No place to start the 2012-13 NBA schedule breakdown then at the beginning, since everyone will be so tired of the meaningless exhibition games by Oct. 30 that casting eyes on a game that counts is going to bring instant relief.

As a result, I can guarantee that Wizards visit to Cleveland that’s easy to make fun of will actually be as interesting and important as the other more compelling showdowns on opening night. Don’t forget, with League Pass complimentary that first week, there’s no excuse to miss the last two guards to go No. 1, John Wall and Kyrie Irving, do battle. The top guards selected in the 2012 NBA Draft, Bradley Beal and Dion Waiters, should also be a compelling part of the festivities. Brazil will especially enjoy Nene and Anderson Varejao squaring off, making it a global event — at least for that first half.

At halftime, there will be a mass exodus to Watch LeBron James, Chris Bosh and the other Heat first-time champions get their rings in South Florida,  especially given the Ray Allen factor. While the Miami’s top offseason acquistion is going to be out there with the Heat watching a banner rise to the rafters, his former Celtics teammates will likely hide out in the same locker room where their 2012 playoff run came to a painful end. You’ll be forgiven if the Wizards and Cavs fade from your memory by the time this tips.

The Steve Nash era tips off at Staples as the Lakers welcome in Mark Cuban’s Mavericks. While L.A. will rightfully get all the publicity, keep in mind that new Dallas backcourt of Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo will be back in their old college stomping grounds for their first game together. 

Halloween night has the Lakers and Mavs completing their first back-to-back of the season, but the schedule’s sweetest treat sees rookie Anthony Davis debut against living legend Tim Duncan, presuming Gregg Popovich doesn’t rest him for the Nov. 1 home opener against the Thunder.

Besides giving us our first look at OKC, the first night of November will be historic due to the official opening of the Barclays Center and a meeting between Brooklyn and Manhattan’s Knicks. Even without Jeremy Lin for Deron Williams to pick on, emotions and motivation are going to be at full throttle as these two organizations begin their battle for New York’s affection.

Christmas Day will again offer fans an opportunity to spend all holiday with the NBA on the tube. Starting with Boston’s noon visit to Barclays and ending with the Nuggets at the Clippers, the schedule makers put together a pleasing package of presents. The Lakers host the Knicks, Miami hosts the Thunder for their first Finals rematch and Houston gets a primetime slot in Chicago.

Here’s a closer look at the schedules of all 15 Eastern Conference teams:

Atlanta Hawks

Home opener: Nov. 2 vs Houston

National TV games:
 
Longest homestand: 5, Nov. 24-Dec. 7

Longest road trip: 6, Feb. 23-March 4

First 10: 5 home, 5 road: After the opener against the Rockets and a stop in OKC, their next two home games are against the Pacers and Heat. Immediately after the Miami game ends, Atlanta heads out on a four-game West coast swing. The Hawks could be in trouble if they’re not clicking early.

Final 10: 6 home, 4 road: This final stretch features two games apiece against New York and Philadelphia, teams that should also be jockeying for playoff position.

Back-to-backs: 22

3 games in 4 days: 30

4 games in 5 days: 3
 
Monthly breakdown: November: 14 (8 home, 6 away), December: 15 (8/7), January: 16 (7/9), February: 11 (5/6), March: 18 (8/10), April: 8 (5/3).

Compelling: Lou Williams will see his old Philly mates in a Dec. 21 visit… Kyle Korver returns to Chicago the next night… Joe Johnson returns to Atlanta on Jan. 16… Five days earlier, Marvin Williams will be back with Utah and the ATL’s own Derrick Favors (Jan. 11)… Who knows when Georgia native Dwight Howard will roll through town?… Chris Paul, likely GM Danny Ferry’s other top free agency target next summer, makes his only visit early (Nov. 24).

Boston Celtics

Home opener: Nov. 2 vs Milwaukee

National TV games: 26  
 
Longest homestand: 5, Jan. 9-18

Longest road trip: 5, Feb. 19-25

First 10 – 5 home, 5 road: That season opener is must-see TV, but there are also visits to Chicago and Brooklyn to deal with. Boston will play Milwaukee and Washington twice during this stretch.

