Last week, I analyzed the Charlotte Bobcats’ offseason. Now, with the regular season opener against the Houston Rockets less than a week away, here is a preview of what’s on tap for the Bobcats in their 2013-2014 regular season schedule.
Kemba Walker (left) will look to lead the Charlotte Bobcats to an improved 2013-2014 season. (Photo Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports).
OCTOBER – The Bobcats only play one game this month, against the new-look Houston Rockets on October 30th in Houston. This is the most anticipated NBA season in Houston since the days of Hakeem Olajuwon in the 1990’s now that the Rockets have a star-studded, one-two punch with guard James Harden and center Dwight Howard. An upset win on the road in the opener would be a great start for the Bobcats, however, most fans should not be too upset with a winless October.
Projected Record: 0-1
NOVEMBER – The schedule kicks into high gear for the Bobcats in November as they play 16 games, including 4 different pairs of back-to-backs where they play 2 games on consecutive nights. The November schedule boasts 11 games against teams that went to the playoffs last year, not an easy start for a team that has only won 28 games in the past two seasons. However, if there is a sense of relief for the Bobcats when looking at November, it is that 10 of the 16 games are in Charlotte at Time Warner Cable Arena. The home opener in Charlotte on November 1st against the Cleveland Cavaliers should be an intriguing test for the Bobcats, one that will let them know where they stand among teams in the Eastern Conference battling for the last couple of playoff positions.
Easiest Game: vs. Phoenix Suns – Friday, November 22nd
Toughest Game: vs. Miami Heat – Saturday, November 16th
Projected Record: 7-9
DECEMBER – The month of December brings a few very tough games for the Bobcats, such as contests in Miami against the Heat, at the Indiana Pacers and the Oklahoma City Thunder at home. There is a stretch of winnable games for Charlotte in December, as they play 5 of 6 games at home from December 6-17, including games against the 76ers, Magic, and the Kings. Overall, this is a month that the Bobcats can prove they might be a contender for a playoff spot in the East if they can finish with a record above .500 in December.
Easiest Game: vs. Philadelphia 76ers – Friday, December 6th
Toughest Game: vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – Friday, December 27th
Projected Record: 6-9
JANUARY – Charlotte will bring in the new year with three consecutive games on the road in Los Angeles, Portland, and Sacramento, a theme that runs throughout January as 10 of their 16 games are played away from Charlotte. January is also very back-loaded for the Bobcats, as they finish with the Clippers, Knicks, Bulls, Nuggets and Lakers to round out the month. Charlotte does have a few winnable games in the middle though, playing 3 of their 4 games from January 15-20 against the 76ers, Magic and Raptors.
Easiest Game: @ Philadelphia 76ers – Wednesday, January 15th
Toughest Game: @ Los Angeles Clippers – Wednesday, January 1st
Projected Record: 5-11
FEBRUARY – It is a good thing February is the shortest month of the year and when the All-Star break takes place because the month brings a series of tough games for Charlotte. Not only do they have to play the San Antonio Spurs twice, but Charlotte also travels to Golden State and Brooklyn and play the Grizzles and Mavericks at home. Ultimately, there might not be a game all month where the Bobcats go in as a favorite, considering their easiest game comes all the way across the country against the Suns on the second night of a back-to-back. Anything over two or three wins and February will be considered a big success for the Bobcats.
Easiest Game: @ Phoenix Suns – Saturday, February 1st
Toughest Game: @ San Antonio Spurs – Friday, February 28th
Projected Record: 3-7
MARCH – There may be no team in the entire NBA who has a tougher start to a month than the Bobcats do in March. In a span of four days Charlotte plays three games against the Thunder, Heat and Pacers. After this rough stretch, the Bobcats’ schedule does ease up with 8 of their remaining 13 games in March taking place in the friendly confines of Time Warner Cable arena. If the Bobcats are still in the playoff hunt this late in the season, it will mark the first time that has happened since 2010 and there could be a buzz in Charlotte surrounding the team, resulting in a true home court advantage for the ‘Cats.
Easiest Game: @ Milwaukee Bucks – Sunday, March 16th
Toughest Game: @ Miami Heat – Monday, March 3rd
Projected Record: 6-10
APRIL – The last month of the season appears to be Charlotte’s easiest month. The Bobcats play 5 of their 8 games against teams that did not make the postseason in 2013 and also play the Celtics and the Hawks, who both made the playoffs last season but have parted ways with major contributors from last year’s team. Not to mention, all of Charlotte’s games in the month of April are against teams from the Eastern Conference. If the Bobcats are fighting for a playoff berth in April, this month will be huge in terms of playoff positioning.
Easiest Game: vs. Philadelphia 76ers – Saturday, April 12th
Toughest Game: vs. Chicago Bulls – Wednesday, April 16th
Projected Record: 5-3
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After looking at all 82 games on the schedule over the course of seven months, I have the Charlotte Bobcats finishing the season with a 32-50 record. This would be an 11 game improvement over last season’s win total of 21, however this record would probably not be good enough for a playoff berth.
Last season, the Milwaukee Bucks captured the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 38 wins, and it will probably take a win total close to that number for the Bobcats to reach the playoffs.
Regardless, the playoffs are not really expected of the 2013-2014 Charlotte Bobcats, and any improvement over last year’s performance should be viewed as a positive step in the right direction for a franchise that is currently rebuilding.
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