Blog Entry

Miami Heat 2011-2012 NBA schedule breakdown

Posted on: July 19, 2011 4:16 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 3:18 pm
A breakdown of the 2011-2012 Miami Heat NBA schedule. Posted by Ben Golliver.


After the 2011 NBA Finals, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the rest of the Miami Heat were fresh out of answers. The Dallas Mavericks were too much for them, a tough, balanced, steady team that overwhelmed and wore down South Beach's talented trio.

On Tuesday, the NBA officially announced its 2011-2012 schedule, which means it is time to turn our attention to the Heat's quest for redemption. 

First, a few notes. The Heat play just 17 back-to-backs, a bit below average. They're scheduled to appear on national television 25 times, tied with the Los Angeles Lakers for tops in the league.

Without further ado, here are 10 games worth keeping an eye on, assuming there is a full 82-game season with no games lost to a work stoppage due to the ongoing lockout.

Season Opener

The Miami Heat's road back to the Finals begins in Madison Square Garden, where they open their season against the New York Knicks on Wednsday, Nov. 2. Most likely, the Knicks still won't be any good, but they do look good on paper thanks to the tandem of Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony. The Heat were 2-2 against the Knicks last year and they lost their 2010-2011 season opener to the Boston Celtics, so this won't be a cakewalk. Still, with vision of J.J. Barea running through them and Jason Terry bombing over the top of them, the Heat should come out motivated and take care of business. 

First Loss

No one can forget Miami's slow start last year. The Heat began just 9-8 and rumors circulated that Heat coach Erik Spoelstra could be in danger of losing his job. This year, the opening schedule is fairly easy. The Heat do have to endure a back-to-back against the Knicks and Orlando Magic to start the season, but four of their next six games are against lottery teams and they play nine of their first 13 games at home. Only three of those 13 opponents won more than 46 games last season (the Celtics and the Magic, whom they play twice). Look for the Celtics to draw first blood again this year. Boston travels to Miami for a rematch of their second round playoff series on Nov. 16. Rajon Rondo will be healthy by then.

Return To Cleveland

LeBron James gets his first visit back to Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland out of the way early in 2011-2012, as the Heat travel to face James' former team, the Cavaliers, in their 8th game of the season. Will James and his entourage be allowed in the parking garage this time? Will the cheers for No. 1 overall draft pick Kyrie Irving eclipse the boos for James? Will he do the chalk toss? Will he have to use the bathroom during introductions again? These important questions and more will be answered on Friday, Nov. 18.

The Lake Show 

A regular season rendition of the Finals match-up that everyone anticipated but never materialized takes place on Thursday, Dec. 8 when the Los Angeles Lakers travel to South Florida. The last time Kobe Bryant and company were in town, the Heat held the Lakers to just 80 points and Bryant released his frustrations by staying at the arena for hours afterwards, getting up some extra shots. The X-factor will be how much damage Andrew Bynum can do (and who the Heat will find in free agency to guard him).

Holiday Appetizer

In a welcome run-up to the Christmas Day showcase game, the Heat will visit the young and super talented Thunder in Oklahoma City for the first of two meetings this season. The game will be nationally televised on Friday, Dec. 23, and feature five of the most athletic and exciting NBA All-Stars in the Heat's trio plus Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. It will be awesome. There really better not be a work stoppage.
Christmas Day

The 2011 NBA Finals will have its first official rematch on Christmas Day as the centerpiece of a triple-header. The Heat will head to Dallas to face the Mavericks and confront their late-game collapse demons. Really, I can't imagine a worse way for James to spend Christmas than in the building where he saw his best chance for a ring slip away while playing some of the least effective basketball of his recent career. Kinda brutal, but those are the breaks.

Road Warriors

On Friday, Jan. 6, the Heat travel to the Sacramento Kings to begin their longest West Coast swing of the season. The Heat will play the Kings, Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets over a one-week period. That sounds pretty tough, but it's possible that all five of those teams will miss the playoffs next year and there's only one back-to-back, meaning things could be a lot worse. If the Heat are able to stack up wins on this trip -- and perhaps sweep the quintet --it could be pivotal in determining Eastern Conference playoff positioning. 

Running Of The Bulls

The Heat face the Chicago Bulls, their Eastern Conference Finals opponent, four times this season, but all four games will take place in 2012. The first chance Derrick Rose will have to redeem himself will be Thursday, Jan. 19, when Chicago travels to Miami. The Bulls come back to Miami again later in January before the Heat travel to the United Center for games during March and April. If these two teams are duking it out for the top seed in the East, as expected, they'll get four solid head-to-head chances to settle things directly.

Playoff Push

February 2012 is highlighted by another five-game road trip, this time against all Eastern Conference teams, beginning on Wednesday, Feb. 8. This trip is great news for the Heat: four of their five opponents (New Jersey Nets, Washington Wizards, Milwaukee Bucks and Cleveland Cavaliers) missed the playoffs last season and the fifth, the Philadelphia 76ers, were dismantled fairly easily in the first round of last year's playoffs. It's not often a team has the opportunity to sweep two separate 5-game road trips in a single season, but the Heat definitely have the possibility. Best of all, none of the games in this stretch are back-to-backs.

Season Finale

The Heat close out their season at home against the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, April 18. There's always a decent shot that playoff seeding and pairings will already be set, meaning this game could be a Miami fan's best bet to see the odd assortment of end-of-the-bench guys that president Pat Riley assembles to fill out his roster. Good times. 

Since: Jul 4, 2011
Posted on: July 20, 2011 3:40 pm

Miami Heat 2011-2012 NBA schedule breakdown

If you're counting on Haslem and Miller, you are misguided.  Miller averaged 2.6 ppg in the playoffs.  All last season heat fans were claiming the return of Haslem would be the difference.  How did that work out?  And by the way both are a year older, and therefor suckier.  All this is dependednt on IF there is a season.  Another big one, IF there is a hard cap the heat will not be able to sign any of these coveted free agents cbssports thinks there will land.  The big three have painted themselves in a corner contractually.

Since: Jul 2, 2011
Posted on: July 20, 2011 2:12 pm

Miami Heat 2011-2012 NBA schedule breakdown


Since: Jul 2, 2011
Posted on: July 20, 2011 2:07 pm

Miami Heat 2011-2012 NBA schedule breakdown

Miami all year played to there competition, the sixers are a perfect example 
playing the games close but taking it 4-1 . Then they quickly disposed of the 2 best
teams in the east ....hate all u want but the only thing the Heat will suck on
is a trophy from the 2011-2012 Miller @ Hassam are both healthy
and wont be rusty as they were when called upon last year 

Since: Jan 17, 2007
Posted on: July 20, 2011 9:16 am

Miami Heat 2011-2012 NBA schedule breakdown

The sole game the sixers won was a miracle comeback. The sixers played Miami tough but there was no way in the world they were taking the Heat to 7 games.

Since: Aug 6, 2008
Posted on: July 20, 2011 1:34 am

Miami Heat 2011-2012 NBA schedule breakdown

Philadelphia was hardly dismantled easily.  Miami surgically disposed of the Celtics far easier than they got rid of the Sixers in the opening round. 4 of the 5 games were decided by 4 points or less, and the Sixers easily could have pushed it to 7.  The Heat can suck it

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