Lighter Schedule Greets NBA Fans Dec. 27

The NBA's opening night bonanza on Christmas Day was a smashing success. Television ratings are up from similar games last year. The full schedule began a day later. Not all teams have played their first games yet heading into Dec. 27. Two teams will begin regular season play on a relatively light schedule for the NBA just two days after the season began.

Atlanta Hawks at New Jersey Nets, 7:30 p.m. ET

The Atlanta Hawks were the five seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs last year. They open the season on the road against the New Jersey Nets. The Nets are trying to get back into the playoffs since losing Jason Kidd to the Dallas Mavericks.

Boston Celtics at Miami Heat, 8 p.m. ET

The Boston Celtics travel to Miami to take on the Heat in a rematch of the Eastern Conference semifinals earlier in 2011. The Heat got the better of Boston last season in five games. Miami won two more games than Boston to finish second in the east. The game will be a great game between fierce rivals.

Minnesota Timberwolves at Milwaukee Bucks, 8:30 p.m. ET

The Minnesota Timberwolves just lost their season opener by four points to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Bucks barely missed out on the playoffs last year and will try to get the franchise back on track. Both teams are 0-1 and need a victory to try to stay out of an early hole.

Sacramento Kings at Portland Trailblazers, 10 p.m. ET

The Sacramento Kings are coming off their stunning victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. The Portland Trailblazers opened the season with a win over the Philadelphia 76ers. The two teams will mix it up at the Rose Garden as Sacramento will try to improve upon the second-worst Western Conference record from last season. Portland will look to return to the playoffs again after this shortened schedule.

Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Lakers, 10:30 p.m. ET

The Utah Jazz are opening the 2011-2012 NBA season at the Staples Center against the reeling Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers are 0-2 on the year and need a victory lest they become the new doormats of the Pacific Division. Perhaps Phil Jackson's retirement was a big deal after all.

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Updated 15 hours, 20 minutes ago

Lighter Schedule Greets NBA Fans Dec. 27

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