Jan 13, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) shoots a 3-point shot over Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard Anthony Parker (18) in the first half of the game at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Cleveland Cavaliers 2012-13 Schedule Preview

Mar 3, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (2) passes the ball defended by Washington Wizards point guard John Wall (2) during the second half at the Verizon Center. The Wizards defeated the Cavaliers 101 - 98. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE

The NBA schedules were released Thursday night, and the Cavaliers received the first spot. On October 30, the day that the NBA season begins, at 7 p.m. the Cleveland Cavaliers will be hosting the Washington Wizards. Two teams that held top-four picks in this past NBA draft will now be putting their rookies up against each other, and what backcourt matchup could be more intriguing in the Eastern Conference than the Cavaliers tandem of reigning Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving and No. 4 pick Dion Waiters going up against the Wizards duo of two-year veteran John Wall and No. 3 pick Bradley Beal?

Right now the Wizards look like the better team, with Beal having a tremendous summer averaging 17.6 points and 4.6 rebounds and the out-of-shape Waiters participating in the Cavs summer league with little knowledge of man-to-man defense and bad shooting form. Waiters will have plenty of time to hit the gym to lose the 10 pounds that head coach Byron Scott would like him to shed off and be sure that he is conditioned come training camp. Late September is only a couple of months away, which means he will have to be ready to step on the floor of Quicken Loans with a Cavaliers uniform on opening night in three months.

A Wizards-Cavaliers rivalry could erupt any time now, as both teams are having success in building their team through the draft, acquiring young players and stockpiling draft picks. Both teams are not ready to compete at a playoff level, but will be forces in the East within the next five seasons. But you might as well start watching now, as the Cavaliers will face the Wizards twice more this season.

July 17, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Dion Waiters (3) makes a shot over Phoenix Suns center Patrick O

There are a lot of other story lines surrounding the Cavs camp going into the 2012-13 season, including how Kyrie will fare in his first 82-game NBA season, if rookies Waiters and Tyler Zeller will make an impact right away, if Alonzo Gee will be in Wine and Gold come September and if Tristan Thompson’s defense has improved. There is a full 82-game slate to figure out if the answers to these statements will favor Cleveland, so let’s start by dissecting it a little.

On Thursday the NBA released the schedules of all 30 teams so that the media and fans could talk about who will open up the season with the Cavs (Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers), how players will fare against their old teams (Steve Nash will face the Phoenix Suns four times) and who will play on Christmas day (Celtics, Heat, Lakers, Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls, Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers). Now that you know a little bit about some key games around the NBA, it’s time to discuss what the Cavaliers have in store.

The NBA released the Cavaliers schedule and awarded them on national television broadcast and three NBA TV games. All but one of Cleveland’s 82 games will be broadcast on Fox Sports Ohio. In addition to playing the Wizards on opening night, the Cavs will also be playing them two more times.

The Cavaliers will battle Central Division foes Indiana, Detroit, Chicago and Milwaukee four times. In November the Cavaliers will face a Central Division opponent one time in March, two times in November, January, February and April and seven times in December. The December 5 matchup against the Bulls will be aired on ESPN and ESPN3 at 8 p.m.

Feb 17, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) against Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (2) during a game at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-US PRESSWIRE

The always highly-anticapted battle against the Miami Heat and hated hometown resident LeBron James, who won his first championship even though Cavs owner Dan Gilbert promised the city one first, will take place three times this season. Although the Cavaliers didn’t host the Heat at home last season, they will pay host to them in their 81st game on April 17, 2013 on on March 20, 2013. Since the boo birds didn’t get to come out for LeBron last season, they will have to give the NBA champion a warm welcoming.

Every Easter Conference team will get a jab at the Cavaliers four times, except for the Nets, Wizards, Knicks and Charlotte Bobcats. The Cavaliers will face all 15 Western Conference teams two times next season.

After opening the season with two home games, the Cavaliers will then go on an six-game road trip, the longest road trip on of the season spanning over 11 days. The Cavaliers have an even more impressive home stand, as from February 2-20, 2013 Cleveland will host seven games at Quicken Loans Arena.

Cleveland will play 22 back-to-back games, with no wild three-games-in-three-days series or rushed schedule. The games are pretty evened out, just like an 82-game schedule has always been like.

A matchup that will be intriguing for quite some time will come out of the Western Conference. The point guard that head coach Byron Scott groomed in Chris Paul will go head-to-head with another point guard with a ton of potential in Irving two times this season. Once will be at the STAPLES Center on November 5 and the other occasion will take place at home on March 1, 2013.

Since Irving called out Kobe Bryant’s one-on-one skills, it will be an intriguing matchup anytime these two talented players meet. The Cavaliers will play the Lakers at home on December 11 and at the STAPLES Center on January 13, 2013. The two joked around during summer training for the Olympics, but Kyrie will have to heal first before he can dribble a basketball. In the lone game against the two teams last season Irving shot 50 percent from the field  and scored 21 points, but that was only good enough to half Kobe who went off for 42 on 15-31 shooting.

Another Irving matchup that NBA fans have been hoping to see but has been avoided because of injuries is with Bulls point guard Derrick Rose. This will most likely not happen due to the fact that the Cavaliers final game against the Bulls is on February 26 and Rose is expected to miss the 2012-13 season. Pending a speedy recovery, fans will have to wait another year to see this exciting duel.

The Cavaliers still have a lot of work to do before they can start thinking about the Wizards, but knowing some marquee or key games is always beneficial to the fans.

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Tags: Alonzo Gee Bradley Beal Byron Scott Chicago Bulls Chris Paul Cleveland Cavaliers Derrick Rose Dion Waiters John Wall Kobe Bryant Kyrie Irving Lebron James Los Angeles Clippers Los Angeles Lakers Miami Heat Tristan Thompson Tyler Zeller Washington Wizards

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