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The Raptors released their 2013-14 schedule on Tuesday evening, beginning with a home date against the Celtics on October 30 and concluding with a matchup against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on April 16.

With that, here’s a look at some of the more notable games on Toronto’s schedule…

Wednesday, October 30 vs. Celtics – The Raptors will open the 19th season in franchise history against the suddenly dismantled Celtics.

Tuesday, November 5 vs. Heat – The Raptors will welcome the Heat to town for their first matchup of the season against the two-time defending NBA champions, giving Toronto another chance to grab its first win against Miami in The Big Three Era.

Friday, November 8 @ Indiana – Matchups against the Pacers have been among the most compelling Raptors games over the last couple of years, and last season’s 2-2 split of the season series, where the road team won all four games, was no exception. With Tyler Hansbrough and D.J. Augustin now plying their trade north of the border, the matchups could be even more intense this time around. The Raptors and Pacers will also meet on January 1 and April 4.

Monday, November 11 @ Houston – I’m not sure if they’ll contend for a title immediately, but if Dwight Howard is healthy, the Howard/Harden combination should be as formidable as almost any duo in the league. In addition, Kyle Lowry will probably be gunning for a better return to Houston than he enjoyed last season.

Wednesday, November 13 @ Memphis – While the Raptors did host the Grizzlies after the Rudy Gay trade last season, this will mark Gay’s first trip back to Memphis. The Grindhouse should be rocking with emotion, and if last year’s post-trade matchup in T.O. was any indication, it should be a good one.

Tuesday, November 26 vs. Nets – The Raptors and Toronto basketball fans will get their first glimpse at the new-look Nets, which if healthy, should feature Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson, Andrei Kirilenko, Jason Terry, Reggie Evans and Andray Blatche.

Friday, December 27 @ New York – Andrea Bargnani will face the Raptors for the first time, while Steve Novak will look to discount-double-check all over his old stomping grounds at The Garden.

Saturday, December 28 vs. Knicks – In the second half of a back-to-back home-and-home set, Bargnani will mark his return to the Air Canada Centre, giving Raptors fans the chance to remind The Enigma Of All Enigmas how they feel about him.

Sunday, January 19 vs. Lakers – The Lakers may very well be a lottery team this season, but Kobe Bryant’s annual trek north for a Sunday matinee in Toronto is always a worthy mention on this list.

Wednesday, January 22 vs. Mavericks – When Raptors fans welcome Vince Carter back to town this time around, he’ll have Jose Calderon as a teammate. That should make for an interesting and drastic contrast in receptions. Though perhaps Calderon can help cool the tensions between the two parties. I mean if anyone can, it’s probably Jose, right?

Friday, January 31 @ Denver – I know Masai Ujiri doesn’t actually take the court to make an impact in the game itself, but you have to figure something will be made of the Raptors’ only visit to Denver this season with all that played out.

Wednesday, April 16 @ New York – The regular season finale. Will it be another meaningless contest to close out another lost season for the Raptors? Will game no. 82 actually hold meaning for Toronto in their bid to end a six-year playoff drought? Will the season’s final night be a mere warmup act for a Raptors team that’s already clinched a playoff spot?

And now for some further notes on the schedule, courtesy of the Raptors’ official press release.

-The Raptors’ longest homestand is a four-gamer from November 22-December 1 that includes games against the Wizards, Nets, Heat and Nuggets.

- The team’s longest road trip lasts five games, from January 31-February 7, and runs through  Denver, Portland, Utah, Sacramento and Los Angeles (Clippers).

- The Raptors will play 18 sets of back-to-backs. 11 of those 18 sets will feature one home game and one road game, with the other seven being all-road back-to-backs. The Raptors don’t play any all-home back-to-backs this season.

Games By Month

October/November: 15 (8 home, 7 away)

December: 14 (5 home, 9 away)

January: 17 (9 home, 8 away)

February: 12 (6 home, 6 away)

March: 16 (8 home, 8 away)

April: 8 (5 home, 3 away)

Games By Day

Monday:  10 (3 home, 7 away)

Tuesday: 10 (3 home, 7 away)

 Wednesday: 19 (11 home, 8 away)

Thursday: 1 (1 home, 0 away)

Friday: 21 (12 home, 9 away)

Saturday: 8 (4 home, 4 away)

Sunday: 13 (7 home, 6 away)

How a team starts a season is always crucial, but for a team that could veer off in two completely different directions, it’s all the more important for Masai Ujiri and co. to get a read on their team.

Another poor start out of the gates that buries the team early, as happened last season, would make it a lot easier for Ujiri to make moves that will help the team take a strategic step back (my fancy way of describing tanking), while a strong start that has the Raptors in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race could be enough to keep this roster together, at least for the short-term.

Having said that, when I looked at last year’s schedule upon its release, I thought the Raptors could realistically expect to start the season 8-15 through a tough 23-game stretch to open the season (they ended up starting 4-19). This season, while I wouldn’t call the schedule favourable, I will say that this team should be in and around the .500 mark heading into the New Year.

If that’s the case, it will be a lot tougher for Ujiri to chart an immediate direction for this team.

