Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
With the NBA season more then 80 days away, the release of the 2013-2014 schedule today has the basketball world in fits. The anticipation for the Houston Rockets this season is beyond comparison. The closes would have to be 94-95 following the first franchise championship. This year the Rockets are all over national television broadcasts with 20 games. That is 20 more then they had at the start of last season.
The schedule kicks off with the sheep being brought to slaughter. By sheep I’m referring to the Charlotte Bobcats, who come to the Toyota Center on October 30th, to get to view the “new age” up close and personal. If the Rockets don’t win this game confidently, the pundits, and skeptics will begin their criticism of the Rockets chances going forward. I know its only the first game, but thats how the media works.
Houston ranks 10th in travel miles for the 2013-2014 season according to Ed Kupfer
After the Dallas Mavericks make a trip to Houston on November 1st, the Rockets take off on their first road trip. The Rockets will play the Utah Jazz, the Los Angeles Clippers, and the Portland Trail Blazers. Making it to 5-0 against this group will be tough but the expectation is that they are at best 4-1 with the only lost due to the Clippers who they will play on the second night of a back-to-back.
The Rockets return home after this trip and play their first TNT game in ages against the Los Angeles Lakers on November 7th. This has the makings for an epic game, especially if Kobe Bryant is back from his achilles injury, which I’m positive he will be. The Rockets then play the very next Thursday on TNT again, against the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden. The mustard uniforms will definitely be in attendance as Jeremy Lin returns to New York. Including the one October game Houston will play 11 home games, and 8 on the road. Another highlight of November is the back-to-back at the end of the month against the new-look Brooklyn Nets, and the San Antonio Spurs.
The games of note for December are two ESPN games. The first is December 13th against newly christened rival the Golden St. Warriors in Oakland, and the following Friday against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The month of December, Houston plays 16 games, 8 at home and 8 on the road. On December 29th a trip to Oklahoma City, to face the Thunder and quite possibly Russell Westbrook could be a great way to end 2013. Of course the Christmas Day game against the Spurs will hopefully showcase the “grey” uniform from last Christmas.
Houston kicks off 2014 at home on January 3rd against the New York Knicks on NBA TV, then rest five days and host the Los Angeles Lakers on ESPN. Houston plays 14 games in January with 8 of them at home. They also play a wierd back-to-back against the Memphis Grizzlies on January 24th, and 25th.
The All-Star game is going to be huge for the Rockets as they have a chance at Dwight Howard, and James Harden taking part in February. Of the 10 games the Rockets play this month 7 are on the road including a 5 game road trip after the All-Star break against the Lakers, Warriors, Suns, Kings and Clippers.
Then comes March, the most difficult month the Rockets will endure all year. The Detroit Pistons kick things off in Houston on March 1st, followed by a three day rest then the defending champs, the Miami Heat come to the Toyota Center on March 4th. The Rockets then fly to Orlando to face Dwight Howard’s first team the Orlando Magic on the second night of a back-to-back. Then the schedule gets rigid. Over a nine day span the Rockets host the Indiana Pacers, and Portland Trail Blazers. Then travel to Oklahoma City, Chicago and finishing with another matchup against the Miami Heat. The Rockets must beware the ides of March, because the Heat game on the 16th is on ABC, a Sunday game, and we all know what a Saturday night in Miami could lead too.
On April Fools Day, the Rockets travel to Brooklyn to face the Nets. Houston will play 10 games in April with six of them on the road. The month is highlighted by another Lakers game on TNT, April 8th, the Thunder on the 4th, and the Spurs on April 14th.
There will be numerous chances to see the Rockets play, and if the Rockets can live up to the hype the regular season is offering it will only segue to an exciting Playoffs run,
How far will the Houston Rockets go next season.
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Western Conference Finals
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