DALLAS -- If the Dallas Mavericks return to the playoffs after a one-year absence, they're going to have to do it the hard way.
After opening the 2013-'14 season with an Oct. 30 home game against the Atlanta Hawks, the Mavs will play a massive 17 games in the month of November. What's more, an amazing 12 of those games are against teams who were in last season's playoffs, including a Nov. 15 encounter in Miami against the two-time defending NBA champion Heat.
"It's a tough, but fair schedule,'' coach Rick Carlisle said. "We very much look forward to the challenge.''
Dallas also has 17 games in the month of January, but the 17 games in November is much tougher than any other month.
The Mavs' first road game is Nov. 1 in Houston against Dwight Howard and the Rockets. Howard, of course, spurred the Mavs last month during free agency and instead signed a four-year, $88 million contract with the Rockets.
Derrick Rose will see his first action against the Mavs in over a season when he and the Chicago Bulls host Dallas on Dec. 28. Rose missed the entire 2012-'13 season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Also, ex-Mavs point guard Jason Kidd will face the Mavs for the first time as a head coach when his Brooklyn Nets entertain Dallas on Jan. 24. The Nets also have added former Mavs guard Jason Terry, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to a lineup that already included Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez.
The Mavs will host Kidd and the Nets on Mar. 23, while LeBron James and the Heat make their lone American Airlines Center appearance on Feb. 18.
-- Dwain Price
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