Final 10 – 5 home, 5 road: After Kevin Garnett’s annual visit to Minnesota on April 1, the Celtics host four straight against Eastern Conference opponents they should be favored against. Boston closes out the schedule with a pair of back-to-backs.

Back-to-backs: 20

3 games in 4 days: 22

4 games in 5 days: 1
 
Monthly breakdown: Oct/November: 16 (9 home, 7 away), December: 14 (5/9), January: 15 (10/5), February: 12 (5/7), March: 16 (7/9), April: 9 (5/4).

Compelling: While the Celtics will see Allen in an opposing uniform right off the bat, fans at TD Garden don’t get to see him til Jan. 27 in the first Sunday matinee of the season…  Doc Rivers will get to coach against his son, New Orleans rookie guard Austin, on Jan. 16… Jeff Green returns to Oklahoma City on March 10 in another early Sunday showdown… Jason Terry makes his return to Dallas on March 22.

Brooklyn Nets

Home opener: Nov. 1 vs. NY Knicks

National TV games: 17  
 
Longest homestand: 4, Dec. 4-11, Jan. 28-Feb. 5

Longest road trip: 8, March 18-Apr. 3 

First 10 – 6 home, 4 road: Playing the Knicks right out of the gate makes the Barclays Center the only place to be on Nov. 1. The first road game is another high-profile affair at Miami, while Boston comes through town on Jan. 15. Don’t underestimate how serious that home-and-home with Orlando’s going to be, as the Nets grew extremely frustrated in dealings with the Magic while attempting to land Dwight Howard.

Final 10 – 5 home, 5 road: It’s going to be interesting to see what the Nets have left at this point, coming off a grueling West coast road swing. The hope is that they’ve built up enough of a cushion in securing their playoff spot so that Avery Johnson can afford to give his key guys a breather to ensure they have the legs for the games that really count.

Back-to-backs: 21

3 games in 4 days: 26

4 games in 5 days: 3
 
Monthly breakdown: November: 15 (8 home, 7 away), December: 16 (10/6), January: 15 (7/8), February: 12 (7/5), March: 15 (4/11), April: 9 (5/4).

Compelling: Knicks-Nets is where it’s at all year. The franchises are in competition like never before, vying for the back page on a daily basis… When the Heatles (Jan. 30), KD’s OKC (Dec. 4) and Kobe (Feb. 5) come through, expect an event-level atmosphere… All meetings between Deron Williams and Chris Paul, so keep the number 23 in mind. The Nets and Clippers meet on that date in November and March… Johnson’s first game in Atlanta is Jan. 16, made more interesting by the Hawks visiting Barclays two nights later.

Charlotte Bobcats

Home opener: Nov. 2 vs Indiana

National TV games: 2  
 
Longest homestand: 4, Nov. 17-23, Jan 19-26

Longest road trip: 5, Jan 28-Feb 6

First 10 –  7 home, 3 road: Playing eight of the first 11 at home gives the Bobcats their best opportunity to establish some positive momentum after last year’s disaster.

Final 10 – 5 home, 5 road: The Bobcats aren’t going to be in the playoff chase but the Bucks sure hope to be. Milwaukee gets Charlotte twice down the stretch.

Back-to-backs: 22

3 games in 4 days: 27

4 games in 5 days: 3
 
Monthly breakdown: Oct/November: 15 (9 home, 6 away), December: 16 (8/8), January: 14 (7/7), February: 12 (5/7), March: 16 (7/9), April: 9 (5/4).

Compelling: D.J. Augustin comes through town right away, so he’s got a great chance to get off to a good start since he can get to all his spots. Hope he’s aware of where the road locker room is… Brendan Haywood’s first road game as a Bobcat will be in Dallas the next night, so the same bad joke applies… Mike Dunlap coached his share of games at Madison Square Garden in leading St. John’s last year and will get back there on his new job only once (March 29). 

