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Cavaliers notably absent from national TV

By CHRIS FEDOR • Aug 8, 2018 at 4:10 PM

CLEVELAND — LeBron James is gone. So is the NBA's interest in the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The league released part of its regular season schedule on Wednesday afternoon, unveiling the national television lineup for Opening Week, Christmas Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day — the NBA's three marquee slates.

The Cavs, who appeared on national TV a whopping 39 times during the 2017-18 regular season, are notably absent.

Normally a day reserved for the league's best teams or brightest stars, the Cavs will not be playing on Christmas for the first time in four years, a timeline that coincided with James' return to Cleveland in the summer of 2014.

There will be no game for the Cavs on MLK Day either, as the Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers will represent the Eastern Conference on that day.

The first week of the season features 15 different teams in the national TV spotlight. The Cavaliers are not one of them.

It remains to be seen how much national coverage they will receive this season, as the remainder of the schedule has not yet come out. Still, it's clear that James being in Los Angeles has taken the focus away from Cleveland and sent the reigning Eastern Conference champions into national TV obscurity.

Opening Night is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 16. The season starts with the Celtics hosting the 76ers. To cap the night, the Golden State Warriors will receive their championship rings before playing the Oklahoma City Thunder.

James' new team will get plenty of time in the spotlight. The Lakers are scheduled to play twice on national TV during the first week. They travel to Portland on Thursday, Oct. 18 — the second game of TNT's doubleheader and the first game for James in the purple and gold. Two days later, James' Lakers will host the Houston Rockets — one of the four teams he considered in free agency — at 10:30 p.m. on ESPN.

As has been the case for the last three years, James' December get-together with rival Golden State is scheduled for Christmas. The Lakers-Warriors will be the fourth game on Dec. 25.

The other Christmas games are Milwaukee vs. New York, Oklahoma City-Houston, Boston playing host to Philadelphia and Blazers-Jazz.

James will also get top billing on MLK Day, as Los Angeles hosts Golden State to cap the star-studded night.

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