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Jasson Collins: The 2004-05 NBA Schedule

Admit it, the first thing you did when the 2004-05 NBA schedule came out last week was check to see when Shaq and the Miami Heat would visit Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. It probably didn't take long to find that game, though, as we all know the NBA marketing machine would slate it for big time ratings on X-Mas day. Kobe and Shaq won't be the only hyped-up, intriguing match-up of the season, though, that's for sure. With such an active off-season, the 2004-05 season is sure to be loaded with must-see games. Here are some of the games I'm looking forward to...

November 2, 2004 - Opening night always brings some interesting games, but, with this year's season opening on the first Tuesday of November in an election year, I'm sure a lot of viewers are going to be watching something else. That's too bad because they'll be missing a solid lineup of 3 games to start the season. The new-look Rockets, headlined by Yao Ming (now in his third season) and last year's scoring champ and newest Houston arrival, Tracy McGrady, will head to Detroit to take on Rip Hamilton, Ben Wallace, and the defending champion Pistons, who will be receiving their rings. We'll also get to see the Kings with-or-without Peja Stojakovic take on the Nash-less Mavs. And, Kobe and the new-look Lakers host Denver.

November 4, 2004 - Francisco Elson apologized for making some derogatory comments about Kevin Garnett during the playoffs, but it's safe to say KG's probably got payback coming in the form of a huge game as his Wolves face off against the Nuggets. Also, it's worth noting the Charlotte Bobcats tip off their franchise history against the Washington Wizards.

November 16, 2004 - Just halfway into the first month of the season and Steve Nash will head back to his old stomping grounds to take on the Dallas Mavericks. The good money says Mavs owner Mark Cuban and Nash won't be bickering by then, and Nash should be well-received. Nash might wonder why he didn't get a better offer from Cuban, though, when he sees his former owner giving a million bucks away to a complete stranger sometime this fall on The Benefactor.

December 14, 2004 - Knicks at Nets before the New Year looks pretty innocent on paper, but chances are Tim Thomas doesn't feel the same way. Thomas is still bitter over a flagrant foul by New Jersey's Jason Collins in last year's playoffs and has vowed revenge. Thomas never got a chance to deliver his payback in the playoffs and who knows if he'll cool down by the time this December meeting rolls around.

January 20, 2005 - Tracy McGrady heads back to Orlando to face his old team. If you're playing fantasy basketball and you can update your roster daily, I'd think about adding T-Mac right about this time of year. It wouldn't surprise anyone if he drops 40 or even 50+ against his former team. We'll also get a look at how Francis, Mobley, Dwight Howard and the young Magic are progressing.

February 13, 2005 - Kenyon Martin will lead the Nuggets against New Jersey. No bad blood, here, but it's always interesting to see a guy like K-Mart return to his old city. You've got to wonder if Jason Kidd will be still a New Jersey Net when this one rolls around.

March 15, 2005 - It's too bad we have to wait until the middle of March to see Carlos Boozer return to Cleveland, but better late than never, right? The city of Cleveland isn't going to forget. If Boozer were to wait five years before stepping foot in Gund Arena again, I'm willing to bet he'd get booed. It's going to be pretty ugly up there. Now, why isn't this game scheduled to be on national TV? To add to the interest factor, Lebron might be positioning the Cavs for a late-season playoff push.

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