As the summer draws to a close, the NBA has finally released the schedule for the upcoming season, set to begin for our Denver Nuggets beginning October 29th. Some initial cursory analysis can be found below, with a more in-depth examination from your intrepid team of Stiffs editors to follow shortly.
*Note: some numbers may change if I missed something with my admittedly hasty run-through.
October (1 home)
The Nuggets will play their first game of the 2014-2015 NBA season against the Detroit Pistons at home on October 29th. It'll be nice to have the home opener be the first game of the season, and I expect the Can to be rockin', especially if Danilo Gallinari makes his triumphant return.
November (7 home, 8 away)
The very next game for the Nugs will be at the Oklahoma City Thunder in OKC, always a difficult place to play. However, they are benefited somewhat by the fact that they won't have their first back-to-back matchup until November 16th (@ NYK) and November 17th (@ CLE). However, with two games each against OKC, Sacramento, Cleveland, Portland, and Phoenix, the Nuggets will have their work cut out for them early. Their longest road stint is 3 games (@ IND, @ NYK, @ CLE). 2 back to back sets.
December (10 home, 7 away)
In December, the Nuggets will have a nice home-heavy schedule, but one which also includes 5 back to back sets. However, other than a pair of matchups with the Rockets, a date with death in the San Antonio Spurs, and one meeting with the Clippers, the Nuggets December schedule appears at first blush to be eminently winnable. The big question is: can the Nuggets dig deep to win those always-difficult back to back contests? Again, no road stint longer than 3 games (@ WAS, @ ATL, @ TOR). The Nuggets also don't have a game on Christmas Day (but the Lakers do, pfffft).
January (8 home, 8 away)
Ringing in the new year, the Nuggets have a balanced schedule with an equal home-road split. Again, no road trip longer than three games (@ LAC, @NOR, @MEM)...I'm sensing a pattern and a difficult final two months of the season. The Nuggets will play the Tyson Chandler-ful Dallas Mavericks twice, and play a ridiculous back to back set at the Golden State Warriors and home against the Spurs to complete a 4 games in five night set (@ DAL, vs MIN, @ GSW, vs. SAS). Yuck. 4 back to back sets.
February (4 home, 6 away)
Despite a road-heavy schedule, the Nuggets have a fairly easy go of it in February and two three-game roadies (@ PHI, @BOS, @DET to begin the month, then a later trip @ LAL, @ MIL, and @ OKC). Three back to back sets.
March (8 home, 8 away)
The Nuggets longest road trip takes place towards the end of March, a 5-game trip against the Pelicans, Grizzlies, Rockets, Heat, and Magic which includes two back to back sets. Yikes. In sum, 4 back to back sets for the month. March appears to be one of the more difficult months of the season for this team with their longest road trip combined with a grueling set of back to backs away and against good competition will make for a tough row to hoe.
April (4 home, 4 away)
The Nuggets close out the season with two dates with the Clippers...and another season-ending roadie against the Warriors! Here's hoping we get to spoil the Mole's season this year. Only 2 back to back sets to close the final month.
Ultimately, I feel like the Nuggets were actually given a relatively good schedule (for once) that doesn't include an insane road-home split or ridiculous road trips. If the Nuggets can manage to win the back to backs that they're often challenged by, I think that they absolutely can return to the playoffs this year.
In all, I counted 20 back to back games the Nuggets will have to overcome this year.
What are your thoughts about the 2014-2015 schedule, Stiffs?