Analyzing the Hornets 2009-2010 Schedule

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Published: August 5, 2009

The NBA released the 2009-2010 regular season schedule earlier today. You can find the whole beast at ESPN.com, or just check out the 82 games our Hornets will play.

We’ll step through those 82 month-by-month in a minute, but first some notable bits and pieces:

  • As reported on TrueHoop this afternoon, the Hornets will play the fewest back-to-backs of any team in the NBA: 16. (At the other end of the spectrum, the Bobcats, Bulls and Pistons are all down for 23 back-to-backs.) However, only two of those back-to-backs finish in New Orleans. Five are home-road, nine are road-road, and two are road-home.
  • We’ll only see the Lakers, Blazers, Warriors and Thunder three times each. The Lakers and Thunder will make just one visit to New Orleans; the Blazers and Warriors will be here twice.
  • Last season we had a combined 13 games broadcast nationally on the big networks (ABC, ESPN and TNT). This season, we have nine, with another seven slated for NBATV. Only two of those nine will be played at New Orleans Arena, which means less wavey towels for everyone.
  • Unlike last season, the Hornets are not scheduled to play on Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter. I’m cool with that. Holiday games are overrated.
  • Mardi Gras (culminating Feb. 16) coincides with All-Star weekend (Feb. 12-14 in Dallas) this season, meaning most of our guys should be able to kick back and enjoy the festivities. Except for Paul, Okafor and West of course, since they’ll all be in The Big D.
  • Eight of our final eleven games are at home, giving the Hornets a nice opportunity to finish strong. The three road games in that stretch are Memphis, New Jersey and Houston.
  • Longest road trip of the season is in March: Suns, Clippers, Warriors, Nuggets and Jazz. Our longest home stand comes right after that, but it isn’t exactly a cake walk: Mavs, Cavs, Blazers, Lakers and Wizards.
  • Three schedule clashes with the Saints: Monday, November 2nd has the Falcons in town (7:30 p.m.) while the Hornets battle the Knicks in NYC (6:30 p.m.). Saints hosting the Panthers on November 8th (3:05 p.m.) before the Hornets take on the Lakers in L.A. (8:30 p.m.). Both teams on the road on November 22nd as the Saints take on the Bucs (noon) and the Hornets play the Heat (5:00 p.m.).
  • Saturday, February 6th: Hornets @ Bobcats. The return of Tyson Chandler. Also worth noting is Saturday December 26th, when the Hornets will be in Chicago to see old friend Jannero Pargo.

On to the month-by-month analysis:

October/November

17 games, nine on the road. Four back-to-backs (2 R-R, 2 H-R). Seven of the 13 opponents we’ll face made the playoffs last season. Combined winning percentage of those 13 teams last season: .521. Hornets winning percentage against those 13 teams last season: .567.

Highlights here include the season opener on October 28th in San Antonio. I’ll be okay with anyone but DeJuan Blair punking us that night. Tough road games against the Celtics and Lakers in early November, and we host the Blazers on Friday the 13th. Blake Griffin will be in town on the 17th. Not a bad finish to the month: Hawks, @ Heat, Bucks, @ Kings.

December

13 games, six on the road. Two back-to-backs (1 H-R, 1 R-H). Seven of the 12 opponents we’ll face made the playoffs last season. Combined winning percentage of those 12 teams last season: .488. Hornets winning percentage against those 12 teams last season: .540.

December kicks off with a road date against the Lakers. First meeting with the Nuggets comes on the 18th in New Orleans (it can’t be as bad as last time, right?). Dallas and Houston are in there, too, but beyond that we’ll face a bunch of bad and mediocre teams this month. I’m thinking this will be the easiest four weeks of the season.

January

17 games, 11 on the road. Four back-to-backs (3 R-R, 1 H-R). Eight of the 16 opponents we’ll face made the playoffs last season. Combined winning percentage of those 16 teams last season: .451. Hornets winning percentage against those 16 teams last season: .633.

Killer start with the Rockets in town on Jan. 2nd and then at Utah two nights later. Should be an easy stretch after that, as the Hornets play seven teams that they swept last season (though five of those games are on the road). Hosting the Spurs in the middle of the month, and there’s a four-game West coast trip later, featuring the Nuggets and Blazers.

February

13 games, five on the road. Two back-to-backs* (1 H-R, 1 R-R). Seven of the 12 opponents we’ll face made the playoffs last season. Combined winning percentage of those 12 teams last season: .562. Hornets winning percentage against those 12 teams last season: .594.

Plenty of home cooking this month, starting with a three-game stand: Suns, OKC and Philly. Toughest road games of the month will be Orlando, Cleveland and Dallas. We also play the Magic in New Orleans on the 26th, as well as hosting Boston, Utah and Houston somewhere in the middle.

March

16 games, seven on the road. Two back-to-backs* (2 R-R). Seven of the 13 opponents we’ll face made the playoffs last season. Combined winning percentage of those 13 teams last season: .517. Hornets winning percentage against those 13 teams last season: .600.

We get the Spurs twice in the first week, but also Memphis, G-State and at OKC early. Then it gets real tough. We host Denver before embarking on that season-long, five-game, seven-day West coast road trip. One day’s rest after that before hosting the Mavs, Cavs, Blazers and Lakers on the trot. Finish out March hosting the Wizards. I’m calling this as the toughest month of the season.

April

Six games, three on the road. One back-to-back (R-R). Just two of the six opponents we’ll face made the playoffs last season. Combined winning percentage of those six teams last season: .443. Hornets winning percentage against those six teams last season: .500.

@ Memphis, @ New Jersey, Charlotte, Utah, Minnesota, @ Houston. I don’t like seeing the Jazz and Rockets that late, but the other four are relatively easy.

* Road-home back-to-back (Mavs-Spurs) spans February and March.


A few sources that helped me put this post together (check them if you’re hungry for more):

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