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:
|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|
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.
|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|
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.
|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!