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Cavs' James to return to Miami on Christmas

LeBron James speaks to the media during the 2014 NBA Finals at the San Antonio Spurs practice facility, in San Antonio, Texas, on June 14, 2014

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New York (AFP) - NBA superstar LeBron James, back home in Cleveland this season to lead the Cavaliers, will still be spending Christmas in Miami.

The Heat, who captured two NBA titles in James's four seasons with the team, will host the Cavs in one of five Christmas Day games highlighting the 2014-15 schedule released on Wednesday by the league.

The other four games on Christmas are Washington at the New York Knicks, Oklahoma City at San Antonio, the Los Angeles Lakers at the Chicago Bulls and the Golden State Warriors at the Los Angeles Clippers.

The San Antonio Spurs will unveil their fifth championship banner on October 28 against the Dallas Mavericks, one of three Opening Night games.

Also on Opening Night, the Charlotte Hornets host the Orlando Magic and the Los Angeles Lakers host the Houston Rockets.

The Lakers' opener should see the return of Kobe Bryant, who missed all but six games last season because of injury.

Chicago star Derrick Rose's first regular-season game since his season-ending knee surgery last November is expected on October 29, when the Bulls visit the Knicks.

The All-Star Game will take place at Madison Square Garden on February 15, with teams getting six days off for the break instead of the usual four.

The regular season ends on April 15, and the playoffs will start three days later.

Other highlights along the way include NBA Finals rematches between the Spurs and Heat on February 6 in San Antonio on March 31.

Spanish big man Pau Gasol, who left the Lakers for Chicago in January, will face his old team when the Lakers host the Bulls on January 20.

Jason Kidd, who bolted from the Nets to coach the Milwaukee, returns to Brooklyn when the Nets host the Bucks on November 19.

And the NBA will continue to build its brand outside of the United States with the November 12 clash between Houston and Minnesota in Mexico City and the Knicks-Bucks meeting in London on January 15.

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