Chicago Bulls

Home opener: Oct. 31 vs Sacramento

National TV games: 26  
 
Longest homestand: 5, Nov. 3-12

Longest road trip: 5, Nov. 14-24

First 10 - 6 home, 4 road: There’s an opportunity to get off to a good start with six of the first seven at the United Center, but a certain amount of pressure, too. Immediately after the Nov. 12 marquee matchup with Boston, the Bulls take off on their circus trip, leaving town for a few weeks.

Final 10 - 4 home, 6 road: Rose should be back for these, so depending on how well Chicago succeeds in staying afloat, consider April its most important month. Contender or pretender? With Toronto, Washington and Orlando each up twice, there’s an opportunity to thrive, but the final five games are over a seven-day stretch that will require both passports to enter Canada and sunscreen for a stint in Florida.

Back-to-backs: 19

3 games in 4 days: 21

4 games in 5 days: 1
 
Monthly breakdown: Oct/November: 14 (8 home, 6 away), December: 16 (9/7), January: 16 (9/7), February: 12 (4/8), March: 14 (7/7), April: 10 (4/6).

Compelling: If Rose happens to come back just after the All-Star break, his first game would be against the Heat on Feb. 21. Just saying… Christmas with Omer Asik will be nice, but the Bulls will have already seen the center Houston stole away when the visit Toyota Center on Nov. 21. The holiday reunion will come a few days early as Kyle Korver, Vladimir Radmanovic and Kirk Hinrich catch up with old friends on Dec. 22.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Home opener: Oct. 30 vs. Washington

National TV games: 4  
 
Longest homestand: 7, Feb. 2-20

Longest road trip: 6, Nov. 3-13 

First 10 – 3 home, 7 road: After the first two games at the Q, Cleveland goes on its longest road trip of the year, starting in Milwaukee, heading West and then working their way back East with a stop in OKC before winding up in Brooklyn. Sounds like one unfortunate Greyhound ride.

Final 10 - 5 home, 5 road: The Cavs will host 10 different Eastern Conference foes in the season’s final month, but are unlikely to be in a position to play anything but spoiler barring anything unforeseen.

Back-to-backs: 22

3 games in 4 days: 24

4 games in 5 days:  4
 
Monthly breakdown: Oct./November: 16 (5 home, 11 away), December: 16 (8/8), January: 14 (6/8), February: 12 (8/4), March: 14 (9/5), April: 10 (5/5).

Compelling: Outside of the season opener highlighted above, the young Cavs don’t really have a lot of teams they get up for. Oh right, LeBron James. There’s interest in him in Cleveland. He’ll come through March 20, so be sure to be at that game if you want to catch his act. Miami is due to visit in the regular season home finale on April 15, but considering the likelihood it will be coasting by that point, James will likely sit that one out… Antawn Jamison and the suddenly intriguing Andrew Bynum will make their lone appearance at the Q on Dec. 11.

Detroit Pistons

Home opener: Oct. 31 vs Houston

National TV games:
 
Longest homestand: 5, Dec. 28-Jan. 6

Longest road trip: 6, Nov. 2-10 

First 10 - 3 home, 7 road: It’s important to find a way to turn back the Rockets in the opener, because that may be the only game Detroit will be favored in its first nine games. Seven of the first nine are on the road. That second home game? It’s got OKC visiting the Palace three days after running into the reigning Western Conference champs in their house.

Final 10 - 4 home, 6 road. The Bulls and Raptors are each on the schedule twice, so depending how well the young players gel and improve, there could be opportunities to challenge for a playoff berth.

Back-to-backs: 19

3 games in 4 days: 18

4 games in 5 days: 3
 
Monthly breakdown: Oct/November: 17 (7 home, 10 away), December: 16 (9/7), January: 13 (7/5/1), February: 14 (9/5), March: 14 (5/9), April: 8 (3/5).

Compelling: The Pistons are slated to play the Knicks on Jan. 17 in London’s 02 Arena. They’ll have five days to get there and a couple more once they get back for a Jan. 20 home gave, so it shouldn’t be too disruptive…. For those that care, Ben Gordon’s return will be earlier that month, as the Bobcats visit on Sunday, Jan. 6 opposite an NFL playoff game. Get your tickets early.

