It's unboxing day in the NBA, which means the 2016-2017 full season schedule just dropped.
Over the past week, key tidbits of the schedule were leaked to the public, including news of the Warriors' Christmas day tilt with the Cavaliers, in Cleveland, and the dates of their meetings with the Oklahoma City Thunder. But now, we officially get to sink our teeth into the whole beast.
NBA.com kicked things off by disclosing the NBA's annual Christmas day slate, which features Celtics at Knicks, Warriors at Cavaliers (11:30am PST on ABC), Bulls at Spurs, Timberwolves at Thunder, and Clippers at Lakers (in order).
Also, the Warriors will play the maximum of four regular season games against the new rival Oklahoma City Thunder (at Golden State November 3 and January 18, at Oklahoma City February 11 and March 20).
First thought: March is going to be rough. Coming out of the all-star break, the Warriors play a stretch of 10 games from February 23 to March 11, seven of which are road games in the central or eastern time zone. And the stretch includes stops in San Antonio and Chicago.
The Dubs also get a high profile back-to-back March 20 and 21, when they play the Thunder in Oklahoma City, and then a day later travel to Dallas to play Andrew Bogut, Harrison Barnes and the Mavericks.
Davidson night -- which features Golden State in Curry's hometown of Charlotte, and a whole lot of love for the former Wildcat -- happens January 25. The other big NBA seasonal holiday is Martin Luther King Jr. day, which will feature another marquee Warriors match up: they'll host the Cleveland Cavaliers at 5pm local time.
The Warriors schedule is a bit back-loaded, as they finish the season with six-of-seven games at Oracle, against mediocre competition. An final stretch like that could go a long way towards securing home court advantage in the postseason. The Warriors will also spend a lot of time at home during the holidays. From December 28 to January 16, the Warriors leave Oracle exactly once in nine games, and that will be for a road game in Sacramento.
Other tidbits from around the league
On another note, Nate found this helpful article about the difficult process of creating the schedule (how is this not automated yet?). For the second straight season, the schedule makers managed to reduce the number of back-to-back games around the league (NBA TV reports an average of 16 instances per team, down from 17.8 a year ago.
The Timberwolves finally got some national love, earning a prime time Christmas day game with the Oklahoma City Thunder. In sadder news, the Los Angeles Lakers will play on Christmas day, which means we all have to stop watching basketball early, that day.
Recent free agent departures created a lot of interesting games. For example, Derrick Rose's Knicks are taking on the Bulls in Chicago on November 4, as Chicago's two favored sons (Rose and Dwyane Wade) trade places. Wade's Bulls will also be in South Beach to play his former team, the Miami Heat November 10.