Blazer Fanatic

Jan 08

Toughest Road Ahead: Blazers

By Blazer Fanatic Posted in: Blazers
I saw a recent blog post that showed an analysis of NBA teams and their remaining schedules for the 2012-2013 season.  Portland has started the season with the 4th most difficult schedule.  This most recent analysis from Ed Kupfer, a self proclaimed "crunchologist" and professional statistical analysist since 2006, shows Portland has since move to most difficult.

Looking at that chart and Kupfer's credentials, I have to take his word for it.  But it didn't stop me from looking into some of the variables that factor into his analysis.  The following chart shows the number of games remaining against opponents at or above .500, and below .500, and whether those games are played at home or away.

Team Games left vs ≥ .500 Games left vs < .500
(Home/Away) (Home/Away)
L.A. Clippers 27 (13-14) 20 (8-12)
Oklahoma City 31 (14-17) 17 (7-10)
San Antonio 26 (13-13) 19 (12-7)
Memphis 29 (14-15) 21 (10-11)
Golden State 31 (16-15) 18 (10-8)
Houston 27 (14-13) 21 (8-13)
Portland 34 (17-17) 14 (8-6)
Denver 28 (18-10) 18 (10-8)
Utah 31 (17-14) 15 (9-6)
Minnesota 32 (17-15) 20 (10-10)
L.A. Lakers 32 (15-17) 17 (8-9)
Dallas 32 (19-13) 15 (7-8)
Sacramento 28 (13-15) 19 (10-9)
Phoenix 33 (15-18) 14 (7-7)
New Orleans 29 (15-14) 19 (9-10)
Miami* 26 (10-16) 24 (12-12)

* Miami included for comparison, having the easiest remaining Strength of Schedule

Portland has the most games yet to played against teams with a record of .500 or greater (34).  This should not be a huge surprise, when you consider that Portland is in the Northwest Division, and plays each team four times.  The Blazers have only played four division games to date (3-1).

Division Win %
Southeast .421
Central .447
Atlantic .503
Pacific .520
Southwest .529
Northwest .576

Miami is in the Southeast division, while Portland is in the Northwest.  The Northwest division is clearly the most difficult division to play against in the NBA.

Something else to look at is the number of back-to-back (B2B) games, Miami was scheduled to played 12 back-to-back (B2B) games this season (9 where the 2nd game is on the road), where as Portland has 17 (13 where the 2nd game is on the road).

The lenth and number of road trips also plays a huge factor in Strength of Schedule.  Portland already completed two brutal road trips: a 7 game (in 11 nights) and a 4 game (in 5 nights) trip.  They have yet to play a 6 game (in 10 nights), a 3 game (in 5 nights), and a 5 game (in 7 nights) road trip.  No NBA team travels more than Portland.

This Blazer team has far exceeded expectations, as "experts" like ESPN projected them only winning 28 games this season.  They currently sit in the 7th seed (19-15) out West if the playoffs started today.  Portland has the toughest road ahead, but they have every opportunity to bury those low-expectation for good.


  1. The Blazers are 9 - 6 vs. + .500 teams. At least four of those came in the first month. How well do you think they will do against + .500 Teams for the rest of the year?

    by Devon Malone on 1/8/2013 7:28 PM
  2. I hate making prediction, but I'll take a guess just for you. Six of those games are at home vs Eastern conference opponents. I'm putting more weight on the last road trip than say the 7 game trip early in the season. How Portland fairs vs Miami will blow up my prediction, but there are 10 games vs Eastern teams at or above .500 (6 home/4 away). And I think we'll go 6-4 in those games. 24 games versus the west (11 home/13 away) and I think we can go 13/11.

    I am optimistically guessing we can finish those 34 games at 19-15.

    The thing that stinks is we play GS 3 times, 2 on their home court, and every single one is the 2nd of a B2B where we are flying in the night before. And we end the season vs 4 of the best teams in the west and B2B.

    by Blazer Fanatic on 1/8/2013 8:00 PM
  3. Thanks for presenting, this is good stuff!

    by MJB on 1/9/2013 7:30 AM
  4. Thanks. : )

    by Blazer Fanatic on 1/9/2013 6:47 PM
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