Submitted by Max Saindon for Hoops Talk Nation
With the NBA’s 2012-13 regular season schedule being released last week, there are already a handful of games that fans cannot wait for come November through April. Whether it is because of a rivalry, the debut of a player or even a possible NBA Finals matchup, the regular season schedule has plenty of gems for all 30 teams in the association. So with that being said, here are my twenty picks for the games Magic fans won’t want to miss during this NBA season:
Friday, November 2nd: Magic vs. Nuggets
The Magic will be opening their 2012-13 season at home against the Denver Nuggets. The season opener is always highly anticipated, and it is certainly something Magic fans are looking forward to with the last game being played all the way back on May 8th.
Tuesday, November 6th: Magic @ Bulls
The Magic-Bulls matchups have been something to look forward to in recent years, and even though this one might be a little different it could still be an intruiging game. With Derrick Rose most likely out until the second half of the season and Dwight Howard probably being moved before the start of training camp, this game could become a battle of two teams starting the season without their respective Adidas stars.
Friday, November 9th: Magic vs. Nets
The Magic will be facing the Nets in this early season game for the first time since the Nets failed to acquire Dwight Howard in the offseason. Question is, where will Dwight be on November 9th?
Sunday, November 11th: Magic @ Nets
After hosting the Nets just two days prior, the Magic will be flying to New York to play their first ever game in Brooklyn against the new-look Nets. How will the Brooklyn crowd react to hosting the Magic after such a crazy offseason?
Friday, November 16th: Magic @ Pistons
The Magic will begin the season series against the Pistons on November 16th, the same Detroit Pistons they’ve been having trouble with since the days of Grant Hill and Tracy McGrady. This game will also be one of the two nationally televised games the Magic have this season, will the bad luck end this year?
Sunday, November 25th: Magic vs. Celtics
Two years ago this would have been one of the more exciting games of the entire NBA season, but that is not the case anymore even though Magic and Celtics fans will probably look forward to the matchup.
Sunday, December 2nd: Magic @ Lakers
The Magic will be traveling to the Staples Center to face the Lakers for the first time since the 2010-11 season to do battle with the Steve Nash-Kobe Bryant backcourt.
Monday, December 3rd: Magic @ Warriors
The Magic travel to Oakland once a year to face the Golden State Warriors, but in the past two seasons an NBA record has been broken during this same matchup. When the Magic visited the Warriors during the 2010-11 season, the two teams combined to make the most three-point field goals in NBA history. In last year’s matchup, Dwight Howard broke the NBA record for most free throws attempted in a game which was previously held by former Warrior Wilt Chamberlain. Will an NBA record be broken for a third consecutive season?
Wedenesday, December 26th: Magic vs. Hornets
Just one day after Christmas, Ryan Anderson will be making his first return to the Amway Center as a member of the New Orleans Hornets. It will also be the first time the Magic play against top overall draft pick Anthony Davis.
Monday, December 31st: Magic vs. Heat
The Magic will be hosting the defending NBA Champion Miami Heat on New Year’s Eve, and it will be Rashard Lewis’ first game in Orlando as a member of the rival Heat.
Saturday, January 12th: Magic @ Clippers
Just two weeks into the new year, the Magic will head to Los Angeles to play on the Clippers’ home court for the first time since they acquired Chris Paul.
Wednesday, January 16th: Magic vs. Pacers
In the first meeting since the 2012 NBA Playoffs, the Magic will host the Pacers on the same floor they couldn’t win on during last year’s first round series.
Monday, January 28th: Magic @ Nets
The Magic will play the Nets for the final time before the trade deadline comes, but will it still be something to look forward to come late January?
Wednesday, January 30th: Magic @ Knicks
The Magic will visit the Knicks at Madison Square Garden for the first time of the season at the end of January in an atmosphere that is almost always crazy.
Friday, March 1st: Magic vs. Rockets
The first game against the Rockets of the season could end up being Dwight Howard’s first homecoming. We’ll just have to wait and find out…
Wednesday, March 6th: Magic @ Heat
The Magic make their first trip to South Beach to face their rival Heat in early March.
Tuesday, March 12th: Magic vs. Lakers
In mid-March the Lakers will be in town for the only time all season, and it’ll be the first time in a while that it isn’t nationally televised.
Friday, March 22nd: Magic vs. Thunder
The defending Western Conference Oklahoma City Thunder will make their lone trip to Central Florida in late March as new Magic GM Rob Hennigan can watch from Otis Smith’s old spot in the arena.
Wednesday, April 3rd: Magic @ Spurs
Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn will make his return to San Antonio in early April as his team takes on the Spurs.
Wednesday, April 17th: Magic @ Heat
In the final game of the season the Magic will head south and face the Heat to conclude the season series. Miami will probably be resting their starters and the Magic will likely be playing their last game for six more months.