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NBA Schedule 2013-14: Opening Week Games You Must Watch

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NBA Schedule 2013-14: Opening Week Games You Must Watch
Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The official schedule for the 2013-14 NBA regular season has been released via the league's official website. I'll pause for a moment as you click that link, track down your favorite team's schedule and marvel over the possibilities.

Now that you're back, there's a list of opening-week games you need to watch.

There are countless options to choose from as the professional basketball world prepares for yet another memorable season in the NBA. With that being said, a select few games from the opening week of the season have us intrigued.

Here are the outings you need to see.

 

Chicago Bulls at Miami Heat

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Date: Tuesday, Oct. 29

Time: 8:00 p.m. ET

TV: TNT

 

On the opening day of the 2012-13 NBA regular season, Derrick Rose will return, the Miami Heat will raise their championship banner, and the NBA's most physical rivalry will resume. Best of all, each of those things will happen in the same game.

That's how you start a season.

Rose's return may be the most anticipated event of the season—stop me if you've heard that before—and it will come against the man he controversially defeated for MVP in 2011. More importantly, it will come in Miami.

Rose and his teammates will be forced to watch the Heat raise their banner and receive their championship rings before the game begins. With this in mind, it's hard to imagine the Bulls coming out with anything less than an extraordinary amount of energy and tension.

As if these games could get any more physical.

Rose will lead the likes of Jimmy Butler, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah for the first time since April 2012. Not only will this present the Bulls with a full lineup, but it will also be an early test of how title ready they truly are.

This won't define either team's season, but if you think a ring ceremony won't influence the physicality of this already brutal clash, you're off your rocker. This one will be intense.

 

New York Knicks at Chicago Bulls

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Date: Thursday, Oct. 31

Time: 8:00 p.m. ET

TV: TNT

 

Halloween will be one of the most entertaining days of the 2013-14 regular season, as we're blessed with two star-studded games. The first of two will come between Eastern Conference foes fighting for the label of "second best."

Did we mention D-Rose will face Carmelo Anthony in what is yet another example of the former MVP being tasked with taking down an elite opponent early?

It's hardly fair to gauge Rose's progress after just three days, let alone the direction of these teams, but that doesn't take away from the intrigue. The Bulls and Knicks have played physical games before, and this time around is unlikely to be any different.

Rose, 'Melo, Noah and Tyson Chandler will make this competitive, regardless of what day it is.

Other storylines to watch will be the rise of young players Butler and Iman Shumpert, who serve nearly identical purpose for their respective squads. With Deng defending Anthony and J.R. Smith needing to prove he's still legitimate, the pressure will be on early.

Rose's return to the NBA couldn't be much more difficult than this.

 

Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Clippers

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Date: Thursday, Oct. 31

Time: 10:30 p.m. ET

TV: TNT

 

During the 2012-13 NBA regular season, few rivalries were as heated or physical as the one between the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers. Two California teams looking to emerge from the shadow cast by the Los Angeles Lakers, the ultimate underdogs emerged as title contenders.

On Thursday, Oct. 31, they'll do battle once again.

It may be Halloween, but don't expect these teams to put on masks and become friends for an evening. There is a legitimate level of dislike between the two sides, and the physical battles between Blake Griffin and David Lee are testament enough. 

Add the fact that both teams made extraordinary improvements, and you have yourself a game everyone needs to see.

Stephen Curry will look to solidify his superstar status early in the regular season, going to battle with perennial All-NBA selection Chris Paul. With Griffin and Lee clashing and Andre Iguodala looking to impress, both sides will be in desperation mode.

 

Miami Heat at Brooklyn Nets

Al Bello/Getty Images

Date: Friday, Nov. 1

Time: 8:00 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN

 

The Heat are the reigning NBA champions, looking to cap off their tenure with another title before the Big Three become eligible for free agency during the summer of 2014. The Brooklyn Nets are title hopefuls that made tremendous strides via free agency.

Who's ready for another edition of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett against the Heat?

Unlike what we've seen in recent seasons, Garnett and Pierce aren't surrounded by a superstar point guard and little else. Instead, they have a star point guard, Deron Williams, and depth at every single position.

Throw Brook Lopez into the mix—the best offensive big man in basketball during the 2012-13 season—and Brooklyn becomes a legitimate threat.

The Nets are elite at the positions Miami lackspoint guard and centerand have now added stars at virtually every other slot. Joe Johnson has something to prove, Andrei Kirilenko is a defensive star, and both Garnett and Pierce are ready for any clash with Miami.

Add the ever-present rivalry between Garnett, Pierce and Ray Allen, and this becomes a measure of the Eastern Conference's elite.

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