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Grizzlies Schedule Breakdown: Part I

Breaking down the best and worst parts of the first half of the Grizzlies’ 2017-18 schedule.

NBA: Playoffs-San Antonio Spurs at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA schedule is officially out! No longer must we speculate which games will take place when. Now we have dates to plan around, games to circle on the calendar, and reunions to count down to.

Last year, around this time, I took a look at the schedule month-by-month, breaking down what I thought the Grizzlies might be able to do in terms of wins and losses.

I’m going to do something similar this year, with two minor differences. First, instead of analyzing each month individually, I’ll save you time by keeping it to two parts. I’ll still break them down by months, but this should keep things a little more compact. (To clarify, I'm breaking this down by first 41 games and last 41; none of this “The All-Star Break is the halfway point” nonsense.)

I’m also not going to attempt to pick games this season. At least, not this early. Last year’s Grizzlies added Chandler Parsons (albeit an injured one) and replaced their coach, but they were still building around the Core Four. The identity of last year’s team felt recognizable enough even as they went through a paradigm shift.

Instead, I’ll keep this to interesting bits and picking out spots where the Grizzlies could string together a few wins or losses.

So, without further ado, here’s part one of this year’s Grizzly Schedule Breakdown:


October

Date Opponent Time (CT)
Date Opponent Time (CT)
Wed, Oct 18 vs New Orleans 7:00 PM
Sat, Oct 21 vs Golden State 7:00 PM
Mon, Oct 23 @ Houston 7:00 PM
Wed, Oct 25 @ Dallas 7:30 PM
Thu, Oct 26 vs Dallas 7:00 PM
Sat, Oct 28 vs Houston 7:00 PM
Mon, Oct 30 vs Charlotte 7:00 PM

Back-to-Backs: 1

Other notables: Home-and-home with Dallas (25th-26th); Two games against Houston; Five of eight games at home

Unlike last year, which featured a heavy dose of the Timberwolves, the Grizzlies open the 2017-18 season with a glut of games against divisional opponents, including four against the teams connected by I-45. On the bright side, Golden State will enter FedExForum on the second night of a back-to-back. It may be too early to count on the Warriors resting players, but maybe the Brow and Boogie can wear them down enough to help the Grizzlies out.

November

Date Opponent Time (CT)
Date Opponent Time (CT)
Wed, Nov 1 vs Orlando 7:00 PM
Sat, Nov 4 @ LA Clippers 2:30 PM
Sun, Nov 5 @ LA Lakers 8:30 PM
Tue, Nov 7 @ Portland 9:00 PM
Sat, Nov 11 @ Houston 7:00 PM
Mon, Nov 13 @ Milwaukee 7:00 PM
Wed, Nov 15 vs Indiana 7:00 PM
Sat, Nov 18 vs Houston 7:00 PM
Mon, Nov 20 vs Portland 7:00 PM
Wed, Nov 22 vs Dallas 7:00 PM
Fri, Nov 24 @ Denver 8:00 PM
Sun, Nov 26 vs Brooklyn 5:00 PM
Wed, Nov 29 @ San Antonio 7:30 PM

Back-to-Backs: 1

Other notables: Five-game road-trip (4th-13th); Two more Houston games

As Peter Edmiston pointed out on the LockedOn Grizzlies podcast, Memphis will wrap up all four of their games against Houston early in the season, and this could play into Memphis' hands. Teams that add star power like the Rockets have with Chris Paul sometimes take a little time to gel, though, admittedly, Harden’s previous experience working off the ball makes that less likely.

The five-game road trip doesn’t appear particularly daunting. It includes the month’s lone back-to-back, but those games are both in LA, so no travel will be involved. Memphis will also get its first look at the Spurs at the end of the month; last season, the Grizzlies and Spurs didn’t play their first game until February.

December/January

Date Opponent Time (CT)
Date Opponent Time (CT)
Fri, Dec 1 vs San Antonio 7:00 PM
Sat, Dec 2 @ Cleveland 6:30 PM
Mon, Dec 4 vs Minnesota 7:00 PM
Wed, Dec 6 @ NY Knicks 6:30 PM
Fri, Dec 8 vs Toronto 7:00 PM
Sat, Dec 9 vs Oklahoma City 8:00 PM
Mon, Dec 11 vs Miami 7:00 PM
Wed, Dec 13 @ Washington 6:00 PM
Fri, Dec 15 vs Atlanta 7:00 PM
Sat, Dec 16 vs Boston 8:00 PM
Wed, Dec 20 @ Golden State 9:30 PM
Thu, Dec 21 @ Phoenix 8:00 PM
Sat, Dec 23 vs LA Clippers 7:00 PM
Tue, Dec 26 @ Phoenix 8:00 PM
Wed, Dec 27 @ LA Lakers 9:30 PM
Sat, Dec 30 @ Golden State 7:30 PM
Sun, Dec 31 @ Sacramento 6:00 PM
Tue, Jan 2 @ LA Clippers 9:30 PM
Fri, Jan 5 vs Washington 8:30 PM
Wed, Jan 10 vs New Orleans 7:00 PM
Fri, Jan 12 @ Denver 8:00 PM

Back-to-Backs: 6 (all in December)

Other notables: Five-game road trip (2 back-to-backs); New Year’s Eve game in Sacramento (Z-Bo!)

December is an absolutely brutal month for the Grizzlies. The schedule-makers did Memphis no favors, even excluding the fact that they left them off the Christmas Day slate. There’s six back-to-backs, two of which fall on the team’s five-game road trip out west to end the month and start the new year. Equally challenging will be the three-game stretch right before that. The Grizzlies will play at home against Boston on the 16th, fly out west to play at Golden State (16th) and at Phoenix (17th), and then return home for a single game against the Clippers (23rd) before heading back to Phoenix on the 26th.

Let’s also not forget the Grizzlies will open the month with the second part of a home-and-home series with the Spurs (thankfully with two days’ rest between them). The Grizzlies will need to stack wins while they can in the early months against lesser competition (i.e. teams in the East) in order to keep their playoff hopes from getting buried early in the stacked Western Conference.

Stay tuned for Part II tomorrow!

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