Dec 06

Around the League in 123 Days

By mikebarrett

You’ve been to the mall in December.  That was me today.  It was packed.  Everyone was in a hurry.  They were racing all around, popping in and out of stores, barely stopping to catch a breath and never holding still for more than a beat or two.

A relaxing day it wasn’t.

As hectic as that pace was today, and as worn out as I felt wandering out to my truck, that experience will seem like an afternoon at the library (not that I know what that is like) compared to what we’re about to encounter when the NBA season begins.

But, honestly, I’m a little strange.  I really like the mall at Christmas.  I’ve never minded the crowds, have no issue with the lines, and I enjoy watching when a couple of suburban moms drop the gloves and throw down in the parking lot outside Nordstrom over a spot that’s close to the door.  I like it all.

So, it’s no surprise then that I can’t wait to tackle this nutty NBA schedule that’s just been released.  You know the best part?  I have no issue with it.  I was all ready to get my shorts in a wad because we’d be starting the season far away from home and our plane would leave at 8am on Christmas morning (been there, done that, by the way).

Alas, no.  I can live with this schedule.  Mostly, I’m thrilled we’re having a season at all, so all of this is gravy.  I also know that creating the NBA schedule, even when you’ve got months to do it, is not an easy job.  So, I’m not going to bang on those dudes.

Right out of the chute in this 66-game schedule we’re slapped across the face.  But, at least we’re at home, so it’s more of a love tap.  It is, however, three games in four nights out of the box.  But, the games are Philly, Sacramento, and Denver.  That’s favorable.  Philly gets the shaft, having to travel west on Christmas, the Kings will be a little more interesting, and half the Nuggets team is stuck behind the Bamboo Curtain.  My point?  It could be a lot worse.

Our first road trip starts New Year’s Day in L.A. when we play the Clippers.  Duck fans, down there for the Rose Bowl the next day, come on over to Staples and watch your Blazers.  From there it’s on to Oklahoma City (which is lovely this time of year).  Nothing involving the Thunder will be fun for opponents this season, obviously.

Seven of the first 10 games of the season are home for the Blazers, is what I’m trying to say.  After that start comes our first long trip of the season.  It starts January 13th in San Antonio, and will then take us to Houston, New Orleans, Atlanta, Toronto, and Detroit.

After that trip comes our first experience with the dreaded back-to-back-to-back that everyone has talked about.  The 23rd, 24th, and 25th of January, we’ve got Sac and Memphis at home, and then Golden State on the road.  As far as three in a row goes, I’ll take that.

The next trifecta comes just 10 days later, when we have Washington, @Golden State, and the Clips at home.  Again, not as tough as it could be.

The folks in Orlando aren’t thrilled with how things will wrap around the all-star game this year, but hey, they’re getting an all-star game.  The all-star break, for us anyway, will be eight days off.  We play on the February 21st at home against the Spurs, and then don’t play again until the 29th at Denver.

March 9th we take off for the longest road trip of the season.  It’s a 7-game jaunt that will take us to Minnesota, Boston, Washington, Indiana, New York, Chicago, and Oklahoma City.  That won’t exactly be a day at the beach.

There are 14 games in April, which of course, is odd.  And, five of the last six games of the regular season will be road games.  The final three games of the season will away, at Memphis, San Antonio, and Utah.  That’s not easy, and I hope we’re not in a position to have to win those final three games.

A couple of things stand out to me when looking over this schedule.  There are 16 back-to-back games, and, as I said, two sets of back-to-back-to-back games.  April is odd, but were really just three games added to the end of the month that weren’t there on the original schedule.  In the last six weeks of the season the Blazers play just one team from the Eastern Conference.  There are only 18 games against the east total.

Obviously, we’re not getting the usual home-and-home matchups against several of the teams from the east.  Cities we won’t be visiting this season include Newark, Miami, Orlando, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Charlotte.  Eastern teams that won’t be visiting Portland this season include New York, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Toronto, and Indiana.  So, you won’t get to see Boston at the Rose Garden, but Miami will play in Portland on March 1st.

The Western Conference teams usually play each other four times, as you know.  This year, however, we’ll play Dallas, Houston, Memphis, Denver, Phoenix, San Antonio, Minnesota, and the Lakers, only three times.  The Lakers, play just once in Portland and that’s on January 5th.  The defending-champion Mavericks visit Portland just once, on April 13th.

Every game will be available on television, but the broadcast schedule hasn’t been released yet.  It’ll be available soon. 

Both preseason games, Utah on December 19th and at Utah on December 21st will also be televised.

