Portland, OR After the most successful season of basketball in nearly a decade and a half, the Portland Trail Blazers will start the 2014-15 NBA season hosting some of the league's marquee names and toughest teams.
On Wednesday afternoon the NBA officially released the schedule for the upcoming season. The Blazers will open the regular season at the Moda Center against perennial title contenders Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder on ESPN on Wednesday Oct. 29.
Also, in a change from past seasons, the NBA is allotting an entire week for the All-Star break. The Blazers will have a nine-day break in between regular season games from Feb. 11-Feb. 20.
There had been reports that a longer All-Star break was in the works in order to give players who do participate in All-Star festivities more time to rest.
In total, the Blazers will have 22 games televised nationally on ESPN (11), TNT (5) and NBATV (6).
Following the Thunder game and a Halloween trip to face the Kings in Sacramento, the schedule gets harder and more star-studded.
They face Stephen Curry and new head coach Steve Kerr's Golden State Warriors on Nov. 2. Then LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and the Cavaliers on Nov.4. Lake Oswego graduate Kevin Love is expected to be in a Cleveland uniform later this month.
Then they will face the revitalized Dallas Mavericks (Nov. 6) who brought back center Tyson Chandler, a key piece to their 2011 NBA championship team before heading to Los Angeles to face the Clippers, another team with title aspirations.
The Blazers open the season with a home heavy schedule before spending much of the month of December on the road. In December the Blazers have two road trips of five games or longer. However, the Blazers were spared the assignment of a Christmas Day game.
The NBA has five games slated for Christmas Day, with LeBron James' return to Miami highlighting the holiday match-ups.
They will play in Oklahoma City against the Thunder to close out a four-game road trip on Dec. 23. They will then start a two-week, seven-game home stand beginning on Dec. 26 against the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Blazers will face the Houston Rockets, whom they eliminated from the playoffs last year on Damian Lillard's buzzer-beater, for the first time since "The Shot" on Dec. 22 in Houston. However, the Blazers only face the Rockets three times this season.
The first time the Blazers will play the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs, who eliminated them in the five games in the 2014 Western Conference semifinals, will be on Dec. 15 at the Moda Center.
Unlike the past two seasons, the Blazers will face the Los Angeles Lakers three times this season with the first of those meetings coming January 5 in Los Angeles.
The two teams that the Blazers will face the most on national television are the Thunder and the Clippers, now officially owned by Microsoft billionaire Steve Ballmer, having three meetings against both teams.
Other teams the Blazers will face multiple times on national television include the Golden State Warriors, Dallas Mavericks, Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs and Brooklyn Nets.
The Bulls match-up is particularly interesting as Chicago is scheduled to play in Portland on Nov. 21, almost exactly one year since Derrick Rose injured his knee at the Moda Center which caused him to sit out the rest of the season.
Unlike last year where the Blazers finished with a home-heavy schedule, Portland will play three of their final four games on the road. The Blazers have a total of 19 back-to-backs.
They will close the regular season in Dallas on April 15. Single-game tickets will go on sale on the team website, trailblazers.com, on September 8.
Will update shortly.