Followill: Thoughts On Mavs Schedule
For five weeks we've all been basking in the afterglow of the Mavs winning it all, we can now start to really ponder what the road to a repeat will look like for your NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks.
Here's the Mavs schedule and some DB.com Boards discussion!
Obviously, the Mavs will be a centerpiece of the NBA's Tip-Off Week, which comes a few days later this year than we are used to recently. On Opening Night - Tuesday, November 1st - the banner-raising and ring (or whatever) ceremony will be followed by a great game with Eastern Conference Finalist Chicago. And then it's a Friday-Saturday back-to-back against archrival San Antonio on the road and the next night back home against West Finals foe OKC on NBATV.
Once the hoopla over Opening Week dies down the thing that strikes me is the choppiness of the Mavs schedule. By that I mean, over the first two-and-a-half months, the Mavs have no homestand longer than three games and no road trip of more than two games.
That changes when Dallas opens a four game road swing with an MLK Day game vs. the Lakers and then follows that trip up with their longest homestand of the year, five games over the last week in January and the first day of February.
By the way, the four-game road trip equals the longest road trip; Dallas has two other four game roadies over the year.
There's always a challenging road stretch late in the year and for Dallas this year it features nine of the last 14 on the road. Early in that stretch the Mavs will have contests at San Antonio, Miami and Orlando.
In the final week of the season, the Mavs are dealt a challenging four-games-in-five-days trip taking them to Golden State, Portland, the Lakers and Utah.
The Mavs, you'll remember, were up to the challenge of the road last year, winning a league-high-tying 28 in the regular season away from AAC and going 7-3 on the road in the playoff run to the championship.
The must-see games that stand out:
*After the opening-week gauntlet of the Bulls, Spurs and Thunder, the eyes immediately look for the two matchups against the hated Heat. As was reported by other outlets a few days ago the Mavs will host Miami in a Finals rematch on Christmas Day and visit them for a national TV game on Thursday March 29.
*The Lakers roll into town Dec. 15th and March 21st.
*I've already mentioned one of the home games against the Thunder; their other game in town is Feb. 1 as the finale of the aforementioned five-game homestand. Dallas travels up to their budding young rival in OKC on Dec. 29th and March 5th.
*Also of note, the Spurs come to town Jan. 29 and March 17 and the aerial highlight attack of the Clippers lands in Dallas on December 9th and February 13th.
For those of us who have to make plans to accommodate families and the holidays, in addition to a Christmas Day home game (I assume a first-ever for Dallas), the Mavs for the fourth time in five years will be squeezing in a four-game-in-five-nights stretch around Thanksgiving, the most noteworthy of which is a Friday night game at Denver. (I wonder if George Karl wants Dallas for that game?)
The back-to-backs work out to 19, one less than we have seen in each of the last two years. Those back-to-backs have not been a landmine for Dallas, with the Mavs winning 14 of the games on the second night this past year.
Each year, you play four conference opponents outside of your respective division only three times instead of four. This year in the rotation for Dallas, it's the Clippers, Warriors, Jazz and Trailblazers -- unlucky in that three of them were non-playoff teams last year, lucky in that Dallas will visit the raucous Rose Garden in Portland only once (in game 79 of the year).
The schedule features some oddities; I'm sure there are others but two stood out to me:
One, the Mavs and Rockets wont learn much about each other 'til the end of the year. After meeting right before Thanksgiving, the division rivals then wont see each other until late March - playing three times in Dallas' final 13 games.
And, two, the Charlotte Bobcats will be even more off our radar than usual as Dallas doesn't play them until the 65th game of the season, the first of their two meetings over an eight-day stretch in March.
Obviously some things still have to get worked out this summer but it is still an exciting day to see how a season like none other for the Mavs will shape up.
The Mavs will have a target on them this year as the defending champs but that will just make for even better viewing of Mavs basketball in a most eagerly-anticipated season.
We'll hope you'll be watching the Mavs broadcasts on TV and reading about it right here on DallasBasketball.com from start to finish!
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