caseyholdahl

Aug 06

What You Need To Know About Portland's 2013-14 Schedule

By caseyholdahl

It's here! Today, the NBA released the 2013-14 schedules for all 30 teams, including the Portland Trail Blazers. Portland's 82-game schedule starts on October 30, 2013 in Phoenix against the Suns and concludes at the Rose Garden against the Los Angeles Clippers on April 16, 2014. The 80 games in-between, 40 on the road and 40 at the Rose Garden, will determine whether the Trail Blazers will return to the postseason or end up with early vacations for the third-consecutive season.

I think we parse the schedule a bit too much sometimes in an attempt to look for reasons why the Trail Blazers will or won't be successful, but the timing of games does have an impact on a team's season-long performance. That's not to say a team has ever lost a championship because they had more extended road trips or played more back-to-backs than their opponents, but when the difference between making and missing the playoffs comes down to just one game (as it often does in the Western Conference), it's impossible to argue that scheduling doesn't play at least a minor role in a team's fortunes.

So with that, let's look at some of the important numbers from Portland's 2013-14 regular season schedule:

NUMBER OF GAMES, BY MONTH
October: 1
November: 15
December: 16
January: 14
February: 12
March: 17
April: 7

NUMBER OF BACK-TO-BACKS: 19

NUMBER OF BACK-TO-BACKS, BY MONTH
October: 0
November: 4
December: 5
January: 4
February: 3
March: 3
April: 0

BACK-TO-BACKS COMPRISED COMPLETELY OF ROAD GAMES:
10

NUMBER OF HOME GAMES, BY MONTH
October: 0
November: 7
December: 8
January: 8
February: 6
March: 7
April: 5

NUMBER OF ROAD GAMES, BY MONTH
October: 1
November: 8
December: 8
January: 6
February: 6
March: 10
April: 2

HOMESTANDS BY NUMBER OF GAMES
1 Game: 5
2 Games: 5
3 Games: 6
4 Games: 2

ROAD TRIPS BY NUMBER OF GAMES PER TRIP
5 games: 2 (both in March)
4 games: 4
3 games: 0
2 games: 3
1 game: 9

GAMES AGAINST 2012-13 PLAYOFF TEAMS BY MONTH

October: 0
November: 9
December: 7
January: 7
February: 7
March: 12
April: 3

A couple of things that jump out when looking at these month-by-month breakdowns …

-- December and March, at first glance, are the most difficult months of the season. March, with 12 of 17 games against 2013 playoff teams and ten road games comprised completely of two five-game road trips is going to be especially rough. Then again, March is when you want to be playing your best basketball, so maybe playing the toughest part of the schedule at that time is a good thing.

-- Playing 19 back-to-backs in a season feels about normal, though that's two more than we had last season. Having a quarter of your road schedule comprised of the second night of back-to-back games is no great shakes, but that comes with the territory of being in the farthest reaches of the NBA landscape. Same for having two four-game road trips that are nothing but two sets of back-to-back games. This will be where having a more robust bench will come in handy.

-- This team is going to have to get to know each other on the road, as ten of their first 16 games are away games. That's the bad news. The good news is that they'll end the season with seven of their final ten games coming at the Rose Garden, which will be particularly helpful should the Trail Blazers be in the playoff hunt.

-- You can make Christmas plans without having to worry about missing ANY Trail Blazers games, as the team has an odd five-day break between playing New Orleans at home on December 21 and the Clippers at home on December 26.  Blazers also have a week off for All-Star break, which will be a good time to rest up before a rather difficult March schedule.

Now, some games of note …

October 30 @ Phoenix Suns
Obviously the season opener is always a big game, but seeing the new-look Suns, complete with Eric Bledsoe starting at point guard in Jeff Hornacek's first game as head coach, adds another layer of intrigue to this one. It could also be the first time we see rookie center Alex Len in action, assuming he doesn't have another ankle surgery between now and then.

November 1 @ Denver Nuggets
Another game full of familiar faces in new roles. This season will be Brian Shaw's first as head coach and JJ Hickson's first season as a Nugget after a season and change with Portland. What makes this game particularly interesting is it provides an opportunity for the Trail Blazers to get a win at the Pepsi Center, something they haven't done since December 16, 2007.

November 2 vs. San Antonio Spurs
A home-opener against the Western Conference champs on the second night of a back-to-back (It's about a three hour flight from Portland to Denver). Thanks NBA!

November 5 vs. Houston Rockets
After a summer of "Dwightmare," Dwight Howard makes his first appearance at the Rose Garden as a member of the Houston Rockets. It will also be interesting to see what kind of response Terrence Jones gets from his hometown crowd after being accused of stomping on a homeless man this summer in Old Town.

November 8 vs. Sacramento Kings
The Kings are yet another team breaking in a first-time head coach after hiring Mike Malone away from the Warriors. Sending off Tyreke Evans and replacing him with rookies Ben McLemore and Ray McCallum along with Greivis Vasquez and Luc Mbah a Moute make this a completely new squad. But the most intriguing storyline in this one is Thomas Robinson playing against the team that drafted him fifth overall and then traded him to Houston halfway through his rookie season. Robinson has talked about feeling disrespected by the way he was treated by the Kings, so it will be interesting to see if he brings a little something extra to this one. Also noteworthy: The Blazers play the Kings in Sacramento the next night.

