Random Thoughts on the Schedule

The NBA released the schedule for next season.  Usually the release of the schedule brings excitement and I start getting excited for the season.  This year the release of the schedule brings a lot of questions about whether these games will even be played.  With news that the NFL is close to an agreement, I have to wonder if the NBA has even met with the players yet or if the two sides are just trying to wait each other out.  It seems as though every day another player announces his intentions to play overseas.  Maybe NBA fans will have to search for European games online in order to see their favorite players next season.

Let's assume for a few moments that the players and owners can come to an agreement within a reasonable time and the season starts on time.  That's a big assumption because the last time there was a lockout, the season didn't start until January and in that lockout, the players eventually gave in to the owners.  I really don't see that happening this time unless there are a lot of compromises on both sides.  I personally have a hard time believing that the Celtics are losing money after seeing the motor home they bought Shaq, and reading about the lucrative deal they just signed with CSNNE.  But, that's just me.

The first thing I looked for was how many national TV appearances the Celtics have. ESPN will televise 10 Celtics games.   TNT will televise another 10 games.   Six games will be on NBA-TV.  And ABC will carry another 4 games.  That's a total of 30 games so that those without League Pass will get to see them a quite a bit.    The Heat have 28 appearances on national TV while the Lakers have have just 27 and the Knicks weigh in with 29.

Back to backs seem to affect the Celtics quite a bit so that's the next thing I looked for.  The Celtics have 20 back to backs scheduled this season.   But the number of back to backs is just the tip of the iceberg.  The worst type of back to back games is one where the second game is on the road.  The Celtics especially struggled in those games this past season.  Of the 20 back to back sets, 16 of them have the second game on the road.   The Lakers have 18 back to back sets.  (Last season they had the fewest of any team with 15).  All 18 games on the second night are on the road.    The Heat have just 17 back to backs with 14 of them ending on the road.  The fewest back to backs belong to Phoenix and Sacramento at 16 while New York, Minnesota, and Milwaukee, LA Clippers, Indiana and Houston are all tied for the most at 22.

For the second straight year,  the Celtics open their season against the Cavs but this year they will open at home.  There are a few games I circled to look forward to.  One is the first game against the Heat which comes on November 16.  All 3 games vs the Heat will be on national television (11/16, 12/1, and  4/1).  Of course, the Lakers games are always at the top of the list and they first meet in Boston on February 9 and the rematch is in LA on March 11. 

As was reported earlier, the Celtics will play the Knicks in NY on Christmas day at noon.   The other big day for the NBA is on Martin Luther King day (1/16) and the Celtics will host the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 8 o'clock game on TNT. This is of note because it marks Perk's first return to Boston as a member of the Thunder.

Of course, this is all just talk right now since everything at this time points to missing at least part of the season. Should they fail to agree to a new CBA by November 1, the schedule will have to be reworked somewhat. But, in these slow days of summer when there is nothing else to discuss, the schedule at least gives us some basketball to think about even if it is never played out.