Breaking down the Blazers schedule

Portland opens 2013-14 season at Phoenix on Oct. 30

By Candace Buckner, Columbian staff writer

Published:

 

By the numbers

19 — Number of back-to-back games on the Blazers' schedule

9 — Number of games on Wednesdays and Saturdays, the most popular days on the schedule

6 — Number of three-game home stands in the Rose Garden Arena

Portland Trail Blazers 2013-14 schedule

All Times Pacific

Oct. 30 at Phoenix, 7 p.m.

Nov. 1 at Denver, 6 p.m.

Nov. 2 San Antonio, 7 p.m.

Nov. 5 Houston, 7 p.m.

Nov. 8 Sacramento, 7 p.m.

Nov. 9 at Sacramento, 7 p.m.

Nov. 11 Detroit, 7 p.m.

Nov. 13 Phoenix,7 p.m.

Nov. 15 at Boston, 4:30 p.m.

Nov. 17 at Toronto, 10 a.m.

Nov. 18 at Brooklyn, 4:30 p.m.

Nov. 20 at Milwaukee, 5 p.m.

Nov. 22 Chicago, 7 p.m.

Nov. 23 at Golden State, 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 25 New York, 7 p.m.

Nov. 27 at Phoenix, 6 p.m.

Dec. 1 at L.A. Lakers, 6:30 p.m.

Dec. 2 Indiana, 7 p.m.

Dec. 4 Oklahoma City, 7 p.m.

Dec. 6 Utah, 7 p.m.

Dec. 7 Dallas, 7 p.m.

Dec. 9 at Utah,6 p.m.

Dec. 12 Houston, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 14 at Philadelphia, 5 p.m.

Dec. 15 at Detroit, 3 p.m.

Dec. 17 at Cleveland, 4 p.m.

Dec. 18 at Minnesota, 5 p.m.

Dec. 21 New Orleans, 7 p.m.

Dec. 26 L.A. Clippers, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 28 Miami, 7 p.m.

Dec. 30 at New Orleans, 5 p.m.

Dec. 31 at Oklahoma City, 5 p.m.

Jan. 2 Charlotte, 7 p.m.

Jan. 4 Philadelphia, 7 p.m.

Jan. 7 at Sacramento, 7 p.m.

Jan. 8 Orlando, 7 p.m.

Jan. 11 Boston, 7 p.m.

Jan. 15 Cleveland, 7 p.m.

Jan. 17 at San Antonio, 5:30 p.m.

Jan. 18 at Dallas, 5:30 p.m.

Jan. 20 at Houston, 5 p.m.

Jan. 21 at Oklahoma City, 5 p.m.

Jan. 23 Denver, 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 25 Minnesota, 7 p.m.

Jan. 26 at Golden State, 6 p.m.

Jan. 28 Memphis, 7 p.m.

Feb. 1 Toronto, 7 p.m.

Feb. 3 at Washington, 4 p.m.

Feb. 5 at New York, 4:30 p.m.

Feb. 7 at Indiana, 4 p.m.

Feb. 8 at Minnesota, 5 p.m.

Feb. 11 Oklahoma City, 7 p.m.

Feb. 12 at L.A. Clippers, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 19 San Antonio, 7 p.m.

Feb. 21 Utah, 7 p.m.

Feb. 23 Minnesota, 6 p.m.

Feb. 25 at Denver, 6 p.m.

Feb. 26 Brooklyn, 7 p.m.

March 1 Denver, 7 p.m.

March 3 L.A. Lakers, 7 p.m.

March 5 Atlanta, 7:30 p.m.

March 7 at Dallas, 5:30 p.m.

March 9 at Houston, 4 p.m.

March 11 at Memphis, 5 p.m.

March 12 at San Antonio, 6:30 p.m.

March 14 at New Orleans, 5 p.m.

March 16 Golden State, 6 p.m.

March 18 Milwaukee, 7 p.m.

March 20 Washington, 7 p.m.

March 22 at Charlotte, 4 p.m.

March 24 at Miami, 4:30 p.m.

March 25 at Orlando, 4 p.m.

March 27 at Atlanta, 4:30 p.m.

March 28 at Chicago, 5 p.m.

March 30 Memphis, 6 p.m.

April 1 at L.A. Lakers, 7:30 p.m.

April 4 Phoenix, 7 p.m.

April 6 New Orleans, 6 p.m.

April 9 Sacramento, 7 p.m.

April 11 at Utah, 6 p.m.

April 13 Golden State, 6 p.m.

April 16 L.A. Clippers, 7:30 p.m.

Let the countdown begin.

On Tuesday, the NBA released its 2013-2014 game schedule – the first flirtation for fans that yes, in a few short months basketball shall return.

The Portland Trail Blazers will open the season on Oct. 30 at the Phoenix Suns and embark on a schedule that presents quirky breaks, fascinating matchups and its share of early and late challenges.

