Yesterday, the NBA finally released the complete schedule for the 2010-2011 season. I've taken a look, and here are a couple of my quick hit thoughts regarding how it all stacks up for the Los Angeles Lakers
- There's no major imbalance in home vs. away games on the schedule, like last year's 17-4 home road split. There is an imbalance down the stretch, as the Lakers close with 11 of their last 15 games at home. Despite all the national and rival attention last year's start garnered, I'll take an easy finish over an easy start any day.
- The first likely loss seems to be @ Denver. There are a few tricky games beforehand (@ Phoenix, home v. Portland, even the opener v. Houston), but going into Denver is the first game that really stands out as a difficult contest, one that the Lakers would be hard pressed to win. If they make it that far, it will be a tidy little 8-0 start.
- The 1st back-to-back will be relatively easy, with a home contest vs. Memphis and a road contest vs. Sacramento the next day
- The Lakers have the lowest number of back-to-backs total in the league, at 15 this year, far less than the 20 they played last year. I don't really want to give the haters any ammunition, but that is a legitimate scheduling advantage over rivals Boston (19), Miami (19) and Orlando (20), to say nothing of Chicago and Milwaukee, who tie for the most back to backs with 23.
- Even more advantage-y, two of that already low number of back-to-backs involve a home game and a "road" game against the Clippers.
More tidbits after the jump.
- Toughest back-to-back? @Boston followed by @New York seems pretty difficult, but the winner in my opinion is @Orlando followed by @Charlotte, since we do still have a history of struggling with Charlotte.
- Oh, and that may have been a trick question, because those two sets of back to back games follow each other, making one hell of a tough 4 games in 5 nights scenario.
- The longest road trip is seven games, but the Lakers have two different 7 game trips. The first 7 gamer in December doesn't seem too bad, a jaunt through most of the scrubs of the Eastern Conference, with only @Chicago looking like a tough game. Of course, that means the other trip is brutal, with the previously mentioned 4 games in 5 nights in the middle of games @New Orleans, @Memphis, and @Cleveland
- Neither of those 7 game trips is the most difficult the Lakers will undertake. They've got a 4 game gauntlet of @San Antonio, @Atlanta, @Miami, and @Dallas, who will all likely be top 4-5 teams in their respective conferences.
- Just one long homestand (7 games) as part of the previously mentioned home heavy run in towards the end of the season.
Those are the quick hit thoughts. We'll probably do a full schedule analysis, possibly including general predicitions of how the Lakers will do, later on, but for now, I'm honest enough to admit it seems the NBA has looked upon the Lakers with a kind eye this season. Like, for real, not in the fake "OMG the Lakers have so many home games to start. FAVORITISM!!" way we were treated to last season. It's still 41 on the road, 41 at home, but I do think the Lakers like their schedule.