So much for the perks of winning a second consecutive NBA championship. The Heat will not get to spend either Thanksgiving or Christmas at home.
As expected, the NBA announced Tuesday, without explanation, that it is sending Miami on the road to play the Lakers at 5 p.m. on Christmas in Los Angeles — the start of a four-game road trip that also takes the Heat to Sacramento, Portland, Ore., and Denver.
And Miami will spend Thanksgiving in Ohio or Canada, with a game at Cleveland the day before the holiday (Nov. 27) and a game at Toronto the day after (Nov.29).
The Heat will receive its championship rings at its Oct. 29 opener, against visiting Chicago. Miami travels to Philadelphia to play the next night, then goes to Brooklyn, N.Y., for an ESPN game Nov. 1.
Meanwhile, the Heat will be playing on Christmas for the 10th time in 26 seasons and the fifth time against the Lakers, who are 0-4 against Miami in their previous Dec. 25 encounters.
Heat-Lakers produced ABC’s two most-watched Christmas games ever, so that matchup was appealing to the NBA and ABC. Thunder-Knicks will be the ABC lead-in to the Heat game.
Consider that over the past 10 seasons, the defending champion played eight times on Christmas — five times at home, three on the road. “The schedule I got said that we are on the road for Xmas and Turkey Day,” Heat forward Shane Battier said on Twitter. “I think I received a bad copy.”
Other schedule tidbits:
The Heat and the UM football team play at home on two Saturdays in November, which would result in conflicts if the UM-Virginia Tech game Nov. 9 is scheduled at night opposite Heat-Celtics or if the UM-Virginia game is scheduled at night against Heat-Magic.