The NBA schedule’s shadow was spotted today which means that pre-season will come early this year, some time in October they tell me. I like it if we just played the schedule rather than classified it into ‘hard’ and ‘easy’ stretches because as history has taught us, the hard and easy months never go according to plan. Well, the hard ones do, just not the easy ones. Let’s just say that with the Eastern Conference closer to parity than it has ever been and the West being what it is, there aren’t going to be many easy nights. Still, for the sake of completeness let’s look at some of the more salient points of the 2009-10 schedule which tips off on October 28th against Cleveland at home.

Main Story :: Actual Schedule

Starting out: The schedule begins with nine of the first 12 games against opponents that participated in the 2009 postseason – Cleveland, Orlando, Detroit, New Orleans, Dallas, San Antonio, Chicago, Denver and Utah. There’s no excuse not to do well here, I’m just not going to buy the “we haven’t gelled” yet argument. Most of the teams we’re playing here have undergone major changes and we’re all going to be in the same boat. The measuring stick comes out early this year.

Roadtrips: There’s no 6 or 7 game roadtrip this season and the longest one is four games, twice. November 13-18 and March 9-14. This is the first thing I look for on the schedule. Seeing how we usually end up going 1-6 or these Western swings, it’s best that we’ve minimized the damage to a maximum of 4 games. We got the Clippers, Phoenix, Denver and Utah in the first one. Lakers, Sacramento, Golden State and Portland in the second. It’s early but a 2-2 split in both would be great.

Home stretches: The longest home stand of the season is four games from February 3-17; this includes the All-Star break. The majority of the team’s home games will fall on the weekend with eight games on a Friday and 15 on a Sunday, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the 41 home dates.

Busiest day: The busiest day for the Raptors this season will be Wednesday with 23 games on the schedule. We’ll have 18 Friday games which means 18 Philthy McNasty nights.

Busiest month: The Raptors’ busiest month is October/November with 18 games. The busiest home months are October/November and December with eight games, while the busiest road month will be October/November with the Raptors facing 10 games away from Toronto. The schedule is evenly balanced with 19 home and 22 road games for the first half of the season and 22 home and 19 road outings for the final 41 contests.

Splitting the games: The schedule features four games against divisional foes with two home and two away. The remaining 10 conference teams will be played twice at home and on the road with the exception of four teams — two will be played once at home and twice on the road (Charlotte and Milwaukee) and two will be faced twice at home and once on the road (Chicago and Washington). Each Western Conference team will be played once at home and on the road.

Back-to-back: The Raptors will have 21 back-to-back games this season (up four from last season), with a high of nine being a road game followed by a road game. That’s 9 road back-to-backs, but let’s not complain about this because I get a feeling the Toronto media will be doing plenty of that all season. BTW, the Nuggets have 22 back-to-back sets.

Weekend games: The majority of the team’s home games will fall on the weekend with eight games on a Friday and 15 on a Sunday, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the 41 home dates.

Finishing it off: We finish the season playing Cleveland, Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit and New York – all Eastern conference opponents that will have a big say in playoff positioning.

TV Schedule: For the fourth consecutive season, all 82 Raptors games will be aired nationally in Canada. At the present time, the Raptors have one nationally televised game in the United States, January 15 at New York on ESPN. I wouldn’t be too offended at this, it’s early and schedules are liable to change. If we start off 7-2 or 6-3, the schedule will change. This isn’t like the old Turner or NBA/NBC days where the schedule is stuck in stone. This also doesn’t include games that are shown on NBA-TV.

Vince: He’s here on November 1st and 22nd. Don’t boo him, beat him.

T.J Ford: November 24th and January 31st.

Games by month:

October/November 18 (8 home, 10 away)
December 15 (8 home, 7 away)
January 15 (7 home, 8 away)
February 10 (7 home, 3 away)
March 16 (7 home, 9 away)
April 8 (4 home, 4 away)

Games by day:

Sunday 19 (15 home, 4 away)
Monday 6 (0 home, 6 away)
Tuesday 9 (3 home, 6 away)
Wednesday 23 (14 home, 9 away)
Thursday 1 (0 home, 1 away)
Friday 17 (8 home, 9 away)
Saturday 7 (1 home, 6 away)

@raptorsrepublic

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