Here’s the way the schedule breaks out, month by month.

Your thoughts please.

26  Philly
27  Sacramento
29  Denver

1    @Clippers
3    @OKC
5    Lakers
6    @Phoenix
8    Cleveland
10  Clippers
11  Orlando
13  @San Antonio
14  @Houston
16  @New Orleans
18  @Atlanta
20  @Toronto
21  @Detroit
23  Sacramento
24  Memphis
25  @Golden State
27  Phoenix
30  @Utah

1   Charlotte
2   @Sacramento
4   Denver
6   OKC
8   Houston
10  @New Orleans
11  @Dallas
14  Washington
15  @Golden State
16  Clippers
18  Atlanta 
20  @Lakers
21  San Antonio
29  @Denver

1   Miami
3   Minnesota
5   New Orleans
7   @Minnesota
9   @Boston
10  @Washington
13  @Indiana
14  @New York
16  @Chicago
18  @OKC
20  Milwaukee
22  Memphis
23  @Lakers
25  Golden State
27  OKC
29  New Orleans
30  @Clippers

1   Minnesota
2   Utah
4   New Jersey
6   @Dallas
7   @Milwaukee
9   Houston
11  Golden State
13  Dallas
15  @Sacramento
16  @Phoenix
18  Utah
21  @Memphis
23  @San Antonio
26  @Utah



  1. Thanks for the schedule Mike gotta run

    by Hg on 12/6/2011 4:34 PM
  2. Aside from only getting one Dallas and one Lakers game, and no Chicago or Boston home game, its alright. Blazers all the way this year!!

    by blazersfan on 12/6/2011 5:42 PM
  3. I'm surprised you didn't mention that the Blazers were one of only 7 teams that get 5 games in 6 nights. I called it, and joked to Adam Bjaranson that 50 bucks says we'd be one of the teams. Was an easy call, due to the Blazers location

    (Janury 20th, 21st, 23rd, 24th, and 25th).

    I can live with that, the question is if the Blazers can. We got a young team, so I think they should be. I wouldn't blame Nate too much if he wanted to rest some of his players during that time, seeing has LMA had about 40 minutes averaged last season and 2 to 3 of those opponents don't require as much effort as, let's say against the Mavs would.

    Sounds like a fair schedule. Like you, I could see it being much worse, and honestly, kind of expected it to. Shame we won't get to see Boston this year though. I always love seeing those idiots lose.

    However, I must say that I enjoy that our schedule is somewhat soft at the start of the season. That should give us enough time to get going. Last season, I remember we started well going 4-0 but then had a ton of problems afterwards. I don't see that happening this season. I'm excited. Thanks for making a clear list as well MB, always nice to easily read the schedule and examine it.

    by Herr on 12/6/2011 5:57 PM
  4. I like the fact that we only have 2 back-to-back-to-backs, not too bad. Unlike the Lakers, who start with a back-to-back-to-back, lol. Plus, the ones we do have are against teams that probably won't be above .500 (the exception to that would be Memphis, and maybe Golden State). Still, as far as back-to-back-to-backs go, ours are pretty good.

    by newellbrian on 12/6/2011 6:24 PM
  5. unfortanately im back barrett lol
    those two back to back s are interesting i have to dis agree with mike though, sorry but kings will be easy, but to play a tuff team of memphis give or take not having marc gasol they might be a lil easier but they have made strong moves in being a play off team then to fly down to face the fast tempo of the warriors who gives us trouble in there arena and after two game prior i see the guys gassed, yes new coach team is still figuring things out maybe trades but the team i remember has strong three point shooters and last years three point shooting defense was terrible especially down the stretch... next triple backs, they really love the idea fo us goign to warriors building on a triple back night shesh but wiz ehh ok win unless they get too cocky, which has happened warriors running tempo tired legs to face the next night with clips, blake- LA tired legs oh boy so ill take it cuz i have to but yeah i think the all star break is around that time so good for other guys but i think we all expect LA to make the game so he will be even more tired legs so yep

    by jamie (guy) on 12/6/2011 6:28 PM
  6. i was kind of cringing when thinking about the schedule coming out. i expected it to be dreadful (as i felt about much of this season's original schedule). i figured we'd have three triple-backs (i assume i've made up that term and think it's really good!), horrible stretches of five games in six nights, and so on and so forth.

