Jun 6, 2012; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich reacts to play against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the second half in game six of the Western Conference finals of the 2012 NBA playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-US PRESSWIRE
The NBA released the 2012-13 yesterday in what will quell the nominally boring offseason. This is what usually happens; once the big name free agents sign the news generally subsides and crazed NBA fans are left in the doldrums. The Olympics will help a bit too but, for the sake of this piece, we will be looking at some interesting tidbits on the Spurs’ schedule. And suffice to say, it looks like a toooooooughh one. (Disclaimer: The Spurs are pretty good so it may not matter at the end of the day.)
— San Antonio will open on Halloween in New Orleans. The holiday fits Anthony Davis well — whose, uh, unique looks make him tailor made for any costume. But, from a basketball perspective, I’m pretty excited to see a potential game-changer on the defensive side of the ball. Oh, and to see if the seemingly onerous comparisons to Tim Duncan are true.
— As for their matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder? It will occur on Nov. 1, one day after the opener, in San Antonio. I don’t know about you but I am absolutely shelling out the cash, irrespective to monetary value, to see that one.
— The Spurs have an interesting November schedule. After playing three of their first four games within the friendly confines of the AT&T Center, they will venture on the road for seven of 12 games. Those 10 road games aren’t separated either; they occur on a four and six game road trips, respectively.
— San Antonio has 17 back-to-backs which seems like a lot. But, really, it’s quite average. The Minnesota Timberwolves, for example, have 22 scheduled back-to-backs. If my math is correct that’s a lot more.
— The annual Rodeo Road Trip begins on Feb. 6 in Minnesota. It spans nine games and 18 days. The nine teams combined for an aggregate winning percentage of .441 last season. The Spurs will, essentially, face an opponent equivalent to the 2011-12 Portland Trail Blazers, who finished 11th in the Western Conference. This was a nice reprieve though the nature of the trip will invariably lead to the Gregg Popovich “manufactured” loss.
— It appears that the Spurs weren’t gifted with an easy schedule. Quite the contrary: their schedule is the toughest in the NBA according to this graph (which does seem a bit confusing admittedly). The negative “mean”, the x-axis, denotes that San Antonio will have less rest than their opponents. On the other hand, Indiana, who is No. 1 on the graph, will have more rest than their opponents.
— This graph doesn’t help either. The Phoenix Suns (19 back-to-backs) will play 12 games on one day of rest while their opponent comes off the first game of a back-to-back. The Spurs only have seven of those games.
— Murderer’s row alert: Check out the Spurs’ schedule from Mar. 22- Apr. 10. They will play 10 teams that combined for a gaudy winning percentage of .602. In less nerdy words: That’s the equivalent of the Los Angeles Clippers — every night. It should be noted that staff writer Joe Bendiez pointed out on Twitter that this is usually the case. (And Orlando may be significantly worse by then if they trade Dwight Howard.) But still.
Five must-see Spurs matchups to watch this season
Nov. 1 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, TNT
Dec. 23 vs. Dallas Mavericks
Dec. 28 vs. Houston Rockets
Jan. 9 vs. Los Angeles Lakers, ESPN
Mar. 31 vs. Miami Heat, NBA TV