The Atlanta Hawks 2013-14 schedule was released Tuesday, along with the other 29 team schedules.
The Hawks will open up the season on Wednesday October 30 in Dallas against the Mavericks at 8:30 p.m. This is an intriguing game to open the season as Devin Harris will play his first game as a Maverick against his former Hawks team. The same goes for Elton Brand, now a Hawk, who will be traveling back to Dallas where he played last season.
The home opener in Atlanta will come up just two days later when the Hawks host Rudy Gay and the Toronto Raptors on Friday November 1st at 7:30 p.m.
The regular-season consists of 82 games, 41 at home and 41 on the road. The Hawks will face each Eastern Conference opponent four times, twice at home and twice on the road, and each Western Conference opponent twice, once at home and once on the road.
However, there are exceptions with East teams Brooklyn, Cleveland, Milwaukee and Philadelphia. The Hawks will face the Nets in one “home” game in London and play two in Brooklyn. They’ll have two games against the Cavaliers in Philips Arena and only one back in Ohio. They’ll host one game against the Bucks but will have to play two in Milwaukee, including the season finale on April 16, and they’ll be at home for two games against the 76ers while only playing one game in Philly.
JOSH SMITH ALERT!!!! November 20th will mark the return of one of the most polarizing athletes in Atlanta Hawks history. On this night J-Smoove will make his first trip back to Phillips Arena as a member of the Detroit Pistons after spending his entire nine-year career as the face of the Hawks franchise. It will be interesting to see the response Smith gets as the Atlanta fan base seemed to either love him or hate him. He was booed on several occasions in his own building by his own fans! What will the crowd sound like as he takes the floor in Piston blue and red??? After Smith’s first trip back to the ATL, the Hawks return the favor with a reunion in Detroit two days later.
December 2nd will be a great game to watch as the student takes on the teacher with new Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer making the trip back to San Antonio to see old friend Gregg Popovich. Coach Bud served as assistant on the Spurs for 19 seasons. This will be his first trip back as an opposing coach.
Atlanta’s longest home-stand of the season will be from December 4-13 when they host the Clippers, Cavaliers, Thunder and Wizards, respectively.
December 20th could be a sleeper game as the the Utah Jazz roll in to the ATL. Utah will bring former Hawks forward Marvin Williams to town and take on former Jazz players Paul Millsap and DeMarre Carroll. Carroll ended up beating out Williams for small forward minutes in Utah last season, and this game could end up making them compete against each other even harder on the floor.
The Hawks will see LeBron James and the two-time champion Heat for the first time on December 23rd in Miami.
January will be an interesting month, most notably for the London game against the Brooklyn Nets on the 16th. After that, the Heat come to Atlanta for the first time on the 20th (Martin Luther King Jr, holiday game), then the Spurs visit on the 24th, and then Josh Smith and the Pistons will return for the second time on the 29th.
The Hawks’ longest roadtrip will be a stretch of six games over a 12-day span beginning February 26 in Boston. Then they’ll head west for the next five games, making stops in Phoenix, Portland, Oakland (Golden State Warriors) and Los Angeles (Clippers) before wrapping up in Utah on March 10.
Aside from the five-game west coast trip to start March, the highlight of the month will be on the 13th with the return of former head coach Larry Drew and fan favorite Zaza Pachulia who are now both with the Milwaukee Bucks.
April starts the final month of the season, along with the race for playoff seeding. It will be no easy task for the Hawks who will see Chicago on the 2nd, Cleveland on the 4th, Indiana on the 6th, Boston on the 9th, Brooklyn on the 11th and Miami on the 12th. The final game of the season (April 16) could be a thriller when the Hawks travel to Milwaukee to play the Bucks, who seem to be a team that will be fighting for the 8th seed.
The Hawks will appear on six national broadcasts with three being televised on ESPN and the other three on NBA TV. The games televised on ESPN will be versus the Knicks (Nov. 13th), at Portland (March 5th), and at Milwaukee (April 16th). The games televised on NBA TV will all be home games versus Brooklyn (Jan. 16th in London), the Knicks (Feb. 22nd ), and the Nuggets (March 15th).
With the exception of the games against the Knicks on ESPN (Nov. 13th), Brooklyn (in London on Jan 16th), and the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday game against the Heat (Jan. 20th), all home games in Atlanta will start at 7:30 p.m.
Every Hawks game will be aired live on the radio flagship station, SportsRadio 92.9 The Game, with Steve Holman, aka The Voice of the Hawks, calling the action.
No one is ever happy with their full schedule so I’m not going to say it’s good or bad. I only wish — for once — that the Hawks could get a Christmas day game. Christmas is the day the NBA shines the brightest. Maybe one day in the not so distant future we can see that happen. I’ll settle for the game in London though. This will be an opportunity to gain great exposure overseas, especially since Al Horford is already over there recruiting new Hawks fans to attend the game.
One thing is for sure, it’s going to be another fun season of Hawks basketball. I can’t wait to see our new coach, new system, new free agents, new draft picks, an international game, and another run to the playoffs. It will be here before we know it!
Stay tuned for when we dish out our hand-picked list of the top 10 most anticipated games of the season.
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