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The Unequal NBA Schedule of 82 Games
Posted By Eric Pincus On August 7, 2013 @ 7:30 am In NBA | No Comments
On Tuesday, the NBA released the schedule for the 2013-14 season and while each team will play 82 games, the road to 82 may be more difficult for some teams than others.
The Atlanta Hawks will play five sets of games on consecutive nights. That’s 10 games in 16 days (November 15-30) with half on the road. If that’s not enough, the Hawks also have four sets of back-to-backs in February.
Meanwhile the Denver Nuggets have just 14 back-to-backs all season. Atlanta has 20 — the Charlotte Bobcats 22.
Not every team plays each opponent the same number of games. The Boston Celtics play both the Miami HEAT and Chicago Bulls just three times apiece.
The Indiana Pacers play Miami and Chicago four times, but face recent lottery teams like the Charlotte Bobcats, Philadelphia 76ers and Washington Wizards three times each. The Wizards and even the Bobcats may be more formidable this season, but are not the HEAT or the Bulls.
The national audience won’t see every team, at least not nearly as often.
All play 82 games but they’re not the same 82.
The Dallas Mavericks may have the “lightest” schedule in the league with just 16 back-to-back sets. The longest stretch of road they’ll hit is four straight, which they’ll do twice.
Dallas can also boast a league-high eight-game home-stand (matched only by the New York Knicks). Once the Mavericks get through a heavy November, they’ll have just 10 back-to-backs left over the course of the season. The Knicks play 18 back-to-backs.
The Oklahoma City Thunder and Golden State Warriors both play just 15 sets of back-to-backs. The Los Angeles Clippers, Bulls and HEAT have 17 apiece.
The Warriors’ biggest test will be seven in a row on the road, in an otherwise favorable schedule.
The Nuggets also have one of the lighter schedules in the league with their 14 back-to-backs. They play the San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings three times each. Denver also has a natural, high altitude home-court advantage.
The Clippers’ favorable count of back-to-backs is offset by two seven-game road trips. No team necessarily has it easy.
The aforementioned Hawks will be tested throughout their schedule. Their longest stretch at home is just four games — their longest trip on the road is six.
The Utah Jazz and Milwaukee Bucks both play 21 sets of back-to-backs. Ten teams play 20 each; five teams play 19. The Bobcats’ reward for winning just 21 games last season? A league-high 22 back-to-backs.
The Jazz have two five-game road trips and yet they never play more than four in a row at home — and they do that just once.
In November, the Wizards need to survive eight games in 12 nights. The Bucks will see the same in December.
The Nets have a seven-game road trip — their longest stretch at home is just four. The Lakers and Kings both play 19 back-to-backs and also face seven-game road trips.
San Antonio has their annual “rodeo” trip in February with nine-straight on the road — longest for any team this season. Given the Spurs’ success over nearly two decades, strength of schedule does not always dictate outcome.
The Celtics play 18 games in November with six back-to-backs. The Pacers and HEAT hit 18 each in March. Boston also plays 17 games in January.
No team in the West hits more than 17 in a month, although the Jazz get that number twice (November and March). Oklahoma City plays 34 games from December through January.
The Thunder, Lakers, HEAT and Warriors are the only teams with nine games in the final month of April. The rest play seven or eight in the season’s second-shortest month. Teams play one or two games in the opening month of October.
February is also a lighter month, both in number of days and with the All-Star break.
Uneven TV Time
The Bulls will make 33 national television appearances, including nine on NBA TV. The Toronto Raptors and 76ers will make just one each (NBA TV).
Miami will have 27 nationally televised games with 25 combined on ABC, ESPN and TNT. Take away NBA TV from Chicago, and the Bulls hit the major networks 24 times.
The Brooklyn Nets will make 26 national appearances (nine NBA TV) but none on ABC. The Bobcats make just two, both on NBA TV.
The Jazz and Phoenix Suns get the least national airtime in the Western Conference with five apiece. Three of Utah’s nationally televised contests will be on ESPN. The Suns have four such games on NBA TV and one on ESPN.
The Knicks will get the national spotlight 33 times (eight on NBA TV) while the Thunder will get it 30 times (six on NBA TV), Warriors 26 times (nine on NBA TV), Rockets 26 times (six on NBA TV) and Spurs 21 times (six on NBA TV).
The rebuilding Celtics will play three games each on ESPN and NBA TV.
Finally, the Lakers and Clippers will make 29 national appearances each, with 25 and 21 on the major networks respectively.
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