Miami Heat will have to hit the road for the holidays

The schedule makers did the Heat no favors, lining up the champs for away games on Christmas and around Thanksgiving.

08/07/2013 12:01 AM

09/23/2013 6:52 PM

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 will be home for six of its first nine games and six of its last nine, including the April 16 finale against Philadelphia.
• The Heat will play every Western Conference team twice and every Eastern Conference team four times except Boston, Milwaukee, Cleveland and Philadelphia. Miami plays three games against those four teams, with the Cavaliers and 76ers making only one appearance in South Florida.
• The Heat has the maximum 25 national TV appearances — six on ABC, 10 on ESPN and nine on TNT.
• The Heat plays 17 sets of back-to-back games, one more than last season. Seven of those feature two road games in a row. Like last season, there will be no home games on consecutive nights.
• The Heat plays at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 1 against the Knicks. If Heat players want to attend the Feb. 2 Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium, they will need to convince coach Erik Spoelstra it will not interfere with preparation for a Feb. 3 home game against Detroit.
• The Heat and Dolphins do not have home games on the same day and do not play at the same time. The Heat and Panthers have 10 home conflicts.

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.

• Partial season-ticket plans go on sale Aug. 19 and individual tickets Sept. 12 and 13, depending on the game.

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