12-13 Notes on the 2012-13 Schedule
Last year, the truncated NBA schedule didn’t hit the presses until mid-December. But with labor issues in the rearview mirror, the Wine and Gold know who’s on the docket before the calendar turns to August.
With a full 82-gamer, there’s no concern about the grind of back-to-back-to-back contests or 17 games in 21 nights. The regular season is still more of a marathon than a sprint, but at least this season, teams will be able to catch their collective breath.
Looking ahead at the 2012-13 schedule from the dog days of summer, here are 12-13 things that jumped out – beginning, of course, with …
01. The Opener – The Cavaliers open with their playoff nemesis from the past: the Washington Wizards. Both teams have come a long way since then; both in the midst of a youth movement with a No. 1 overall pick at the point.
The new-look Wizards will roll in with this June’s No. 3 overall pick – Bradley Beal – to face off against the player chosen one pick later, Dion Waiters.
In the past 10 years, the Cavs have opened with Washington twice, Boston twice and in back-to-back seasons in Sacramento.
02. Road Trippin’ – After taking on Washington, the Cavs welcome the Bulls three nights later before embarking on their longest road trip of the season.
The early roadie is bookend by Eastern Conference matchups. The Cavs meet the Bucks in Milwaukee (Sat., Nov. 3) before heading West to face off against the Clippers, Warriors, Suns and Thunder. Cleveland closes out the trip with the franchise’s first-ever trip to …
03. Brooklyn – Basketball comes to New York’s biggest borough, and the Wine and Gold make their first stop to the new Barclays Center on Tuesday, November 13.
The Nets were purchased by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov in September 2009, but have yet to make their big splash. This offseason, they inked Joe Johnson and re-signed Deron Williams, Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries. (And could still be in the hunt for Dwight Howard.)
Brooklyn hasn’t had a pro sports team since the 1950s and their state-of-the-art arena will be rocking when they open against the Knicks.
The Cavs rookie duo of Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson were fantastic against the Nets – nearby where they attended high school in New Jersey. On November 13 – and again on December 29 – the sophomores see if that trend holds up in Prospect Heights.
04. Go West, Young Men – Byron Scott’s young squad’s annual January trip to the West Coast tips off on Friday, January 11 with a Mile-High matchup against the Nuggets.
After that, the five-gamer sends the Wine and Gold to L.A. for a meeting with the Lakers followed by the second-half of a back-to-back in Sacramento. The Cavs close out the trip in two of the most daunting venues in the league: Portland and Utah.
(Cleveland only has four Western Conference road games in the season’s second half – the Texas trifecta and a March 31 trip to New Orleans.)
05. Home Sweet Home – The league’s schedule-makers gave the Wine and Gold a break in February – kinda.
The Cavaliers are home for all but four of their 12 games in February, including a seven-game homestand that stretches from a February 2 tilt against Kevin Durant and the Thunder to the first appearance of this summer’s No. 1 pick, Anthony Davis and the Hornets.
Kyrie and Co. will be able to sleep in their own beds in February, but they’ll busy when they’re out of bed – with four back-to-backs in the month.
06. Big Break – February will be a busy month, but the Cavaliers – (at least some of them) – will get a nice break around the 2013 All-Star Game.
The midseason classic takes place in Houston this year and the Cavaliers should be sending more representatives this season. Last year, Kyrie Irving was named MVP of the Rising Stars Challenge and Tristan Thompson led the opposing squad in scoring.
The Cavaliers will get a full seven-day break in late February. They welcome the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday the 13th and don’t suit back up until the aforementioned matchup against the Hornets on the 20th at The Q.
07. Best of the West – The Cavaliers did well against some tough Western Conference foes in 2011-12 – knocking off the Suns, Nuggets and Thunder on the road and topping the Clippers and World Champion Mavericks at home.
This year, they’ll welcome the all the Conference’s heavyweights, including the …
*Lakers– Tuesday, Dec. 11 – Kobe and Co. come to town with former Cavs coach Mike Brown trying to get the LakeShow back to the top. The addition of two-time MVP Steve Nash won’t hurt.
