caseyholdahl

Dec 29

In Denver, Trail Blazers Got Back-To-Back

By caseyholdahl Posted in: Nuggets, Blazers
During the post-game show that followed Tuesday night's 95-77 loss to the Nuggets in Denver, Nate McMillan made a statement that piqued my interests, as it was something that I had noticed throughout the years as well.

"It was a tough game last night," said McMillan in answering a question regarding Tuesday's loss being on the second night of a back-to-back. "The travel tonight and coming in here, it is always tough. It seems every time we come here it is a back-to-back."

It was McMillan's last sentence that got be thinking. I had always thought, at least anecdotally, that we always seemed to draw the Nuggets in Denver on the second night of a back-to-back. I wasn't sure if it was just one of those things that felt like it was real though it actually wasn't, which typifies roughly 90 percent of the hunches that I have. So I decided to check out the schedules from the past 10 years to figure out if Nate's declaration and my hunch were valid.

Turns out, Nate and I are right. Over the past 10 seasons (including the game against Denver last night and the upcoming contest on Feb. 2 in Denver) the Trail Blazers have played half of their games at the Pepsi Center on the second night of a back to back. I know next to nothing about the ins and outs of schedule making, but playing 10 of 20 games on the second night of a back-to-back seems like a lot to me.

There have been reprieves. During the 2006-07 and 2004-05 seasons, the Trail Blazers were spared from having to play in the thin Denver air on the second night of a back-to-back. But every other year since the 2001-02 season, the Trail Blazers have been subjected to at least one game on the tail end of the back-to-back in the Mile High. And in 2002-03 and 2010-11 (that this season, by the way) BOTH games in Denver came (or in this case, will come) on the second night of a back-to-back. That's borderline criminal.

This may be a NBA scheduling norm that I'm not aware of, but it certainly seems like an competitive disadvantage for the Trail Blazers, and an unnecessary one at that, especially considering it's against a divisional foe. Looking at a few other teams in the division, it seems like the Jazz often times play their games in Portland on the second night of a back-to-back, but it's no where near half the time. And Portland is basically at sea level, not 5,280 feet, which is the reported elevation on a sign that greets you at the entrance of the Pepsi Center.

Would it be too much to ask the NBA to give us a break on this one? We already have to travel farther than any other team in the league, can't they at least make some kind of concession on back-to-backs in Denver? Maybe give us a few years without a second night back-to-back in the Mile High? Heck, I'd settle for starting a back-to-back in Denver and finishing it in Utah, or Minnesota, or Oklahoma City. There's got to be some solution, because playing half your road games against a division rival on the second night of a back-to-back while huffing and puffing on the thinnest air in the NBA is unfair, period.

11 Comments

  1. Who do we email? I did a quick search around the web and found little information forthcoming. Sincerely, I'd be willing to send an email to the right people and encourage others to do so as well, though I doubt there will be much listening on the other end.

    by Ike Graul on 12/29/2010 5:23 PM
  2. Is it also too much to ask the NBA why the Blazers have 22 back-to-backs scheduled this year and the Lakers only have 10?

    by AustinPDX on 12/29/2010 5:25 PM
  3. I was curious about this too, Casey. I found a couple of sites which describe the extremely complex and convoluted nature of the scheduling process:

    http://tinyurl.com/2ds6gzs
    http://tinyurl.com/22q2ala

    I'm not sure how current either is, but I did note that there are apparently no criteria for minimizing travel time and back-to-backs other than:

    "Teams cannot play three games on three consecutive nights. Also, under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, teams must not play a game on a day during which they've been on a flight that crossed two time zones..."

    Sure seems to me that the players' union might consider requesting a minimum number of hours of rest between games, as well. (Chris Dudley, where are you now?)

    by occassia on 12/29/2010 6:31 PM
  4. That is ridiculous, not to complain but Portland's luck when it comes to their schedule is VERY tough. Whether it be back-to-backs, or 8 out of their first twelve games on the road, or even the difficulty of opponents, the Blazers seemingly always get the raw end of the deal. Maybe it contributes to the injuries, I am not sure but I wish they could get some sort of a break. I am an optimistic person so I still feel the Blazers are very talented and have great potential; hopefully they can pull through adversity and come out in the playoffs better than ever! Go Portland!

    by blazerfanatic7 on 12/29/2010 6:57 PM
  5. I was curious about this too, Casey. I found a couple of sites which describe the extremely complex and convoluted nature of the scheduling process:

    http://tinyurl.com/2ds6gzs
    http://tinyurl.com/22q2ala

    I'm not sure how current either is, but I did note that there are apparently no criteria for minimizing travel time and back-to-backs other than:

    "Teams cannot play three games on three consecutive nights. Also, under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, teams must not play a game on a day during which they've been on a flight that crossed two time zones..."

    Sure seems to me that the players' union might consider requesting a minimum number of hours of rest between games, as well. (Chris Dudley, where are you now?)

    by occassia on 12/29/2010 7:00 PM
  6. And I have no idea why my comment appeared three times, but can the latter two be eliminated?

    by occassia on 12/29/2010 7:27 PM
  7. Wow! Wonder if the the Blazer office can let the league office know about this and get this bogosity under control. To quote a Spike Lee movie, "Do the right thing!"

    by blazerdarren77 on 12/29/2010 7:30 PM
  8. nice blog! I had thought the same thing about the back to backs

    by RedRudy5 on 12/30/2010 12:06 PM
  9. until we are a huge draw to the national audience, i just dont think were going to have a super favorable schedule (like the lakers with only 10 back to backs). it just wont happen, we are such a small market team, they dont care about us.

    by Cristi on 12/30/2010 1:19 PM
  10. It seems to be that because we are so far up in the NW that the NBA finds it easier to squeeze the Blazers Road games in where they can with the other teams...the last few years has been real bad on the Blazers... and since there is no more Seattle ( which i miss because of the rival ) we have the longest air travel schedule period...Tons of air miles!

    by David Harrison on 12/30/2010 8:29 PM
  11. Anthony trade buzz has been the only thing of note for the Denver Nuggets so far this NBA season. Most rumors have pointed to the NY Knicks as a Carmelo Anthony trade destination, although ESPN reports a newcomer to the party. Carmelo Anthony to the Lakers might be the next large NBA headline.

    by MarionP on 2/11/2011 9:04 PM
  1. Leave a comment

Blog Contributors

Most Commented

The most commented posts in the past month

Recently Updated Blogs

    Blogs From Around The Network
  1. MichaelClark
    Nigeria Visa UK
    Posted in MichaelClark's Blog on Sep 01

Blog Archives