November 15 @ Boston Celtics

Another team with a first-time head coach in Brad Stevens. The difference though is, unlike Hornacek, Shaw and Malone, Stevens, who made his name as Butler's head coach, has little to no experience working with NBA players, which is probably a good thing with a team full of young players. Only Rajon Rondo remains from Boston's "Big Three" and even his tenure there is in question as the Celtics begin rebuilding.

So the takeaway here is this game is probably Portland's best chance of winning in Boston for the first time since March 31, 2004.

November 18 @ Brooklyn Nets
First chance for the Trail Blazers to face Jason Kidd as coach rather than player. Also first look at Mikhail Prokhorov's $186 million roster, which now includes Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Andrei Kirilenko and Jason Terry.

November 22 vs. Chicago Bulls
After missing the entirety of the 2012-13 season, Derrick Rose will return to the Rose Garden with a months worth of games under his belt. This will be the first time that Damian Lillard has an opportunity to square off against adidas' No. 1 point guard.

November 25 vs. New York Knicks
Will Raymond Felton be booed incessantly once again? And with this game being so close to Thanksgiving, the heckles could get a bit … insensitive.

December 1 @ Los Angeles Lakers
Will Kobe Bryant be back in the lineup? Will Damian Lillard break Steve Nash's leg again? Will the Lakers actually be better without Dwight Howard?

December 14 @ Philadelphia 76ers
Philly will eventually have a new coach, as soon as their new general manager, Sam Hinke, finds the right guy. Assuming he's able to play, this will be Portland's first look at rookie Nerlens Noel, not to mention Michael Carter-Williams.

This will also probably be the best opportunity for CJ McCollum fans from Lehigh to see one of their alumnus in-person for the first time as an NBA player.

December 18 @ Minnesota Timberwolves

The Timberwolves were decimated by injuries in 2013-14, so this will be the first time we'll really get to see whether a roster that features Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic, Derrick Williams, Kevin Martin and Chase Budinger is the playoff team so many thought they would be last season.

December 21 vs. New Orleans Pelicans
New mascot! New players in Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday, Greg Stiemsma and rookies Pierre Jackson and Jeff Withey (who Portland sent to New Orleans in the trade for Robin Lopez). And maybe most importantly, a completely healthy Anthony Davis. Pelicans might have already surpassed being a "sleeper" pick for the playoffs.

December 28 vs. Miami Heat
Whoa boy, this is the big one. Having the greatest player on Earth and the two-time defending champions on your court is always going to be a big event, but add in THE RETURN OF GREG ODEN and this one becomes the must-see event of the year. There is no telling what the atmosphere is going to be like for this one.

March 3 vs. Los Angeles Lakers
This will be the only time the Lakers play at the Rose Garden during the 2013-14 regular season. Nuff' said.

5 Comments

  1. i expect in the first home game of the year, that damian torch parker and the spurs with 65 point, 5 assist, 3 steal, 2 rebound and 2 block. while cj also have no problem torching parker with his own 20 point, 2 steal and 2 assist in 22 mins. meyer also torch duncan with 10 point, 18 rebound, and 5 block. batum have a all-around night with 10 point, 10 assist, 5 block, 5 steal, and 5 rebound. LA 25 point, 2 block and 12 rebound. t-rob big night off the bench with 5 point but 10 rebound, and 3 block. lopez play 25 mins. with 5 point and 5 rebound, and 1 block. wright add 9 point (3 made 3-pointer) and 4 assist off the bench. blazers win 140-65 in the biggest upset in the history of basketball. blazes add a huge advantage in rebound 52 over 15 rebound by the spur, 25 assist to 5 assist, 10 steal to 0 steal, 16 block to 0 block. blazers continue their unbeaten streak to 3-0 as the blazers also win the next game against the rockets by a 31 feet game winner shot by damian lillard in .7 second left before he took the shot, after he swish the shot he sent the rockets home crying to their moma

    by DamianLilard on 8/6/2013 2:44 PM
  2. Damian does has had some great games against the Spurs. Of course, you'd know that.

    by caseyholdahl on 8/6/2013 2:45 PM
  3. Can't wait for the home opener. The Rose Garden on opening night and during playoff games is one of the greatest places on earth.

    by chris.barnes on 8/6/2013 3:10 PM
  4. Casey: Thank you for the update, The biggest thing in my book is our new players; that and seeing DLill with a second year of the starters and of course how the D looks and the new bench.

    There was no mention of DeMarcus Cousins in SacTown, did I miss something? It was said that the new coach could tame him a might.

    by Hg on 8/7/2013 5:03 AM
  5. The chemistry of this year's talented Blazers team is my big concern. Can Stotts inspire LA, Nico, and Lopez to strive for greatness and can Dame become a true team leader? This is a team crying for inspiration and leadership.

    by DeVinMzM on 8/7/2013 7:21 AM
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