The Mavs didn't get Ron Artest in their uniform for next season, but they will get the enigmatic forward in their house to start the regular season as the Houston Rockets come to town on Oct. 30 for a nationally televised game on TNT.
The Rick Carlisle season begins with virtually the same cast of players -- as of today -- that ended last season after five games against the New Orleans Hornets in the first round of the playoffs. Apparently, the NBA and its broadcasting partners still believe the Mavs will be a very competitive team with 21 nationally televised games -- seven on TNT, nine on ESPN and five on ABC.
The Mavs will face Greg Oden and the Trail Blazers in Portland on Christmas Night on TNT, part of a huge television day of games on all three NBA television partners.
Check out the full schedule here.
Mavs fans will get an early look at LeBron James when the Cavaliers come to the American Airlines Center on Nov. 3 and Kobe Bryant and the Western Conference champion L.A. Lakers are in town Nov. 11 following a three-game road trip to San Antonio, Denver and the Baron Davis-led L.A. Clippers.
The Mavs' nine ESPN telecasts include Nov. 7 at Denver, Nov. 19 at Houston, Nov. 28 at L.A. Lakers, Jan. 9 at Phoenix, Jan. 23 at Detroit, Jan. 28 vs. Golden State, March 4 vs. San Antonio, April 8 vs. Utah and April 15 vs. Houston.
TNT games are Oct. 30 vs. Houston, Nov. 13 at Chicago, Dec. 4 vs. Phoenix, Dec. 25 at Portland, Feb. 5 at Utah, Feb. 12 vs. Boston and March 5 at New Orleans.
And the five games on ABC include Jan. 25 at Boston, Mar. 15 at L.A. Lakers, March 29 at Cleveland, April 5 vs. Phoenix and April 10 vs. New Orleans.
The remaining portion of the Mavericks local television schedule for games on TXA21 and Fox Sports Net will be released shortly. All games can be heard on ESPN 103.3 FM and on KFLC (1270 AM) in Spanish.
Contrary to last season, Dallas spends most of November and March on the road. The team plays a season-high 10 games on the road each of those months. November features two three-game road stints, while March has one of the team’s two four-game jaunts. The other one falls in January.
December is kind to the Mavericks as they play nine of their 15 games at home, including a stretch of seven straight at American Airlines Center from Dec. 2-15. It also marks the first time since the 2003-04 season that the team plays on Christmas Day. This season Dallas will travel to Portland for the holiday.
Dallas plays six of its eight games in April at American Airlines Center to conclude the 2008-09 regular season.
In total, the Mavericks have 16 back-to-backs this season.
-- Jeff Caplan