If the NBA Lockout ends in time, the first game of the 2011-2012 NBA season for the Orlando Magic is November 2nd at home hosting the Charlotte Bobcats. Just like last year, the Magic begin the campaign on a back-to-back with the tailend of it being in Miami on TNT. Final Orlando game is April 18th at the Boston Celtics. Final Magic home game of season is April 16th, hosting the Philadelphia 76ers.
There is a schedule conflict between what the NBA has and what OrlandoMagic.com has. The Magic's website has Orlando versus the defending champion Dallas Mavericks March 30th on ESPN, but the NBA's website has that matchup on NBA League Pass.
For now, we'll abide by OrlandoMagic.com and say the Magic have 14 nationally televised games, with also 6 games on NBA TV. Last season if I recall correctly, Orlando had 22 nationally televised games. It was 24 the season before that after we reached the Finals.
The NBA could be preparing for Dwight Howard possibly leaving. Maybe they just don't believe Orlando will be that good. We have a leap year in 2012, so we get an extra day in February, which means the Magic have just 17 back-to-backs next season and 12 of those on the road. The Suns and Kings have the league's fewest back-to-backs at 16. David Stern has also been kind to Stan Van Gundy and the Magic by not having them play on Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Orlando hasn't had December 25th off since 2007.
First big Magic road trip is 5 games out West from Dec. 5th to Dec. 14th. Pretty spaced out. No back-to-backs surprisingly. Next Magic Western Conference road trip is 4 games from January 8th to 14th with a back-to-back in between. Not bad again. Third lengthiest Magic road trip is 4 games in the East from February 19th to the 28th WITH THE ALL-STAR WEEKEND in Orlando in between the 3rd and 4th game.
Magic fans, look at the two 3 p.m. games on March 7th and 8th against the New Jersey Nets. David Stern has shipped us off to London, England. This is the most favorable Magic road schedule I've seen in 4-5 years. Only 3 road trips that are 4-5 games long each with a lot of rest days to soften the blow.
See the Scott Skiles-Mookie Blaylock image at the top. On October 30th & 31st1993, the Orlando Magic split 2 preseason games against the Atlanta Hawks in London, England at Wembley Stadium. That was Brian Hill's and Penny Hardaway'sfirst season in Orlando. It proved to be a good warm-up because the Magic began their '93-'94 season 3-0 before finishing a superb 50-32. A potential dynasty was being born.
The Orlando Magic lost the first game of the '96-'97 at home to the Washington Bullets. Then the team hopped a plane to Tokyo, Japan to play 2 games against the New Jersey Nets. Remember, Shaq was a Laker at this time. Orlando's 1st played game against the Nets was November 7, 1996 in the Tokyo Dome.
Orlando beat New Jersey for its 1st NBA win of the season. Funny that David Vaughn was starting over Rony Seikaly. Gerald Wilkins came up big with the 18 points to complement Penny's 23. The third game of season, 2nd in Japan versus Nets was November 8, 1996. It was all Penny that game and another Orlando win. Both contests were extraordinary Tokyo Dome sellouts of 38,639 in each game. That was the 45-37 season that saw a lot of injuries, Brian Hill facing a player mutiny that cost him his job, and Richie Adubato almost pulling off a miraculous 1st round playoff upset.
The last, and most recent international Magic trip, came in October 2007. 3 gamesin Shanghai & Macao, China. There were 2 preseason wins over the Cleveland Cavaliers, and 1 win over 'Team China'. the '07-'08 season was Stan Van Gundy's first season as Magic Head Coach which resulted in a solid 52-30 campaign.
The '11-'12 Orlando Magic have more road games than home games in the months of December, January, February, and April. Orlando has 17 games where the opponent is coming off of 2 days rest. That's most in the NBA. Kings only have 7 games, and the Raptors with a league low of 6 games. Upon closer look though, it's not that bad.
Considering how reasonable the Orlando Magic's schedule is, all Magic fans should pray this Lockout ends pronto. Oh yeah, our city also does have the All-Star Weekend on the line too. Orlando could use that money and popularity boost.
Here's a nifty NBA rest tool for this upcoming season: