If last year’s schedule as the lightning round, this year’s schedule will seem like a snail’s pace compared to that. We’re back to the normal 82 game schedule, which means no more back to back to backs, actual time off between games, and no preview writers who practically develop carpal tunnel syndrome writing a preview it seemed like every other day (kidding about that last part). As the team begins to rebuild once again, we are left with a schedule that is at the same time familiar in size and scope but also has some features (think longer road trips and home stands) than we’ve seen in at least my memory.
Here is a link to the full schedule: http://www.nba.com/blazers/schedule/
Portland plays every western conference team 4 times (except those listed below), and every eastern conference team twice.
Western conference teams played three times (2 home, 1 road): Phoenix, San Antonio.
Western conference teams played three times (2 road, 1 home): Golden State, New Orleans.
Longest road trip: 7 (BKN-DET-WAS-BOS-CLE-CHA-IND) in November/December. The team also has a six and a five game road trip later in the season.
Longest homestand: 6 (SAC-TOR-SA-NO-DEN-PHX) in December.
Back to backs: 17
National TV Games:
TNT-5 (@ and home to Clippers, home to Miami, San Antonio and New York)
ESPN-3 (home to Denver, Brooklyn and Golden State)
Month by Month Analysis:
Home: 7 (6 vs. +.500 teams last season)
Road: 9 (4 vs. +.500 teams)
Back to backs: 4 (counting the 11/30 and 12/1 BTB in this month’s total).
Key Games: vs. LA Lakers, at OKC, vs. Minnesota
Summary: If Portland has a winning record after this month they will have earned it. The opening stretch is brutal and even the teams that were bad last year, such as Minnesota or Brooklyn, are much improved. Its especially tough for Lillard, who will face a litany of the league’s top PGs to begin his career.
Home: 8 (3 vs. +.500 teams last season)
Road: 5 (2 vs. +.500 teams)
Back to backs: 2
Key Games: at LA Lakers, vs. New Orleans (Anthony Davis’s only visit to PDX), vs. and at Sacramento 3x
Summary: Portland gets a holiday gift of sorts in December as they face perhaps their easiest month of the year. They face a group of non-playoff teams and most of those at home. Don’t be surprised to see the Blazers reel off a long winning-streak this month.
Home: 9 (5 vs. +.500 teams last season)
Road: 7 (4 vs. +.500 teams)
Back to backs: 5
Key Games: vs. and at LA Clippers (back to back), vs. Miami, at Denver
Summary: This isn’t the toughest month on paper but due to the compressed nature of these games (10 of the 16 are part of back to backs), don’t be surprised to see a few losses simply because the team is tired. This month features the home game vs. Miami and a strange back to back home and road affairs with the Clippers (which is repeated barely a week later with Utah).
Home: 4 (3 vs. +.500 teams last season)
Road: 8 (6 vs. +.500 teams)
Back to backs: 2
Key Games: vs. and at Utah (back to back), at Miami, at LA Lakers
Summary: The shortest month of the year is perhaps the toughest month for the Blazers. There is not a single game on this month’s schedule that is an obvious victory. The six game road trip in the middle of the month is a doozy, featuring some of the league’s best. The only saving grace may be that if Orlando has traded Dwight Howard, that game at Orlando looks a lot less daunting.
Home: 7 (3 vs. +.500 teams last season)
Road: 9 (6 vs. +.500 teams)
Back to backs: 3
Key Games: vs. New York, vs. Brooklyn, at Chicago
Summary: The ides of march are not so tough for the team this season. They should be able to get onto a bit of a run this month, although the five game road trip in the middle is pretty daunting (especially the CHI-ATL-OKC finish). Blazer fans will get a chance to “welcome back” Felton in New York’s only visit on March 14.
Home: 6 (5 vs. +.500 teams last season)
Road: 3 (3 vs. +.500 teams)
Back to backs: 1
Key Games: vs. Golden State (season finale), vs. OKC, vs. LA Lakers
Summary: The good news is that most of this closing stretch is at home. The bad news is it consists of teams that will likely be fighting for a playoff spot. If Portland is somehow in playoff contention (unlikely), they will be hard pressed to stay in it with this closing stretch.