2015-2016 NBA Schedule: The Worst Road Trip For Each Team

Documentation of a new NBA schedule isn’t complete without documenting road trips, their durations, and their opponents.

I am personally more interested in the numbers of back-to-backs and 4-in-5s. I am also more concerned about the ways in which weekend back-to-backs are handled. Those three issues stand out because there is either an emphasis on needing to reduce those elements in every annual schedule, or a discretionary capacity on the part of at least some (if not all) NBA clubs to reduce their frequency (or both).

When the issue of road trips emerges, the main point of significance is that any back-to-backs built into road trips are single-time zone back-to-backs. The NBA has made progress on this front with the 2015-2016 schedule. Back-to-backs beyond one time zone have been cut from 111 to 84. That’s solid progress, and hopefully the number can be sliced to around 60 (for an average of only two such back-to-backs per team) when the 2016-2017 schedule comes up for discussion in NBA offices.

The following “worst” road trips for each team are based on length, mostly because that’s the easiest way to sort through them, but also because a really long road trip does represent a big ask for most teams. Life on the road will be exhausting when it’s prolonged to a certain point. Some teams will play through the fatigue, but that doesn’t make a really long road trip any more fun or pleasant.

Here are the longest road trips for each of the 30 teams in the NBA this coming season. Opponents are listed in their three-letter “quick box score” formats:

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ATLANTA: 5 games, March 1-10: GSW, LAL, LAC, UTA, TOR

BOSTON: 5 games, Nov. 29-Dec. 7: ORL, MIA, SAC, SAS, NOP

BROOKLYN: 9 games, Feb. 23-March 11: POR, PHX, UTA, LAC, LAL, DEN, MIN, TOR, PHI

CHARLOTTE: 6 games, Feb. 10-28: IND, MIL, BKN, CLE, IND, ATL

NOTE: Yes, the Hornets really do play the Pacers twice on the same road trip. This trip is separated by the All-Star break, which makes the schedule quirk possible. The Hornets play at Indiana, rest for the break, and then play the Pacers after the break a few weeks later.

CHICAGO: 7 games, Jan. 28-Feb. 8: LAL, LAC, UTA, SAC, DEN, MIN, CHA

NOTE: I’m sure the Bulls are thrilled to go from Los Angeles to Utah, then back to California for the Sacramento game, then back to the Mountain time zone for the Nuggets game. Brutal.

CLEVELAND: 6 games, Jan. 6-15: WAS, MIN, PHI, DAL, SAS, HOU

DALLAS: 4 games, March 23-28: POR, GSW, SAC, DEN

DENVER: 5 games, Nov. 28-Dec. 5: DAL, MIL, CHI, TOR, PHI

DETROIT: 6 games, Nov. 6-15: PHX, POR, GSW, SAC, LAC, LAL

If you’re going to have a long trip, get it out of the way. The Pistons will. Their schedule is unfavorable on a number of levels, but not in this specific respect.

GOLDEN STATE: 7 games, twice

Nov. 30-Dec. 12: UTA, CHA, TOR, BKN, IND, BOS, MIL

Feb. 10-27 (separated by the All-Star break): PHX, POR, LAC, ATL, MIA, ORL, OKC

That LAC-OKC stretch (minus ORL) could become one of the most significant road trips of the season — not just for the Warriors, but for the opponents in that sequence of games.

HOUSTON: 5 games, twice

Feb. 9-25 (separated by the All-Star break): GSW, POR, PHX, UTA, POR

March 5-12: CHI, TOR, PHI, BOS, CHA

Houston better rest up at the All-Star break and have its bench intact in late February and early March.

INDIANA: 4 games on four separate occasions

Nov. 29-Dec. 5: LAL, LAC, POR, UTA

Jan. 4-10: MIA, ORL, NOP, HOU

Jan. 17-23: DEN, PHX, GSW, SAC

Feb. 29-March 5: CLE, MIL, CHI, WAS

L.A. CLIPPERS: 5 games on four separate occasions

Dec. 7-14: MIN, MIL, CHI, BKN, DET

Dec. 25-31: LAL, UTA, WAS, CHA, NOP

Jan. 21-27: CLE, NYK, TOR, IND, ATL

March 15-23: SAS, HOU, MEM, NOP, GSW

L.A. LAKERS: 8 games, Dec. 1-12: PHI, WAS, ATL, DET, TOR, MIN, SAS, HOU

MEMPHIS: 5 games, Nov. 2-9: GSW, SAC, POR, UTA, LAC

MIAMI: 6 games, Jan. 8-17: PHX, UTA, GSW, LAC, DEN, OKC

MILWAUKEE: 4 games on three separate occasions

Dec. 15-20: LAL, LAC, GSW, PHX

Dec. 28-Jan. 2: DAL, OKC, IND, MIN

Jan. 16-23: CHA, MIA, HOU, NOP

NOTE: The Bucks play only 10 road games after the All-Star break.

MINNESOTA: 4 games, twice

Jan. 29-Feb. 3: UTA, POR, LAL, LAC

March 11-18: OKC, PHX, MEM, HOU

NEW ORLEANS: 5 games, twice

Dec. 12-20: CHI, POR, UTA, PHX, DEN

March 9-16: CHA, MEM, MIL, GSW, SAC

NEW YORK: 6 games, March 8-19: DEN, PHX, LAC, LAL, GSW, WAS

OKLAHOMA CITY: 4 games on three separate occasions

Jan. 22-27: DAL, BKN, NYK, MIN

Feb. 29-March 6: SAC, LAC, GSW, MIL

April 3-9: HOU, DEN, POR, SAC

NOTE: The Thunder play only 11 home games after the All-Star break.

ORLANDO: 5 games, Dec. 1-9: MIN, UTA, LAC, DEN, PHX

PHILADELPHIA: 6 games, twice

Nov. 20-29: CHA, MIA, MIN, BOS, HOU, MEM

Dec. 23-Jan. 2: MIL, PHX, UTA, SAC, LAL, LAC

PHOENIX: 6 games, Nov. 29-Dec. 7: TOR, BKN, DET, WAS, MEM, CHI

PORTLAND: 6 games, Feb. 27-March 6: CHI, IND, NYK, BOS, TOR, DET

CORRECTION: In earlier articles from the month of August, I had stated that Portland scheduled a home night game on Saturday, Feb. 27, before a road game on Sunday, Feb. 28 at Indiana. That statement, made in two separate articles, was incorrect. The Blazers host Houston, but on Thursday, Feb. 25. The errors have been amended in each previous article. I apologize for the errors. -M.Z.

SACRAMENTO: 5 games, Nov. 18-25: ATL, MIA, ORL, CHA, MIL

SAN ANTONIO: 8 games on the “Rodeo Road Trip,” Feb. 9-27 (separated by the All-Star break): MIA, ORL, LAC, LAL, PHX, SAC, UTA, HOU

TORONTO: 6 games, Feb. 1-19 (separated by the All-Star break): DEN, PHX, POR, DET, MIN, CHI

UTAH: 5 games, March 19-26: CHI, MIL, HOU, OKC, MIN

WASHINGTON: 5 games, March 27-April 3: LAL, GSW, SAC, PHX, LAC

Starting in Los Angeles and then circling back several days later? Two weeks before the playoffs begin? That won’t make the Wizards happy.

About Matt Zemek

Editor, @TrojansWire | CFB writer since 2001 |

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