Raptors News

Raptors 2018-19 schedule released: What you need to know

Let’s get it!

The NBA released the schedule for the 2018-19 season on Friday. Below are some relevant dates for the Toronto Raptors, with a full schedule to follow.

You can find the Raptors full schedule here.

Christmas and other marquee days

As covered earlier this week, the Raptors do not have a Christmas Day game but do have a pair of marquee games in the opening week of the season, including an ESPN home date against the Boston Celtics for their second game of the year. I’m not sure if it matters to anyone given the potential hangovers, but they’ll also host the Utah Jazz on New Year’s Day.

National TV

The Raptors will be on *true* national television in the U.S. 15 times this season, up from five a year ago and standing as the most the franchise has had since 2001-02. They also have one of the league’s aforementioned opening-week national roll-out slots, plus an additional opening-week game on NBA TV (still a marquee slot but not a true national game). Here are the nationally televised dates:

  • October 19 vs. Boston (ESPN)
  • November 16 @ Boston (ESPN)
  • November 9 vs. Golden State (TNT)
  • December 5 vs. Philadelphia (ESPN)
  • December 12 @ Golden State (ESPN)
  • January 3 @ San Antonio (TNT)
  • January 16 @ Boston (ESPN)
  • January 25 @ Houston (ESPN)
  • January 31 vs. Milwaukee (TNT)
  • February 5 @ Philadelphia (TNT)
  • February 22 vs. San Antonio (ESPN)
  • February 26 vs. Boston (TNT)
  • March 5 vs. Houston (TNT)
  • March 14 vs. LA Lakers (TNT)
  • March 20 @ Oklahoma City (ESPN)

The Raptors also figure to be on NBA TV a number of times, but the “15” number is what’s going to pop. Even including NBA TV, the Raptors were only pegged for 12 and 14 national games the last two years – and NBA TV really shouldn’t be included – and they’ll top that with ESPN and TNT alone this time around. That’s a lot of respect people have been waiting for. Forget Christmas.

As always, a lot factors into these decisions, particularly that Canadian viewership doesn’t help national U.S. ratings (neutralizing Toronto’s would-be market size advantage), that there are more teams competing for 7/8pm starts than 9/10 ones, and that, you know, the Raptors are disrespected and conspired against. This is a healthy number of marquee games, though, market forces be damned. The Raptors are eighth in national TV games.

Opener

The Raptors will open their season at home on Wednesday, October 17 against the Cleveland Cavaliers in a rematch of the last three playoffs with, uh, maybe less fanfare this time. What a chance to cleanse the palate right out of the gate! They’ll also host the Boston Celtics at home (Oct. 19) before playing their first road game in Washington (Oct. 20), on the second night of a back-to-back. It’s hardly an easy start for the Raptors, but most teams face a compressed early schedule while still fresh.

Breakdown

Here’s how often the Raptors will play each opponent:

  • 4 times: Phi, Brk, NYK, Bos, Chi, Cle, Mil, Orl, Mia, Was
  • 3 times: Det, Ind, Atl, Cha
  • 2 times: Western Conference

The Raptors also have 12 back-to-backs, tied for fewest in the NBA (the league average is down to 13.3 with nobody having more than 15) and avoid any stretches of four games in five nights (the league has again eliminated them from the schedule entirely). There will also be no stretches of eight games in 12 days, which the Raptors ran into during one particularly hellacious stretch last year (that note comes per Shams), and fewer than one 5-in-7 stretch per team (per Ben Golliver).

Based on the great work of Positive Residual, we also see the following:

  • The Raptors have a rest advantage 22 times (slightly above average)
  • The Raptors have a rest disadvantage 26 times (tied for second most in the NBA)
  • The Raptors have 12 back-to-backs (tied for fewest in the NBA)
  • The Raptors travel the seventh-fewest miles of any team

There are also these splits, per the team:

Games by Month
October: 8 (6 home, 2 road) November: 15 (6 home, 9 road)
December: 15 (6 home, 9 road) January: 15 (8 home, 7 road)
February: 9 (6 home, 3 road) March: 15 (7 home, 8 road)
April: 5 (2 home, 3 road)
Games by Day
Sunday: 15 (8 home, 7 road) Monday: 9 (6 home, 3 road)
Tuesday: 12 (7 home, 5 road) Wednesday: 14 (6 home, 8 road)
Thursday: 7 (4 home, 3 road) Friday: 16 (8 home, 8 road)
Saturday: 9 (2 home, 7 road)

DeRozan, Casey, and other returns

DeMar DeRozan will return to Toronto on Feb. 22 for a game at Scotiabank Arena as a member of the San Antonio Spurs that should be all sorts of emotional.

