Cleveland visits defending NBA champion Boston to launch the 2008-09 season on Oct. 28, the league announced Wednesday.
The Cavaliers and Celtics play at 8 p.m. ET (on TNT) in the first of 1,230 games on the schedule, which wraps up on April 15, 2009. ESPN Radio also begins its 26-game schedule with that game.
Also on opening night, the defending Western Conference champion Lakers host Portland at 10:30 p.m. ET (on TNT), while Milwaukee visits Chicago at 8:30 p.m. ET.
A dozen games are set for Wednesday, Oct. 29, including ESPN's opening doubleheader featuring Phoenix at San Antonio (8 p.m. ET) and the Lakers against the Los Angeles Clippers (10:30 p.m. ET).
Oklahoma City, home of the former Seattle SuperSonics franchise, hosts its first official game on Oct. 29 against Milwaukee.
Charlotte and Dallas don't open their seasons until Thursday, Oct. 30.
The Lakers and Celtics meet for the first time on Christmas night at 5 p.m. ET on ABC. It's the final game of a Christmas Day tripleheader -- New Orleans visits Orlando (noon ET on ESPN), followed by San Antonio at Phoenix (2:30 p.m. on ABC).
Also on Christmas night, Washington is at Cleveland and Dallas is at Portland. Both those games are on TNT.
Other schedule highlights include
Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni's return to Phoenix on Dec. 15, and New York getting a chance to welcome former coach Larry Brown back to Madison Square Garden when Charlotte visits on Nov. 5.
Baron Davis goes back to Golden State for the first time Jan. 25, and his Clippers get their first visit from Elton Brand when Philadelphia comes to Staples Center on New Year's Eve.
Information from The Associated Press is included in this report