Breaking Down the Raptors More Than Favorable Schedule
If the Toronto Raptors of last season return for the 2014-2015 season, their fan base will enjoy the first half of the upcoming season, along with an interesting second half and a most likely exciting playoff run.
The NBA announced the schedules of all 30 teams on Tuesday evening and the Raptors came away with more than a favorable start. Last year’s Eastern Conference third seed will open the season on October 29th versus last year’s eighth seed Atlanta Hawks.
What makes the Raptors schedule intriguing is that 15 of their first 28 opponents finished last year with a record below .500. That does not include the Cleveland Cavaliers who finished last season with a 33-49 record, but this summer added LeBron James and Kevin Love to their roster. However, the Raptors do face a Paul George-less Indiana Pacers team in that 28 game span. Making 16 of 28 winnable.
After the Raptors home opener against the Hawks, they travel to Florida for their first of two back to backs against Orlando Magic and Miami Heat during the season. Followed by a back to back against the Oklahoma City Thunder at home and in Boston against the Celtics.
Following their first five games the Raptors open up a seven game home stand on November 7th that features; Washington, Philadelphia, Orlando, Chicago, Utah, Memphis and Milwaukee. Seven games in the span of 15 days, featuring no back to backs.
The Raptors longest road trip in that 28 span of games is three when the visit re-building teams Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings and Utah Jazz from November 30th to December 3rd.
Once the first 28 games pass the Raptors take off for their toughest road trip of the season just before Christmas due to the World Junior Hockey Tournament taking place in Toronto. Starting on December 22nd the six game road trip features Chicago, Los Angeles Clippers, Denver, Portland, Golden State and Phoenix.
However, the NBA repays the Raptors following the road trip with a six game home stand from January 8th to the 18th featuring Charlotte, Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia, Atlanta and New Orleans.
Before the all-star break the Raptors finish the first half with a five game home stand containing Milwaukee, Brooklyn, LA Clippers, San Antonio and Washington.
The all-star break this year will feature an eight game break from February 12th to 20th, as the NBA is allowing for a longer resting period for the players and coaches.
Post all-star break kicks off with a four game road trip to Atlanta, Houston, New Orleans and Dallas. Also 18 of the final 29 season games will be on the road for the Raptors making closing out the season the opposite of how the season started. Six of 8 April games will also be on the road.
So putting the schedule into perspective the Raptors fan base will have a lot to cheer about for the first 53 games, but a lot of frustration could grow for the final 29.
Although the Raptors face Cleveland, Chicago, Washington and Miami nine times before the all-star break. Meaning the first half of the season will prove who the Raptors truly are. Contenders or just a middle of the pack team.
Other notable games for the Raptors: Tyler Ennis and Phoenix Suns come to Toronto on November 24th. LeBron James and Kevin Love come to Toronto with their new team on December 5th. December 17th is the Raptors first game versus Brooklyn Nets since being eliminated from the playoffs. Rudy Gay returns to Toronto with Canadian rookie Nik Stauskas on January 28th. Andrew Wiggins first game in Toronto with Minnesota is March 18th. Steve Nash’s final NBA game in Toronto is March 27th.
National TV Games: November 13th vs. Chicago Bulls on TNT. December 17th vs. Nets on ESPN. April 8th and 15th vs. Charlotte Hornets on ESPN. Raptors will appear five times on NBA TV. Number of national TV games could change during the season.
Side notes: Raptors home games will no longer start at 7pm, but rather changed to 7:30pm to allow fans to arrive on time. Also Sunday’s will no longer have 1pm start times as all Sunday games will be 3:30pm, 4pm or 7pm.
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