The two-time defending league champion Lakers and new-look Miami Heat are among the six teams in action when the 2010-11 NBA season gets underway tonight. The Heat will face the Eastern Conference champion Celtics in Boston in the first game of the night. Miami is debuting its new superstar lineup that includes LeBron James and Chris Bosh to go with guard Dwyane Wade. James and Bosh signed as free agents, joining Wade in Miami over the offseason. Meantime, the Celtics will welcome their “biggest” offseason acquisition, Shaquille O’Neal.
The late games tonight feature the Phoenix Suns against the Trail Blazers in Portland, and the Lakers raising their championship banner before hosting the Houston Rockets at STAPLES Center. Kobe Bryant and LA have won three straight Western Conference titles to go along with their NBA titles from the last two seasons. A majority of the league starts the season on Wednesday, with 13 games on the schedule. The regular season will conclude on Wednesday, April 13th. At the Las Vegas Hilton, the Heat are the odds-on favorites to win this season’s title at 8-5, followed by the Lakers at 7-2, then the Celtics and Orlando Magic at 8-1. The longest odds to win the championship are for Minnesota and Toronto, both at 200-1.