Casspi
Omri Casspi, here taking on LeBron James, will always be known as the first Israeli to play in the elite NBA. Photo by AP
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The Miami Heat will open their title defense against the Chicago Bulls on October 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. Another game on NBA's opening night will feature Orlando at Indiana.

Israeli Casspi's Houston – yes, Dwight Howard and James Harden also play there – will open the season on October 30 against Charlotte. Dallas and Gal Mekel will host Atlanta. On November 1 the two Israelis will face each other for the first Texan and Israeli derby of the season in Houston.

Other intriguing matches will see Howard face the Lakers on November 7, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett will return to Boston, with Brooklyn on January 26, and on the same date Miami and San Antonio will recreate the last NBA finals. Five games will take place at Christmas-time: Miami vs. LA Lakers, Chicago vs. Brooklyn, LA Clippers vs. Golden State, San Antonio vs. Houston, and New York vs. Oklahoma.