Quick Takeaways from the Hornets 2021-22 NBA Schedule
Whenever the NBA drops its annual schedule (generally in mid-August), basketball fans race to their computers and phones to track down a few particular facts about their favorite teams. How many nationally televised games do we have? Who do we play in the opener? When’s the longest homestand and road trip? When can I see fill-in-the-blank superstar come to town?
Perhaps the most refreshing element of the 2021-22 schedule is seeing a more normally spaced-out 82-game slate, something no team in the league has experienced since the 2018-19 campaign thanks to COVID-19 speedbumps. Fingers crossed for fewer hiccups this year because there is A LOT of action, excitement and fun awaiting Hornets fans in the coming months.
- The Hornets will officially open the 2021-22 season at home on Wednesday, Oct. 20 against the same team that ended the previous one in the Indiana Pacers. Charlotte lost by 27 on the road in the Play-In Tournament back on May 18, a contest that outside the first few minutes, was never competitive and surely a summer-long motivator.
- When their season opener takes place at home, the Hornets are 5-1 dating back to the start of the 2007-08 season. The only loss during this stretch was a one-point heartbreaker to Milwaukee on Oct. 17, 2018, a result that was flipped one year later thanks to a 126-125 Charlotte triumph over Chicago on Oct. 23, 2018.
- Here’s an odd trend: Counting this upcoming game against the Pacers, the last eight times the Hornets have opened their season at home, the opponent has hailed from the Central Division – Milwaukee (4x), Indiana (3x) and Chicago.
- Charlotte will have to wait only six games for its first appearance on national television, a showdown against the Heat on Friday, Oct. 29 in Miami. The team will also head to San Francisco to play the Warriors the following week on Wednesday, Nov. 3, take on the Celtics in Boston on Wednesday, Jan. 19 and then host the Bulls on Wednesday, Feb. 9. All four of these games are on ESPN, with another four outings scheduled for NBATV.
- The Hornets had three nationally televised games last season (not counting the NBA Play-In Tournament loss), going 2-1 in these contests (1-0 at home).
- Charlotte’s longest homestand will transpire in the final full month of the season, featuring matchups with Atlanta, Dallas, New Orleans, New York and Utah from Wednesday, March 16 to Friday, March 25. Eight of the team’s final 13 games and 24 of the 41 second-half games will take place at Spectrum Center.
- The squad’s two Western Conference road trips will both take place in the first half of the season. One stretches from Wednesday, Nov. 3 to Wednesday, Nov. 10 (Golden State, Sacramento, both Los Angeles teams and Memphis), the other from Monday, Dec. 13 to Thursday, Dec. 23 (Dallas, San Antonio, Portland, Phoenix, Utah and Denver).
- Although the opponents fluctuated a touch, Charlotte went 3-3 and 2-3 across its Western Conference journeys last season, which were essentially sandwiched around the league’s mid-March All-Star Break.
- In order to cut down on travel last season, the NBA tinkered with implementing consecutive matchups between the same teams in the same city, similarly to a baseball series. This trend has returned (although less frequently) with Charlotte hosting Philadelphia (Dec. 6-8) and Milwaukee (Jan. 8-10) for two straight home meetings.
- Condensing 72 games into about four-and-a-half months was inevitably a major physical and mental challenge for NBA teams last season, even before COVID protocols. Charlotte took part in 16 back-to-backs in 2020-21, a number that shrinks to 15 this year over 10 more games. Only three of these 15 will be away-away sequences (Clippers/Lakers – Nov. 7-8, Phoenix/Utah – Dec. 19-20, Toronto/Indiana – Jan. 25-26).
- Additionally, limited time off in between games also meant less time to recovery from injuries and fewer practice days, factors that caught up to the young Hornets on both fronts last season.
- In another break from the norm last season, NBA teams conducting a home-and-away series with each team in the opposite conference, then played every team in their own conference exactly three times. For conference play this season, teams will return to playing each team in their division four times (two home, two away), six interdivisional teams another four times and then four interdivisional teams three times.
- Charlotte will face Brooklyn, Chicago, Detroit and Toronto three times this season. The first two opponents will be for one home game and two away games, then vice versa for the other two.