The schedule is a lot less volatile for the Nuggets this season. There are no half-month long road trips in the middle of a playoff race. There are no road trips of six games or more, period. While there are months where the Nuggets are on the road more than at home, there isn’t that grueling month of double-digit away contests.
And if playoff spots – and/or seeding – are on the line again in April as they were last season, the NBA made sure the Nuggets get plenty of Northwest Division opponents to help sort things out. And with 14 nationally televised games (five on TNT), the Nuggets are getting back into the spotlight in a big way.
First things first.
The Nuggets open the season on the road, at the L.A. Clippers on Oct. 17. The home opener is on Oct. 20 against the Phoenix Suns, featuring high-scoring guard Devin Booker and this year’s No. 1 overall pick, DeAndre Ayton. Six of the Nuggets’ first 10 games – and 10 of the first 15 – are at the Pepsi Center, a nice way for the Nuggets to get into the season.
They have 13 back-to-backs, which is one fewer than last year. Two of the back-to-back sets are at home, requiring no travel. The NBA significantly reduced the Nuggets’ number of miles and time zone changes in the traveling back-to-backs. They have just two back-to-back sets that require over 750 miles of travel, down from five such instances a year ago. They have just six back-to-backs in different time zones, down from eight in 2017-18.
There are pivotal stretches.
- The Nuggets have 9-of-11 on the road from Nov. 17-Dec. 10
- They have 7-of-10 on the road from Jan. 23-Feb. 8
- They have 6-of-7 on the road from Mar. 18-Mar. 29
The Nuggets’ longest road trip is just nine days – five games – from Nov. 30- Dec. 8. In all, they have three road trips of at least four games.
The Nuggets’ longest home stand is 4 games, which happens on four occasions throughout the season. And they end the season in a big way with games at home vs. Portland (April 5), on the road against Portland (April 7), and then a back-to-back on the road against Utah (April 9) and home against Minnesota (April 10).
LeBron James and the new-look L.A. Lakers come to Denver just once – Nov. 27. They are one of four teams the Nuggets face just three times. Memphis, Dallas and Sacramento are the others.
The champion Golden State Warriors come to Denver twice, the first of which is right away on Oct. 21. The other is on Jan. 15.
Christopher Dempsey: firstname.lastname@example.org and @chrisadempsey on Twitter