Donuts: Coop's 12 Takes On Mavs Schedule
DONUT 1: When reports of the schedule breakdown first surfaced with the idea of 48 games in the West and 18 in the East, it was assumed that the West games would feature the full complement of division games, with several marquee matchups within the conference also featured.
It didn't work that way.
DONUT 2: And actually, given the expected strength of the West, it might actually have been a break for Dallas as San Antonio is the only division team the Mavericks will face four times. The Lakers and Oklahoma City are the others. The Mavericks will also face Utah, Denver and Phoenix four times, and I think that's probably better for them then having the full complement against New Orleans, Memphis and Houston.
DONUT 3: Still, the Mavericks will have a pair of road games at both New Orleans (where they have lost 11 straight games), at Golden State (where they have lost nine of their last 13) and in Memphis where they have lost four of six.
DONUT 4: The Dallas Mavericks have been the NBA's best road team the last two years, having won 55 games away from the American Airlines Center. And indeed, the road is likely to tell the story for the Mavericks this season, because not only do they play a pair of road games against all of last year's Western Conference playoff teams except Portland, they also play two games against seven Eastern Conference playoff teams on the road (Indiana, the No. 8 seed, is the exception). And that road prowess will really be put to the test as the Mavericks will play six of their last eight on the road, which will include games at Portland, the Lakers, Chicago and Atlanta.
DONUT 5: Yes there are tons of back to backs. … 22 total if you include the brutal three-games-in-three-nights in early March at Phoenix, Sacramento and Golden State. Thankfully, the Mavericks have just one of those stretches. Some teams have as many as three. It will be a part of a truly brutal five-games-in-six-nights test that also includes a back-to-back to start it at Oklahoma City and then home against the Knicks.
DONUT 6: The Mavericks played 20 back-to-backs in each of the last two years. They were 14-6 last year in the second of those games after going 12-8 the year before. Of course that was over an 82-game schedule instead of the 66 of this season. And what used to be a staple of the Mavericks schedule in the 80's makes a return this season: The back-to-back home games. It will happen twice: The first two games out of the blocks against Miami and Denver (confirmation of Fish's early report that Dallas would open the year with a b2b) , and then on January 13-14 against Milwaukee and Sacramento.
The last time the Mavericks had back-to-back home games was in the lockout-shortened ‘99 season when they played Chicago and Vancouver.
DONUT 7: There will also be plenty of the dreaded four-games-in-five-night stretches. Last year the Mavericks had three of them, the most they had had in years. This year there will be six, including a six-games-in-eight-nights stretch from December 29 to January 5.
DONUT 8: The Mavs are a national draw. ... And along with that, as the Mavericks are defending champs, they are deemed to be worthy of Holiday Cheering. They will play on Christmas against Miami. On MLK Day at the Lakers, and on Presidents Day against Boston.
DONUT 9: Key Games at the AAC: Obviously, Miami on Opening Day. The Lakers check in on February 22 and March 21. Oklahoma City appears on January 2 and February 1. San Antonio on January 29 and March 17, and Griffapalooza with Blake Griffin and the Clippers will check in on February 13 and April 2.
DONUT 10: That April 2 day clashes with the NCAA Final, something the NBA has studiously avoided for years. But if we have to miss Kentucky-North Carolina, there's an entertaining alternative for sure (By the way, I appreciate the NBA not scheduling the Mavericks on either January 9 or February 5, the day of the LSU-Alabama national title game and the Super Bowl, respectively).
DONUT 11: DB.com has more analysis of the Mavs schedule with Mark Followill's column on his views on the highlights and Kevin Brolan's smart-alecky game-by-game examination of Dallas' challenges. And I know starting again today Fish and The 75-Member Staff will be in the AAC basement, bringing you all the scoop as Mavs training camp is set to start Friday.
DONUT 12: So there you have it. A pretty jam-packed and challenging slate for the Mavericks, in whatever form they take. I can't wait to get started!
Chuck Cooperstein is the radio play-by-play voice of the Dallas Mavericks and a columnist at DallasBasketball.com.
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