The Brooklyn Nets have a tough schedule this season, and some national predictions have not been kind to the Nets. This will be part one of a three-part series breaking down Brooklyn’s 2016-17 schedule.
The NBA released the schedules for each team recently, and now the Brooklyn Nets and their fans know the dates, times and locations for all 82 games of the 2016-17 season.
In part one of this series, we will examine key games and stretches over the first 28 games of the Nets’ season.
The Nets will officially tip off the Kenny Atkinson era on Wednesday, October 26, at TD Garden in Boston. Five of Brooklyn’s first seven games are at the Barclays Center. On October 31, Brooklyn will host the revamped Chicago Bulls, featuring Dwyane Wade, Jimmy Butler, and Rajon Rondo. Eight days later, on November 8, Brooklyn will host the up-and-coming Minnesota Timberwolves. Minnesota boasts a roster consisting of Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, high-flyer Zach LaVine, and exciting rookie Kris Dunn.
The Minnesota matchup is the beginning of Brooklyn’s first back-to-back this season. The following night, the Nets make the jaunt over to MSG to take on the New York Knicks. This represents Jeremy Lin‘s first appearance at MSG as a member of the Nets.
The Knicks game also marks the beginning of a five-game road trip for the Nets. Brooklyn will travel to Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Oklahoma City before returning home on November 20 to host the Portland Trail Blazers. On the road trip, the Nets will get a look at the remodeled Knicks, the Suns, the rebuilding Lakers, the Clippers, and the post-Kevin Durant Thunder. Returning home to face the Blazers will have a bit of added intrigue as Allen Crabbe — who signed an offer sheet with the Nets in the offseason — will take on the team he nearly joined, the Nets.
Overall, November should pose a challenge for the Nets at one particular stretch. Over a eight-day period, the Nets face four solid teams: the Thunder, Blazers, Celtics and Pacers. The middle games of that stretch, the Blazers and Celtics, are home games, while the Nets will travel to take on the Thunder and Pacers.
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Entering December, Brooklyn will have had just two back-to-backs. The Nets open December with a home-and-away two-game series against the Milwaukee Bucks. December will be a good test for the Nets. In the first two weeks of the month, the Nets will face the Wizards, Spurs, and Rockets. After the December 12 matchup against the Rockets, the Nets face one of their easier stretches of the season to that point.
On December 14, the Nets host the Lakers. Their next two opponents are the Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers. As far as opponents, this three-game stretch is as favorable as the Nets will have to date. If we are to nitpick, though, the Nets will travel to Florida to take on the Magic, and then have to fly back up the coast to take on the Sixers in Philadelphia. However, the Nets will catch a bit of a break as it is not a back-to-back.
From Philadelphia, the Nets will cross the border into Canada to take on the Raptors in Toronto. The Raptors should once again be a playoff team in the East, and this game is the beginning of a tough stretch for Brooklyn. After visiting Toronto, Brooklyn will return home on December 22 to host Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, and the Golden State Warriors. This will mark Brooklyn’s 28th game of the season.
The first part of the Nets’ schedule will see Brooklyn take on several good teams, and features many intriguing matchups. As far as back-to-backs are concerned, Brooklyn won’t have many in the first two months.
The Nets, according to ESPN, figure to be a 20-win team this upcoming season. That estimation seems low, and perhaps the Nets can accumulate some surprise wins over the first portion of the schedule. If Brooklyn manages to get on a roll at some point, they could have a chance to prove some of the national predictions wrong.