NEW YORK (AP) -The defending champions will welcome Greg Oden to real NBA basketball.
Oden will make his debut on opening night in San Antonio, where the Spurs will celebrate their NBA championship before hosting the Portland Trail Blazers.
That's the first game on the 2007-08 schedule, which the NBA unveiled Thursday. Also on Oct. 30, Houston visits the Los Angeles Lakers, and Golden State hosts Utah in a rematch of their second-round playoff series from last season.
And the league is giving Oden and Kevin Durant the Christmas rivalry spot formally occupied by Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal.
The NBA has three games that day, but did away with the Heat-Lakers matchup that has taken place every Christmas since O'Neal was dealt from Los Angeles to Miami in 2004. Both teams will still play, with the Heat visiting Cleveland before the Lakers host the Suns, who have eliminated them from the past two postseasons.
Oden and Durant were taken with the top two picks in the NBA draft and are scheduled to meet for the first time as pros to cap the holiday tripleheader when Portland hosts Seattle.
The regular season ends April 16.
Among the other key dates on the schedule:
- Cleveland visits San Antonio in an NBA finals rematch on Jan. 17. The Spurs go to Cleveland, where they wrapped up last season's title, on Feb. 13.
- Kevin Garnett returns to Minnesota when the Celtics visit the Timberwolves on Friday, Feb. 8.
- Stan Van Gundy faces his former team for the first time when Orlando hosts Miami on Nov. 24.
- The SuperSonics host the Warriors on April 13 in what could potentially be the last NBA game in Seattle if funding for a new arena isn't approved before then.
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