Feb 14, 2013; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) handles the ball against Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) during the first half at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Schedule 2013: Top 10 games of the year

Finally. Basketball is almost here. As part of our NBA preview here at FanSided, we’ll take a look at the top 10 games of the 2013-14 NBA season.

October 29, 2013

Chicago Bulls at Miami Heat, 8:00 pm EST, TNT

This game has it all. The two-time defending champions will raise another banner while another legitimate contender will get their star player back. Point guard Derrick Rose, the 2010-11 MVP will be back in action for the first time since the 2012 postseason when he tore his ACL against the Philadelphia 76ers. The Bulls and Heat have a nice budding rivalry – they met in the 2012 conference finals and last season, the Bulls snapped the Heat’s 27-game winning streak.

Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers, 10:30 pm EST, TNT

Pretty awesome double header to start the season, isn’t it? These two teams have seen their roles reversed. After losing Dwight Howard to free agency and Kobe Bryant to an Achilles injury, the Lakers will be fighting just to stay in contention for a playoff spot. The Clippers, on the other hand, acquired one of the league’s elite coaches in Doc Rivers and improved their depth, most notably by adding guard J.J. Redick. It doesn’t that Rivers and the Clippers decided to cover up the Lakers’ banners during Clipper home games.

November 1, 2013

Miami Heat at Brooklyn Nets, 8:00 pm EST, ESPN

The Nets made the biggest moves of the offseason, acquiring Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry from the Boston Celtics and hiring Jason Kidd as their head coach. The Nets will get a chance to show what they’re made of early on when they take on the two-time defending champs.

November 4, 2013

Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Clippers, 10:30 pm EST, NBATV

Although the new-look Rockets will have already played three games, this will be their first test against what appears to be a true title contender. The Rockets added far and away the best big man in the NBA in Dwight Howard to a playoff team. Howard will finally truly have the running mate he has been looking for for years in swingman James Harden. With role players like point guard Patrick Beverly and forward Chandler Parsons flanking the duo, the Rockets could be a true contender. Plus, Howard should get a test going up against the formidable front court of DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin.

November 6, 2013

Chicago Bulls at Indiana Pacers, 7:00 pm EST, ESPN

Although the Pacers pushed the Heat to the limit in the Eastern Conference Finals last season, a Pacers-Bulls rivalry appears to be brewing. The two teams met in the playoffs in 2012, but the Pacers weren’t ready to compete with the Bulls. With the development of center Roy Hibbert and swingman Paul George into all-star caliber player, the Pacers are ready now.

December 5, 2013

New York Knicks at Brooklyn Nets, 7:00 pm EST, TNT

This rivalry is growing now that these teams are New York neighbors. They’ll battle for playoff seeding and for the top spot in the Atlantic division. The winner of the division could wind up with home court in the first or second round of the playoffs. They’ll meet for the first time in Madison Square Garden on January 20, 2014. With Rose back in the fold, it will be interesting to see how these teams match up with each other. With the age of Rose, Hibbert and George, this rivalry could last for years.

January 26, 2014

San Antonio Spurs at Miami Heat, 1:00 pm EST, ABC

These two teams played in a fantastic NBA finals, which stretch seven games last season. The Spurs appeared to have the series won before Ray Allen’s three-pointer tied the game. The Heat won game six in overtime and went on to win their second straight title in a very competitive game seven. We’ll see if they can play in another classic.

Brooklyn Nets at Boston Celtics, 6:30 pm EST, ESPN

Sure, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce returned to Boston last week for a preseason game, but that’s the preseason. This one matters. The duo will likely get a huge ovation and some sort of tribute before the game. Pierce, who was drafted by Boston in 1998, helped keep the team afloat and joined some of the all-time Celtics greats during his time there. It will be interesting to see what the Celtics will look like. Will they have changed their mind and have dealt Rajon Rondo? Did they find a take for Gerald Wallace or Kris Humphries?

February 19, 2014

Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Lakers, 10:30 pm EST, ESPN

Although these two teams will meet twice in Houston before this game, this is the one we’ll all tune into. Last year, it was Orlando tha booed Dwight Howard throughout the game when he returned to play the Magic. This year, it will be Lakers fans that heckle Howard when he returns to Los Angeles.  Plus, Kobe Bryant could be back from his Achilles injury.

February 20, 2014

Miami Heat at Oklahoma City Thunder, 8:00 pm EST, TNT

A rematch of the 2012 NBA Finals could be a preview of the 2014 NBA Finals. The Heat are looking to win their third straight championship, officially becoming the new NBA dynasty. The Thunder, led by two of the top six scorers in the NBA last season in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, are looking to achieve what the Heat have now. Plus, the two best players in the league in Durant and LeBron James will be going head-to-head. Doesn’t get much better than that.

Tags: Brooklyn Nets Dwight Howard Houston Rockets Kevin Durant Kobe Bryant Lebron James Los Angeles Lakers Miami Heat New York Knicks

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