  • The Spurs will visit Toronto on Feb. 22. (ESPN)
    • The Raptors will visit the Spurs for Kawhi Leonard’s return to San Antonio on Jan. 3. (TNT)
  • Dwane Casey will return to Toronto on November 14 as head coach of the Detroit Pistons.
    • The Raptors will also visit the Pistons on March 3 and March 17.
  • No other outgoing Raptors have signed elsewhere, so it’s a light year on returns

Celtics and 76ers

One of the more notable “rivals” of the last year or so and the team the Raptors are probably most in competition with from a general East tiering perspective, the Boston Celtics, are on tap four times as part of the usual Atlantic Division schedule. The division could be decided over these four games:

  • Friday, October 19 (home, ESPN)
  • Friday, November 16 (away)
  • Wednesday, January 16 (away)
  • Tuesday, February 26 (home)

The four games against the Philadelphia 76ers also figure to be notable ones for how the Atlantic and East shape up. They are as follows:

  • Tuesday, October 30 (home)
  • Wednesday, December 5 (home)
  • Saturday, December 22 (away)
  • Tuesday, February 5 (away)

Warriors

The Raptors go head-to-head with the Super Super Team on the following dates:

  • Thursday, November 29 (home)
  • Wednesday, December 12 (away)

Lakers

LeBron James makes his return to Toronto as a tormenting member of the Los Angeles Lakers on March 14. The two meetings with LeBron are as follows:

  • Sunday, November 4 (away)
  • Thursday, March 14 (home)

Home stands/Road trips

The Raptors have the following stands of four games or longer:

  • Feb. 22-March 1: 4-game home stand (SA, Orl, Bos, Por)
    • This is a 6-game stand if you include home games before the All-Star break on Feb. 11 (Brk) and Feb. 13 (Was)
  • Nov. 2-7: 4-game road trip (Phx, LAL, Uta, Sac)
  • Nov. 16-21: 4-game road trip (Bos, Chi, Orl, Atl)
  • Dec. 11-16: 4-game road trip (LAC, GS, Por, Den)

The Raptors play a road-heavy early schedule, as was the case early on. Getting all three four-game road swings out of the way before the calendar flips should help them galvanize quickly and then allow them to have an easier second half for travel purposes heading into the postseason.

Home schedule

For those of you looking ahead to key ticket dates, here is the team’s home-only schedule for the year:

Day Date Opponent Time
Wed. Oct. 17 Cleveland 7:30 p.m.
Fri. Oct. 19 Boston 8:00 p.m. *
Mon. Oct. 22 Charlotte 7:30 p.m.
Wed. Oct. 24 Minnesota 7:30 p.m.
Fri. Oct. 26 Dallas 7:30 p.m.
Tue. Oct. 30 Philadelphia 7:30 p.m.
Sat. Nov. 10 New York 3:00 p.m.
Mon. Nov. 12 New Orleans 7:30 p.m.
Wed. Nov. 14 Detroit 7:30 p.m.
Fri. Nov. 23 Washington 7:30 p.m.
Sun. Nov. 25 Miami 6:00 p.m.
Thu. Nov. 29 Golden State 8:00 p.m. ^
Mon. Dec. 3 Denver 7:30 p.m.
Wed. Dec. 5 Philadelphia 8:00 p.m. *
Sun. Dec. 9 Milwaukee 6:00 p.m.
Wed. Dec. 19 Indiana 7:30 p.m.
Fri. Dec. 21 Cleveland 7:00 p.m.
Sun. Dec. 30 Chicago 6:00 p.m.
Tue. Jan. 1 Utah 7:30 p.m.
Sun. Jan. 6 Indiana 7:30 p.m.
Tue. Jan. 8 Atlanta 7:30 p.m.
Fri. Jan. 11 Brooklyn 7:30 p.m.
Thu. Jan. 17 Phoenix 7:30 p.m.
Sat. Jan. 19 Memphis 7:30 p.m.
Tue. Jan. 22 Sacramento 7:00 p.m.
Thu. Jan. 31 Milwaukee 8:00 p.m. ^
Sun. Feb. 3 LA Clippers 3:00 p.m.
Mon. Feb. 11 Brooklyn 7:30 p.m.
Wed. Feb. 13 Washington 7:30 p.m.
Fri. Feb. 22 San Antonio 8:00 p.m. *
Sun. Feb. 24 Orlando 3:30 p.m.
Tue. Feb. 26 Boston 8:00 p.m. ^
Fri. Mar. 1 Portland 7:30 p.m.
Tue. Mar. 5 Houston 8:00 p.m. ^
Thu. Mar. 14 LA Lakers 8:00 p.m. ^
Mon. Mar. 18 New York 7:30 p.m.
Fri. Mar. 22 Oklahoma City 7:30 p.m.
Sun. Mar. 24 Charlotte 6:00 p.m.
Tue. Mar. 26 Chicago 7:30 p.m.
Mon. Apr. 1 Orlando 7:30 p.m.
Sun. Apr. 7 Miami 12:00 p.m.

