The reigning champion Miami Heat will open up the NBA season at home against the Chicago Bulls in what figures to be Derrick Rose's first game since tearing his ACL during the 2012 playoffs, one of three games on Tuesday, Oct. 29 -- the first night of the 2013-14 NBA season.
That same night, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are scheduled to make their debuts as members of the Brooklyn Nets under first-year head coach Jason Kidd in a road test against Kyrie Irving, 2013 No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett and the rest of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Howard will face the Lakers for the first time on Nov. 7 when the Rockets host the Lakers, while the former Celtics will return to Boston for the first time on Jan. 26.
The NBA Christmas Day schedule again will include five games, starting with Chicago at Brooklyn (noon ET, ESPN). It continues with Oklahoma City at New York (2:30 p.m. ET, ABC), Miami at the Lakers (5 p.m. ET, ABC), Houston at San Antonio (8 p.m. ET, ESPN) and the Clippers at Golden State (10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN).
This will mark the first time since 2008 that the defending NBA champions will be on the road for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Heat reserve Shane Battier took to Twitter to voice his concern about leaving Miami for Christmas.
The schedule I got said that we are on the road for Xmas and Turkey Day. I think I received a bad copy.
— Shane Battier (@ShaneBattier) August 6, 2013
ESPN's regular-season TV schedule opens Nov. 1 with a doubleheader -- Miami at Brooklyn (8 p.m. ET), followed by San Antonio at the Lakers (10:30 p.m. ET).
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.