Returning to the scene of the crime, the Dallas Mavericks now know that the 2014-15 campaign will begin where last season’s playoff run ended.
Wednesday, the NBA announced that the Mavericks will open the regular season in San Antonio on Oct. 28 in a nationally-televised matchup on TNT, taking on the defending champion Spurs as the Southwest Division rivalry is once again ignited in the first of four showdowns this upcoming season.
The Mavericks pushed the Spurs to seven games during last season’s first-round playoff series, proving to be the champs’ toughest test en route to the title. Now, the new-look Mavs will get an early-season measuring stick in a benchmark and marquee matchup before also hosting the Spurs at American Airlines Center on Dec. 20 and then again on March 24, which is the start of a home-and-home series that concludes in San Antonio on March 27.
The opening matchup sets the stage for the Mavericks to appear 18 times on national TV this season, playing four games on TNT, seven on ESPN, seven on NBA TV and three times on ESPN Radio.
The Mavs will play their home opener on Oct. 30, hosting the Utah Jazz. New addition Chandler Parsons then won’t have to wait long to face his former team, squaring off against the Houston Rockets on the road Nov. 22. Parsons and the Mavs then welcome the Rockets to town on Feb. 20 and April 2 in what figures to be a festive environment.
Parsons played his first three seasons with the Rockets before signing a three-year offer sheet with the Mavericks as a restricted free agent this summer, migrating to Dallas after Houston opted not to match the offer and setting the stage for another brewing in-state rivalry. Unfortunately for the Mavericks, however, all four of their matchups against the Rockets this season fall on the second nights of back-to-backs.
Staying in the division as well, former Maverick Vince Carter makes his return to American Airlines Center with the Memphis Grizzlies on Jan. 27. Carter and the Grizzlies also travel back to Big D on March 20, which could prove pivotal in a tight playoff race. The two teams will also meet in a matchup on Martin Luther King Day, squaring off in Memphis on Monday, Jan. 19, at 4 p.m. CT on NBA TV.
Fellow Western Conference power Oklahoma City invades the AA Center on Dec. 28 and March 16, as reigning MVP Kevin Durant leads the Thunder down Interstate 35. The Los Angeles Lakers and a healthy Kobe Bryant will also make visits to Dallas on Nov. 21 and Dec. 26.
But the Mavericks will have an opportunity to grade themselves against the powerhouses of the Eastern Conference as well, taking on four-time MVP LeBron James and the highly-touted Cleveland Cavaliers at American Airlines Center on March 10. Expected to remain competitive despite losing James in free agency, the Miami Heat will come to town on Nov. 9 after four straight trips to the Finals. Meanwhile, the Chicago Bulls are once again expected to contend for the East crown thanks to a healthy Derrick Rose and the free-agent signing of big man Pau Gasol, visiting Dallas on Jan. 23.
After 10 seasons with the Orlando Magic, Jameer Nelson makes his return with the Mavericks on Jan. 31. The Mavs will also welcome back three contributors from last year’s team on Nov. 26, when point guard Jose Calderon, center Samuel Dalembert and second-year guard Shane Larkin return with the New York Knicks after being dealt away in the six-player trade that brought back center Tyson Chandler and floor general Raymond Felton.
January figures to be tough for the Mavs, tying a season-high by playing 16 games during the month, including 12 on the road. Those road challenges during January include the Cavaliers on Jan. 4, the L.A. Clippers on Jan. 10, the Rockets on Jan. 28 and the Heat on Jan. 30. The Mavericks’ longest homestand comes between March 10-20, playing five straight at American Airlines Center against the likes of Cleveland, the Clippers, the Thunder, Orlando and Memphis.
All told, after playing 16 back-to-backs last season, the Mavericks have 17 this season. Twelve of which come prior to the All-Star Break. Ten of those back-to-backs also come on the road, leaving four to begin at home and conclude on the road and three to start on the road and wrap up at home.
The Mavs will now await the start of training camp, which is set to begin on Sept. 30. The team also begins preseason play on Oct. 7 while hosting All-Star big man Dwight Howard, lethal scoring assassin James Harden and the rival Rockets.