Earlier in the week it was reported that the Miami Heat would kick off the start to their 2014-15 regular season at home against the Washington Wizards on October 29. We also learned that their first game on the road would come three nights later at Philadelphia.
NBA TV held their annual one-hour schedule release special last night. In addition to the first two games of the season previously mentioned, the rumored Cleveland Cavaliers at Miami Heat matchup on Christmas day was also confirmed.
Fans always enjoy seeing their favorite team’s schedule release so they can make note of the marquee games. However, as we know, every game in the regular season counts the same towards the standings so each game has its own importance.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the Miami Heat 2014-2015 regular season schedule.
The Heat will play 9 home games and 7 road games over the first 4+ weeks of the regular season. Of the first 16 games, 11 will be against opponents who made the playoffs last season. The schedule makers did the Heat no favors as they will play a total of five back-to-back games in the first month, including three in the first eleven days of the season.
Game of the Month - Wednesday, October 29 – Washington Wizards at Miami Heat
The most intriguing game the first month of the regular season has to be the season opener against the Washington Wizards. The new-look Heat will take the floor for the first time since losing to the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals. It will be interesting to see how the team regroups without LeBron James leading the way anymore and how the Heat fan base as a whole responds.
The month of December is highlighted by a long road trip and even longer homestand. The Heat begin a five-game road trip on December 5 in Milwaukee that wraps up a week later in Utah. Later in the month, the Heat begin a seven-game homestand that starts December 17 against Utah and ends December 29 against Orlando.
Game of the Month – Thursday, December 25 - Cleveland Cavaliers at Miami Heat
LeBron James makes his first visit to Miami since leaving the Heat as a free agent in July. Couple this with the fact that the game is on national television on Christmas day, you have arguably the most-anticipated game of the year right here.
January will undoubtably be the most difficult month for the Miami Heat all season long. They will be faced with their first significant West Coast road trip January 8-16 when they visit Portland, Los Angeles (x2), Golden State, and Sacramento. It doesn’t get any easier at home in January for the Heat as they will square off against likely playoff bound Brooklyn, Oklahoma City, Chicago, and Dallas.
Game of the Month - Sunday, January 25 – Miami Heat at Chicago Bulls
The Heat visit the Bulls for the first time in a Sunday afternoon showdown on ABC. The Bulls are an Eastern Conference favorite while the Heat are right there in the conversation. The two teams have had many back and forth battles over the years and this one figures to be more of the same.
February will the Heat’s most road-heavy scheduled month of the 2014-15 season (8 road games, 4 home games). They will head into the All-Star break following their first trip to Cleveland since LeBron’s departure on February 11 and will open the second half of the season at Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks on February 20.
Game of the Month - Friday, February 6 – Miami Heat at San Antonio Spurs
Miami and San Antonio meet for the first time since the 2014 NBA Finals in June. Although both teams openly express nothing but respect for one another, this game may certainly have some bad blood after meeting in the Finals each of the last two seasons.
With 10 home games in March (their most of any month), the Heat will have an opportunity to improve their playoff seeding down the stretch. March also appears to be the easiest month (on paper at least), as the Heat will only face seven teams who made the playoffs last season.
Game of the Month - Sunday, March 22 – Miami Heat at Oklahoma City Thunder
Led by NBA MVP Kevin Durant, the Thunder will once again be a championship contender this season. It will be interesting to see how the Heat handle the pressure of playing in arguably the league’s loudest arena in this Sunday afternoon matinee.
Game of the Month - Thursday, April 2 – Miami Heat at Cleveland Cavaliers
The Heat make their second trip of the season to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The game figures to have playoff implications on the line as the regular season winds down.
You can check out the official full schedule here.