PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Trail Blazers open the 2019-20 season at home against the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday, Oct. 23.
After that rematch of last season's Western Conference semifinals, Portland hits the road, which is where it will spend most of the first month of the season.
By the time the Blazers return from a six-game road trip to play the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Moda Center on Nov. 27, Portland will have played 13 of its first 18 games on the road, including games against challenging opponents like the Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets and Milwaukee Bucks.
The road-heavy stretch to start the season is one of the notable takeaways from the Blazers' 2019-20 schedule, which was released Monday afternoon. Here are five more observations:
STRONG NATIONAL TV PRESENCE
The Blazers will play 20 games on national TV, including 10 on TNT, nine on ESPN and one game on ABC. That ties for the eighth-most nationally televised games among NBA teams. Only the Lakers, Warriors and Clippers play more games on TNT than the Blazers this season.
That marks an increase for Portland in national exposure. Last season, the Blazers played 13 games on national TV and the season before they played 11.
Portland games will also be featured on NBA TV's national schedule 11 times this season.
The Blazers will host the Houston Rockets on Sunday, March 15. The game airs on ABC, which is the first time Portland has played an afternoon game on ABC since the 2009-10 season when the Blazers beat the Lakers in Los Angeles 91-88. As reported by Jason Quick of The Athletic, it marks the first home game on ABC since 2004 when the Blazers beat the Seattle Supersonics.
LIGHT DRAW VS. LAKERS, CLIPPERS
The Blazers play four Western Conference teams three times this season; they play the other 10 West teams four times each. Playing the best teams less often during the regular season is advantageous, and Portland got a good draw.
The Blazers play the Memphis Grizzlies, one of the worst teams in the NBA, three times, but the other three West teams they play three times are the Spurs, Lakers and Clippers.
The Spurs are expected to be a playoff contender in the West, while the Lakers, with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and the Clippers, with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, are expected to be two of the top teams in the conference.
HOME FOR (MOST OF) THE HOLIDAYS
Portland doesn't play on Christmas this year, but they will be in New York to play the Knicks on New Year's Day.
The Blazers will be home in the week leading up to Christmas, with four games at the Moda Center between Dec. 18 and 23, though Portland is on the road for a matchup against the Utah Jazz the day after Christmas.
December is a home-heavy month for the Blazers, with 10 of their 14 games at home.
The Blazers are also off on Halloween, Thanksgiving (no NBA teams play on Thanksgiving), and Valentine's Day.
Portland will play on Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 20. The Blazers host the Warriors at 7 p.m. in the last game of a TNT tripleheader.
STARS COME TO PORTLAND
If you want to see the NBA's stars at the Moda Center, there are plenty of opportunities.
The Lakers, with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, make two appearances in Portland, both in December, on Friday, Dec. 6 (ESPN) and Saturday, Dec. 28.
Stephen Curry and the Warriors also play twice at the Moda Center, on Wednesday, Dec. 18 (ESPN) and Monday, Jan. 20 (TNT).
Reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks will only play one game in Portland, on Saturday, Jan. 11.
The Blazers host the Rockets, with James Harden and new teammate Russell Westbrook, twice, on Wednesday, Jan. 29 (ESPN) and the Sunday, March 15 game on ABC.
After the season-opening game, Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets return to Portland for a second time on Thursday, April 9, the third-to-last game of the season.
Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and the Clippers play their only game in Portland and its the final game of the season on Wednesday, April 15.
SO MANY REUNIONS
With so much roster turnover, the Blazers' schedule is full of first reunions for players who said goodbye to Portland this offseason.
Evan Turner will be the first to return, making his way back to town with the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday, Nov. 10.
Al-Farouq Aminu will make his return to the Moda Center with the Orlando Magic on Friday, Dec. 20.
The next night, Jake Layman will come to Portland with the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday, Dec. 21.
Seth Curry will come to town with the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday, Jan. 23 (TNT).
Meyers Leonard will be back in Portland with the Miami Heat on Sunday, Feb. 9.
Enes Kanter will play in front of the Moda Center crowd with the Boston Celtics on Tuesday, Feb. 25.
And Maurice Harkless will make his first trip back to the Moda Center on Wednesday, April 15, the last game of the regular season.
ODDS AND ENDS
The Blazers have two six-game road trips this season, from Nov. 16-25 and again from March 22-30.
The Blazers will play 12 back-to-backs this season, including six road back-to-backs. Portland has just one home-and-home back-to-back this season.
Portland plays five of its final six games, all in April, at home, against the Utah Jazz, Grizzlies, Cleveland Cavaliers, Nuggets, at the Warriors, and wrapping up against the Clippers.
Single-game tickets go on sale Monday, Sept. 9. For more information, visit the Blazers website or call 844-RIP-CITY.
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