After celebrating their first NBA title with a victory over Miami, the Dallas Mavericks will celebrate Christmas this year with a game against the Heat.
The NBA released its 2011-12 schedule Tuesday, despite a lockout that could last months and jeopardize the season. The schedule will include a rematch of this year's NBA Finals when Miami travels to Dallas to face the world champion Mavericks in a game that will be televised on ABC. TNT will televise the March 29 game when Dallas plays the Heat in Miami.
If the NBA lockout ends in time, the Mavs will open the season and receive their championship rings Nov. 1 at home against the Chicago Bulls. They'll follow that with a Nov. 4 road game at San Antonio and a Nov. 5 home game against Oklahoma City -- the team the Mavs defeated in five games in the Western Conference Finals.
The Mavs also will be part of the NBA's annual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day when they play Kobe Bryant and the Lakers in Los Angeles on Jan. 16. TNT will televise the game.
Other notable games have the Mavs hosting the Lakers on Dec. 15 and March 21, and the Spurs on Jan. 29 and March 17. Dwight Howard comes to town -- perhaps for the last time as a member of the Orlando Magic -- on Dec. 20.
The Celtics make their only appearance in Dallas on Feb. 20, while the Mavs play for the second time in San Antonio on April 8.
Because of their recent success, the Mavs are scheduled to be on national television 30 times this season -- tying Boston for the most appearances of any team. The Mavs will be on TNT 10 times, ESPN 10 times, NBA TV seven times and ABC three times.
Another positive from winning the title is that the champs normally receive a user-friendly schedule. That certainly applies to the Mavs, whose longest road trip of the season only covers four games -- a feat they'll encounter on three occasions.
The Mavs close the regular season April 18 at home against the Houston Rockets before trying to successfully defend their NBA title.
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760