Indiana Pacers

Home opener: Nov. 3 vs Sacramento

National TV games: 11 
 
Longest homestand: 5, Feb. 8-22

Longest road trip: 4, Nov. 27-Dec. 4, Jan. 21-28, March 27-Apr. 1 

First 10 - 4 home, 6 road: The Pacers will be on the road for five of the first six games, but avoid back-to-back road games that can sap a team of early energy. San Antonio and Atlanta are the only two opponents among those first nine games that had a winning record last season.

Final 10 – 4 home, 6 road: Any of those last four games could be enormous: vs. Brooklyn, at New York, at Boston, vs. Philly. Expect to see a lot of Indiana on national TV during this stretch.

Back-to-backs: 21

3 games in 4 days: 24

4 games in 5 days: 2
 
Monthly breakdown: Oct/November: 16 (6 home, 10 away), December: 16 (8/8), January: 15 (7/8), February: 11 (9/2), March: 16 (7/9), April: 8 (4/4).

Compelling: Darren Collison and Dahntay Jones visit with Dallas early enough to get a nice ovation, coming through on Friday, Nov. 16… Indianapolis native Eric Gordon and Kentucky’s Anthony Davis will be a popular draw on Nov. 21 as New Orleans stops in for its only visit… Portland, which went all out to try and nab Roy Hibbert, is in town on Dec. 5… An underrated gem of a home matchup against Memphis on New Year’s Eve tips at 3 p.m…. Defending champion Miami, who the Pacers led 2-1 once upon a time in their Eastern Conference semifinal meeting, return to the Fieldhouse on Jan. 8 and Feb. 1. Indiana only goes down to South Florida once, invading the Heat’s house on Sunday, March 10.

Miami Heat

Home opener: Oct. 30 vs Boston

National TV games: 31  
 
Longest homestand: 6, Dec. 6-18

Longest road trip: 6, Nov. 9-17, Jan 8-17

First 10- 6 home, 4 road: There’s an opportunity to get off to a good start with six of the first seven at the United Center, but a certain amount of pressure, too. Immediately after the Nov. 12 marquee matchup with Boston, the Bulls take off on their circus trip, leaving town for a few weeks.

Final 10 - 4 home, 6 road: Rose should be back for these, so depending on how well Chicago succeeds in staying afloat, consider April its most important month. Contender or pretender? With Toronto, Washington and Orlando each up twice, there’s an opportunity to thrive, but the final five games are over a seven-day stretch that will require both passports to enter Canada and sunscreen for a stint in Florida.

Back-to-backs: 16

3 games in 4 days: 23

4 games in 5 days: 3
 
Monthly breakdown: Oct/November: 14 (7 home, 7 away), December: 15 (9/6), January: 13 (5/8), February: 13 (7/6), March: 18 (7/11), April: 9 (6/3)

Compelling: The Heat catch everyone’s best punch, so they always have to be on high alert. Still, there are games they’re going to circle, starting with the opener. We’ll see whether they can overcome the emotional high of seeing last year’s goal completed, but knowing Boston will eat them alive if they’re vulnerable should help them focus… With visits to Cleveland and Toronto now an old hat for James and Chris Bosh, only a handful of teams and games will have the Heat hyped. Besides all games against the Celtics, Knicks, Lakers and Thunder, only the visits to the L.A. Clippers (Nov. 14), Dallas (Dec. 20), Indiana (Jan. 8/Feb. 1) and that first stop in Brooklyn on (Jan. 30) should command Miami’s full attention… Its final challenging road stretch of the regular season comes in late March, where they should run into Derrick Rose in Chicago (Jan. 27) and San Antonio (Jan. 31).

Milwaukee Bucks

Home opener: Nov. 3 vs Cleveland

National TV games: 3
 
Longest homestand: 4, March 28-Apr. 3

Longest road trip: 4, Jan. 13-19, Apr. 9-13 

First 10 – 5 home, 5 road: The Bucks see the Celtics twice in their first five outings, with both games coming as part of the only two back-to-back situations during their opening stretch.

