The NBA's 2013-14 season will open up October 29 with the Magic in Indiana to play the Pacers at 7 p.m. before a TNT doubleheader that will feature the Bulls visiting the Heat and the Clippers playing the Lakers.
The opener will mark Victor Oladipo's debut just a short drive from Bloomington, Indiana, where Oladipo played three years at Indiana University. The Pacers took the eventual champion Heat to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals and are still considered one of the rising teams in the Eastern Conference this year. It will be a difficult challenge for the Magic right off the bat.
The opener in Indiana will be the Magic's first road opener since the lockout-shortened 2012 season when the Magic played Christmas Day in Oklahoma City and just the second in 10 seasons (the Magic's opener in New York in 2003).
The Magic will then travel to Minnesota to start the season on a two-game road trip. Their home opener will take place Friday, November 1 against Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, Ryan Anderson and the Pelicans. That opens up a four-game homestand that will include J.J. Redick making his lone trip to Amway Center with the Clippers on Nov. 6.
The Magic will make just one national television appearance, a Feb. 5 game in Orlando against the Pistons. That is always subject to change as the team found out last year when a Magic-Pistons game was taken off ESPN mid-season. Orlando is scheduled make three appearances on NBATV too -- Nov. 24 vs. Phoenix, Dec. 2 @ Washington and March 10 @ Milwaukee.
Now to the matchups you really care about:
The Magic host Dwight Howard and the Rocket on Wednesday, March 15. The defending-champion Heat make their two trips to Orlando on Nov. 20 and Jan. 4. And the Lakers make their trip to Amway Center on Jan. 24.
Orlando's longest homestand is a 14-day, six-game homestand from Dec. 18 through Dec. 31. It will feature the Knicks, Hawks and Warriors. Orlando's longest road trip is a 10-day, six-game jaunt across the East Coast and Southwest from Dec. 2 through Dec. 11. Orlando makes its trip to New York, Houston and Memphis in that stretch.
That is typically when the Magic go out West for their major West Coast trip. However, this year Orlando heads to the West Coast in early January and in mid March. That could mean Orlando gets off to a decent start against Eastern Conference opponents but could mean a slow to finish to the season.
Or it could mean nothing. The Magic are not exactly expected to be world beaters this season.
The schedule features 18 back-to-backs (with just one as the treacherous home-to-away back-to-back). Orlando plays 13 home games on Friday and seven home games on Sunday. That hopefully will help keep Amway Center full(ish) for its Silver Anniversary Season.
Now that the schedule is out, what games are you looking forward to?