Full schedule

And here’s the full schedule:

Day Date Opponent Time
Wed. Oct. 17 Cleveland 7:30 p.m.
Fri. Oct. 19 Boston 8:00 p.m. *
Sat. Oct. 20 at Washington 7:00 p.m.
Mon. Oct. 22 Charlotte 7:30 p.m.
Wed. Oct. 24 Minnesota 7:30 p.m.
Fri. Oct. 26 Dallas 7:30 p.m.
Mon. Oct. 29 at Milwaukee 8:00 p.m.
Tue. Oct. 30 Philadelphia 7:30 p.m.
Fri. Nov. 2 at Phoenix 9:00 p.m.
Sun. Nov. 4 at LA Lakers 9:30 p.m.
Mon. Nov. 5 at Utah 9:00 p.m.
Wed. Nov. 7 at Sacramento 10:00 p.m.
Sat. Nov. 10 New York 3:00 p.m.
Mon. Nov. 12 New Orleans 7:30 p.m.
Wed. Nov. 14 Detroit 7:30 p.m.
Fri. Nov. 16 at Boston 7:00 p.m. *
Sat. Nov. 17 at Chicago 8:00 p.m.
Tue. Nov. 20 at Orlando 7:00 p.m.
Wed. Nov. 21 at Atlanta 7:30 p.m.
Fri. Nov. 23 Washington 7:30 p.m.
Sun. Nov. 25 Miami 6:00 p.m.
Tue. Nov. 27 at Memphis 8:00 p.m.
Thu. Nov. 29 Golden State 8:00 p.m. ^
Sat. Dec. 1 at Cleveland 8:00 p.m.
Mon. Dec. 3 Denver 7:30 p.m.
Wed. Dec. 5 Philadelphia 8:00 p.m. *
Fri. Dec. 7 at Brooklyn 7:30 p.m.
Sun. Dec. 9 Milwaukee 6:00 p.m.
Tue. Dec. 11 at LA Clippers 10:30 p.m.
Wed. Dec. 12 at Golden State 10:30 p.m. *
Fri. Dec. 14 at Portland 10:00 p.m.
Sun. Dec. 16 at Denver 8:00 p.m.
Wed. Dec. 19 Indiana 7:30 p.m.
Fri. Dec. 21 Cleveland 7:00 p.m.
Sat. Dec. 22 at Philadelphia 7:30 p.m.
Wed. Dec. 26 at Miami 7:30 p.m.
Fri. Dec. 28 at Orlando 7:00 p.m.
Sun. Dec. 30 Chicago 6:00 p.m.
Tue. Jan. 1 Utah 7:30 p.m.
Thu. Jan. 3 at San Antonio 8:00 p.m. ^
Sat. Jan. 5 at Milwaukee 8:30 p.m.
Sun. Jan. 6 Indiana 7:30 p.m.
Tue. Jan. 8 Atlanta 7:30 p.m.
Fri. Jan. 11 Brooklyn 7:30 p.m.
Sun. Jan. 13 at Washington 1:00 p.m.
Wed. Jan. 16 at Boston 8:00 p.m. *
Thu. Jan. 17 Phoenix 7:30 p.m.
Sat. Jan. 19 Memphis 7:30 p.m.
Tue. Jan. 22 Sacramento 7:00 p.m.
Wed. Jan. 23 at Indiana 7:00 p.m.
Fri. Jan. 25 at Houston 8:00 p.m. *
Sun. Jan. 27 at Dallas 7:00 p.m.
Thu. Jan. 31 Milwaukee 8:00 p.m. ^
Sun. Feb. 3 LA Clippers 3:00 p.m.
Tue. Feb. 5 at Philadelphia 8:00 p.m. ^
Thu. Feb. 7 at Atlanta 7:30 p.m.
Sat. Feb. 9 at New York 7:30 p.m.
Mon. Feb. 11 Brooklyn 7:30 p.m.
Wed. Feb. 13 Washington 7:30 p.m.
Fri. Feb. 22 San Antonio 8:00 p.m. *
Sun. Feb. 24 Orlando 3:30 p.m.
Tue. Feb. 26 Boston 8:00 p.m. ^
Fri. Mar. 1 Portland 7:30 p.m.
Sun. Mar. 3 at Detroit 6:00 p.m.
Tue. Mar. 5 Houston 8:00 p.m. ^
Fri. Mar. 8 at New Orleans 8:00 p.m.
Sun. Mar. 10 at Miami 3:30 p.m.
Mon. Mar. 11 at Cleveland 7:00 p.m.
Thu. Mar. 14 LA Lakers 8:00 p.m. ^
Sun. Mar. 17 at Detroit 4:00 p.m.
Mon. Mar. 18 New York 7:30 p.m.
Wed. Mar. 20 at Oklahoma City 9:30 p.m. *
Fri. Mar. 22 Oklahoma City 7:30 p.m.
Sun. Mar. 24 Charlotte 6:00 p.m.
Tue. Mar. 26 Chicago 7:30 p.m.
Thu. Mar. 28 at New York 7:30 p.m.
Sat Mar. 30 at Chicago 8:00 p.m.
Mon. Apr. 1 Orlando 7:30 p.m.
Wed. Apr. 3 at Brooklyn 7:30 p.m.
Fri. Apr. 5 at Charlotte 7:00 p.m.
Sun. Apr. 7 Miami 12:00 p.m.
Tue. Apr. 9 at Minnesota 8:00 p.m.

Canadian broadcast schedule

The Raptors generally announce their Canadian broadcast schedule after the fact, as TSN and Rogers have to duke it out for games. We’ll update you with a separate post when that information becomes available. Last year it didn’t come out for about a month after the release of the schedule.

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