The NBA released this year’s schedules on the NBATV “Schedule Release Show”, hosted by Jared Greenberg. Naturally, the Spurs were hardly mentioned throughout the show, but what matters is we now have a schedule to add to our calendars (with games to circle and to plan for — I’m saving my pennies for a few of these games). As Marilyn Dubinski mentioned in her earlier post, we have a countdown: 72 days and counting.
Schedule: By the Numbers
- The new loteria-styled schedule is absolutely beautiful.
- 13 nationally televised games (8 on NBATV, 3 ESPN, 2 TNT) — Spurs fans are constantly arguing that the NBA doesn’t consider them to be important, and the downward trend of nationally televised games is proof. The Spurs had 32 nationally televised games in 2016 and 2017, dropped to 25 in 2018, and now down to 13.
- 12 back-to-backs — at least the NBA is keeping its word on cutting those down.
- 1 FIGASENI — the series starts on April 7 vs. Kings, April 8 @ Rockets (ESPN) April 10 vs. 76ers (NBATV), April 12 vs. Rockets (NBATV) and April 13 @ Pacers, and both SEGABABAs require travel at least halfway across the country.
- The Rodeo Road Trip should just be called the Western Conference gauntlet: 6 games prior to the All-Star Break (Clippers, Lakers, Trail Blazers, Kings, Nuggets, Thunder) and 2 games after the Break (Jazz, Thunder). None of those teams will be pushovers, and the first 6 games are also in 9 nights. This will be a tough one.
- Two home-and-home game series, the Bucks on January 4 in Milwaukee and January 6 in SA and the Jazz on March 22 in SA and March 24 in Salt Lake City;
- The longest home-stand is 4 games — March 10-16 against the Mavericks, Nuggets, Timberwolves, and Grizzlies — and the middle two are back-to-back;
- 1 neutral site game = one less “road” game for the Spurs. They play the Suns in Mexico City on December 14, which counts as an away game for the Spurs and home for the Suns.
This November looks to be a tough month for the Spurs, similar to last year’s November schedule. The Silver and Black play 8 home and 8 away games, but it’s really two 3-game home stands separated by a 4-game road trip. They start the month at Golden State and end it facing the Clippers at home. The road trip doesn’t look too difficult, but the team will be playing some tough home games versus the Lakers, Celtics, Grizzlies, Timberwolves and the aforementioned Clippers.
Til the Very End
The end of season doesn’t look as easy as it has in previous seasons. The Spurs end the season with two back-to-backs separated by one game (mentioned previously as the only FIGASENI). This year, unlike previous years, we actually end the season at home, playing the Pelicans. Hopefully the team’s playoff seeding will be solid and positioning won’t be at stake.
Games of Note
October 23 — Spurs vs. New York Knicks
The opening game of the series takes on some drama due to the Marcus Morris snub and the Knicks’ grumblings of impropriety regarding the Spurs and Kristaps Porzingis.
October 26 — Spurs vs. Washington Wizards
The return of Davis Bertans takes place early in the season, ironically immediately after Spurs fans will welcome the player who ultimately caused them to trade Bertans before backing out. Fans certainly still like the Latvian Laser, so he will probably get a warm reception.
October 31 — Spurs at Los Angeles Clippers
The first time the Spurs will face the Nephew’s new team. Paul George should still be recovering from shoulder surgery, so the Silver and Black will have an opportunity to put all their focus and energy on #2.
November 3 — Spurs vs. Los Angeles Lakers
The first time LeBron James and Anthony Davis will come to San Antonio together should be interesting. Will they have had time to mesh? Will the role players know their parts yet? Will a certain former Spur, Danny Green, still get a warm welcome while wearing the dreaded purple and gold?
November 29 — Spurs vs. Los Angeles Clippers
While Spurs fans may not be thrilled to see Kawhi Leonard with another West team, there has been a sense of vindication that he ultimately jumped ship (again) and went to his hometown, even after winning a championship with Toronto. Will he be met with the same animus as last year, or will Spurs fans have cooled off?
December 3 — Spurs vs. Houston Rockets
James Harden and Russell Westbrook, back together again, only this time in Rockets’ uniforms. This Tuesday night game looks interesting because it will be fascinating to see if these two mega-ball handlers can still get along since both won MVPs apart from each other.
December 14 — Spurs @ Phoenix Suns
Well, not really at Phoenix. This game will be played in Mexico City. Let’s hope it goes without a hitch (I distinctly remember years with problems in Mexico City, smoke being the most memorable).
December 31 — Spurs vs. Golden State Warriors
The Spurs meet the Warriors in California earlier in the season, but this game will be the first in San Antonio, and the teams should be in better form, so we should get to see a more realistic match-up (although some pundits are arguing that the Warriors are not favored to win it all or even get to the conference finals this year). More than likely, Klay Thompson won’t be back, but everyone else on both teams should be gelling.
April 15 — Spurs vs. New Orleans Pelicans
The last game of the season will be at home. In previous years, the Pelicans have served as playoff seeding spoilers. (The nightmares of 2015 still persist.) Hopefully this year, the Spurs can cruise into this last game with solid playoff positioning and ready to rest some starters heading into the playoffs.
What games do you have circled? Let us know in the comments.