*Thunder– Saturday, Feb. 2 – The Western Conference Champs come to town with all three Olympians, looking to avenge the Cavaliers’ win in OKC this past season, snapping their 11-game home win streak.
*Spurs– Wednesday, Feb. 13 – The Big Three might have a couple more runs in them, but the clock is ticking. They can’t be counted out, as the Cavs witnessed last year when San Antonio swept them by an average of 25 points per loss.
*Clippers– Friday, March 1 – the Cavs and Clippers have had some interesting battles over the last few years and L.A. brings dual superstars – Blake Griffin and Chris Paul – to The Q. The Clippers haven’t beaten the Cavaliers in 10 straight contests at The Q. Their last win in Cleveland was January 29, 2003.
08. Beasts of the East – The Wine and Gold are working their way back to the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference. Byron Scott’s kid Cavaliers have a way to go, but they’ll test their mettle all season against some of the East’s big boys, including the …
*Heat– Wednesday, March 20; Monday, April 15 – Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the World Champs make two trips to The Q this year and they’ll have the reigning MVP in-tow. The big question is whether or not he’ll come out of the bathroom for opening intros this year.
*Bulls– Friday, Nov. 2; Wednesday, Dec. 5 – Both of Chicago’s trips to Cleveland take place before the All-Star Break, including the second overall game of the season. The Bulls may be without Derrick Rose for both meetings, but the weather should be nice enough that Joakim Noah won’t feel the need to insult the city.
*Celtics– Tuesday, Jan. 22; Wednesday, March 27 – Like the Spurs, the Celtics are trying to win one more before they’re completely dismantled. They added Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo in the Draft, but lost Ray Allen to the Heat.
*Knicks– Monday, March 4 – As tough as it’s been for the L.A. Clippers in Cleveland, the Knicks have had even less success visiting the North Coast. Over the past 10 years, the Cavs are 17-3 against New York at The Q. The Knicks’ last win in Cleveland was on November 29, 2006.
09. Take It Back – Back-to-backs can make or break a team – especially a young squad like the current Cavaliers. This season, the Wine and Gold will play 22 back-to-back matchups.
The toughest month is December, when the Cavs double-up six times. They have five in November and four in February. Unlike this past season, however, the Wine and Gold get a break down the stretch – playing just four back-to-backs in the final two months of the campaign.
The Cavs play on one day’s rest 39 times, two day’s rest 12 times and on three day’s rest on five occasions. They have four-games-in-five-nights four times, five-in-seven twice and one stretch of eight games in 12 days.
10. Holiday Weekend – While the Cavaliers work their way back to prominence, holiday appearances have been less frequent.
The Wine and Gold won’t play on Christmas this year, but they do play on Easter Sunday – March 31 – in New Orleans. Cleveland plays eight Sunday games this season, but only one at home, a meeting with the Magic on April 7.
Last year, the Cavaliers improved to 4-6 in Sunday games after going 0-12 in the previous season. And for those keeping track, the Cavaliers franchise is 7-6 all-time on Easter Sundays.
11. Work Days – Along with the single Sunday contest in early April, the Cavaliers’ at home break down this way in terms of days of the week.
They’ll play four Monday night games at The Q, along seven Tuesday night games. Wednesday is the busiest day of the week on the corner of Huron and Ontario with 13 games. Cleveland has no Thursday home games scheduled. They play 10 Friday night games at home; six on Saturday.
12. New Faces/New Places – Although free agency is far from over and trades are still to be made, fans will see some new faces this year – as well as some familiar faces in new places.
Mike Brown and Antawn Jamison return to Cleveland with the Lakers. Ramon Sessions and the 2012 Draft’s No. 2 overall pick, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will roll in with the Bobcats on February 6. Two of the Draft’s top figures – Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers – make their first-ever appearance at The Q on February 20. Former Cavalier small forward, LeBron James, makes two appearances in Cleveland, including …
13. Fan Appreciation – Fan Appreciation is always one of the greatest nights of the year – with millions given away to thank Cavalier fans for being the best in the NBA.
This year, faithful fans of the Wine and Gold get a little bit extra in the final home game of the year: a meeting with the NBA Champion Miami Heat on April 15 at The Q.