    well, other than not being amongst the two-thirds of teams to have just one triple-back (the lakers have just one which they get out of the way to open the season), i'm not too disappointed in this. i knew it was going to be condensed and it will certainly test our depth during some stretches. i think all-star weekend is akin to the bye week for NFL teams (when i think about it, while i want LaMarcus to make the all-star team, i might rather he not play in order to get the rest).

    my general feeling is that this could have been a lot worse. i haven't looked into other teams' schedules, but we'll probably find that a lot of teams have their own stretches where it may look a little bleak

    no game on my birthday as it falls toward the end of all-star weekend; no game on my dormie's birthday (april 12), but a game on my sister's birthday (april 6 at dallas).

    as newellbrian said, when it comes to our triple-backs, the opponents aren't altogether all that daunting.

    we have seven of our first 10 at home, then a week or two later maybe, just maybe, we can get Greg back. that might be something so smile about -- almost as much as our undefeated record by that time!

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 12/6/2011 6:47 PM
  7. Hey Mike, why is it that we have 4 games against GSW, LAC, NOH, and SAC, but only 3 against division rivals Denver and Minnesota? I would have expected that the schedule would have required 4 against each division team. Perhaps fortunately, 2 of the 3 in both cases are at home. I like that we get to start the season at home. I would have been happy to do away with the
    All Star weekend this season and perhaps be able to avoid the back to back to backs!

    by dockaren on 12/6/2011 6:56 PM
  8. Hey Mike, so I checked out the sched, and correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like we have a pretty easy schedule! I mean I'd love to see the stats on opponents W/L percentage from last year, cuz I'm convinced we got away with an easy one.
    Anyhow, not complainin here, just hoping that Roy and Oden get healthy and can help us this season, cuz honestly, we're top top top quality if Oden can do what he did in that first almost almost season (especially since I know he'll do even better) and even if brandon is relegated to a bench player, or as Chris Webber said, maybe something like a player coach, just think about it, our bench (when patty can come back... now or march) will feature a team of 5, that I would go out on a limb to say they could EASILY be the starting 5 on a playoff team. and that's OUR BENCH!!!!

    Patty Mills
    Brandon Roy
    Nicolas Batum
    Dante Cunningham
    Marcus Camby

    Seriously with that length, patty's speed, and brandon's awesomeness (yeah despite everything he's lost, he still has his awesomeness especially if it's needed in little spurts off the bench), all from the bench, we're in for a great season!!!

    by joe.k on 12/6/2011 8:14 PM
  9. here's another note on the triple-backs, courtesy of Howard Beckof the New York Times:

    "Every team will play at least one back-to-back-to-back set, or “triple.” Eleven teams will have the burden of doing it twice: the Nets, Atlanta, Detroit, Indiana, the Clippers, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, San Antonio and Washington. On Twitter, fans were complaining that none of the league’s so-called glamour teams were on that list."

    Beck is correct, but not just on twitter. so the large-market, nba-promoted teams, such as the lakers, knicks, heat, mavericks, celtics, bulls have just one triple-back. that's just amazing. i suppose that's the league's idea of ensuring that every team having an equal shot. i suppose that's what they mean when they use the term, "business as usual."

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 12/6/2011 9:08 PM
  10. Glad to have you back MB. Remember last time there was a lockout? the Blazers had a pretty good year. If history repeats itself, multipled by about 3, we'll be champions this year! Sounds like something to hope for, but just having basketball again is a blessing!

    Mike & Mike are back, the Blazers are back, Oden and Roy are coming back, Christmas is coming and I think everyone is going to be pretty happy.

    I can't believe how much myself, family and just people in general missed basketball, it was like torture.

    The Blog is back, the message boards, (there's even current NBA players on NBA.com)

    Hope I am not dreaming. RIP CITY

    by Bull Frog on 12/7/2011 1:49 AM
  11. 7 game road trip! Who's driving?

    by ~Blazer Brannon~ on 12/7/2011 4:39 AM
  12. Mike:

    Reading the schedule, makes me even gladder we have BRoy for mental toughness, physical endurance (playing with pain) and HBBIQ, like playing conservative when you can and pour it on when you have to. OK, I had to get my pitch in for BRoy.

    It will also be great to have G.O. back as we need more bigs in a tougher BtoBtoB. Although he won't be ready to be top dog at first and be a big game changer, by April he may be good to go the distance, but at the first just having a big body in the front court will be a big help even if it is for just five fouls to give. Playing so many games so quick will keep him occupied and maybe help his mental game.

