NBA

Heat will play 8 of first 12 games at home

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MIAMI (AP)

LeBron James will have plenty of time to get used to his new surroundings when the most anticipated season in Miami Heat history begins.

The new-look Heat - with the two-time MVP in James set to play alongside Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in the league's newest superstar trio - will play eight of their first 12 games at home, including a six-game homestand from Nov. 6-19.

The NBA said last week that Miami will open in Boston on Oct. 26, and as expected, the home debut will be Oct. 29 against Orlando.

And on Dec. 2, James will face a scene unlike any he's encountered before.

That's the day he'll visit Cleveland as an opponent for the first time, a game that'll come nearly five months after he went on television to announce that he was spurning the Cavaliers and taking ''my talents to South Beach'' to join Wade, Bosh and the Heat, who pulled off a colossal coup by landing the three most coveted targets of this summer's free-agent period.

Cleveland comes to Miami on Dec. 15 and Jan. 31. The Heat also visit the Cavaliers on March 29.

Bosh will face his former club, the Toronto Raptors, four times, the first two of those meetings to come in Miami on Nov. 13 and Jan. 22. The Heat then visit Toronto on Feb. 16 and in the regular-season finale on April 13.

The longest road trip the Heat will have is a five-game swing against Milwaukee, Portland, the Los Angeles Clippers, Denver and Chicago in the first portion of January, when the circus makes its annual stop at Miami's home arena.

Miami has two six-game homestands, the one in November followed by another against Chicago, Portland, the Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis, San Antonio and Oklahoma City from March 6-16.

Under league rules, a team can be on national television as many as 34 times. The schedule released Tuesday shows Miami on national TV 29 times, with the other five remaining slots expected to be added onto the NBATV schedule based on fan votes for which games they would like to see on certain Tuesday nights throughout the season.

All four of Miami's games with Boston and Orlando are planned for national TV broadcasts.

By comparison, Cleveland - a nationwide TV regular when James was starring there - is scheduled to appear nationally just three times this season, one of those naturally being the Dec. 2 matchup with the Heat.

Tagged: Heat, LeBron James, Chris Bosh

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