SAN ANTONIO – It's like Christmas in August. The Spurs' 2019-20 regular season schedule was released on Monday. The NBA schedule makers did not give San Antonio many gifts with four long road trips, including a brutal Rodeo Road Trip.
Making the playoffs in a loaded Western Conference will once again be a tall task, but the Spurs have always been up to the challenge. Here are 12 key games to watch this season.
Opener at home against Knicks on Oct. 23
The boo-birds will be out early as Marcus Morris makes his regular season debut for New York after he backed out of a free agent deal with San Antonio this summer. This marks the start of a three-game homestand that includes Davis Bertans’ return with Washington.
Road game at LA Clippers on Halloween
The Spurs get to see Kawhi Leonard and his new cast of Clippers early. This is also the first of back-to-back games with a visit to Golden State a day later at their new arena.
LeBron and the Lakers at home on Nov. 3
LeBron James and his new running mate, Anthony Davis, make their first visit to San Antonio early in the season. Danny Green will also return, now as a member of the Lakers.
Portland at home on Nov. 16
The Blazers are not the most marquee opponent, but this game is relevant because its sandwiched in between six road games early in the year.
Kawhi returns for first time on Nov. 29
Not much else needs to be said. Kawhi Leonard will surely be greeted with boos. Spurs fans don’t forget.
First game against Rockets on Dec. 3
The Spurs meet their I-10 rivals for the first time at home in early December. The revamped Rockets now feature the All-Star tandem of Russell Westbrook and James Harden.
Giannis and Bucks back-to-back
In a weird scheduling quirk, the Spurs will face the Bucks and MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo in back-to-back games in early January.
Utah-Charlotte home game combo
Usually a Jazz-Hornets back-to-back combo in late January doesn’t raise many eyebrows, but have you seen the Rodeo Road Trip schedule? These are probably must wins before the trip.
At Thunder before NBA All-Star break
The eight-game RRT features all Western Conference teams and some title favorites including both LA teams, Denver and Utah. Safe to say OKC before the break might be the most winnable of the bunch.
Denver at home on March 13
A key game sandwiched between a four-game homestand in mid-March. This will be the only time the Nuggets visit San Antonio and both teams will most likely be jockeying for playoff position.
At Golden State on March 29
The Warriors will likely be at full strength with the return of Klay Thompson and pushing for playoff seeding. This game is also in the middle of a five-game road trip with games at Denver and Utah.
At Houston on April 20
The Spurs have on paper a tougher end to the regular season than any other team in the league. That includes two games against the Rockets, Philadelphia and two New Orleans games. At least we get a lot of Zion Williamson twice before wrapping up the season.