NEW YORK (AP) - The Miami Heat will open their title defense against the Chicago Bulls on Oct. 29 in the expected return of Derrick Rose, with an all-Los Angeles matchup later that night in the Lakers' first game without Dwight Howard and the Clippers' first with Doc Rivers.
The NBA's 2013-14 schedule, released Tuesday, also features a potential LeBron James-Kobe Bryant duel on Christmas in Los Angeles, right after scoring stars Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant match up across the country in New York.
Howard's first visit to the Lakers since leaving for Houston as a free agent doesn't come until Feb. 19, giving Bryant plenty of time to get back to full strength from his torn Achilles' tendon near the end of last season.
The Indiana Pacers host the Orlando Magic in the opening game of the season, about the time the Heat are holding another championship ring ceremony. Then Miami will try to give Rose a rough welcome back in what's likely to be his first NBA game since tearing his knee in the opening game of the 2012 playoffs.
Most teams open Oct. 30. Two nights later, the Heat will serve as the opponent for the new-look Brooklyn Nets' first home game since acquiring Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce from Boston.
That duo, which helped lead the Celtics to the 2008 NBA championship, will make its emotional return to Boston on Jan. 26. Rivers will coach his first game back there Dec. 11 - one night after the Celtics see Garnett and Pierce for the first time in Brooklyn. Rivers will then renew acquaintances with his two star players Dec. 12 at Barclays Center.