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Which NBA teams have the easiest and hardest remaining schedules?

Feb 18, 2014, 3:02 PM EDT

There are other complicating factors (days rest, injuries, etc.), but here’s a chart sorting NBA teams by the two most important elements of a schedule – opponent quality and location – for the rest of the season:


(Click to see an interactive version where you can display by conference)

  • Top right: Good opponents, more road games
  • Top left: Bad opponents, more road games
  • Bottom right: Good opponents, more home games
  • Bottom left: Bad opponets, more home games

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A few observations:

  • Western Conference teams, because they play each other, face much better opponents than Eastern Conference teams.
  • The Toronto Raptors, who are already 28-24 and third in the East, have the NBA’s easiest remaining schedule – by far.
  • The Houston Rockets, who are 36-17 and third in the West, arguably have the hardest remaining schedule, though the home-road split tilts the difficulty more than opponent quality.
  • The Detroit Pistons will have a tough time cracking the playoffs. They’re a half game out, and they have the East’s hardest remaining schedule.
  • The Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks both face interesting roads. The Lakers play extremely tough opponents, but they’re mostly in Los Angeles. The Knicks, on the other hand, are mostly on the road, but they face relatively bad opponents.
  1. asimonetti88 - Feb 18, 2014 at 3:23 PM

    Lakers have a lot of home games in the second half because they have to go on the Grammy trip every year.

    • sportsfan18 - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:07 PM

      and the Spurs do the rodeo thing each year too… so quit crying…

      • asimonetti88 - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:10 PM

        How is that crying? I would have to think having more home games would be a good thing, right? I was just stating a fact. Someone’s upset.

    • azarkhan - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:18 PM

      The Lakers are 18-35, so like, who cares what their schedule is? At the end of the season they will still suck.

      • asimonetti88 - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:38 PM

        Well, as a Lakers fan, I care. But they are on one of the extremes along with the Knickerbockers, so I was just making an observation as to why they are on that extreme. I’m curious as to why NYK will have so many road games. Is there something going on at MSG that will put them on a similar road trip to the Lakers, Clippers and Spurs do?

      • sellahh - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:56 PM

        Hey, I care, but for completely opposite reasons than the fellow over me.
        Tough opponents? Beware Milwaukee!

  2. romneycareupheld - Feb 18, 2014 at 3:25 PM

    The Trailblazers have the easiest schedule in the Western Conference. That should help assuming Stotts can figure out how to keep his starters fresh. The bench could use a serious upgrade at the deadline, though they don’t have any picks this year to trade. Someone like Thaddeus Young would be a great fit.

  3. d57fan - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:04 PM

    The Raptors are dominated by the Bobcats and often lose to bad teams and at home so you can take the “easiest” with a grain of salt.

    • asimonetti88 - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:26 PM

      Bobcats are a playoff team right now

      • kingbeason52 - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:38 PM

        Lets go Bobcats! haha! I am a huge Bobcat fan and cannot even type that without laughing..Should be a fun second half of the season..

      • asimonetti88 - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:40 PM

        soon to be the Hornets

      • ProBasketballPundit - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:52 PM

        @kingbeason52 Bobcats better make the playoffs this season. The eastern conference is so weak that if we can’t do it now… well, Adam Silver might wonder if new ownership in Seattle can.

      • borderline1988 - Feb 18, 2014 at 10:29 PM

        It seems that some teams always have that opponent they cant get by.

        The Raptors always seemed to beat the Bulls or at least give them a tough time, over the last 5 years.

        But ya, the Raptors just cannot beat the Bobcats. Kemba Walker just kills them every time (although the Bobcats still won last time with Walker in street clothes)

      • asimonetti88 - Feb 18, 2014 at 11:17 PM

        “It seems that some teams always have that opponent they cant get by.”

        That’s the Bobcats for the Lakers. We couldn’t beat them even when we were actually better than them.

  4. ihatecomingupwiththesenames - Feb 18, 2014 at 5:22 PM

    Good piece. Like the chart.

  5. velocirep - Feb 18, 2014 at 5:53 PM

    Best chart I’ve seen in awhile on here and just do happens to favour my Raptors.

    Raptors need to make big moves before the trade deadline and go all in. No more drafts, no more half stepping, make a serious run for something and build a culture of winning. Tired of hockey highlights during the playoffs man

    • borderline1988 - Feb 18, 2014 at 10:37 PM

      Absolutely not!!!

      The Raptors are in the perfect spot to wait it out….they are easily the 3rd best team in the East but are way behind the Pacers and Heat. There are no immediate moves that will enable them to get into the 3rd round of the playoffs this year, so there’s no point in mortgaging the future to get marginally better and still lose in the 2nd round to Miami.

      If they can net a cornerstone (such as Rondo, although his behaviour issues scare me) then maybe they should consider it. Otherwise Masai should wait until the summer, see what player comes in the draft, and then start wheeling and dealing.

      I don’t think Lowry is going to get you a first-round pick, so I’m fine with the Raptors just having a good run with him, even if it means they lose him at the end of the season. The Raptors have plenty of excellent role players so no point in trading for more, what they need is a star player to really get to the next level.

  6. phillysports1 - Feb 18, 2014 at 7:48 PM

    All the bobcats fans are coming out now .. Where were you guys before ???? Oh. Lol

    • buffalowned - Feb 18, 2014 at 10:46 PM

      Did you expect them to be boasting about their team when they set the record for the worst season ever ? Give them a break it’s nice to see an underdog make the playoffs. They know they aren’t winning the championship…let them have fun with the season.

  7. bhunter1995 - Feb 18, 2014 at 8:52 PM

    I’m just happy the Lakers have a hard schedule. The more losses the better here we come #1 pick!!!

    • davesmall1 - Feb 18, 2014 at 9:19 PM

      The Lakers are the new Bobcats

      • ranfan12 - Feb 18, 2014 at 10:58 PM

        orlando and the bucks still got that covered lol

      • asimonetti88 - Feb 19, 2014 at 12:22 AM

        Unless Lakers rename the team the “Buss Drivers” the Bobcats will still be the Bobcats.

  8. davesmall1 - Feb 18, 2014 at 9:20 PM

    My Rockets have the toughest schedule. Guess they might not go undefeated after all :-)

  9. phillysports1 - Feb 18, 2014 at 10:49 PM

    Fair enough lol

  10. dexterismyhero - Feb 19, 2014 at 11:55 AM

    The Knicks still suck.

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