday night:

Regular Season Start Date: December 25, 2011

Regular Season End Date: April 26, 2012

Playoffs Start Date: April 28, 2012

Last Possible Finals Date: June 26, 2012

Individual Team Schedule Breakdown

Conference Games: 48

• Play 6 teams 4 times (2 home, 2 away)

• Play 4 teams 3 times (2 home, 1 away)

• Play 4 teams 3 times (1 home, 2 away)

Non-Conference Games: 18

• Play 3 teams 2 times (1 home, 1 away)

• Play 6 teams 1 time at home

• Play 6 teams 1 time away

Back to Back to Backs: All teams with at least 1; no more than 3

Playoff Back to Backs: Possible in second round