Comments (27)

  1. November does not look too difficult. We can certainly beat Boston, Milwaukee, Charlotte, Utah, Philly and Washington. I think the Portland, Indy and Chicago games can go either way and if they are the right frame of mind, they can possibly steal one against the Heat and the Rockets. December Looks far more harder as most of the games will be on the road and they’ll be against Golden St, San Antonio, OKC, New York. and two in Chicago. By the start of the new year I the raps going at best 16-13.

    January does not seem TOO rough as a majority of the team we will face will either be at par with us, but most of them can go either way. If the Raptors bring their A game, I can see them either splitting the month even going 9-8 or 8-9. At best i see the raps starting the new year in style finishing January 12-5. Thank goodness February is the shortest month because it looks to be the most treacherous as the Raps start the month on a 4 game Western road swing where they will face an improved Portland Trailblazers team, the Utah Jazz, a revamped Sacramento Kings and finish off with the Clippers–ugh!!.

    After those four games, it does not look as bad as most of the games will be at home and against teams that the Raps can beat–New Orleans, Atlanta, two games against Washington, another couple against Cleveland, and one against Chicago. With everything being equal, I see the Raptors going .500 to Finish February. The real challenge will come in March and April as the Raps make their push to the post season. March won’t be as tough as Toronto will be facing mostly team projected to finish under .500, but in April, the Raps will certainly be tested. They’ll be finishing the regular season facing the Rockets, the Pacers and the Knicks TWICE.

    Regardless, overall I see Toronto heading into the post season either as fifth or at worst, seventh seed in the East. I see them winning at least 45with evrything being equal, all players healthy. Can’t wait to see my prediction come true.

    • Fifth seed? Am I reading this correctly? Considering Miami, Indiana, Brooklyn, New York, Chicago are all better teams, there’s no way Toronto finishes ahead of any of them.

      The BEST case scenario, if everything goes right for the Raptors is 7th-8th seed.

      • Maybe he thinks that Deron, Pierce, George, Hill, Melo, Amare, and Rose are all getting injured on the first day of the season with season-ending injuries?

    • What you smoking son?

      • Miami, Chicago are better. Brooklyn will only be better if healthy but everyone is a year older on that squad. They could end up going either way. Raps can beat Indiana. And what makes New York so good??? Because they picked up Bargnani??? No reason to believe that the Raps can’t make the 5th seed as long as their starters stay healthy.

  2. As indecisive as Ujiri has proven himself to be so far, I’m actually excited that the decision to keep this team together past this season won’t be up to him.

    • You’re excited about that? This whole indecisive thing is exactly what I was hoping Ujiri wasn’t going to do.

      At this point it’s looking like we could miss out on the playoffs, AND not be bad enough for good lottery odds. Even tanking the second half of the season would likely put us well behind teams like Philly, Orlando, Charlotte, Utah as far as lottery odds…

      • Well, it’s too late for that.

        At this point, we know that he’s another chicken shit GM who’s just going to shuffle deck chairs and hope for the best. Heck, he didn’t even have enough conviction to fire the coach, basically starting his tenure exactly how Colangelo started his.

        All we can hope for is Gay having a great season, opting out and Lowry leaving via free agency to force his hand into truly rebuilding.

        • Is this really how jaded this fanbase has become? The reigning Executive of the Year is brought to town, trades Andrea Bargnani and gets more value in return than most could have dreamed about, adds some draft picks, pieces together an okay bench by signing role player types to cheap, low-risk contracts, and then is rewarded by being called “another chicken shit GM who’s just going to shuffle deck chairs and hope for the best.”

          I’m not saying we should be praising the guy before his vision comes into focus, but Jesus, “another chicken shit GM”?! Are you serious?

          I’ve got no problem with people thinking tanking was the way to go, but I don’t get what you wanted Ujiri to do. Trade away everyone except for Valanciunas for pennies on the dollar? Accept horrible deals in a rush to tank? Such moves could have handicapped the team as much as mediocrity would have.

          Ujiri’s been on the job for months. It is possible he wants to see what the hell he has here before making drastic decisions. If he’s standing pat with a limited ceiling 6-8 seed team a year or two from now, then you panic. Right now, I see it as a new GM who wants to see what he has and a new GM who has a reputation for patience and diligence being just that…patient and diligent.

          • +1, Joseph

            Many, many times.

          • Couldn’ t agree more Joe! Ujiri has made some great moves given what he walked into.

          • Calling MU “chicken shit” is a WAY OVER statement, but in reality he has made one good move since coming here – getting a 1st rounder for Bargnani. The Bucycks (however you spell it) signing was a “throwing shit against the wall and hope it sticks” move. Augustine was a second option (cheap money) reaction move thru the failings of Stone (who shouldn’t have been signed as the back up in the first place – bad move). Hansy was signed because he could be added cheap and secondly because, it was what Casey felt they lacked, not because MU felt that way.
            “Chicken shit”…No – It’s way too early in MU’s tenure to even begin contemplating his worth and value…but remember, Colangelo started off with A “hurry up and get rid of him trade” when he first got here too and made a great job of that first move.

        • PBI will never be happy.

