With Tuesday’s release of the NBA schedule, we can all start officially looking forward to the 2009-10 NBA season. OK, who am I kidding, you didn’t need a schedule to do that, but at least now you can start circling all the must-see matchups that you can’t wait for.
Schmitz did a nice job analyzing the schedule, but here’s a breakdown of a couple more schedule-related numbers:
- ABC doesn’t love the Suns anymore. Only the Feb. 28 tilt in San Antonio will be picked up by the network that’s hoping for another Kobe-LeBron Finals. I mean …
- The rest of the national stations still do. The Suns will play 24 other contests on national TV, including the maximum 10 on ESPN and seven each on TNT and NBATV.
- The Suns went 0-10 on TNT last season, so obviously TNT’s decision to show so many Phoenix games last year is the sole reason why the squad missed the playoffs. It clearly had nothing to do with defense. That run could be extended with the Suns’ first games on Turner being at the Lakers, at New Orleans and at Portland. They better take care of business Jan. 18 at Memphis on TNT or it could be another long season on the network.
- Phoenix will play eight of its 15 Eastern Conference road games by the time Dec. 2 rolls around, for better or for worse. The Suns will also finish with the Lakers on the road on Dec. 6.
- The Suns start off with 15 of 22 away from US Airways Center. That’s scary considering how bad Alvin Gentry’s club was on the road last season.
- Toughest stretch: Dec. 6-17 when the Suns play at the Lakers, at Dallas, vs. Orlando, at Denver, vs. San Antonio and at Portland. That stretch includes the Finals participants as well as the top six seeds in the West except for the Rockets, who aren’t supposed to be of that caliber this season anyway.
- Easiest stretch: Jan. 16-23 when the Suns play at Charlotte and Memphis and then host the Nets, Bulls and Warriors. Not incredibly easy, but the easiest continuous stretch without playing the West’s elites.
- Worst road trip: Nov. 3-9 when the Suns must play at Miami, Orlando, Boston, Washington and Philadelphia. Except for the Wizards who will be much better next season, the other four stops resulted in disheartening losses last season.
- Longest home stand: March 4-21 when the Suns stay home for two and a half weeks to host the Jazz, Pacers, Lakers, Hornets, T-Wolves, Jazz and Blazers. Talk about March Madness! The players’ kids might start to wonder if they’re still NBA players because they will be home so long.
- The Suns will look worse than they really are at the beginning of the season because of that brutal early road trip. No team would get off to a hot start with that kind of schedule. You’ve just got to hope it doesn’t become like Phoenix’s brutal 0-6 stretch last year in which this kind of Murderers’ Row knocks them down early.
- Having essentially not played this style with a full roster (i.e. with Amare) last year, some early growing pains are inevitable. The Suns should just hope they can tread water early on.
- Via Paul Coro’s blog, the Suns will travel to Portland and San Antonio only once and get only one visit from the Mavs and Thunder. That all is good news, except for fans of the Matrix in the Valley. The team also will play 20 back-to-back sets.
- Notable home games: Dec. 15 vs. San Antonio, Dec. 21 vs. Cleveland, Dec. 28 vs. the Lakers, Dec. 30 vs. Boston, Jan. 28 vs. Dallas, March 12 vs. the Lakers, March 26 vs. the Knicks and April 7 vs. San Antonio. April 11 vs. Houston and April 13 vs. Denver may be huge for playoff purposes as well.
- Finally, not only is the beginning tough, but so is the end. Phoenix finishes vs. San Antonio, at OKC, vs. Houston and Denver and at Utah. Not that it mattered this year anyway, but they won’t be able to expect to make up ground at the end.
The preseason schedule is out, too
The Suns’ schedule for the preseason will include three home games, including one against an international team, as well as contests in Canada and Mexico and the Oct. 10 outdoor game against the Warriors, which should literally be a track meet. So long as it doesn’t rain at least.
The schedule is pasted below, via Suns.com:
|Tues., Oct. 6||Partizan Belgrade||US Airways Center, Phoenix||7 p.m.|
|Sat., Oct. 10||Golden State||Indian Wells Tennis Garden, Indian Wells, Calif.||6:30 p.m.||(TNT)|
|Mon., Oct. 12||Oklahoma City||Ford Center, Oklahoma||6 p.m.|
|Wed., Oct. 14||Portland||Memorial Coliseum, Portland||7 p.m.|
|Fri., Oct. 16||Philadelphia||US Airways Center, Phoenix||7 p.m.|
|Sun., Oct. 18||Philadelphia||Arena Monterrey, Mexico||6 p.m.|
|Tues., Oct. 20||Sacramento||US Airways Center, Phoenix||7 p.m.|
|Thurs., Oct. 22||Portland||General Motors Place, Vancouver, Canada||7 p.m.|