In case you haven’t been paying attention to league related news over the past 24 hours, the entire NBA schedule for the 2014-15 regular season was released yesterday, and that means that we’re inching closer and closer to opening night. Slowly but surely. The beginning of the Toronto Raptors 2014-15 campaign is just a bit over two months away. Only time will tell if this year’s run will be a positive sequel to follow up on last season’s success.
- October/November (17 games), December (15 games), January (16 games), February (11 games), March (15 games), April (8 games)
- 19 back-to-back sets
- Longest homestand: 7 games (November 7th – November 21st)
- Longest road-trip: 6 games (December 22nd – January 4th)
- Opening night: October 29th vs. Atlanta
- Game #82: April 15th vs. Charlotte
With 11 of their first 17 games of the season being played at the Air Canada Centre, the early portion of the Raptors schedule looks much more favorable than it was last season. In addition to the aforementioned seven-game November homestand, the 2014-15 regular season will feature two other extended stretches at the ACC for the two-time Atlantic Division champs – a six-game set (January 8th – January 18th) and a five-game set (February 2nd – February 11). While these consecutive sessions at the ACC can be definite momentum builders for the Toronto Raptors, they also indicate that the regular season schedule will undoubtedly include tougher stretches in the form of road games in succession – especially at the end of the season when playoff seeding is still to be decided. During the final month of the 2014-15 campaign, six out of Toronto’s eight games will be played south of the border.
In terms of viewership beyond the border, the Toronto Raptors are set to play on NBATV five times (December 8th vs. Denver, February 8th vs. San Antonio, February 23rd @ New Orleans, March 30th vs. Houston, April 11th vs. Miami), make three appearances on ESPN (December 17th vs. Brooklyn, April 8th @ Charlotte, April 15th vs. Charlotte), and showcase their talents on TNT once this season (November 13th vs. Chicago).
While there’s no Christmas game for the Raptors on the schedule, the increased national exposure is definitely a step in the right direction. If the team can build upon last year’s surprise performance, it’ll only be a matter of time before a more significant coverage increase can be noticed. If the players can prove that last season wasn’t a fluke, the casual basketball fan will begin paying attention soon enough.
10 Games You Can’t Miss This Season:
- November 4th vs. Oklahoma City – if you attended the last Raptors-Thunder game, you know that this is definitely a matchup to be excited about. It was the best game that I’ve personally attended, and now the Drake – Kevin Durant interaction just makes it even sweeter.
- November 13th vs. Chicago – a healthy Derrick Rose and a revamped Bulls squad give the Raptors an early-season visit at the Air Canada Centre… also, the funny folks on TNT will have a ton of interesting things to say. Book it.
- December 5th vs. Cleveland – LeBron James visits Toronto for the first time since rejoining the new-look Cavaliers. With lofty expectations already being placed on the King and his new teammates, the Raptors could use this game to turn some heads.
- January 2nd @ Golden State – not only have the previous two games between the Raptors and the Warriors been all sorts of fun, but Toronto’s last visit to the Bay Area saw them lose a game in which they blew a 27 point lead. Before the Rudy Gay trade. Will they make things right this time around?
- February 6th vs. Los Angeles – Lob City makes it’s annual visit to the “6” (still attempting to get used to this Toronto nickname). Terrence Ross only tied the franchise record with 51 points when the Clippers came to town last season. No big deal.
- February 8th vs. San Antonio – maybe, just maybe the NBA schedule makers were trolling when they decided to have the Raptors go from highflying hoops on February 6th back to extreme fundamental emphasis on February 8th. Should be fun.
- March 18th vs. Minnesota – if the reported Kevin Love – Andrew Wiggins trade is set in stone, March 18th will be the Canadian homecoming, as both Wiggins and Anthony Bennett will make their lone visit to Toronto to play in front of friends and family.
- March 27th vs. Los Angeles – we all know that the Lakers are now only a shell of their former selves, but there’s no denying that when Kobe Bryant makes an appearance, it’s a special matchup. Hopefully he’s healthy this season.
- April 11th @ Miami – the Raptors will take their talents to South Beach for a late-season duel with the LeBron-less Miami Heat. Though the King went back to Ohio this summer, the Heat are still built to be a decent team in the Eastern Conference. This NBATV showcase could have some playoff implications.
- April 15th vs. Charlotte – early (and I mean really early) predictions pertaining to this season’s Eastern Conference standings make it seem as if this game between the Raptors and Hornets could be a postseason preview. The pre-playoff ESPN broadcast shouldn’t hurt. Count me in.