          • I’m certainly not going to concoct reasons out of thin air just for the sake of being optimistic.

            My opinion on the summer Ujiri has had isn’t any less valid than the opinions of these dummies who think that the Raptors are going to be competing for home court next year.

          • PBI – is just mad because the team didn’t get “blown up”…yet!
            He thinks building a strong long lasting competitive, play for the championship type of team, is easily built by JUST having one bad season and getting one those top 1-7 amazing change the face of basketball players scouts are (anticipating) will be all-star players. He feels this is a can’t miss opportunity and MU is blowing it!…lose for one year, trade away all your current assets for even younger future assets then “poof!” – you are a winning team.
            That one rookie will come in next year, start winning all of a sudden and create immediately a winning culture, erasing all those bad years of losing in the eye’s of the players in this league…and all we have to do id lose for one yer and everything will change and the team will start winning!
            He feels, even though the team has lost for years (outside of the VC era), that losing even more will build a “winning” culture to sell to future FA’s because we secured the 4-7th over all pick in this year draft – that one player will erase the image of losing just like that. After we get that one pick – the FA’s will see that, that one guy just needs a player or two – which MU will sign FA’s and “poof!” we are a winners for years to come!
            He honestly believes that, it is that easy. Because tanking worked for a lot of teams just ask the Clippers, The Trail Blazers, Timberwolves to name three teams who have purposely tanked for high picks within the past 5 or so years. Ask Cleveland and Washington how easy it is to win a championship by building around an all-star young player in the first 3-4 years of thier draft?

      • The more things change, the more they remain the same.

        Raps 2013/14 – 34-48

  3. I really feel like our bench is thin and will cause some issues this year.

    I hope im wrong.

  4. The absolute WORST case scenario for this team is to be or finish .500 this season. Maybe thats good enough to finish 8th and be slaughtered by mia in the 1st round or finish 9th and get a shitty draft pick. That doesnt help this team long term at all though. Unless this team plays incredibly well (yeah right) out of the gate, MU needs to blow up this team ASAP from when the season starts.

    • If the absolute worst scenario is finishing .500 and making the playoffs, then I’m looking forward to this season.

      • The Milwaukee Bucks have seasons tickets for you. I hear plenty of nice seats are still available for some reason.

  5. Toronto…where people cheer for their team to implode before the season even begins. Catch the fever!

  6. I just love that image of the ACC full of Raps fans. Reality be damned .. we get pro ball in the t-dot!

  7. i think you can bet on the Heat,Bulls,Pacers and the Nets locking down the first four seeds.I think Piston got ALOT better this offseason with Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings.if Irving can stay healthy,Cavaliers will also be a team that would make the playoff.I think at the end of the day,it will be the rest of the remaining teams fighting for the last two seeds in the playoff.I would be ecstatic if Raptors make it as the 7th seed but i think Raptors fans should be happy if they can make the playoff.

    • top 5 in east for me in no order would be heat,bulls,pacers,nets,knicks. then you get Atlanta,Cleaveland (depending on health of varejao and bynum) and Washington. After that are some kinda maybe teams in Detroit and Bucks. I feel like atlanta will have a playoff spot. so that leaves one spot for either cleaveland,wizards pistons or raptors.

  8. I think we actually finaly have a decent schedule for this year. That being said while I thin kthe raptors can pull off a 41-45 win season I don’t think they will get as high as fifth. Brooklyn and the Knicks will be 1 and 2 in our division unless there is some huge collapse of some kind by one of them. That leaves us as the third one in.
    I think the seeding will go as follows:

    Miami
    Bulls
    Pacers
    Nets
    Knicks
    (I want to see a Nets vs Knicks series)
    That leaves us with the 6-8th seed

    I think the Raptors could get as high as 6th and will probably even be there are one point in the season but will ultimately fall to 7th. Although, if we get as high as 6th I think we can actually have a fighting chance in the series but we will ultimately lose

    I think we are ahead of Milwaukee, Orlando, Charlotte, Philly, Boston.

    That leaves the Wizards, Cleveland, Us, and the pistons left to fight for those final 3 spots.

    Cleveland is good but I think we can be better and we don’t have an overcrowded front court.

    Pistons will be interesting to watch they will have a lot of missed shots but they will also have good rebounders they are going to be good out of the gate but could ultimately falter late in the season.

    Wizards are more talented than us but I think that the raptors are just more hungry.

    If the Raptors don’t get the 6th seed then it will go to the pistons or Washington we will get the 7th and Washington/Cleveland will be fighting for the 8th.

    Either way this is going to be an interesting season to watch. The raptors may actually surprise everyone. I for get who said this but MU is really saying to the guys, “hey, its up to you guys show us you all belong on the big stage or we blow this thing up.” It’s a lot of pressure on every one and it at least makes for a good story. It’s time to see if we can hang with the big boys.

  9. Knicks have Bargnani and Amare….they are not a top 5 seed with those 2 on D. Idunno why everyone has them as a sure bet for the playoffs.

    • Maybe because they were a 54 win team and the 2nd seed in the East last year? You really think losing losing a handful of scrubs is gonna drop them into the lottery?

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