The NBA has released the schedule for the second half of the 2020-21 NBA season, and it’s going to be a whirlwind for the San Antonio Spurs, who have five make-up games squeezed in that were postponed in the first half due to COVID-19 protocols. After a home game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on March 4, the Spurs will get five days off before heading to Dallas to kick off the second half of the season against the Mavericks on March 10. The regular season will end with a mini-series at home against the Phoenix Suns on May 15/16, which if the standings remain roughly the same as today could be very important to both teams. (Maybe the league knows that based on the TBD status for the time?)
Here is the schedule in it’s entirety, plus some observations below:
- The second half of the schedule will feature 40 games across 68 days. It goes without saying that’s a lot of basketball crammed into a relatively small amount of time, and as a result, the Spurs will have 11 back-to-backs crammed in — tied with the Grizzlies for most in the league — as well never more than a single day’s rest. It’s a good thing this team is relatively young and deep, and they should continue to be able to spread minutes around to keep players as fresh as possible.
- If it wasn’t already obvious that the NBA is trying to minimize the total number of trips teams must make, the Spurs will play six of their first seven on the road (including two Rodeo Road Trip make-up games in Detroit and Cleveland), followed by a more-than-likely franchise high of NINE straight games at home. After that, the majority of their outings will be away, with seven of eight on the road next, two at home, ten of the next twelve on the road, and the final two games at home. Here’s to hoping the Spurs’ winning ways on the road continue, considering that’s where 23 of their final 40 games will be.
- One thing that has given the Spurs issues this season is those little miniseries, where the same teams play each other in the same venue for consecutive games. The Spurs have gone 3-7 in those games so far this season, and they’ll have to do better than that with five more series coming up, including that aforementioned, potentially important one against the Suns to close the season.
- This will be the 4th hardest schedule in the league with an opponent win-percentage of .519. (Only the Rockets, Timberwolves and Magic have it harder.) 21 games will come against teams currently at .500 or above, plus five more against currently playoff-bound teams in the East. The most difficult stretch will likely be from April 7 through 19, when the Spurs travel to Denver (twice), Dallas, Orlando, Toronto (currently playing in Tampa Bay), return home for the Trail Blazers, and then go back on the road to Phoenix and Indiana. There’s other tough stretches, but this is the most extended on.
The next five games before the All-Star break may be a bit hazy as the Spurs face plenty of roster uncertainty, but hopefully everyone will be healthy and ready to go heading into what will be a doozy of a second half of the season. It won’t be easy, but this team is fighting tooth-and-nail to start a new playoff streak and avoid become the first in franchise history to miss the playoffs in consecutive years. I believe they can do it. Go Spurs Go!