While the complete NBA schedule will not be released until later, the Sun Sentinel has learned from a league source familiar with the planning that the Miami Heat will open the 2012-13 NBA regular season on Tuesday Oct. 30 at AmericanAirlines Arena against the Celtics.
The Heat signed Allen away from the Celtics during the opening days of free agency earlier this month, despite a larger offer from Boston. Allen since has been criticized by some in Boston as turning his back on the Celtics to instead chase a championship with the Heat.
The last time the Heat faced the Celtics, they defeated Boston in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals at AmericanAirlines Arena. The Celtics return most of the core of their 2011-12 roster, including Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce, a roster boosted by the offseason additions of Jason Terry and Courtney Lee.
The Heat's season opener will be preceded by a championship-ring ceremony at AmericanAirlines Arena. The last time the Heat had such a ceremony and the raising of an NBA championship banner, they followed with a 108-66 loss Oct. 31, 2006 to the Chicago Bulls.
After winning the only previous championship in the franchise's 25 seasons, the Heat opened by losing eight of their first 12 games in 2006-07, on the way to a 44-38 finish.
While a preliminary regular-season schedule already has been circulated to teams, requests for potential changes are allowed until the final draft is released, meaning some dates remain subject to change.
The Sun Sentinel also has learned through a source familiar with the preliminary schedule:
-- The Heat's first rematch of the 2012 NBA Finals will be Christmas Day, when the Heat host the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Heat play Feb. 14 in Oklahoma City in the second game of that two-game season series. The Heat defeated the Thunder 4-1 in the NBA Finals, closing out that series with three consecutive victories at AmericanAirlines Arena.
-- The Heat's first road game will be on Friday Nov. 2 at Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks. The Heat defeated the Knicks 4-1 in the opening round of the 2012 playoffs.
-- The Heat will play a day game on New Year's Eve at the Amway Center against the Orlando Magic, who are expected to trade center Dwight Howard before the season.
-- The Heat are scheduled for only one visit to Brooklyn to face the Brooklyn Nets, on Jan 30.
-- The Heat will play Jan. 17 at Staples Center against the Los Angeles Lakers, and then host the Lakers for their lone visit South Florida visit on Feb. 10.
While last season's lockout limited the NBA to a 66-game regular season schedule, reducing season series against Eastern Conference opponents and eliminating visits from some Western Conference teams, the 2012-13 schedule will feature at least one visit to AmericanAirlines Arena by every Western Conference team and two visits by most Eastern Conference opponents.
The release of the Heat's preseason schedule is expected to follow shortly after the release of the regular-season schedule. The Heat's preseason includes two games in China against the Los Angeles Clippers, as well as a game in Atlanta against the Hawks, a game in Kansas City, Mo., against the Washington Wizards, a game in Raleigh, N.C., against the Charlotte Bobcats and three exhibitions at AmericanAirlines Arena.
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