    Batum is much like BRoy, he knows how and when to be conservative, maybe to much.
    With all the games so close together, I expect that, we will see much of Armon and Smith that will be good for their learning curve but may be rough on wins.
    E Williams will surely get his feet wet early and provide us with good minutes. Babbitt will have to get over his stage fright fast and the best way to do that is a lot of exposure, in-which I think he will get. Our main rotation players are still vague to me and with the games so close together I think Nate will use a main ten player rotation opposed to 8 until if and when we are in the play-offs. I think it will be
    Felton, Smith
    BRoy, Wesley, if BRoy’s knees stay healthy if not I expect Batum and Williams to help out at 2GD.
    GW and Batum
    LMA and CJ
    Camby and JOEL PRYZ

    As i said we will have to use our bottom of the bench guys more often

    I think the worst part of a condensed season for me is that I have to work nights, and although I can juggle my schedule around not that much so I will be missing many games so I am moving my fifth wheel back to Burns and recording many games to watch doing the day.
    I will not complain about the schedule because it is what it is; we have depth and youth that will help more; we have a great rotation, which will help especially if we can have a strong second unit.
    We are used to adversity as far as other players having to step up to take some of the load.

    I can't predict like some of the fans on which games may be easy and which may be hard; this is a brand new season with brand new problems for all teams. With a tougher season I expect many more at least tweak injuries with many teams, dreadfully ours included, I don't know which teams are on their way up, which teams are on their way down and which teams are just hanging on to get this shortened season over with and regroup next year when there is more and better FA, and more time. I am afraid Portland may fall into the later, but with Nate as coach and our leaders, I think they will just learn to play conservative although we are guilty as sin of not showing up at games that to them doesn't matter, so we will see.

    The main thing is I am just excited to see the games begin and let the rest fall where it may.

    by Hg on 12/7/2011 7:21 AM
  13. MB ,u r on fire.....
    Othr than the March 9th trip...We did well on the back to back to back deal.Glad to see you back ,cuz,good to see all the peops tricklin back in to talk BBall.
    I like this team, despite some questions about big men,I think we have some exciting players on the wings,anxious to see how Felton accelerates us,Crash and Felton already have connection...we also have some exciting younguns ,too,Broy ,GO still not sure,but they will just be icing on the cake......Bring it on...........

    by DowntownVinnie on 12/7/2011 8:27 AM
  14. First off Nice to see you again MB!! :) I would have said hi in your previous blog, but for some reason my computer did not want to co-operate with me. I really enjoyed talking to you and Rice, getting a picture with you guys @ game 3 vs Dallas last year. Good stuff :)

    I think the schedule looks fine with all things considered. I am not going to complain. I did notice Kassandra mentioning a part about how the elite teams are only having 1 triple back, and yep not surprising. The league and David Stern can hide it all they want, but its like the pink elephant in the room, everyone knows the deal. Cannot wait for this season to start :)

    by whitefeather21380 on 12/7/2011 12:58 PM
  15. Hey Vinnie, your last few sentences echo my thoughts exactly. Let the enigma that surrounds this team work to our advantage. NO ONE really knows... I like the suspense after waiting for the season to begin. Icing on the cake? Both the icing and the cake don't look too shabby.

    by Bull Frog on 12/7/2011 3:44 PM
  16. Im not too worried about our triple header situation.. we got a young enough team to bounce back from that physically tough situation. The opponents aren't too daunting and Nate will most likely bench Roy and any other necessary players for a game or at least minimize their minutes. Wow i feel like a litte kid again all anxious for the season and what not..

    by Joshy B on 12/7/2011 9:45 PM
  17. thx Bull Frog..
    Batum shaka laka....agreed.. our bench wiil be a great bonus for us in this fast paced season...I thought that Patty is under contract rn...and won't be back..

    by DowntownVinnie on 12/8/2011 7:51 AM
  18. MB,at least you don't have to worry about being bored, now,lol.

    by DowntownVinnie on 12/8/2011 9:09 AM
  19. GO signed? http://www.blazersedge.com/

    by DowntownVinnie on 12/8/2011 9:09 AM
  20. http://www.oregonlive.com/blazers/index.ssf/2011/12/greg_oden_will_sign_one-year_d.html

    by DowntownVinnie on 12/8/2011 9:21 AM
  21. Good to see you again Vinnie. You've been quiet on Twitter.

    I believe that Patty is still a Blazer, but cannot play because he signed a no opt clause with China, so he cannot walk away from China to rejoin the NBA.

