The NBA season draws ever closer, as the schedule for the 2018-19 Charlotte Hornets (and the rest of the league) was released today.
The Hornets will open the regular season at home for the first time in four seasons. It will be against the Milwaukee Bucks, who tend to be one of Charlotte’s early opponents every season it seems. The opening home game is nice, but Charlotte then goes on a four game road trip immediately after against Orlando, Miami, Toronto, and Chicago. Road trips are never easy, but there’s a more than solid chance to go 2-2 against this group.
Charlotte’s first home stretch starts on October 30th, where they will take on Miami, Oklahoma City, Cleveland, and Atlanta. From that point there is a good mix of home and away games until January, which is, well, holy hell.
Just look at this:
10 of the team’s 14 games in January are on the road, including a six game Western Conference road trip starting January 5th. They’ll return for two straight at home before playing four of their final five games of the month on the road. This is just brutal. If we’re looking for a make or break point, it’s here. Charlotte went just 15-26 on the road last season and went 14-16 against the Western Conference.
Charlotte’s longest home stretch is five games from December 12th through the 21st.
The Hornets will play 15 back-to-backs this season, one more than a season ago. With all the talk of cutting down on the amount of back-to-backs, this is not encouraging.
According to a release from the team, the Hornets have one scheduled game on ESPN — the season finale against the Orlando Magic on April 21st. This will almost certainly be changed in favor of another matchup with playoff implications. No word on games scheduled for TNT or NBA TV.
Off first glance, this doesn’t appear to be a favorable schedule for the team, particularly once January arrives. Getting off to a good start is important for the Hornets if they are to seriously challenge for a playoff spot this season.