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Toronto Raptors Primed For A Fast Start To The Season

The NBA schedule makers have not always been kind to the Toronto Raptors at the start of the season as this team has often felt they were on an uphill battle from the opening tip. This year, however, things look a little different as a team that finished strong last season and has all of their starters and key reserves back will face a schedule designed for them to get off to a fast start.

The Raptors open at home against the Hawks on October 29, finish at home versus the Hornets on April 15 and after last season’s amazing home crowd advantage, Toronto will play 9 of their first 12 games at the Air Canada Centre including a season-long home stand of 7 games from November 7 to November 21. Through those first 12 games, the Raptors will play the Magic twice, the Celtics, 76ers, Jazz and Bucks. They will also visit the LeBron James-less HEAT and have key early matchups with the Wizards and Bulls.

On November 22, the Raptors travel to Cleveland to face James’ new team and they play the Cavaliers back in Toronto on December 5 with another rematch back in Cleveland on December 9. There should have been enough time for both teams to have worked out the off season kinks and Toronto will learn where they really stand in terms of contending in the East from these three games.

In between games against Cleveland, the Raptors will squish in a three game West Coast trip against the Lakers, Kings and Jazz and it’s a series they should sweep if they are as good as advertised.

December will be a tougher month with 9 road games and Toronto kicks off the holiday season with a road game in Chicago on December 22 followed by 4 days off before finishing up the longest road trip of the season in the Western Conference against the Clippers, Nuggets, Trail Blazers, Warriors and Suns over 9 days in possibly the roughest stretch of games all season.

On their return to Toronto January 8, they play the next 6 games at home as the schedule lightens up again. The Hornets, Celtics, Pistons, 76ers, Hawks and Pelicans come to the Air Canada Centre over the next 11 days as the calendar balances out with 8 home and 8 road games for the month.

February opens with a 5 game home stand starting with the Bucks and ending ahead of All-Star Weekend versus the Wizards on Wednesday, February 11. The much anticipated week long midseason break is there in spades for the Raptors as they don’t see the court again until Friday, February 20 in Atlanta. Toronto plays 4 road games in a row continuing on to Houston, New Orleans and Dallas.

After the All-Star break in mid-February, the Raptors will play 18 of their final 29 games on the road to finish the regular season. They only play 2 regular season home games in April, the fewest in franchise history.

The 2014-15 schedule features a return to US national television with the Raptors playing once on TNT (November 13 versus Chicago), three times on ESPN (December 17 versus Brooklyn, April 8 at Charlotte and April 15 versus Charlotte), and five times on NBA TV. For the 9th consecutive season, all 82 Raptors games will be aired nationally in Canada.

For the 2014-15 season Monday-Saturday home games will start at 7:30 pm with the exception of US nationally televised games and Sunday home games will tip at 3:30 pm, 4 pm or 7 pm.

This is Toronto’s 20th season in the NBA and their 11th season in the Atlantic Division. The Raptors were a member of the Central Division from 1995-2004.

Games by day:

Sunday – 13 (7 home, 6 road)
Monday – 11 (6 home, 5 road)
Tuesday – 10 (2 home, 8 road)
Wednesday – 17 (11 home, 6 road)
Thursday – 2 (2 home, 0 road)
Friday – 19 (10 home, 9 road)
Saturday – 10 (3 home, 7 road)

Back-to-Back-Games: 19

Games by Division and Team:
Eastern Conference (4 games vs each team unless noted)

Atlantic Division
Boston (H: 1/10, 4/4, A: 11/5, 4/14); Brooklyn (H: 12/17, 2/4, A: 1/30, 4/3); New York (H: 12/21, 3/22, A: 12/14, 2/28); Philadelphia (H: 11/9, 1/14, A: 1/23, 3/2)

Central Division
Chicago (H: 11/13, 3/25, A: 12/22, 3/20); Cleveland (H: 12/5, 3/4, A: 11/22, 12/9); Detroit (H: 1/12, 1/25, A: 12/19, 3/24); Indiana 3 games (H: 12/12, A: 1/27, 3/16); Milwaukee 3 games (H: 11/21, 2/2, A: 1/19)

Southeast Division
Atlanta (H: 10/29, 1/16, A: 11/26, 2/20); Charlotte (H: 1/8, 4/15, A: 3/6, 4/8); Miami 3 games (H: 3/13, A: 11/2, 4/11); Orlando (H: 11/11, 12/15, A: 11/1, 4/10); Washington 3 games (H: 11/7, 2/11, A: 1/31)

Western Conference (2 games against each team)
Northwest Division
Denver (H: 12/8, A: 12/28); Minnesota (H: 3/18, A: 4/1); Portland (H: 3/15, A: 12/30); Oklahoma City (H: 11/4, A: 3/8); Utah (H: 11/15, A: 12/3)

Pacific Division
Golden State (H: 2/27, A: 1/2); L.A. Clippers (H: 2/6, A: 12/27); L.A. Lakers (H: 3/27, A: 11/30); Phoenix (H: 11/24, A: 1/4); Sacramento (H: 1/28, A: 12/2)

Southwest Division
Dallas (H: 11/28, A: 2/24); Houston (H: 3/30, A: 2/21); Memphis (H: 11/19, A: 1/21); New Orleans (H: 1/18, A: 2/23); San Antonio: (H: 2/8, A: 3/10)

For Raptors season tickets, mini-packs and groups of 10 or more please call (416) 366-DUNK (3865). Single-game ticket information will be released at a later date.

The Raptors 2014-2015 complete regular season schedule can be viewed here.

See the Raptors Schedule press release here.

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.