It's official: the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat will play one of the first games of the 2011-12 NBA schedule on Christmas Day in Dallas. The 2011 NBA Finals rematch seemed like a foregone conclusion as a potential season-opening match-up, and now the NBA has announced that Mavericks vs. Heat will be one of the five games the league will showcase on Christmas as the 2011-12 slate begins.
It won't actually be the first game of the season — a Knicks-Celtics game that tips at noon precedes it — but Dallas and Miami get the prime afternoon spot at 2:30 p.m. Eastern on ABC, while New York and Boston will play on TNT.
Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks earned their first NBA championship in six games over LeBron James and the Heat this summer, but will not be receiving their championship rings on Christmas Day in front of the home crowd, according to ESPN Dallas' Jeff Kaplan. SB Nation's Tom Ziller has an amusing list of possible reasons why.
For more on the Mavericks, head to Mavs Moneyball.