The NBA's 2009-10 schedule, which was announced Tuesday, reveals that the Hawks will open the season Oct. 28 at home against Indiana, followed by a game against Washington two days later. Their success the past two seasons seemingly has made them more of a TV-friendly team. Seven of their games are scheduled for national television, the same number of regular-season games shown on national TV over the past 11 seasons.
A look at some highlights of the schedule:
Going long early
The Hawks kick off their first Western Conference swing of the season in style, taking on Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest and the defending NBA champion Lakers at Staples Center on Nov. 1. Road games in Portland (Nov. 3) and Sacramento (Nov. 4) round out this quick trip.
Rivalry on the tube
The schedule-makers knew what they were doing when they paired the Hawks against the Celtics --- their playoff and regular-season nemesis the past two seasons --- to kick off the Hawks' slate of nationally televised games. The first is Nov. 13, and the second is Jan. 8, both on ESPN. The Hawks haven't beaten the Celtics since the 2008 playoffs.
Home for the holiday
Atlanta native Dwight Howard can have a holiday dinner in his hometown when the defending Eastern Conference champs, the Orlando Magic, come to town for a Thanksgiving game. Hawks fans should hope and pray that Howard feasts on something other than the Hawks' frontcourt that night.
LeBron and Shaq
LeBron James and his new bodyguard, Shaquille O'Neal, will get a chance to wrestle with the Hawks on back-to-back nights. They'll play in Atlanta on Dec. 29 and in Cleveland the next night.