No favours from NBA

RYAN WOLSTAT -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 12:22 PM ET

After opening at home on Halloween against the Philadelphia 76ers, the Raptors will return to where their previous season came to a close.

The 2007-08 NBA schedule, released yesterday, revealed that the Raps will take on Vince Carter and the New Jersey Nets in East Rutherford on Nov. 2, before returning home for a date with Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and the rest of the Boston Celtics, two days later.

The team's November schedule is tough, with nine of the 15 games against 2007 playoff teams.

The schedule-maker also didn't do the defending Atlantic Division champions too many favours. Toronto's longest stretch at home is only four games, while the team takes to the road for a seven-game west-coast jaunt in December, along with a five-gamer in March. Sam Mitchell's squad also will have to deal with 20 back-to-back situations.

The Raptors return to U.S. national television for the first time since 2003, when ESPN airs Toronto's game against the Detroit Pistons on Jan. 4 from the Air Canada Centre.

Greg Oden, picked first overall by the Portland Trail Blazers, makes his first trip north of the border Jan. 13.

In a marked reversal from last season, when the team got off to a 2-8 start after playing nine road games in the first month of the season, the Raptors will instead play nine times at the ACC in October/November.

Toronto's home schedule is weekend-heavy, with 23 of 41 contests on Fridays or Sundays.

Non-Raptor highlights of the new schedule include Oden and the Portland Trail Blazers taking on the defending champion San Antonio Spurs to kick off the season Oct. 30; a matchup between Oden and second pick Kevin Durant's Seattle Supersonics on Christmas Day; Garnett's return to Minnesota, where he spent 12 seasons, with the Boston Celtics Feb. 8; and a rematch of the NBA final between the Spurs and Cleveland Cavaliers on Jan. 1.


Videos

Photos