Pistons Schedule Set

Miami's 2 Palace visits highlight home slate
Let’s get these out of the way first: Feb. 11 and March 23. Those are the two visits the Miami Heat will make to The Palace next season, the games fans of every team in the NBA will check first as they scan the 2010-11 NBA schedule released tonight.

The Pistons will have already played the Heat twice by that point, making trips to Miami to play the LeBron James-Dwyane Wade-Chris Bosh Heat on Dec. 1 and Jan. 28.

The Pistons open their season at New Jersey – playing in a new arena, under a new owner and a new coach – on Oct. 27, returning home on Oct. 29 to play their home opener against Oklahoma City and Kevin Durant for the second straight year.

There are 21 sets of back-to-back games in the coming season, only one involving home games on both ends. That comes Feb. 13 and 14 when Portland and Atlanta visit on consecutive nights, a Sunday and a Monday.

Philadelphia, New York, Orlando and Washington are the four Eastern Conference teams the Pistons will play three times apiece as opposed to four meetings with all other conference opponents. The 76ers and Magic will visit The Palace only once each, while the Pistons will travel to Washington and New York only once apiece.

The defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers come to The Palace early, on Nov. 17, and it might feel like a road game for the Pistons. It comes on the heels of their longest road trip of the season, a four-game Western trek that includes games at Portland, the Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento and Golden State.

In the past, the Pistons have occasionally had a five-game Western road trip and usually have at least two of four games or more in duration. This season, instead, the Pistons will have three three-game road trips in addition to the lone four-gamer. They’ll spend New Year’s eve at Phoenix, then play at Utah and the Los Angeles Lakers in a daunting back-to-back set Jan. 3-4.

Interestingly, the Pistons will make three separate trips to Texas to play the Lone Star State’s three NBA members. They’ll play at Dallas on Nov. 23, continuing on to Memphis for a game the following night. The Pistons will open a three-game trip at Houston on Dec. 7, finishing up at New Orleans and Minnesota. And they’ll go to San Antonio on March 9 to open a three-game that includes stops at Oklahoma City and Denver.

January is the month that will see the Pistons on the road most frequently with nine of their 15 games away from The Palace. They’ll then be home for nine of their 13 games in February, which includes their longest home stand – five games, starting with Miami’s first visit on Feb. 11 and including Portland, Atlanta, Indiana and Houston.

Palace fans will again be able to plan their weekends around the Pistons as they’ll play 24 of their 41 home games on either Friday (10 games), Saturday (six) or Sunday (eight). On the road, Wednesday is the most popular day for the Pistons with 12 dates. Overall, the Pistons have 23 Wednesday games, 19 on Friday, 12 on Sunday, 11 on Tuesday, nine on Saturday and eight on Monday. The Pistons do not have any Thursday games on the 2010-11 schedule.

No. 1 pick John Wall will make the first of his two visits to The Palace on Nov. 21, while 2009 No. 1 pick Blake Griffin – who missed all of last season with a knee injury – makes his Palace debut on Dec. 17.

The Pistons will get an early look at the revamped Chicago Bulls, who signed Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver over the summer, when they go to the United Center on Oct. 30 in the season’s third game. The Bulls make their first trip to The Palace on Dec. 26.

Boston, which took the Lakers to Game 7 before losing in the NBA Finals, comes to The Palace with Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal in tow on Nov. 2 and again on Dec. 29. Orlando and Dwight Howard make their only visit to The Palace on Dec. 3.