NBA team schedules came out recently, and there has been some good analysis of marquee games, Christmas Day matchups, and other points of interest on the schedule. The excitement is building for those games, and rightly so among NBA fans.
What about the other sorts of games? The ones that will probably allow you to buy an inexpensive ticket on the secondary market? The games that will probably be included in juicy ticket packages, where you can spend the day with Clutch the Bear for $50 or something?
The interesting games are obvious. Look at the schedule. Let me help you find the ones where you can hit the minimum ticket prices on ticket sale sites.
October & November
The first few matchups are of interest in a general basketball sense. The rising Grizzlies, the still-loathed Jazz arrive in Houston. The LA Clippers and ongoing doubts about Kawhi Leonard actually playing basketball again (at least personally).
Have no fear, the Indiana Pacers arrive November 18th, opening a home stand along with more notable teams like Golden State, and from a draft tank race perspective, OKC. Sure, the Pacers are doing some things right, and might be good, but do you care?
You don’t. You can’t make me care much about the Pacers, either.
December & January
December looks like a good month for ticket deals, as it features a run of Portland, San Antonio and Orlando. Portland might be good. They might not. They were considerably worse than the Rockets to close out last year, which is saying something. Something disgusting.
San Antonio is going to be terrible. Probably worse than Houston. Orlando might be solidly average. There could be some weird Banchero/Smith draft drama after Orlando’s still-incomprehensible-game-theory-move with the first pick. Or it could be that Orlando was indecisive. One of these theories makes sense.
None of these games spark interest in casual fans.
Oddly enough, the Rockets aren’t playing traditional foil, Dallas, at home, on New Year’s Eve. They’re playing the Knicks. So, do you enjoy the sort of drama the Knicks bring? What will the Knicks be? Will Thibs still be the coach?
This game is fun in that it works for two kinds of NYE. The early night crowd can make it an early night, and still have done something. The NYE enthusiasts still have the night ahead of them at game’s end. It probably won’t be that cheap, though. Cheaper than NYE games are going to be in the future, though, if the Rockets develop.
But, ah, bargain hounds, January has your game. Charlotte comes to town Wednesday, January 18th. This is the one. The one nobody but the most die-hard Rockets fans could possibly care about. You don’t want to wait for concessions? To shoot as much pop-a-shot as you like? Park nearby? This is the game. If your company buys Rockets tickets, odds are, you can get these.
If you “missed out” on Charlotte, consider the Wizards on 1/25. To put this one in perspective, I often could not give away Rockets/Wizards tickets, when I had season tickets.
February & March
Early February looks great for our purposes. McDuck’s “Tall Skinny Project” stumbles its way into town on the first.
But there’s more “fun” on the way!
Two, count ‘em, two games in a row against the Kings, the 6th and the 8th, and if the NBA’s dubious Home & Home Project needed to be more dubious, there’s ALSO a Home & Home with the NOLA Pelicans on March 17th and 19th. Yes, start your St. Patrick’s Day with a Mardi Gras Theme? With Pierre? I don’t know. However interesting and good the Pelicans might be, I suspect they’re not two consecutive games worth of interesting, and there will be deals galore.
The Rockets also do the home and home with Memphis on the 22nd and 24th, so if you want to see the Rockets get fouled a lot with few calls, or see the low-risk picks and signings I wish the Rockets had made (Kenny Lofton, Jr.), you’ve got two nights to do it. Grizzlies will be good, and the young fans love Morant, so don’t expect crazy deals.
Who knows, maybe the Rockets will have gelled the way Memphis did around a young core, and will be giving everyone they play more than they wanted?
The Pistons arrive at the end of March. Expect some good offers.
Wait, the Andersons got tickets?!? How’d they get tickets? They’re illiterate!
The Lake Show, whatever shambling monstrosity it might be, wanders in on April 2nd. Tickets are always expensive, though, with Lebron, and people of a certain age wanting to trot out the Kobe jersey.
The Rockets close out the season on the road against...Charlotte and Washington, so stand by for fireworks at season’s end!
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May, baby. Playoffs!