Once the NBA drew the curtains on its 2015-16 schedule, we dissected the Brooklyn Nets’ slate and found the key themes and must-watch games. If you’re one of those fans who can’t wait for the season to tip off and would love to fast-forward to October, feast your eyes on this campaign preview.
Oct. 28 vs. Chicago Bulls: The season opener (and home opener) features Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol and the Windy City’s new coach, Fred Hoiberg. Barring a surprising letdown, Chi-town figures to be in the East’s top tier again, so this will be an early test for the Nets. Who will win the duel between Gasol and Brook Lopez?
All Three Games vs. Milwaukee Bucks (Nov. 2, Nov. 7, March 13): Firstly, there’s incentive to tune into these skirmishes because the Deer are led by 2014 turncoat skipper Jason Kidd. But perhaps more importantly, the Nets’ recent battles with Milwaukee have been eye-popping, including an overtime win and an overtime loss last year.
Dec. 4 at NY Knicks: And the other three games against the crosstown rival Bockers, of course. The Dec. 4 matchup is particularly noteworthy because it’s the first 2015-16 showdown against New York, and it’s also Brooklyn’s only nationally televised game (aside from three other games on NBA TV). To spice things up, it’s the inaugural Big Apple showdown for the Lopez twins.
Dec. 23 vs. Dallas Mavericks: Deron Williams comes back to town right before Christmas. Can Brooklyn’s new trio of quarterbacks outgun the former All-Star?
Jan. 20 and March 24 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers: These are the two occasions when LeBron James and Co. visit the Barclays Center. It’s always fun to try and knock off the defending Eastern Conference champs. Will rookie defensive standout Rondae Hollis-Jefferson slow down the King?
As Devin Kharpertian of The Brooklyn Game notes, the Nets have just 15 sequences of back-to-back games throughout the year, five fewer than 2014-15.
Brooklyn has a mix of old warhorses (like Joe Johnson), injury-prone stars (like Lopez) and rookies who aren’t yet used to the grind of the NBA season. A more spread-out schedule could be advantageous for both physical recovery and mental preparation.
Nets Begin and End Season With Road-Heavy Stretches
This could be the club’s downfall if it wants to sneak into the playoffs. Seven of the Nets’ first nine games are on the road, and seven of their last 10 are also away.
The autumn slate is more daunting than the spring. Brooklyn’s first five road games are against the following 2014 playoff teams (in order): San Antonio Spurs, Memphis Grizzlies, Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks and Houston Rockets.
That’s three or four title-contending teams right off the bat. If the new-look Nets don’t have their act together by early November, they might dig themselves an early hole.
Circus Road Trip Could be a Lot Worse
During Brooklyn’s nine-game road trip in late February/early March when the circus is in town, the Nets have a manageable string of games.
Sure, they’ll face a talented Los Angeles Clippers squad and the up-and-coming Utah Jazz. But other than that, their West swing is very winnable. Instead of playing the likes of the Texas juggernauts, the Oklahoma City Thunder or the Golden State Warriors, Brooklyn will face the Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves (in addition to the aforementioned Clippers and Jazz).
What are your thoughts on the Nets’ schedule? Which game are you looking forward to the most? Sound off in the comment section below!