The 2010-11 NBA regular season schedule has been released, and unfortunately, Christmas won’t come early for the Milwaukee Bucks this year.
The Milwaukee Bucks won’t even get a breather to sweat out a New Year’s hangover in January, but rest assured Scott Skiles and company understand they can’t expect a cake walk schedule after over-performing 2009-10 expectations by more than 20 wins.
By Jake McCormick
The Milwaukee Bucks will get a decent amount of national television love this year, with eight matchups airing nationwide at various points throughout the season (four of which are on NBA TV). It’s still less than the Los Angeles Clippers (12) and Golden State Warriors (9), but that’s not too surprising considering market size usually trumps quality teams and overall talent.
Below is a short breakdown of the Milwaukee Bucks’ month-by-month home/away splits with the 2009-10 schedule in parentheses just for the sake of comparison:
October: 1 home, 3 away (1-1)
November: 7 home, 7 away (7-6)
December: 6 home, 7 away (7-7)
January: 7 home, 10 away (6-9)
February: 7 home, 5 away (5-9)
March: 10 home, 5 away (10-5)
April: 3 home, 5 away (4-0)
2010 (first half) = 14 home, 17 away
2011 (second half) = 27 home, 25 away
It’s comforting to know the Milwaukee Bucks will be playing more second half home games this year than they did in 2009-10 (visit Brew Hoop for a more comprehensive look at the 2010-11 schedule), although a repeat hot streak like the one kick started by the mid-season acquisition of John Salmons is very unlikely. Bucks GM John Hammond made enough offseason moves to hopefully alleviate some of that pressure and spread some of those victories to the first half of the season.
Milwaukee will need new puzzle pieces Corey Maggette, Drew Gooden, Larry Sanders, and Chris Douglas-Roberts to fit next to incumbents Brandon Jennings, Andrew Bogut, Carlos Delfino, Ersan Ilyasova, and John Salmons by December, as the team begins their toughest stretch of the season immediately as the calendar turns over.
Although it’s ideal that the Bucks will be playing more home than away games in the February and March push to the playoffs, a brief game-by-game glance at the schedule reveals a brutal 20 games between December and January that could very easily make or break the 2010-11 Milwaukee Bucks:
Wednesday, Dec. 1 – @ Denver Nuggets
Saturday, Dec. 4 – Orlando Magic
Monday, Dec. 6 – Miami Heat
Wednesday, Dec. 8 – Indiana Pacers
Friday, Dec. 10 – Houston Rockets
Monday, Dec. 13 – @ Dallas Mavericks
Wednesday, Dec. 15 – @ San Antonio Spurs
Saturday, Dec. 18 – Utah Jazz
Monday, Dec. 20 – @ Portland Trail Blazers
Tuesday, Dec. 21 – @ Los Angeles Lakers
Thursday, Dec. 23 – @ Sacramento Kings
Monday, Dec. 27 – Atlanta Hawks
Tuesday, Dec. 28 – @ Chicago Bulls
Saturday, Jan. 1 – Dallas Mavericks
Tuesday, Jan. 4 – @ Miami Heat
Wednesday, Jan. 5 – @ Orlando Magic
Friday, Jan. 7 – Miami Heat
Saturday, Jan. 8 – @ New Jersey Nets
Tuesday, Jan. 11 – @ Atlanta Hawks
Wednesday, Jan. 12 – San Antonio Spurs
In that 20 game span from December to mid-January, the only “easy” games in that stretch are at home against Indiana and at New Jersey, but that’s part of the price the Milwaukee Bucks will pay for sneaking into the playoffs and pushing the favored Atlanta Hawks to a first round seventh game last year, sans Andrew Bogut.
Just looking at the 2010-11 schedule conjures up feelings of eager anticipation, cautious predictions, and nervous hope. But for the first time in almost a decade, the release of the upcoming season’s schedule isn’t leaving Milwaukee Bucks fans with a feeling of indifference brought on by a lack of expectations, visions for the future, and overall talent.
Mark it down: Year two of the Fear the Deer movement begins October 27.
Follow Jake on Twitter.Follow paulmbanks