Thu, Aug 05, 2010 - Page 19 News List

NBA: LeBron James to make Heat debut against the Celtics

AFP , NEW YORK

LeBron James, the two-time NBA Most Valuable Player who left Cleveland for Miami last month, will make his debut for the Heat in Boston on Oct. 26 in the NBA season opener, the league announced on Tuesday.

James joined pals Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the Heat roster and was joined by Lithuanian center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, another former Cavaliers star, on a Heat squad that is expected to challenge for the championship next season.

Miami will meet the reigning Eastern Conference champion Celtics — led by Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen. They pushed the Los Angeles Lakers to the seven-game limit, before losing the NBA Finals last June.

James and the Heat will visit Kobe Bryant and the Lakers on Dec. 25 in a Christmas showdown that tops five NBA games to be played on the holiday.

The Lakers will also play on the NBA’s opening night, starting their quest for a third consecutive league crown at home against Houston in what is expected to Yao Ming’s return for the Rockets after missing all of last season.

Chinese star center Yao was sidelined after foot surgery, but a healthy return could signal a resurgence for the Rockets, who will be spectators as the Lakers raise a championship banner to the rafters of their home arena.

The night after the season openers will feature games between some of the NBA’s most talented young players, with NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant leading the Oklahoma City Thunder against visiting Chicago and top draft pick Blake Griffin debuting at home for the Los Angeles Clippers against Portland.

The Orlando Magic will open a new home arena on Oct. 28 when the Washington Wizards visit. The same night will see Canadian star Steve Nash lead the Phoenix Suns in Utah.

The next night, James and the Heat will play host to Dwight Howard and the Magic, while the Lakers visit the Suns in a rematch between last season’s Western Conference finalists.

Houston will play host to Denver on Oct. 30, with Utah in Oklahoma City the following night and Portland traveling to Chicago on Nov. 1.

Christmas games in addition to the marquee Miami-Lakers game include Orlando in Boston, Chicago in New York, Denver in Oklahoma City and Portland against Golden State.

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