    This happened to Denver's Kenyon Martin, Wilson Chandler, and JR Smith, who won't play this season either, leaving Denver very vulnerable.

    by Herr on 12/8/2011 11:38 AM
  22. Sorry, Herr, my bad....Havent been tweeting ,just got app on droid,and works slowin a bit now ,so I have more time.....Hope all is well w you.

    by DowntownVinnie on 12/8/2011 3:41 PM
  23. Lets not forget what an iron man Dre was. Played sick, hurt. The only game he missed as a blazer was the one the league told him he couldn't play in. The blazers were solid at the point. Felton will do fine but if he goes down there will be issues.
    Also its nice to see the Lakers don't always get what they want.

    by Divotking on 12/8/2011 9:11 PM
  24. Lakers got what they wanted, they just don't know it yet. Trading a point for 2 bigs, especially two potential all-stars, for a fairly injury prone superstar point guard is a great move by NOH, bad move by LAL. I would have loved to see that trade go down, just so it would mess up the Lakers. Shame it didn't, it would be nice to see them go down. The only thing that would have saved them was if Dwight Howard joined them.

    by Herr on 12/8/2011 11:14 PM
  25. Herr, I was thinking the same thing. Why in the world would the Lakers do that.
    I do remember Pau had problems with Kobe last year, so thought that may have been the factor.
    I love CP3's game but like BRoy his days are numbered and his value is way to high.

    by Hg on 12/9/2011 3:02 AM
  26. League vetoes CP3 trade......wow

    by DowntownVinnie on 12/9/2011 6:57 AM
  27. Man,hope this isn't true,this would be a sad day for a class act and for the Blazers.............Chris_Broussard ......
    Sources say Brandon Roy to announce medical retirement due to degenerative knees, possibly as soon as today

    by DowntownVinnie on 12/9/2011 7:00 AM
  28. http://www.blazersedge.com/2011/12/9/2623471/broussard-blazers-g-brandon-roy-to-announce-medical-retirement

    by DowntownVinnie on 12/9/2011 8:11 AM
  29. Vinnie:
    The report may be true to the extent that BRoy would take a retirement whether the an amnesty if he can't play. IMO only, I think him and the Blazers agreed on giving him a chance and if he can't play he will retire. I don't believe for a moment that it would be because of a reduced role.

    I will wait for it to become official or from Mike, Mike, Sarah, Casey or somebody that know. Remember days before BRoy and the brass met that three or four unknown sources reported that the Blazers already amnestied BRoy.

    I do know and have said from the beginning that BRoy's injury would win out, but no one knows when that is even BRoy. So as the report says, as really as today, meaning if he can't go today then he would retire as a Blazer. The insurance would pay the bill and BRoy could take on a different role in the Blazers organization. An ambassador would be one aspect he could pursue.

    by Hg on 12/9/2011 9:03 AM
  30. One thing I do know. as reported by Joe Freeman that the Dr said he may never walk again if he keeps playing is not true. Bionic knees work wonders with no pain.

    by Hg on 12/9/2011 10:45 AM
  31. Hg: Last word I had on knee replacement--I live with a candidate--is that they're reluctant even to give one to a 50-year-old, because the "bionic knees" aren't made to last much over 20 years. So, yeah, "never walk again" is wrong, but "can't walk for the next quarter century" might not be far off. I hope I'm wrong on this, though. Even though I'm not a big fan of Brandon's style of play, I'm horrified that such a decent guy should have his body wrecked so quickly just from playing the game he loves. And I can't fathom the sadness of facing a long life during which chronic pain reminds you that you can NEVER again do the one thing you love most.

    by Islander on 12/9/2011 3:42 PM
  32. Islander:
    They are reluctant to do knee replacement under 50. although I had my titanium and plastic for about five years, I just went to my Dr. and he said It looked like I had another 25 years are so, and with these new ones they can shim up the plastic and go for another 25 years because you don't have to replace the heads that are made out of titanium. Anyway that is the way I understand it, but Of course I don't play basketball and if the Dr. says it is not worth it he should not play, but I was just saying them telling him he will never walk again is a little over board. Heck they can fuse his knees and walk stiff legged.

    by Hg on 12/9/2011 3:57 PM
  33. Mike, any way Brandon will get his jersey retired? If he would rather retire a Blazer than be signed by another team, it doesn't matter if he would be the youngest player to ever have his jersey retired, he deserves it for what he has done here!

    by bball_kev on 12/9/2011 6:00 PM
  34. Brandon out. Oden another setback. What a day. This was supposed to be about opening of training camp. Sad but this is not blazergeddon. Mike you said there were some unanswered questions about this team. Some got answered today.

    by Divotking on 12/9/2011 6:29 PM
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