The NBA has released the season schedule. Today unofficially represents the end of the offseason and the start of the new campaign. Soon, players who aren’t competing at the FIBA World Cup will make their way home from vacations around the world and will begin preparing for the approaching 82-game marathon with, hopefully, a couple dozen playoff games to follow.
Dallas will open and close its season at home, kicking off the year on Oct. 23 against Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards, and wrapping things up against the new-look, Chris Paul-led Oklahoma City Thunder on April 15. Coincidentally, that’s the only time OKC will visit the AAC this season.
Often, you can tell what the nation thinks about and what’s expected of a team based on the number of national TV games given to each squad. People want to see Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, and that’s reflected in the TV schedule. The Mavs will appear on either ESPN or TNT 13 times this season, including four times before Thanksgiving. Many of them are absolute must-see games, too: Dallas visits No. 1 pick Zion Williamson and New Orleans on Oct. 25, Porzingis returns to Madison Square Garden on Nov. 14, and the reloaded Warriors come to town for the first time on Nov. 20, just to name a few.
Do you like staying inside during the winter? If so, you’ll love how the Mavs’ itinerary turned out. The team opens the new decade with a six-game homestand and plays 13 games at American Airlines Center between Jan. 2-Feb. 12. The trade-off, of course, means road-heavy months in December and March bookend the home-loaded portion. Dallas will spend most of the holiday season on the road, including playing in OKC on New Year’s Eve for the third season in a row, in what’s become an annual tradition.
Some other games of note: The newly minted juggernaut L.A. Clippers come to town on Nov. 26 and Jan. 21, and their in-town rival L.A. Lakers visit on Nov. 1 and Jan. 10. MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo pays his lone visit on March 29, and Eastern Conference favorite Philadelphia comes through on Jan. 11.
Now it’s time to get to some of the more esoteric facts and figures. The Mavs managed to avoid playing Houston on the second game of a back-to-back for the first time since 2013-14. Many times over the last five seasons, Dallas has played the Rockets multiple times on SeGaBaBas, including playing all four games on second legs during the 2014-15 campaign. But this season, the Mavs will have fresh legs (relatively speaking) for each battle against James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and their fierce in-state rivals.
Of the team’s 13 back-to-backs, a huge (and fortunate) decrease over previous seasons, Dallas will lose an hour on exactly zero of them. The team will stay in the same time zone on every single one, which is an incredibly important thing to note. Flying a couple hours in the middle of the night and then losing another one can lead to extreme fatigue the following day — and that’s just in my personal experience, and all I do is type on the computer. This should hopefully lead to a generally more well-rested team. There are still plenty of three-game, four-night stretches, but there’s not a single four-game, five-night stretch this season either, as was the case last season, and that’s big too.
Finally, in one of the more unique games of the season, Dallas will meet Detroit in Mexico City on Dec. 12. The Mavs made a similar trip to our neighbor’s capital during the 2016-17 season, and won over Phoenix. This year’s contest will count as a home game for the Pistons, meaning the Mavs will get to play a full 41-game slate at American Airlines Center. There’s just something magical about that number.
Stay tuned to see when ticket plans go on sale for single games and for mini-plans. We’ll keep you updated across all Mavs social media accounts, as well as here on the newly designed Mavs.com.