Once again, it’s that time of year. Except this year, it feels like a much more important time of year. With the general lack of positive NBA news over the past month, the annual releasing of the schedule seems as important this July as “The Decision” was last July.
And, once again, it was a bittersweet day for Milwaukee Bucks fans.
Yet again, the Bucks will rank among the league leaders in back-to-back games (22 this season after 23 last season). While that could pose a problem, the largest mountain the Bucks will need to scale this season comes in January. On one hand, the team will get to avoid was is traditionally a brutal month of Wisconsin weather, so that’s exciting for them. On the other, they won’t exactly be on the beach enjoying themselves. Milwaukee begins the month with a five game road trip out West, stop back in Milwaukee for a game against the San Antonio Spurs and then travel for seven of their next eight games.
12 road games, two home games. It’s a tough start to a month. But it may not just be a month. If the lockout lasts as long as many suspect, January could actually be the start of the Bucks 2012 season. If that’s the case, an April in which Milwaukee plays six of eight games at home may provide little solace.
Let’s hope this whole season goes on as is now planned though and zip through the highs and lows of each month.
Typically Milwaukee follows up training camp with a home opener on Halloween weekend. This season they won’t play their first regular season game in the illustrious Bradley Center until November though.
Seven at home and seven on the road in November. Milwaukee opens at home against the Knicks on Saturday November 5. We don’t know exactly what rosters will look like come November, but after opening on the road in San Antonio on November 2, Milwaukee has what appears to be a soft nine game stretch that could ignite a strong start ala 2009-10.
Milwaukee plays nine home games and six road games in December, giving them an opportunity to build on what could should be a strong start in November. Given Milwaukee’s fair sized overturn of their roster already this summer, a full training camp together and a somewhat friendly early season is a perfect opportunity for the Bucks to come together in a way last season’s team was not able to do.
We covered January. It’s going to be cold, long and depressing. Unless Milwaukee is much better than most of us anticipate. Then it will be amazing and potentially as cool as February was in 2010.
Eight home games for the Bucks and five on the road. That’s the good thing about having one incredibly difficult month, it tips the scales in favor of a team in virtually every other month. So long as Milwaukee can survive the January gauntlet, they may be able to thrive afterwards.
Seven at home, nine on the road. The Bucks make a final run out West to play the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers in the middle of the month. This is the latest Milwaukee has had to trek to the Staples Center to play Los Angeles’s better half in a few seasons, a nice break from what is typically a difficult place for the Bucks to try and stabilize as they’ve had to do in their last couple trips there.
If Milwaukee’s fighting for playoff positioning, April could be a promising month. Six of eight April games take place in Milwaukee. If Bucks fans are once again begging for the team to get the tank engine roaring, April could be as depressing as it was this season. And we won’t even have Michael Redd’s return to keep us watching. Let’s hope for the former and not the latter.
Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball.com. Follow him on Twitter. Become a fan on Facebook.