Tuesday , Aug , 01 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Heat begin title defense on Halloween night

New York, NY (Sports Network) – The Miami Heat will look to put a scare into
the rest of the league when they open their title defense on Tuesday, October
31 at home against the new-look Chicago Bulls.

The contest is the first of two featured on the NBA’s 2006-07 schedule, which
was released on Monday. The second contest of the opening night doubleheader
will pit reigning MVP Steve Nash and his Phoenix Suns against last year’s
scoring champion Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Heat-Bulls tilt will feature a ring ceremony for Dwyane Wade, Shaquille
O’Neal and company. Both games will be broadcast on TNT.

ESPN takes over the next night with two playoff rematches. First, LeBron James
will lead his Cleveland Cavaliers into Washington to battle the Eastern
Conference assassin, Gilbert Arenas, and the Wizards. Later in the evening,
Phoenix will host the new sweethearts of LA, the Clippers.

Other highlighted matchups of opening week, titled “NBA Opening Week…It’s
Game Time!” include a Western Conference powerhouse matchup between San
Antonio and Dallas on Thursday a day before the Spurs host the Cavaliers on
Friday.

The reigning Western Conference champions, the Mavericks, will get a shot at
revenge twice in the regular season against the Heat, as the two squads will
meet in Miami on January 21 and in Dallas on February 22.

Sunday, November 5 will mark a special day for the citizens of New Orleans as
the Hornets return to New Orleans Arena to battle the Houston Rockets. It will
be one of six games the Hornets will play in the Big Easy this season.

ABC’s coverage on Christmas Day will feature a rematch of last season’s
holiday tilt, the Miami Heat against the Los Angeles Lakers.

One highly anticipated homecoming this upcoming season will take place on
February 25 when 2005-06 Defensive Player of the Year Ben Wallace returns to
Detroit as a member of the Bulls to take on the Pistons in The Palace.

The NBA and TNT celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day — January 15 — with a
doubleheader displaying the Suns and the Memphis Grizzlies which precedes the
O’Neal’s Heat against Bryant’s Lakers.

ABC will exclusively broadcast the NBA Finals for a fourth straight season in
June.