Friday, July 27, 2012

Schedule Breakdown

Posted By on Fri, Jul 27, 2012 at 9:59 AM

The NBA's regular-season schedule was released last night. You can see the full Grizzlies' schedule here.

Here are a few thoughts as we look ahead to what should be a really fun season:

Games of Note:

At Los Angeles Clippers — Wednesday, October 31st: The season opener is a tough one, a road rematch with the team that eliminated the Grizzlies from last season's playoffs. The bad news: The Clippers might be better this season after adding veterans like Chauncy Billups, Lamar Odom, Grant Hill, and Rony Turiaf to their bench. The good news: Blake Griffin had knee surgery this summer and might not be 100-percent for this game.

Utah Jazz — Monday, November 5th: The home opener against one of the West's young, emerging teams.

Houston Rockets — Friday, November 9th: “Linsanity” — to what ever degree it will still exist — makes its Memphis debut.

Miami Heat — Sunday, November 11th: The Heat didn't play in Memphis during the lockout season, but the defending champions come to town for their lone appearance here.

At Oklahoma City Thunder — Wednesday, November 14th: The team's first national television game (on ESPN) is also an early measuring stick against the defending Western Conference champs.

New York Knicks — Friday, November 16th: The first home national TV game (ESPN).

Los Angeles Lakers — Friday, November 23rd: This first home Laker game is during the Thanksgiving holiday. Should be a festive night.

Milwaukee Bucks — Wednesday, December 19th: The Grizzlies are hosting the Milwaukee Bucks on a Wednesday night with an 8:30 tip? On the surface, that shapes up as the lowest-attended game on the schedule. It's also on national television. This will be a test of how much the fan base cares about hosting a national TV game.

Dallas Mavericks — Friday, December 21st: O.J. Mayo makes his first Memphis appearance in another uniform.

Indiana Pacers — Monday, January 21st: A noon ESPN game as part of the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day commemoration. And a good match-up between the best team's in each conference that lack a traditional “superstar.”

At Oklahoma City Thunder — Thursday, January 31st: The Grizzlies' lone primetime TNT game this season.

Golden State — Friday, February 8th: The Warriors are not a high-profile team, but are an increasingly interesting one, and this is their only FedExForum appearance this season.

Oklahoma City Thunder — Wednesday, March 20th: The only time this season that the Thunder will play at FedExForum — at least until the playoffs.

Boston Celtics — Saturday, March 23rd: Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo are two of the league's most interesting players to watch in person, and this will be their only appearance at FedExForum — at least until the NBA Finals (of my dreams).

Utah Jazz — Wednesday, April 17th: The season finale will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.

General Notes:

Top Heavy: As you might have noticed, there are a lot of early contests in those “Games of Note.” Nine of first 14 games this season will be at home, including a season-long five-game homestand, and many of those are heavyweight games.

Back-to-Backs: After having 22, 20, and 20 back-to-back sets in the past three full seasons, the Grizzlies get a little bit of a break this season, with the number down to 18.

National TV Games: Discounting NBATV games, the Grizzlies have eight games on national television (seven on ESPN and one on TNT), evenly spilt among home and road games.

Road-Weary March: If the Grizzlies' schedule is home-heavy early, it has to balance out sometime. In March, the team will play 11 of 17 on the road, including their only long West Coast trip, a four-in-five-days trip in which they'll face the Blazers, Clippers, Nuggets, and Jazz.

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