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Raptors To Play Friday Night Basketball

Raptor MascotThe Toronto Raptors officially released their NBA schedule today and if you like watching NBA basketball to kick off your weekend, there will be 21 weeks of Friday nights with the Raptors.

This year the schedule seems unusually fair for Toronto in the first month, eight home and seven away games with just two back-to-backs in November. The six away games away in the first 10 contests is nothing to complain about and the first 15 games is a nice mix of contenders, pretenders and tankers. This season will not be over in mid-December unless it’s the Raptors fault.

Fans get a treat as the suddenly beatable Boston Celtics will arrive in town for the home opener on October 30. The HEAT play in Toronto twice in November and the intriguing Bulls are expected to have Derrick Rose back in action when they come to the ACC mid-November. Even Brooklyn comes to town early making the first month about as good as it gets when it comes to watching quality basketball.

Even with all that talent arriving in Toronto, the Raptors should still be able to maintain a decent record in November if they are as good as advertised. Road games in Atlanta, Milwaukee, Charlotte and Philadelphia plus home games against Utah, Portland and Washington give Toronto a fair chance at a plus .500 record to start.

December is tougher with a three game Western road trip early and a four game road trip over Christmas that starts with three games out west and ends in a home-and-home series with New York. The nine away games in December will test the resolve of the Raptors.

January is balanced, but busy, with nine home and eight away games including four back-to-back contests which will test the Raptors bench. Raptors players waiting for their turn in the rotation should have this month circled on their calendar. The traditional five-game western road swing kicks off on January 31st in Denver and ends January 7th against the Clippers.

February and March are split equally between home and away games each month. Canadians Tristan Thompson, Anthony Bennett and the Cavaliers make their only Toronto stop on Friday February 21 and one has to wonder which NBA guru blew this part of the schedule?

In April, the Raptors finish with five home and three away games including home-and-home series against the Bucks and the Knicks. If the Raptors are competing for something at the end of the season, the schedulers got this part right.

Toronto plays 18 back-to-back games this seasons which is in line with most years. They play weekend home games on Friday 12 times, Saturday 4 times and Sunday 7 times. The big weekday night is Wednesday with 11 home dates.

The full Raptors schedule for their 19th season is available at Raptors.com

Stephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre. A member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association, Stephen is the editor and publisher of Pro Bball Report.

You can follow Stephen on twitter @stevesraptors