The Hawks are set to release their schedule at 2 p.m. today. I will break it down here soon after. You will break it down below soon after that. Together we will formulate predictions, opinion and analysis that likely will mean little once the Hawks open the season.
Now doesn’t that sound fun? Hey, it’s August.
The schedule is out. Here are some highlights:
– The Hawks open the season with two road games and three in four nights. They play at Memphis Oct. 27, at Philadelphia Oct. 29 and at home vs. Washington on Oct. 30.
– Atlanta’s longest road trip of the season is broken up by All-Star weekend in Los Angeles. Games at Detroit Feb. 14 and at New York Feb. 16 are followed by All-Star weekend Feb. 18-20. Atlanta the continues the trip out West with games at the Lakers, Suns, Warriors, Blazers and Nuggets.
– The Hawks follow that trip with nine of their next 10 games at Philips Arena with just one back-to-back set. Atlanta plays 14 of its last 21 games at home.
– Atlanta plays a total of 23 back-to-back sets: 11 home/away, seven away/home and five away/away.
– Miami’s SuperFriends won’t make their first regular-season visit until March 18. The Heat visit again for Atlanta’s home finale on April 11. Miami will play an exhibition game against the Hawks at Philips on Oct. 21.
– The defending champion Lakers come to town on March 8. Orlando visits Dec. 20 and March 30. Defending East champ Boston visits on Nov. 22 and April 1.
– The Hawks play host to the Wizards on Thanksgiving Night (Nov. 25).
–The Hawks will play 14 games on national TV: seven on NBA TV, four on ESPN and three on TNT.
My three thoughts, worth $.02 each:
1. That closing schedule looks like a kind of trade-off between opponents and location, doesn’t it? It’s hard for the Hawks to complain about 14 of their last 21 at home, but they draw the Bulls three times, Miami twice (though that April 11 game could be meaningless for the standings), Boston, the Lakers, Oklahoma City, San Antonio and Orlando. On the plus side, the Hawks play consecutive road games just once during that span, and they are at Indiana and Washington.
2. There could be an opportunity for L.D. to get off to a good start in his first season as the head man. Memphis, Philadelphia, Washington, Cleveland, Detroit and Minnesota looks to be a manageable stretch to open the season. As always, that comes with the caveat that’s it’s folly to look at NBA schedules and predict wins and losses. And four of those games are on the road, where the Hawks were known to mess around and not handle their business last season.
2. Breaking up the February trip with All-Star weekend sounds good to me. I’ll take the long weekend in L.A. It should be good for the Hawks, too, since it takes what could have potentially been one long, 12-day West Coast trip and makes it a four-day trip East and an eight-day trip West with a short vacation in between. And the Hawks have all those home games to look forward to when they return to Atlanta.