Final 10 – 4 home, 6 road: Trips to Miami and Oklahoma City are bookends of a season-closing stint where five of the last six games are away from Bradley Center. The hope is likely going to be that the Heat and Thunder are resting players at this point.

Back-to-backs: 22

3 games in 4 days: 19

4 games in 5 days: 3
 
Monthly breakdown: November: 14 (7 home, 7 away), December: 15 (8/7), January: 15 (7/8), February: 12 (6/6), March: 16 (9/7), April: 10 (4/6)

Compelling: Monta Ellis made his Bucks debut in Golden State right after being dealt and got a great ovation. Andrew Bogut will get similar treatment, presuming he’s healthy for his return to Milwaukee on Jan. 26.

New York Knicks

Home opener: Nov. 2 vs Miami

National TV games: 32  
 
Longest homestand: 6, Dec. 13-23

Longest road trip: 5, March 11-18 

First 10 – 4 home, 6 road: Playing Brooklyn and Miami right out of the gate ensures the Knicks will be emotionally engaged, but will they burn out for their very next back-to-back, a home-and-home with Philadelphia? It’s tough to play four games in five nights at any juncture, much less the very beginning.

Final 10 - 4 home, 6 road: The Knicks should be playoff ready by the time they’re done with this final stretch, since they have road stops at Miami, Chicago and Oklahoma City that should have everyone’s attention. Atlanta is on the slate twice in the final month.

Back-to-backs: 19

3 games in 4 days: 34

4 games in 5 days: 4
 
Monthly breakdown: November: 15 (6 home, 9 away), December: 15 (8/7), January: 13 (8/5), February: 11 (7/4), March: 18 (8/10), April: 10 (4/6)

Compelling: The Knicks have been successful in restoring their brand as one of the NBA’s showcase teams, so there’s a theme almost every night. Beyond the first two days in November, the Knicks will also cross paths with Jeremy Lin in Houston on Nov. 23… Kobe Bryant graces Madison Square Garden with his presence on Dec. 13, while the Knicks go cross-country 12 days later for a Christmas Day rematch… Lin visits for the first time on Dec. 17, followed up two nights later by Brooklyn’s first visit… New York will have three days off in between its Jan. 17 London showcase against Detroit… Carmelo Anthony has yet to play in Denver, so circle March 13 on your calendars for that one.

Orlando Magic

Home opener: Nov. 2 vs Denver

National TV games: 6  
 
Longest homestand: 5, Nov. 21-30

Longest road trip: 5, Dec. 2-9, Jan. 28-Feb. 4, March 30-Apr. 7

First 10 - 4 home, 6 road: It would be interesting to see Dwight Howard go up against JaVale McGee and Marcin Gortat in the opening pair of home games, but who knows what happens there. It’s also interesting that disappointed would-be trade partner Brooklyn is lined up for a home-and-home on Nov. 9-11.

Final 10 - 4 home, 6 road: The Magic open the season’s final month on the road and will be up against it in their last three games if they even manage to remain competitive. Orlando drew Boston, Chicago and Miami to end the season. The good news is that the team’s final back-to-back comes in their final March contest.

Back-to-backs: 13

3 games in 4 days: 21

4 games in 5 days: 1
 
Monthly breakdown: November: 15 (9 home, 6 away), December: 16 (8/8), January: 14 (7/7), February: 13 (6/7), March: 16 (8/8), April: 8 (3/5).

Compelling: It’s hard to tell what winds up being compelling with Howard being shopped, but you can circle those visits from Houston (March 1) and the Lakers (March 12) as nights where being at Amway is a must… Expect Magic fans to boo Brooklyn when its in town for a pair of November meetings, but clearly there will be no Howard factor… Miami visits on New Year’s eve and March 25, which always riles up the natives… Kevin Durant and the Thunder, former employer of new GM Rob Hennigan, visit Central Florida a few days earlier on March 22.

