Pistons get first chunk of their schedule lined up as NBA builds in flexibility

Blake Griffin
Blake Griffin and the Pistons will open the 2020-21 season at Minnesota on Dec. 23 and host Cleveland Dec. 26
Logan Riely (NBAE/Getty)
by Keith Langlois
Web Editor

The COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the NBA can be seen all over the Pistons schedule released Friday afternoon by the NBA – in its belated start, in the fact that only 37 games – of the eventual 72 – have been set, and in the pattern of the games scheduled.

The Pistons open the 2020-21 season at Minnesota on Dec. 23 and return home for the Little Caesars Arena opener on Dec. 26, hosting Cleveland. No fans will be permitted at Little Caesars at present with any future adjustment completely dependent on the ability to contain the spread of the virus. The schedule is coming out on the heels of record-setting days for American cases, hospitalizations and coronavirus-related fatalities and public-health parameters will be the guidepost for any possible adjustments to attendance policies league-wide.

Of the 37 games scheduled to date – the NBA is giving itself a cushion to allow for schedule adjustments before releasing the second portion – 17 are scheduled for Detroit and 20 away from Little Caesars Arena.

In several cases, the Pistons will host the same team for consecutive games and in others they’ll play the same opponent consecutively in road games – one component of the NBA’s attempt to limit travel and potential exposures to the virus.

The Pistons will host Boston on Jan. 1 and 3, then travel to Milwaukee for games Jan. 4 and 6. They play at Miami Jan. 16 and 18 and host Philadelphia Jan. 23 and 25. Amid a five-game February road trip that also takes them to Dallas, Memphis and New Orleans, the Pistons play at Orlando on Feb. 21 and 23.

Two games – Jan. 3 vs. Boston and Jan. 10 vs. Utah – are slated for NBA TV. The Pistons will announce their local TV schedule on Fox Sports Detroit in the coming days.

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