The NBA released its schedule for the upcoming season and, naturally, the first thing everyone looked for was when Lebron James would return to Miami (Christmas Day as it turns out), but we here in Houston were more interested in the Rockets, who will try to improve on their 54-win season and first round knockout at the hands of Damian Lillard and the Portland Trailblazers.
The Rockets have 16 nationally televised games (not counting games on NBATV), which is key considering their home network still isn't on providers other than Comcast -- though that could change if things go their way at hearings in October. But, there are plenty of interesting games on the schedule worth noting.
The Rockets open the season fairly early (October 28), probably due to the NBA extending the All-Star break to a minimum of eight games this year, in Los Angeles against Jeremy Lin's new team, the Lakers. The Rockets' home opener is against the Celtics on November 1 sandwiched between a pair of brutal back-to-back all-travel sets (Lakers-Jazz, 76ers-Heat) that make up a five-games-in-eight-nights stretch to start the season. Ouch.
Chandler Parsons Returns
The former Rocket who seems right at home in douchey Dallas (and apparently dating a Kardashian!) returns to Toyota Center November 22 with his new team. While there might be a few boo birds out, my money is on plenty of applause for a guy who went from terribly underpaid to arguably badly overpaid. Welcome to the NBA.
Speaking of Boos
Chris Bosh, who left the Rockets hanging in free agency and essentially blew up their much ballyhooed plans won't show his face in Houston until after the New Year as the seriously diminished Heat come to town January 3. Given the Rockets recruited Bosh twice, you would think he would feel right at home here.
Dwight Howard's stay in LA was ultimately undone by his well publicized back injury. He won't have to wait long to bring his back-to-the-basket game to Staples Center as the Rockets open the season there. Good thing too since old (man) pal Kobe Bryant could be on the injured list by the end of the first week.
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The newly crowned San Antonio Spurs, nevermind Rockets division rivals, face the Rockets four times including a TNT joint on November 6 in Houston and a home-and-home pair in the final week of the season. Are the Spurs ever going to finally die? Doubtful.
The King Returneth
Of course, no list would be complete without a mention of Lebron James now that he is safely tucked away back in his home state. It's a safe bet he will be joined by Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love, who is likely to be traded to the Cavs at some point in the next few weeks. The traveling circus that is the King James show makes its only appearance in Houston January 7 in a game that will air on ESPN.