CHARLOTTE. N.C. (AP) — The Charlotte Bobcats will open the 2012-13 campaign with eight of their first 12 games at home, including the season opener Nov. 2 against the Indiana Pacers.
The Bobcats, coming off the worst season in NBA history, will make two national television appearances on NBA TV and play 18 weekend home dates. The 82-game schedule is split evenly between home and road dates.
Highlighting the home schedule are two visits each from the Miami Heat, Boston Celtics and New York Knicks.
The defending NBA Champion Heat, led by reigning league Most Valuable Player LeBron James, will visit the Queen City on Dec. 26 and April 5. Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo will lead the Celtics to town on Feb. 11 and March 12. The revamped Knicks and perennial All-Star Carmelo Anthony will travel to Charlotte on Dec. 5 and April 15.
Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder make their lone appearance in Charlotte on March 8.
Charlotte will host Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers on Feb. 8 and Deron Williams and the Brooklyn Nets on March 6.
Another intriguing game is Dec. 29 against No. 1 NBA Draft pick Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Hornets. The Bobcats were the favorite to win the top pick in the NBA draft lottery but lost out on the rights to draft Davis.
The Bobcats are hoping to turn things around after going 7-59 last year, finishing with the worst single-season winning percentage in league history (.106).
Owner’s Michael Jordan’s team should look quite a bit different this year.
The Bobcats drafted small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist from Kentucky with the No. 2 overall pick and traded to acquire Ben Gordon from the Detroit Pistons. Charlotte also claimed former North Carolina center Brendan Haywood off waivers after he was amnestied by the Dallas Mavericks and signed free agent point guard Ramon Sessions after he opted out of his contract with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The team allowed last year’s starting point guard D.J. Augustin to leave via free agency.
While nobody is expecting the Bobcats to make a playoff run, the hope is they will take a step in the right direction.
The Bobcats will play 18 weekend home games, including eight on Fridays and 10 on Saturdays.
Thirty-six of the 41 home games will begin at 7 p.m.
Exceptions include three 7:30 p.m. tipoffs against the Mavericks on Nov. 10, the Memphis Grizzlies on Nov. 17 and the Clippers on Dec. 12, as well as a 2 p.m. Martin Luther King Day contest against the Houston Rockets on Jan. 21 and the regular-season finale on April 17 against Cleveland, which begins at 8 p.m.
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