The NBA has released the schedule for the 2012-13 season, and the Bucks find themselves in a familiar position. For the 28th consecutive year, the Bucks will start the season on the road.
Milwaukee will kick off the year in Boston on Friday, November 2, to face the Celtics. The Bucks will return home the following day to play Cleveland in the home opener on November 3. The last time the Bucks opened a season at home, Sidney Moncrief and Michael Jordan were dueling at the MECCA…in 1984. I guess there’s always next year.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the newly released schedule:
April Fools, Please?
It’s no joke – the Bucks are going to have brutal stretch to end the season in April, especially if they’re in the heart of a playoff race. Milwaukee will finish the season with five of their last six and six of their last eight games away from the [BMO Harris] Bradley Center. The Bucks will end their regular season by playing two back-to-back sets on the road – sandwiched between an off day – against the Heat, Magic, Hawks and Bobcats, before returning home to play the Nuggets and flying to Oklahoma City for the season finale against the Thunder.
Milwaukee will play 22 back-to-back sets this season. As @BucksPR points out, this is one less set than the 2010-11 season, the last 82-game schedule. Of the 22 back-to-back sets, 17 of them are split between home and road games, while the other five sets are back-to-back road games. The Bucks will not play a full back-to-back set in Milwaukee. Unlike last year’s condensed schedule, there will not be the notorious back-to-back-to-back sets.
Home/Away Splits by Month
November: 7 home/7 away
December: 8 home/7 away
January: 7 home/8 away
February: 6 home/6 away
March: 9 home/7 away
April: 4 home/6 away
Andrew Bogut’s Return
The long-awaited return of Andrew Bogut will take place when the Warriors come to Milwaukee Saturday, January 26. The Bucks will play a road game against the Warriors on Saturday, March 9, but Ellis already had his Golden State castoff last season.
Stephen Jackson and the Spurs will visit Milwaukee on January 2, though I have a sneaking suspicion he’ll get a different reaction from the crowd than Bogut will. The Brockness Monster, his trick-shot skills, Shaun Livingston and the Rockets will visit the [BMO Harris] BC on January 4. Lastly, as mentioned previously, Jon Leuer and the Cavaliers will first come to town for the Bucks’ home opener on November 3.
Weekend Home Games
There will be plenty of time to catch the Bucks live in Milwaukee on the weekend. The Bucks will play 15 Saturday home games, including the first five and eight of the first nine Saturdays on the schedule. Milwaukee will play four Friday night games and two Sunday afternoon games, as well.
Our Friend, the West Coast Trip
Last year, Milwaukee’s season got off to a rough start, thanks in large part to an early 0-5 west coast trip. The Bucks left the Bradley Center with a 2-1 record and returned with a 2-6 record, which turned out to be a hole they never did quite dig out of. Fortunately, for the Bucks, their longest road trip this year is four games (twice). The Bucks will get some nice flyer miles on the first four-game road trip in mid-January, as they travel from Milwaukee to Toronto, Toronto to Los Angeles (Lakers), Los Angeles to Phoenix, Phoenix to Portland, and Portland to Milwaukee. The other four-game road trip is the April Fools’ one, which – unfortunately for the Bucks – isn’t really a joke.
Bring on the Heat
The Bucks will host the reigning Champions twice, on December 29 and March 15. Milwaukee will play in Miami on November 21 and April 9. For what it’s worth, the Bucks have beaten the Heat in three of their last four meetings.
…and the (rival?) Bulls
The Bulls come to town right away on Saturday, November 24. I urge Bucks fans to order tickets to that game as soon as possible, before half of Chicago beats you to it. Two days later, the Bucks play the Bulls again in Chicago. The two teams will also faceoff January 9 and 30. The Bulls swept the Bucks last year in the season series – but without Rose, who will almost certainly miss all the Bucks-Bulls games this year with injury – I like the Bucks’ chances to pull out a game or two.
Nationally Televised Games
Milwaukee will have three nationally televised games, though two are on NBA TV. The Bucks’ only game on ESPN is scheduled for Wednesday, December 19, at Memphis. The two games on NBA TV will be Monday, December 3, at New Orleans and Saturday, March 9, at Golden State. However, all of these games are subject to change. Of course, if the Bucks are making that exciting run for the eighth seed, especially against the Knicks, an additional game or two could be bumped up to national television later in the season.
The Heat, meanwhile, will have 31 of their games nationally televised.
You can take a look at Milwaukee’s full schedule from Bucks.com here.