The NBA released season schedules today. Let’s hop into the good bits.
The Houston Rockets open their season in Minnesota on October 20. Their first home game comes two days later against the Oklahoma City Thunder. After last year’s home opener against the Thunder was postponed due to COVID protocols, hopefully this one goes a bit smoother.
By my count, there are 12 back-to-backs on the schedule. Houston has two 5-game road trips and another two 4-game trips (though one is broken up by the All-Star break). The Rockets have one 5-game homestand and three 4-game homestands.
One of the disappointing things about rooting for a team with a poor record is the lack of nationally televised games. Less exposure means fewer eyeballs. The Rockets are nationally televised four times, but three of those are on NBA TV. Only one game is on ESPN, which is the highly anticipated Cade Cunningham-Jalen Green (re)match-up. The game is in Houston on November 10. The Rockets will not be on TNT this season. The good news there is that every game should be available on AT&T SportsNet Southwest, which means we’ll get Craig Ackerman’s excellent commentary.
The NBA is making use of the home-and-stay-home series this year, with the Rockets playing the Lakers in Los Angeles on October 31 and November 2, the Kings in Sacramento on January 14 and 16, and the Blazers in Portland on March 25 and 26. The Rockets knock out their home games against the Clippers and Kings in double games at Toyota Center as well.
Other home games of note are:
- James Harden visits on December 8
- The NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks follow close behind on December 10
- P.J. Tucker, Kyle Lowry, and the Miami Heat come to town on New Year’s Eve
- LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, and the Lakers arrive on December 28 and March 9
- Steph Curry and the Warriors make their only appearance in Houston on January 31
- Evan Mobley and Cleveland play at Toyota Center on February 2
- The final game of the season will be on April 10 against the Atlanta Hawks
It’s hard to digest the schedule when your team had the worst record in the NBA last season. On paper, almost every game is a loss yet again. But the Rockets need to be working to get better and develop their young talent, even if it means losing more games.
What’s your prediction for Houston’s record this season, Dream Shakers?