This week the NBA released the 2017-2018 regular season schedule. The complete schedule can be found here.
NBA Opening Night is October 17th, eight days earlier than last year. This does a couple things for the NBA. One, it gives the league another week of games to attract an audience. In the last few years the NBA off-season has become must see TV, thanks to star player movements. While that momentum fades as the summer ends and the NFL season begins, starting the season a week earlier gets the focus back on the Association earlier.
The second thing the early start does is it allows the NBA to have less back-to-backs. Much more is know today about nutrition, exercise, and the science of player rest. Teams and coaches recognize the importance of this information and have adjusted accordingly, often times sitting players for the first or second games of a back-to-back. Many times these have fallen on nationally televised games, robbing consumers of a potentially great match up. The league has endeavored to lessen the number of back-to-backs and now, with the new schedule, has totally eliminated scheduling four games in five nights.
The Hornets open the season on the road on October 18th against the Detroit Pistons. The home opener is two days later against Dwight Howard‘s old team, the Atlanta Hawks. That is not Charlotte’s only Friday home game; in fact, 15 of Charlotte’s 41 home games are on a Friday or Saturday night. For years Charlotte has petitioned the league for as many weekend home games as possible. This is exciting news for fans looking to spend weekends at the Spectrum Center.
Charlotte has 13 back-to-backs, which is below the league average for back to backs this year (14.4). Charlotte’s longest road trip is 5 games, as is their longest home stand. Charlotte needs to get off to a fast start, as 19 of their 41 home games come before the ball drops on New Year’s. There will be adjustments as they incorporate Howard, Malik Monk, and Michael Carter-Williams into the rotation, but the team has to take advantage of the early home weighted schedule.
If you want to watch the Hornets play on TV, you better plan to catch them on Fox Sports Southeast. Charlotte only has 8 games on National TV, and 5 of those are on NBA TV. The other 3 are on ESPN: Cavs at home on November 15th, Warriors at home on December 6th, and the Rockets on the road on December 13th. Charlotte will play each Western Conference twice, and each Eastern Conference four times, with the exception of 4 Eastern teams they will play three times: Cleveland, Boston, Detroit, and Brooklyn. While it will be nice to avoid a fourth game against Cleveland and Boston, its unfortunate Charlotte won’t get a fourth game against the struggling Brooklyn franchise.
Charlotte Hornets Top 5 Games to Watch This Season
October 20th vs Hawks
The home opener is always exciting, and this is Howard’s first game against his old team.
November 15th vs Cavs
The team’s chance to match up against the Lebron James and the defending Eastern Conference champs.
December 6th vs Warriors
Charlotte’s own Steph Curry always puts on a show when he is back home.
January 15th at Detroit
The NBA does a great job honoring the memory and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. It is a privilege to play on this day and this is a game against a team Charlotte will be competing with for a playoff spot.