NBA schedule a return to normalcy

Dwyane Wade (right), LeBron James and the NBA champion Miami Heat will visit Toronto twice in the...

Dwyane Wade (right), LeBron James and the NBA champion Miami Heat will visit Toronto twice in the regular season: Feb. 3 and March 17. (REUTERS)

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:05 AM ET

Unlike a year ago, when a lockout played havoc with the schedule, things are back to normal for the Raptors and the NBA.

No more back-to-back-to-backs, no more overfilled weeks of basketball.

The 2012-13 schedule, released on Thursday night harkens a return to business as usual.

The Raptors, with three rookies and other new faces, will kick off season No. 18 on Halloween at the ACC against the Indiana Pacers and will play in Brooklyn for the first time on Nov. 3 against the Nets at the new Barclays Center.

The Sunday matinees are back after there was only one last season. This time, Toronto will play eight such contests and there even are a couple of Saturday night home dates, the first time that has happened since 2000-01, possibly because of an expected NHL lockout.

Home fans will get a chance to see star-laden Oklahoma City for the first time in two seasons on Jan. 6, while Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant and Co. come to town with the Lakers on Jan. 20.

Other intriguing dates include:

Nov. 27, when new point guard Kyle Lowry returns to Houston to face Jeremy Lin; Dec. 16, when the Rockets come to town; Feb. 10, when top pick Anthony Davis and the new-look New Orleans Hornets hit the ACC; Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and the San Antonio Spurs at Toronto on Nov. 25; Dirk Nowitzki, old friend Vince Carter and Dallas here on Dec. 14 and two visits by the defending champion Miami Heat on Feb. 3 and March 17.

If Toronto can tread water early, it will have the cushion of extra home games later in the campaign. Of the first 31 games, 19 will be on the road, but 18 of 27 January and February games will be at the ACC.

There will be 17 back-to-back games, down three from 2011-12 and there won’t be as many games jammed into each week as last year.

The return to regularity will allow the players to get more rest and should make for better basketball and, hopefully, fewer injuries.

Once again, the Raptors will not play on opening night or Christmas Day (they were one and the same a year ago due to the lockout). The Oct. 30 season openers will be Boston at Miami in a rematch of the East final; Dallas at the Lakers and, on the undercard, Washington at Cleveland.

The Christmas extravaganza will feature Brooklyn at Boston, New York at the Lakers, the Thunder at Miami in a NBA final rematch, Houston at Chicago and Denver at the Clippers.

RAPTOR NOTES

Toronto’s signing of backup point guard John Lucas III remains imminent. The team will also ink returning veterans Aaron Gray and Alan Anderson and likely will leave the 15th and final roster spot open to begin the year for flexibility reasons.

BREAKING DOWN THE SCHEDULE

GAMES BY MONTH

Oct.-Nov. 17 (7 home, 10 away

Dec. 14 (5, 9)

Jan. 15 (10, 5)

Feb. 12 (8, 4)

March 15 (6, 9)

April 9 (5, 4)

 


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