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Most expensive NBA tickets for 2012-13 season

Think supply and demand. There are more NBA games this season, so prices are down. That’s what TiqIQ, which tracks prices of tickets sold on the secondary market, has found.

Last year’s NBA lockout shortened the 2011-2012 season, increasing the demand — and prices — for available tickets. This year, things are back to normal, but that's not the full story, as you will see.

“NBA ticket prices are down 7.8 percent from this same point before the beginning of last season,” said Chris Matcovich, TiqIQ’s senior director of data and communications. “The major reason for that is the 82-game schedule that will be played this season, instead of the lockout-shortened 66-game season in 2011-2012.”

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In Pictures: Most expensive NBA tickets 2012-13

Matcovich’s data bears this out. The average NBA ticket this year costs $123.53, versus $133.99 in 2011. All fine and good, but it shouldn’t be taken as a sign that tickets have reached bargain-basement prices across the board. Fans want to see certain matchups very badly, and in some of these cases this has driven up prices for those games by 400 percent or more.

Using data from TiqIQ, CNBC.com presents the 10 highest-priced NBA games of the 2012-2013 season. The prices do not represent the face value of the ticket, but rather their cost through resources like Craigslist, eBay, StubHub and TicketNetwork. These prices are aggregated by TiqIQ, whose rankings appear here and are as of Oct. 26.

Read ahead to see the 10 most expensive NBA tickets of the 2012-2013 season, according to TiqIQ.

10. Lakers at Thunder
Average Asking Price: $462.86
Venue: Chesapeake Energy Arena
Date: Dec. 7

"Not known for being a huge basketball town, Oklahoma City has grown to be one of the toughest places to play in the NBA," Matcovich said. This relatively new status has helped them join the Nets, the Lakers and the Knicks as one of only four home teams to appear in the top 10.

"Fans obviously get extremely excited and open their wallets when other great teams come to town," he said. "With (Kevin) Durant, (Russell) Westbrook, Kobe (Bryant) and Dwight Howard all MVP candidates, fans are willing to pay on average $462 to see this star power."

9. Thunder at Lakers
Average Asking Price: $471.88
Venue: Staples Center
Date: Jan. 27

Although this game is still months away, there’s already enough interest to drive up the price. Matcovich described it as “the last matchup of possibly the two best teams in the West.”

Matcovich said that this January battle royale at the Staples Center has the potential to be a sneak peek at the conference championship. “Fans are willing to pay top dollar to see the preview,” he said.

8. Boston Celtics at Lakers
Average Asking Price: $480.04
Venue: Staples Center
Date: Feb. 20

When the Celtics play the Lakers, tickets are always in high demand. According to Matcovich, this is because their contests are seen as rematches of the 2008 and 2010 NBA Finals.

“The two teams are arguably the most storied franchises in the NBA,” he said. “Fans are willing to shell out lots of money to see the historic franchises battle.”

[ Buy NBA tickets: Don't miss seeing your favorite team in action]

7. Miami Heat at New York Knicks
Average Asking Price: $487.71
Venue: Madison Square Garden
Date: March 3

Why would this game command a ticket price approaching $500? According to Matcovich, it comes down to two words: LeBron James.

“Even in their (Miami’s) second trip to the Garden, New York fans are still willing to pay over $480 on average to see the defending champion Heat play.”

6. Thunder at Lakers
Average Asking Price: $502.17
Venue: Staples Center
Date: Jan. 11

You may have noticed that this is the third Thunder-Lakers contest to make this list. According to Matcovich, it all comes down to their participation in last year’s conference finals.

“Anytime teams who excelled on the court the previous year face off, it is sure to gain intrigue amongst fans, and thus raise the resale market asking price for tickets,” he said.

[Watch: Thunder struggle without James Harden]

5. New York Knicks at Lakers
Average Asking Price: $512.02
Venue: Staples Center
Date: Dec. 25

“Just like fans in New York are anxious to see the Lakers come to town, the same is true in Los Angeles about the Knicks,” Matcovich said. And indeed, fans are paying more than $500 to see the teams clash at the Staples Center.

Somewhat counterintuitively, another factor driving up the ticket price is the date. “This is a Christmas day game, which tends to help to drive the price a bit, especially in L.A.,” he said.

4. Los Angeles Lakers at Knicks
Average Asking Price: $609.58
Venue: Madison Square Garden
Date: Dec. 13

A healthy spirit of rivalry exists between East Coast and West Coast teams, and the Lakers and the Knicks are no exception. “Anytime Kobe is in New York, prices are sure to be high to see him and the revamped Lakers play,” Matcovich said.

“This will be a big test for the Knicks,” he said. “And the home fans obviously are willing to pay a pretty penny to see the team go up against elite competition.”

[NBA Power Rankings: Lakers take a dive early on]

3. Miami Heat at New York Knicks
Average Asking Price: $634.40
Venue: Madison Square Garden
Date: Nov. 2

Few words excite the imagination of sports fans like “rematch.” It’s this word that’s fueling the high ticket price for this game, as it constitutes a repeat of an opening round playoff series from last season.

“Anytime LeBron is in town, ticket prices are sure to go up, especially against Carmelo (Anthony) and the Knicks in New York,” Matcovich said. It also doesn’t hurt that this game is the Knicks’ home opener.

2. Miami Heat at Los Angeles Lakers
Average Asking Price: $712.79
Venue: Staples Center
Date: Jan. 17

What could push this game’s ticket prices over the $700 threshold? In Matcovich’s opinion, it’s the fact that this game represents nothing less than an early look at the championships.

“Both teams boast two of the most star-studded rosters in the league,” he said. The star power at play includes such household names as Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Dwight Howard.

1. New York Knicks at Brooklyn Nets
Average Asking Price: $888.68
Venue: Barclays Center
Date: TBA

Unless you count the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest held annually on July 4th, Brooklyn hasn’t been the site of a major sporting event for almost 60 years. That was set to change on Nov. 1, when the Brooklyn Nets were scheduled to host the New York Knicks.

Unfortunately, Hurricane Sandy had other plans, and the highly anticipated game was postponed after a request from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, with no new date announced thus far. Regardless, it should still command a high ticket price once it’s rescheduled.

"The first edition of the intercity rivalry between the Knicks and Nets is fetching a pretty penny based on the fact that this is a basketball city," Matcovich said. He believes that with the newly opened Barclays Center infusing the borough of Brooklyn with basketball fans, matchups between the Knicks and the Nets will become "the new subway series."

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