The first post I did at PtR was a season preview last year. It was a long rambling mess. Just a mess. I'm glad I can't find a copy of it. One part that I did like, though, was the schedule analysis. I tried to find the easy parts of the schedule and the tough parts of the schedule so that I could later match them with the Spurs record. For instance, the first two months of last year's schedule was very easy. The Spurs had something like 12 December games and 10 of them were at home. But, they had an absolutely brutal late-January through March schedule. And you know what, the Spurs played like crap from late-January through March. What does this year have in store for us?
Let's take a look...
I think two things really make a schedule hard. Who you play and how often you play. Four games in five nights is tough. The Grizzlies aren't tough. The Hornets are tough.
For this post I am grouping the teams as follows:
- West Powers: Lakers, Hornets, Rockets, Jazz
- West Could Bes: Suns, Mavs, Blazers
- (along with the Spurs I expect this will be our playoff teams in the West)
West Leftovers: Clippers, Warriors, Nuggets
- West Patsies: Thunder, Grizz, T-Wolves, Kings
- East Powers: Celtics, Pistons, Cavs, Magic
East Could Bes: Raptors, Sixers
East Leftovers: Hawks, Wiz (if Arenas is HEALTHY, if not, they are a patsy), Heat,
- East Patsies: Knicks, Bobcats, Bulls, Bucks, Pacers, Nets
Right now, I would put the Spurs solidly between the Powers and Could Bes in the West.
Here's what the rankings mean to me when it comes to the schedule:
- Powers: You'll be lucky to win one in their place and they are going to give you a hell of a game in your place.
- Could Bes: You shouldn't be losing to them at home and you should get some on the road if you are a good playoff team.
- Leftovers: At home, these should be wins in the bank. You should probably win about 75% of your road games against them.
- Patsies: You just can't lose to these guys at all.
Break It Down
Oct/Nov: 16 games -- 9 home, 7 road -- in 33 days. This is pretty light. 4 back-to-backs aka segababas. This is the highest number of back-to-backs in a month. Last March, the Spurs had 6. What's our competition look like. Well, we start with three West Could Bes -- 0-2 so far -- then we have 3 Powers -- Rockets twice and Jazz for a total of 6 tough teams with 4 of them at thome. But then everybody else is a leftover -- 3 -- or a patsy -- 7. If we get 2 wins out the hard 6 teams, have 1 embarrassing home loss, and drop two more roadies, then I'm thinking we should end the month about 11-5. But since we don't have Manu that will cost us a game and I'll say 10-6.
Dec: 15 games -- 9 home , 6 road -- in 31 days. Again, pretty light with only 2 back-to-backs. and one of them is a home-home back-to-back which NEVER happens in the NBA. Well, rarely and the Spurs have 2 this year. We have only 6 games against the Powers --3-- and Could Bes -- 3. 9 against the the Leftovers -- 3-- and Patsies -- 6. Hopefully, we will get Manu back mid-month but I'm not counting on it. I think we'll go 2-4 against the uppers 7-2 against the rest. Adds up to 9-6 in my book. That puts as at 19-12 at the New Year with no Ginobili.
Jan: 15 games -- 7 home, 8 road -- in 31 days. Only 3 back-to-backs but we do have the dreaded fogafini (4 games in 5 days). 7 against the Leftovers -- 2 -- and patsies -- 5 --. 8 against the Powers -- 4 -- and Could Bes --4 --. But this is the month things get interesting. We have a string of 4 straight patsies in the middle and could bes and leftovers at the beginning. But January 16th begins a stretch of games where we play 14-17 on the road, and a January 25th game at the Lakers starts a 11 of 12 on the road stretch. It goes @Lakers, @Jazz, @ Suns, Hornets then the rodeo road trip. This will be a brutal month for us if we still don't have Ginobili back strong. I'm going to say he's healthy. I'm going with 9-6 again.
Feb: It's rodeo road trip February. 11 games -- 3 home, 8 road -- in 28 days. 3 back-to-backs and the all-star break. 3 Powers, 3 Could Bes, 3 leftovers, 2 patsies. The rodeo road trip starts with back-to-backs at Golden State and Denver then goes East. It includes Boston, Toronto, and Detroit. The three home games are Dallas and Portland back-to-back, and Cleveland. I say we go 7-4. If we go 9-2 or better then I think we are looking like a force to be reckoned with. This is the month we'll really begin to know what we have.
Mar: 17 games -- 10 home, 7 road -- in 31 days. 5 Powers, 3 Could Bes, 5Leftovers, 4 Patsies. This stretch includes 2 4-game homestands. 12 up, 5 down. Something in the 14-3 range here would be a huge sign. Less than 12 and I'll be making vacation plans for May.
Apr: 8 games -- 3 home, 5 road -- in 15 days. 3 Powers, 1 Could Be, 1 Leftover, and 3 patsies. 6-2 is my guess here.
Add it all up and I get 53-29. That's what I'm going with anyway.