NEW YORK, August 8 – The NBA today released its complete game schedule and national television schedules of ABC, TNT, ESPN and NBA TV for the 2005-06 season.

The 1,230-game schedule features 41 home games for each team and on the heels of strong season ticket renewals and projected ticket sales, attendance is expected to rival last seasons all-time record breaking mark. The schedule reveals some marquee match-ups - in NBA Premiere Week, on Christmas Day, during NBA Rivalry Week and throughout the season - that fans will want to mark on the calendar.

PREMIERE WEEK TIPS OFF ON NOV. 1

The defending NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs tip off Premiere Week on Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 8 p.m. ET on TNT when they host the Denver Nuggets at SBC Center on opening night of the league’s 60th season.

Once again, Kobe and Shaq will be together at Christmas, this time at Shaq's place.
Victor Baldizon/NBAE/Getty Images
TNT’s coverage of the Spurs-Nuggets game, which will highlight the ring ceremony for the 2005 NBA Champions, is the first of Premiere Week’s 12 nationally televised games including five straight nights of doubleheaders.

The second game of the opening night doubleheader on TNT, entering its 22nd season of NBA game coverage, features the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns from America West Arena at 10:30 p.m. ET.

ESPN’s game coverage begins on Wednesday, Nov. 2 with a doubleheader headlined by Phil Jackson’s first game back as the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers when his team visits the Pepsi Center to face the Denver Nuggets at 10:30 p.m. ET. The first game of the doubleheader on Wednesday will feature the Philadelphia 76ers at the Detroit Pistons at 8 p.m. ET.

On Thursday, Nov. 3, TNT presents a doubleheader featuring Shaquille O’Neal and the Miami Heat welcoming the Indiana Pacers to AmericanAirlines Arena at 8 p.m. ET. In the nightcap, Jackson will make his home debut with the Lakers as they host the Phoenix Suns at 10:30 p.m. ET.

Premiere Week continues on Friday, Nov. 4 with ESPN’s doubleheader featuring LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers visiting the Spurs at 8 p.m. ET, followed by the Seattle Sonics and the Minnesota Timberwolves from KeyArena at 10:30 p.m. ET.

NBA TV’s doubleheader on Saturday, Nov. 5 features All-Star forward Jermaine O'Neal and the Indiana Pacers as they host perennial All-Star guard Allen Iverson and the Philadelphia 76ers at 8 p.m. ET, followed by 2004 MVP Kevin Garnett and the Minnesota Timberwolves taking on Elton Brand and the L.A. Clippers at 10:30 p.m. ET.

NBA TV’s Premiere Week coverage continues with Denver versus the L.A. Lakers on Sunday, Nov. 6 at 9:30 p.m. ET and concludes with New Jersey visiting Miami on Monday, November 7 at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Premiere Week also features the opening of the new Charlotte Arena as the home of the Charlotte Bobcats when the team tips off its home opener against the Boston Celtics on Saturday, Nov. 5 at 7:30 p.m. ET.

ABC tips off its NBA game coverage with a Christmas Day doubleheader. Game one features a rematch of the 2005 NBA Finals as the San Antonio Spurs visit the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills at 12:30 p.m. ET. In the second game of the doubleheader, Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson travel east in their first matchup with O’Neal as the Los Angeles Lakers face the Miami Heat at 3 p.m. ET at AmericanAirlines Arena.

The ABC national television schedule expands this season to 20 regular-season game windows – up from 18 last season and 14 in 2003-04 – and features the most consistent regular-season broadcast schedule ever as the NBA on ABC appears on 12 consecutive Sundays from January 22 through April 16.

For the 2005-06 season, the NBA and ABC will present flexible scheduling throughout the regular season in order to provide the most compelling match-ups to a national audience.

Among other highly anticipated match-ups sprinkled throughout the regular season:

• December 2: Brown’s first return to Detroit as his Knicks take on the Pistons (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET).

• December 7 and January 20: Two of the game’s most dominant players square off when Shaquille O’Neal’s Heat and Tim Duncan’s Spurs meet first in San Antonio on Dec. 7 (ESPN, 9 p.m. ET) and again in Miami on Jan. 20 (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET).

