Oh, how things have changed in the past year. After existing as a total afterthought for the past three seasons, the NBA is apparently banking on widespread interest in the Nets move to Brooklyn, scheduling the team on national television 17 times in the 2012-13 season (including 5 of those games on NBA TV). Beyond their opening night match-up against the Knicks at the Barclays Center – a game Nets CEO Brett Yormark apparently requested from the league – the Nets also landed one of the NBA’s marquee slots against the Boston Celtics on Christmas Day (I honestly can’t remember the last time the Nets played on Christmas and I’m too lazy to look it up. Anyone?).
Some other things of note about the schedule:
Nationally televised games – 11/1 vs NYK (TNT, 7 p.m.); 11/5 vs MIN (NBA TV, 7:30 p.m.); 11/15 vs BOS (TNT, 8 p.m.); 11/28 @ BOST (NBA TV 7:30 p.m.); 12/1 @ MIA (NBA TV, 7:30 p.m.); 12/11 vs NYK (ESPN, 7 p.m.); 12/19 @ NYK (ESPN, 7 p.m.); 12/25 vs BOS (ESPN, 12 noon); 1/21 @ NYK (NBA TV, 3:30 p.m.); 1/28 vs ORL (NBA TV, 7:30 p.m.); 1/30 vs MIA (ESPN, 8 p.m.); 2/10 vs SAS (ESPN, 8 p.m.); 3/1 vs DAL (ESPN, 8 p.m.); 3/20 @ DAL (ESPN, 8 p.m.); 3/27 @ POR (ESPN, 10:30 p.m.); 4/4 vs CHI (TNT, 7 p.m.); and 4/10 @ BOS (ESPN, 8 p.m.).
Roughest Stretches: The Nets have five sets of back-to-back games in December (11/12 NYK/@TOR; 14/15 DET/@CHI; 18/19 UTAH/@NYK; 25/26 BOS/@MIL; and 28/29 CHA/CLE.
Also the Nets have an eight-game road-trip from March 18 thru April 3, including stops in Detroit, Dallas, LA (Clippers), Phoenix, Portland, Denver, Utah and Cleveland.
Other games of note: First game at Orlando is 11/9; Joe Johnson returns to Atlanta on 1/16; the inaugural battles of the NBA’s “best backcourts” (@LAL) 11/20; they close the (regular) season on 4/17 against Detroit.
As a quick, first-blush take on all this, I’m really impressed by the national schedule and of course I’m a little squidgy about all the back-to-backs in December and the late-season road trip that will hopefully not derail any momentum the team has going into the home stretch. While I know a lot of Nets fans are anxious about the potential divisive atmosphere against the Knicks on opening night, those two stretches have the potential to be far more damaging to the team’s prospects. People need to get over this Knicks stuff and fast. I have no question in my mind that opening night will be “about” the Nets and their arrival in Brooklyn and they will be cheered by the vast majority of the home crowd. It’s time for some fans to put on their big boy pants and realize that this ain’t the Jersey Nets anymore the Barclays Center is not the Rock or the Meadowlands. In fact, I’d be more worried about corporate fans sitting on their hands (a la new Yankees Stadium and Citi Field) than a hostile crowd at home.