by Ryne Nelson

It’s sort of like reading the menu outside a fancy new restaurant. The problem is you have no clue when the restaurant will open its doors. No signs of hiring. Vacant premisses. Its T-Bone Steak looks tantalizing, though…

Well, the NBA released its regular-season menu for ’11-12 this afternoon. Check out some of the entries below:

The Finals rematch between the Miami Heat and reigning champion Dallas Mavericks on Christmas Day in Dallas is the ultimate gift for NBA lovers worldwide.

That game will mark the first time the Heat and Mavericks face each other since the Mavs wrapped things up in Game 6 of The Finals in June. They’ll play for a second time on March 29, 2012 in Miami on TNT.

That first meeting is the highlight of a Christmas Day tripleheader that also includes Boston and New York at Madison Square Garden to start the day and the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center in the nightcap.

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The Bulls and Mavericks kick off the season in Dallas on Nov. 1 in the front end of a doubleheader on TNT, followed by Western Conference finalists Oklahoma City christening the Los Angeles Lakers’ Mike Brown era at Staples Center. Houston and new coach Kevin McHale open the season that night as well in Utah.

That opening night schedule sets the table for a monster, 13-deep slate of games on Nov. 2, including the Heat in New York against the Knicks. The Cavaliers, with two of the top four picks in the June Draft, play at Boston.

For the complete schedule for The Season That May Not Be, head to NBA.com.