• December 29, February 12 and April 6: Eastern Conference Finals rematches between the Miami Heat and Detroit Pistons - Dec. 29 in Detroit (TNT, 8 p.m. ET), Feb. 12 in Miami (ABC, 3:30 p.m. ET); and Apr. 6 in Miami (TNT, 8 p.m. ET)

• January 7 and March 9: Western Conference Finals rematches as the San Antonio Spurs visit the Phoenix Suns on Jan. 7 (NBA TV, 9 p.m. ET) and Mar. 9 (TNT, 10:30 p.m. ET)

• Jan. 16 (MLK Jr. Day): The NBA and TNT commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a celebration in his honor and a doubleheader featuring the Spurs at the Memphis Grizzlies (TNT, 8 p.m. ET), followed by Shaquille O’Neal’s Miami Heat taking on Kobe Bryant’s LA Lakers at Staples Center (TNT, 10:30 pm. ET)

RIVALRY WEEK RETURNS

The NBA schedule also features a week-long series of games that highlight regional contests, divisional games and historic playoff match-ups as part of Rivalry Week, which runs from Thursday, February 23 through Wednesday, March 1. Rivalry Week tips off on TNT as the Indiana Pacers travel to Detroit to take on their Central Division rival Pistons at 8 p.m. ET followed by the long-time rivalry between the Sacramento Kings at Los Angeles Lakers at 10:30 p.m. ET. On Friday, February 24 the New Jersey Nets take on cross-river rival New York Knicks at 8 p.m. ET on an ESPN doubleheader that also features the Los Angeles Clippers hosting the Los Angeles Lakers at 10:30 p.m. ET.

Some other Rivalry Week highlights are: The Cleveland Cavaliers take on Central Division rival, the Detroit Pistons, on Sunday, February 26 at 12 p.m. ET, followed by one of the most storied rivalries in the history of the NBA as the Boston Celtics take on the Los Angeles Lakers on ESPN at 7:30 p.m. ET.

A WEALTH OF GAMES ACROSS THE NBA'S BROADCAST PARTNERS

2005-06 NBA SCHEDULE
ESPN networks will televise 70 regular-season games including 64 on ESPN and six on ESPN2. ESPN networks will air 64 games on Wednesdays and Fridays, including 24 double-headers, five on Sundays and one on a Saturday.

TNT will televise 52 regular-season games, 46 as part of Thursday night doubleheaders, four games on Tuesday nights and two on Martin Luther King Jr. Day – Monday, January 16 – featuring NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs at the Memphis Grizzlies at 8 p.m. ET and the Miami Heat versus the Los Angeles Lakers at 10:30 p.m. ET. TNT will also carry NBA All-Star 2006 festivities in Houston from February 17-19 culminating with the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, February 19.

NBA TV will televise 96 regular-season games to 67 million U.S. homes through Comcast Cable, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Cablevision, Bright House, Buckeye Cable, Blue Ridge Cable, DIRECTV and DISH Network. NBA TV can also be seen in 39 other countries, including France, Russia, Spain, Israel, the Philippines, Hong Kong and throughout the Middle East. NBA TV will also air more than 20 original programs including NBA TV Insiders, NBA TV Screening Room, Players in the Community and Basketball International; exclusive access to NBA events, such as NBA All-Star 2006 and The Finals; complete nightly highlights; and up-to-the-minute information from around the league.

The NBA on ESPN Radio’s 30-game regular-season schedule debuts with two games during Premiere Week – opening night with the Nuggets and Spurs from SBC Center and Indiana at Miami on Thursday, November 3. The NBA on ESPN Radio will also carry all the events from NBA All-Star 2006 in Houston.

For the third straight season, ABC will exclusively broadcast the NBA Finals, which tip off in June 2006. This season, TNT will be the exclusive home of the 2006 NBA Western Conference Finals and ESPN and ABC will exclusively televise the 2006 NBA Eastern Conference Finals.

NBA.com will offer day-by-day and team-by-team schedules as well as regular-season telecast schedules of the league’s North American broadcast partners – ABC, ESPN, TNT, NBA TV, and the NBA on ESPN Radio.

NBA programming currently is seen in 214 countries around the world in 43 languages reaching a global audience of more than 750 million households outside of North America.