The 2008-09 NBA schedule is out. Yippee! Highlights and observations follow.
Oct. 28: Opening Night
An earlier-than-usual launch to the season starts with a tasty TNT doubleheader, leading off with the new champs from Boston hosting LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers on ring night and capped by Greg Oden's long-awaited NBA debut in Blazers at Lakers.
Bynum vs Oden? Will this be like Godzilla vs King Kong? Will the earth shake when they collide in the lane?
Nov. 5: Charlotte at New York
Larry Brown returns to Madison Square Garden with his (latest) new team. We'll spare you the dates on Larry's returns to Denver, New Jersey, San Antonio, Los Angeles, Indiana, Philly and Detroit.
He's only coached seven teams? Seems like more than that.
Dec. 25: Merry, Merry, Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas!
This has to be some sort of record: Christmas Day delivers five NBA games on national TV.
New Orleans at Orlando gets us started at noon on ESPN.
ABC follows with a pretty handy doubleheader: Spurs at Suns, then your inevitable Celtics-at-Lakers Finals rematch.
TNT takes us home with Washington at Cleveland -- LeBron and DeShawn Stevenson together on a holiday? -- followed by Dallas at Portland.
You can't ask Santa for more.
Damn, I will totally be ignoring my family. Bump Christmas cheer.
Jan. 2: Miami at Orlando
There are no New Year's Day games in the NBA this season. So this is the first game of 2009: Stan Van Gundy coaching against coaching rookie Erik Spoelstra, his longtime Heat colleague.
Stan will probably give Spoelstra a bullet-proof vest with extra kevlar in the back, as a gift.