For a more palatable way to digest this 82-game behemoth, let's break down the schedule month by month.

October-November

Patience, as they say, is a virtue. And one that must be displayed by the Blazer faithful as they wait for the team to make its home debut.

After the one game in October, the Blazers will travel to Denver to face the Nuggets on Nov. 1. The Rose Garden Arena won't come alive until Nov. 2 when the team returns to Portland for the home opener against the Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs.

"I don't know about y'all but two road games to start the season off is cool with me. Just going to make coming home that much sweeter," tweeted Wesley Matthews.

When a fan incredulously responded to Matthews' road-trip excitement, the Blazers shooting guard countered with a follow-up tweet: "I'm a competitor."

In that case, the competitor in Matthews should love Portland's first grind of the 2013-2014 season.

All the offseason improvements will be put to the test as the Blazers face nine playoff teams from the previous year, and do so before the end of November. After the San Antonio home opener, the Blazers welcome the Houston Rockets (Nov. 5) -- the 8th seed in the Western Conference last year but now vastly improved with the addition of Dwight Howard to complement James Harden and Chandler Parsons.

In an interesting twist in the NBA schedule, power forward Thomas Robinson, who came over from Houston as the Rockets worked to clear space for Howard, will face his two former teams in back-to-back games. After Houston, Robinson gets a crack at the Sacramento Kings on Nov. 8, which also marks the first of the Blazers' 11 scheduled nationally-televised games.

December

After three days of rest, the Blazers kick off the month in Los Angeles (Dec. 1) against the Lakers. However, those chants of "Beat L.A.!" must be saved for Dec. 26 -- for the Clippers. Sandwiched in between the meetings against those Pacific Division teams, the Blazers' two free-agent signings will experience reunions of sorts.

Point guard Earl Watson returns to Utah (Dec. 9) while swingman Dorell Wright arrives at Philadelphia (Dec. 14) as part of a stretch when the Blazers play five of six games on the road. Fortunately for the Blazers -- who struggled to an 11-30 record in away games last year -- this jaunt represents one of the longest trips of the season. Also in December, the team has its longest concurrent time in Portland with four straight games (Dec. 2-Dec. 7).

Like the rest of us, the Blazers will watch the Christmas Day slate of NBA games from the comfort of their own homes. But this will not be a restful holiday. After the Dec. 26 matchup with the Clippers, the Blazers host the two-time defending champion Miami Heat on Dec. 28. The arrival of the champs should be enough to pack the house, but there's another storyline as the team will get a visit from the ghost of Christmas Past: former Blazer No. 1 pick Greg Oden.

Oden, who recently signed with the Heat, will be in the Rose Garden for the first time as an NBA player since Dec. 5, 2009.

January

Portland and conspiracy theories have gone hand in hand since that fateful Game 7 in the 2000 Western Conference Finals. However, Blazer fans might think the NBA still has it out for their team after reviewing the mid-January four-game road trip.

The Blazers visit San Antonio and Dallas on back-to-back nights (Jan. 17 and 18) before getting one day to recover for another challenging two step: at Houston (Jan. 20) then off to Oklahoma City (Jan. 21).

The end of the month could be fashioned as a parade of the young point guards. Damian Lillard, the reigning Rookie of the Year, will showcase his sophomore skills against Denver's Ty Lawson (Jan. 23), Minnesota's Ricky Rubio (Jan. 25). Then, Lillard returns to the Bay Area to face Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors on Jan. 26.

Last season, Lillard enjoyed his first Oakland homecoming by scoring 37 points. Later, Curry returned the favor with a 39-point performance at the Rose Garden.

February

The Blazers ended the 2012-2013 season with the longest active losing streak in the league at 13 games. Tied for second with a six-game season-ending stinker … the Washington Wizards. On Feb. 3, these two teams will match up for the first time in the season. The visit to the Nation's Capital will also kick off four road games in six days (New York on Feb. 5, Indiana on Feb. 7, Minnesota on Feb. 8).

By the end of this month, the Blazers should have grown quite familiar with their Northwest Division foes Minnesota and Utah because they would have faced both teams three times.

On Feb. 26, the revamped Brooklyn Nets visit the Rose Garden that begins a four-game home stand that stretches into early March. The Nets stayed busy in the offseason in bolstering the roster with Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Andrei Kirilenko.

March

The month of March --also known as the Pack Extra Toothpaste Month -- features two sets of five-game road trips.

The Blazers stay on common ground with five Western Conference foes during their March 7-14 trip but will spend the majority of their March 22-28 excursion on Eastern Standard Time. The latter journey includes a stop in Miami (March 24) and Chicago (March 28).

If Portland remains in the postseason hunt by March, then this month could either make or break the playoff hopes.

April

While March may be a test for the young Blazers, April strolls in with the perfect elixir for their road-weary bodies. Plenty of home games to close the regular season. In fact, the Blazers play five of their final seven games in Portland with the conclusion against the Clippers on April 16.