Here’s the most anticipated games from the Miami Heat’s schedule


Dwyane Wade’s return, a New Year’s Day matchup and five nationally televised games headline the Miami Heat’s 2016-17 schedule.

Dwyane Wade’s return to South Florida is the most anticipated game for the Miami Heat this season, but there is a lot more to dissect from the schedule, which the NBA released for all teams on Thursday, including some exciting matchups.

But before we get to all of that, some scheduling notes:

  • The Heat will play 15 back-to-backs. They played 17 last season.
  • 14 of Miami’s first 25 games are on the road. 11 at home.
  • They will play on national television (ESPN or TNT) just five times.
  • They will play on NBATV eight times.
  • Miami’s longest road trip is six games and last for 10 days, from Jan. 3 to Jan. 13.
  • The next longest road trips are four games from Nov. 19 to Nov. 25, four games from Feb. 6 to Feb. 11, as well as four three-game trips.
  • The Heat will not play on Christmas day for the first time since 2008.
  • The Heat will play on New Years Day.

Now, on to the most anticipated games of the season.

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9. Heat vs Knicks: Tuesday, Dec. 6, 7:30 p.m.

Both teams will look very different than they did last season when they play in this early December match. The Heat for worse, and the Knicks for the better.

Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Brandon Jennings and Courtney Lee all play for New York now. At least Miami has Derrick Williams, a former Knick.

Still, this game will have plenty of star power with Rose and Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside and Joakim Noah and NBA sophomores Kristaps Porzingis and Justise Winslow.

8. Heat vs Pistons, Sunday, Jan. 1, 6 p.m.

The Heat are playing a home game on New Year’s Day which I guess is kinda cool.

7. Heat at Grizzlies: Friday, Nov. 25, 7 p.m.

6. Heat vs Grizzlies: Saturday, Nov. 26, 8 p.m.

In back-to-back games in November, the Heat will dap new Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale on the sidelines for the first time since he left his Miami assistant coaching job for his first NBA head coaching gig.

Fizdale was close with Wade, and even though he won’t be involved, long timers like Udonis Haslem and possibly Chris Bosh will be there to reunite.

Most importantly, Erik Spoelstra will get to coach against his first protege-turned-head coach he’s ever had in what will be one of the more unique subplots of the 2016-17 season.

5. Heat at Bulls: Friday, Jan. 27, 7 p.m. (ESPN)

It’s the second game against Wade, but it’s the first in his new house. For Heat fans, it will be strange to watch Wade play in Chicago in a Bulls uniform. It’ll be even more strange when fans watch him lace up in his new home arena to face a visiting Miami Heat.

4. Heat at Warriors: Tuesday, Jan. 10, 7:30 p.m.

3. Heat vs Warriors: Tuesday, Jan. 23, 7:30 p.m.

Kevin Durant. Steph Curry. Draymond Green. Klay Thompson.

Miami’s first game against the Golden State Super Friends will be in early January in Oakland, and will get their first crack at them at home later in the month on January 23. Chances are that the Heat get annihilated in these games, but they’ll bring their A-game in what will be two must-watch events.

2. Heat vs Cavaliers: Saturday, March 4, 8 p.m.

Even though Miami’s first game against LeBron James and the Cavaliers will be on the road on Dec. 10, enough time has passed that every Heat vs Cavs game is some sort of soap opera. Not to mention that without Wade these games don’t quite have the same appeal. But home games against the Cavs still demand our attention.

The Heat will have to wait until March 4 to welcome LeBron for the first time since he brought a championship to Cleveland.

It could be an opportunity for the last remaining member of the Big 3 to take a stand, or for Miami’s youngsters to plant their flag.

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1. Heat vs Bulls: Thursday, Nov. 10, 8 p.m. (TNT)

Dwyane Wade will make his return to Miami early in the season in what will be the most emotional game of the season. Wade might cry. Chris Bosh might cry. Erik Spoelstra might cry. Pat Riley may sweat tequila from his face area. Heat fans will cry. I will cry.