Portland's 2018-19 Regular Season Schedule: The Most Miles, New Back-To-Backs And Early Games Against The Lakers
We already know the details of two of the Trail Blazers’ 82 games in the rapidly-approaching 2018-19 regular season after the NBA’s announcement of the national-televised opening week schedule and the Christmas Day schedule Wednesday afternoon. And while we know Portland will play 80 additional games, the specifics of those contests was still to be determined.
But now we know, as the NBA has released the full 82-game schedules for all 30 teams Friday afternoon. Behold…
After the NBA schedule underwent a number of changes during the 2017-18 season, such as moving up the start of the regular season, extending All-Star Weekend and all but eliminating stretches of four games in five nights, the tweaks to the 2018-19 schedule are relatively minor in comparison.
Portland starts on the regular season on the same day, October 18, as last year and ends the season just one day sooner on April 10. They have eight “fresh games,” which are defined as games in which they did not play the day before but their opponent did, one fewer than they had last and the same number of “tired” games. They play 64 “even games,” defined as games in which both teams enter the contest with the same amount of rest, one more than last year. This has been an emphasis for the NBA, so getting to the point where over 75 percent of games played are done so with the same amount of rest is an achievement. Same goes for having the same number of games, 15, in all four of the “full” months of the NBA season. Portland also has 13 nationally-televised games this season — five on TNT and eight on ESPN — after having 11 last year.
However, their number of back-to-backs this season dropped from 15 last year to 12 this year, one fewer than the league average. And for the Trail Blazers, the addition of no travel back-to-backs is the most stark difference between this year’s schedule and last year’s. While most teams have at least one no travel back-to-back every year, the Trail Blazers haven’t had one of those in a non-lockout season since 2013, so having three on the schedule in 2018-19 qualifies as an oddity. That increase in no travel back-to-backs dropped the number of road-home back-to-backs from four last year to just one this year. What’s more, Portland has no home-road back-to-backs this season after having three last year. Considering how much further away Portland is from the next closest NBA city, it makes sense for the NBA to cut back on the number of times the Blazers have to play at home the night before playing somewhere else the next night.
One of the other results of the addition of no travel back-to-backs on Portland’s schedule is a decrease of one-game road trip from seven last year to four this year. And speaking of road trips, the Trail Blazers have a seven-gamer, which spans 13 days, and a six-gamer after having no trips longer than five games last season. The seven-game trip starts right after the All-Star break, so the team will hopefully be well rested. Their longest homestand this year is six games over 11 days, though there’s a stretch at the end of January/beginning of February in which the team plays just four games, all at home, over the course of 16 days.
As always, the Trail Blazers play all 15 Eastern Conference teams twice, once at home and once on the road. New Orleans (two home, one away), Phoenix (two home, one away), Sacramento (one home, two away) and Houston (one home, two away) are the Western Conference teams they play only three times this year rather than four.
And not that it means anything, but kind of odd that the Trail Blazers and Lakers play three times in the first month but don’t meet again until until the penultimate game of the season.
In total, the Trail Blazers will travel 54,333 miles this season, which is roughly 1,000 miles fewer than they traveled last year, but still the most miles of any team in the NBA. Such is life playing in the Pacific Northwest.
GAMES BY MONTH
GAMES BY DAY OF WEEK
7 games: 1
6 games: 1
5 games: 0
4 games: 2
3 games: 2
2 games: 5
1 game: 4
6 games: 1
5 games: 1
4 games: 2
3 games: 3
2 games: 3
12 (15 last year)
BACK-TO-BACKS BY TYPE
BACK-TO-BACKS BY MONTH