Philadelphia 76ers

Home opener: Oct. 31 vs Denver

National TV games: 11 
 
Longest homestand: 8, Jan. 26-Feb. 11

Longest road trip: 8, Dec. 23-Jan. 5

First 10 – 6 home, 4 road: The Sixers have a strange four-day gap between their opener and a back-to-back home-and-home with the Knicks, so count on Doug Collins rolling his sleeves up to get the team ready for a stretch of four-of-five on the road.

Final 10 – 3 home, 7 road: It’s not the most pleasant of schedules given all the road dates, but there are a pair of games with Charlotte to offset a grueling stretch that includes visits to Atlanta, Miami and Brooklyn, followed by another meeting with the Hawks. Philadelphia needs to have its work done by this point or risk flirting with disaster. The season finale is at Indiana.

Back-to-backs: 22

3 games in 4 days: 25

4 games in 5 days: 2
 
Monthly breakdown: Oct./November: 16 (10 home, 6 away), December: 15 (6/9), January: 14 (8/6), February: 11 (7/4), March: 17 (8/9), April: 9 (2/7).

Compelling: The Elton Brand reunion comes early, as the Amnesty victim arrives on Nov. 27 with the Dallas Mavericks… Lou Williams, another offseason departure, comes through with the Hawks on Dec. 21… Boston emerges a major rival for Collins’ 76ers following last year’s playoff battle, but the way the schedule breaks down is strange. The teams will meet three times by Dec. 8 before closing out the season series on March 5.

Toronto Raptors

Home opener: Oct. 31 vs Indiana

National TV games: 2  
 
Longest homestand: 6, Jan. 2-13

Longest road trip: 5, Dec. 3-10

First 10 –  5 home, 5 road: Toronto’s national TV games, both home dates, will be wiped out after the season’s first seven games. There’s also plenty of early exposure to be had given stops in Brooklyn, OKC, Dallas, Indiana and Boston in this early stretch if the Raptors can pull off a couple of upsets.

Final 10 – 5 home, 5 road: The Raptors play three of their last four at home and have a pair of games to play against Washington and Chicago.

Back-to-backs: 17

3 games in 4 days: 24

4 games in 5 days: 2
 
Monthly breakdown: Oct/November: 17 (7 home, 10 away), December: 14 (5/9), January: 15 (10/5), February: 12 (8/4), March: 15 (6/9), April: 9 (5/4)

Compelling: After completing their second stretch of four games in five days ends on Nov. 21, the Raptors don’t face that situation again the rest of the season… A busy first month also sees new point guard Kyle Lowry visit Houston on Nov. 27, walking right into the teeth of Linsanity… Steve Nash and the Los Angeles Laker squad that won the bidding for his services come through Canada on Jan. 20 for an afternoon tip… Kings of the Sunday matinee, the Raptors will play 10 of those, hosting the Lakers, Rockets, Thunder and Heat twice in games that should be showcase sellouts.

Washington Wizards

Home opener: Nov. 3 vs. Boston

National TV games: 3.  
 
Longest homestand: 3, Eight times.

Longest road trip: 5, Jan. 16-23. 

First 10 - 4 home, 6 road: Being part of the season’s first game is a major development, followed by three days rest in between a pair of meetings with the Boston Celtics. There are also a pair of contests against Indiana in this stretch.

Final 10 – 5 home, 5 road: Washington plays Chicago and Toronto twice in this final stretch, giving them a couple of opportunities to chase down teams they should be vying for a playoff spot against if everything works out and the Wizards take the next step in their development.

Back-to-backs: 21

3 games in 4 days:  24

4 games in 5 days:  2

Monthly breakdown: Oct./November: 14 (7 home, 7 away), December: 14 (7/7), January: 16 (8/8), February: 12 (7/5), March: 17 (8/9), April: 9 (4/5).

Compelling: Games against Philadelphia take on a little extra significance with Nick Young now up the road… Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza, likely starters for the Wiz, will play their first games in New Orleans since he swapped in the offseason on Dec. 11… Old pal JaVale McGee’s return to D.C. comes right after the All-Star break on Feb. 22, over a month after Nene visits Denver on Jan. 18… The Wizards beat the Heat in two of three games last year, so look for that Dec. 4 game to be an early test since Miami typically has long memories.