The full NBA schedule dropped on Wednesday, all 1,230 games.
It’s a lot of information. Outside of the games you don’t want to miss, there’s a lot of ground to cover. So here are some news and notes from around the NBA about the schedule release.
• One thing the schedule makers couldn’t predict: When LeBron James will pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for most regular season points in NBA history. LeBron is 1,325 points behind Abdul-Jabbar, and at his scoring pace of last season (27.1 a game), it would take 49 games to get there. It’s unlikely the Lakers will play LeBron in every one of their first 49 games this season as they try to keep him fresh for the playoffs (and there could be minor injuries that keep him out a few games) but expect to see some massaging of televised games schedule as we get into February and beyond, making sure LeBron is on national television when he breaks the record.
• The NBA says it cut down on team travel this season, with the average team traveling 41,000 miles. That is down 2,000 from last season.
• How the league is doing that: 55 “baseball series” sets where a road team plays two games in a row against the same home team. For example, the Boston Celtics head to Charlotte to face LaMelo Ball and the Hornets on Jan 14, then both teams are off on the 15th and play again in Charlotte on the 16th. The upsides to this: It does reduce travel, which is good for player recovery; and those second games in a set can be a little more playoff like as teams adjust strategies and matchups based on what did and didn’t work in the first game. The downside is for people who go to the games. First, NBA fans aren’t used to and may skip the second game of that series, although the NBA says it didn’t see evidence of that in a smaller sample size in past seasons (that’s also less of an issue when an elite team like Boston comes to town, but is anyone looking to see the Magic or Thunder back-to-back?). Second, what if Jayson Tatum tweaks his ankle and has to sit out a couple of weeks in January — Charlotte fans will not see Tatum when he comes to town. That can be an issue when a star likes Trae Young, Luka Doncic, or LeBron James comes to a city and the locals do not get to see him play because both games are within a day of each other.
• Add in times a visiting team can play the Knicks/Nets or Lakers/Clippers without traveling, and you get 88 sets of road games without traveling this season.
• The Brooklyn Nets dropped from 26 nationally televised games a season ago to 13 this season because of the uncertainty about their roster and whether Kevin Durant will be on it (nationally televised meaning the game is on TNT, ESPN, or ABC).
• The Nets’ 13 is still two more nationally televised games than the Heat. The team that had the best record in the East last season, that made the Eastern Conference Finals, that went to the NBA Finals just a couple of years ago, that has Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo apparently isn’t sexy enough for the NBA schedule makers. The Heat are not even in the top 10 of teams with the most televised games. If any team should feel snubbed by the schedule makers, it’s Miami.
• Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors have the most nationally televised games with 30 (starting on opening night). They are followed by LeBron James and the Lakers (27), the Celtics (25), the 76ers and Bucks (23 each).
• Nine teams have just one nationally televised game: Jazz, Kings, Magic, Pacers, Pistons, Rockets, Spurs and Thunder. That’s a surprisingly low number for the Jazz, but it speaks to the depth of their rebuild (and the fact everyone around the league expects Donovan Mitchell to get traded).
• The NBA scheduled 45 games on weekends that start at noon Eastern (or a couple of hours later) this season because that puts them on in prime time in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. There are big stars in many of those games.
• The Houston Rockets have 10 of their first 13 games on the road this season, tying an NBA record for most road games in the first 13 of the season.
• Ben Simmons returns to Philadelphia on November 22 (a TNT game), assuming he plays.
• The NBA is going international again, with the Bulls facing the Pistons on Jan. 19 in Paris, and the Heat and Spurs will play in Mexico City on Dec. 17
• The final day of the NBA regular season is April 9, and all 30 teams will play that day.
Check out the latest on the Lakers
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Notes from 2022 NBA schedule release: LeBron chasing Kareem, “baseball” series, originally appeared on NBCSports.com