Extreme NBA Schedule Demands
The most intense parts of each team’s regular season schedule.
by Kyle Stack / @KyleStack
The NBA has released the 66-game regular season schedules for each of its 30 teams. Given that there are 42 back-to-back-to-back games spread among those squads, you can expect some craziness. Here are the most extreme schedule demands for each team:
Atlanta Hawks – They begin the season with nine games in 12 days, including a six-day stretch from Feb. 2-7 in which they play the Heat and Bulls twice apiece, once at home and on the road. A Bobcats road game Feb. 6 is sandwiched between the latter Heat and Bulls matches, both at home, to create a fun back-to-back-to-back affair.
Boston Celtics – These vets play eight games in 13 days Mar. 11-23—all on the road. (Happy St. Patty’s Day!) They start with a back-to-back in L.A. against the Lakers and Clippers, then hop to Oakland, Sacramento, Denver, Atlanta, Milwaukee and Philly. (Sac-Denver and Mil-Philly are also back-to-backs.)
Charlotte Bobcats – An interesting five-game-in-eight-day stretch Jan. 28-Feb. 4 includes home contests against the Heat and Magic and then a road trip to Miami, Cleveland and New York City, the latter two of which are back-to-back.
Chicago Bulls – Here is a nine-game run from Jan. 29-Feb. 12, all of which are on the road: Miami, Washington (back-to-back), Philly, NYC (b-t-b), Milwaukee, New Jersey, New Orleans, Charlotte, Boston.
Cleveland Cavaliers – The Cavs must play seven games in nine days April 10-18. That entails two home games 10-11, traveling to Indianapolis on the 13th then to D.C. on the 14th, back home for the Magic on the 15th, to Detroit on the 17th and home again for the Sixers on the 18th. Baron Davis better hope he gets traded.
Dallas Mavericks – I don’t know where to start. They have seven games in 10 days Dec. 29-Jan. 7, including three back-to-backs. THEN…they have six games in eight days Feb. 28-Mar. 6, including a back-to-back to finish it at the Thunder and versus the Knicks. BUT…they have one day off after that brutal stretch before embarking on a back-to-back-to-back at Phoenix, Sac-town and Golden State. Jason Kidd’s legs = mush.
Denver Nuggets – They start with six games in eight days beginning Dec. 26. It’s even tougher than it sounds. They’re at Dallas on the 26th, host Utah on the 28th, face Portland on the 29th then go to Tinseltown to contest the Lakers on the 31st. Cool, New Year’s in L.A., baby! Not exactly. They have to be in Denver the next day—to play the Lakers. Oh, and the day after that they host the Bucks.
Detroit Pistons – The Pistons get the ol’ 7-11 treatment. That’s the NBA 2011-12 regular season’s snarky way of indicating seven games in 11 days. Keep in mind this timeline from Mar. 21-31 starts after a two-day rest period in which Detroit will have played four road games in seven days. Beginning with the 21st, Detroit plays at Denver, gets a nice, easy home game versus the Heat then hits the road to New York City, Washington D.C., Cleveland and Chicago before returning home to play the Bobcats. FUN.
Golden State Warriors – There are some mean road trips in The City’s schedule, but there is a particularly gruesome part of mid-February that won’t leave the Warriors in a Valentine’s Day mood. From Feb. 12-18, they host Houston and Phoenix in back-to-backs the 12th and 13th, host Portland the 15th then go back-to-back at OKC and Memphis the 17th and 18th.
Houston Rockets – The Rockets may dislike the Valentine’s Day stretch even more. They play nine games in the first 15 days of February. Seven of those are on the road, including starting off at San Antonio and finishing with a back-to-back at Memphis and hosting OKC. They’ll be seeing a different kind of red after that one.
Indiana Pacers – Who the hell did the Pacers piss off at the NBA to get their late February run? Starting on the 22nd, they finish a three-game, five-day Western swing with a visit to the Lakers, host the Magic on the 24th, go to Chicago the next day, travel to Boston on the 27th and play the Magic again, this time in Orlando, on the 29th. That’s Lakers, Magic, Bulls, Celtics, Magic in eight days with only the first Magic contest being at home.
Los Angeles Clippers – March starts with a six-game road trip in nine days to Sacramento, Phoenix (back-to-back), Houston, Minnesota (b-t-b), New Jersey and San Antonio. (Sneak in that half-cross country flight toward the end, I see you NBA!) The Clips enjoy three home back-to-backs from Mar. 11-18 before taking off on a back-to-back-to-back Mar. 20-22 at Indiana, OKC and New Orleans. Might as well stay in the French Quarter that night to celebrate the hellish month!
Los Angeles Lakers – They start with a back-to-back-to-back at home against the Bulls, up in Sac-town then at home versus the Jazz. That won’t be as demanding as a six-game-in-nine-day stretch Mar. 6-14. After hosting the Heat Mar. 4, they travel to Detroit, Washington and Minnesota the 6th through the 9th, come all the way back to L.A. for the 11th to host the Celtics, then swing through Memphis and New Orleans the 13th and 14th.
Memphis Grizzlies – Four games in five nights. From Feb. 2-6, they travel to Atlanta and OKC on a back-to-back, take a day off, then go to Boston and host San Antonio on another back-to-back. Short but sweet—and ridiculously tiring.