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Cavaliers-Heat Christmas day battle headlines reported early NBA schedule

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The 2014-15 NBA schedule is scheduled to be released at 6 p.m. est on August 13. Immediately, the big dates on the schedule are sure to involve LeBron James and his new look Cleveland Cavaliers. Naturally, the NBA is reportedly set on putting one of James' biggest milestone games on its marquee day, as his first visit back to Miami will be a Christmas affair.

The NBA's now traditional slate of Christmas Day games will allegedly have the Cavaliers visiting the Miami Heat as the centerpiece. It will be James' first game against his old team, or at least his first game as a visitor in Miami in four years. But regardless, it shouldn't have the kind of negative energy that his first time visiting Cleveland with Miami did four years ago.

James may not get the chorus of boos and hate that Cavaliers fans gave him in his first few trips back -- and it certainly wouldn't fit with the Christmas spirit. He didn't leave the Heat with the same kind of thoughtless controversy and mistakes that "The Decision" symbolized in 2010 for Cleveland. Nevertheless, he did leave the Heat in far less capable shape to defend their conference crown, so there may be a few bitter feelings if Miami is struggling before Christmas.

The rest of the Christmas Day lineup has largely leaked already, with reports alleging games between the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors, the New York Knicks and Washington Wizards, and Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls. As for opening night, the defending champion San Antonio Spurs have been rumored to either the Cavaliers or Dallas Mavericks when they hoist their banner, while the new look Los Angeles Clippers seem set on hosting the Houston Rockets.

But the NBA schedule isn't just made up of opening night and Christmas Day games. Several more marquee battles are bound to pop out when the rest of the slate is announced today. However, some dates that might not look important now could become important down the line, depending on what surprises the season has in store.

For now, the big questions around the NBA schedule will revolve around the rest of James and the Cavaliers marquee games -- like their first game together, their first home date, their first faceoff with the Spurs and their first battle with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Andrew Wiggins.

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