The NBA released the 2017-2018 schedules for all 30 teams on Monday. Take a look at the some of the most notable matchups the Toronto Raptors have in store this season.
The Raptors kick off their 23rd season in franchise history at home on Oct. 19 against the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls, who barely made the playoffs last season, traded away superstar Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves this summer and might be on the outside looking in this season. However, Toronto has always had trouble against the Bulls, losing two of three games against the team from the Windy City last season. The opener is a full week earlier than last year's first game as the league lengthened its season in a effort to avoid crowding in the schedule.
Early Road Swing
The Raptors will get an early test in 2017-18 as they will go on a long, tough West Coast six-game road swing within the first week of the season. After playing their first two games at home, the Raptors will travel to San Antonio to battle the Spurs on Oct. 23 followed by Stephen Curry and the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors two nights later on Oct. 25. On Oct. 27, they'll face one of the most intriguing rookies this year in No. 2 overall pick Lonzo Ball. No word yet if his controversial father LaVar will be in attendance. The second half of the trip features games against the Portland Trail Blazers (Oct. 30), Denver Nuggets (Nov. 1) and finally the Utah Jazz (Nov. 3).
Toronto should be pretty used to the road early on as 20 of their first 33 games will be played away from the Air Canada Centre.
The New-Look Rockets
The Houston Rockets added All-Star point guard Chris Paul in the off-season with the hopes of competing with the Warriors in the Wild West. The Raps will get their first look at the new-look squad on Nov. 14 at the Toyota Center in Houston. The Rockets travel to Canada on March 9.
It has been evident in the last two postseasons that the Raptors are still not in the same class as the Cleveland Cavaliers. LeBron James and the Cavs swept the Raptors with little effort in the second round last year before making it to the NBA Finals where they lost to the Warriors. If the Raptors want to prove they have what it takes to compete with The King, a solid performance against the Cavaliers on Jan. 11 at the ACC would be a good place to start. Two nights later, Toronto welcomes Golden State to town in what will be another very tough game. Toronto has lost its last six contests against the Oakland team, last beating them on March 2, 2014.
Russell Westbrook is coming off one of the best seasons in NBA history. Now the Most Valuable Player gets to play with Paul George after the Oklahoma City Thunder acquired him from the Indiana Pacers this off-season. It may be a one-and-done type deal as George has shown interest in signing with the Lakers as a free agent next summer, but it will be interesting to see what this team is capable of in 2017-18. Toronto plays them in Oklahoma City on Dec. 27 and in Toronto on Mar. 18.
On Jan. 30, Canadian basketball fans will get to see one of their homegrown talents in person as Toronto native Andrew Wiggins comes to town with his Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Raptors and Boston Celtics should be competing for the top spot in the Atlantic Division all season long, making their four matchups against each other some of the most important on the calendar. The Raptors took the season series last year 3-1, but the Celtics got the last laugh by winning the division by two games.
Nov. 12 - Raptors @ Celtics
Feb. 6 - Celtics @ Raptors
Mar. 31 - Raptors @ Celtics
Apr. 4 - Celtics @ Raptors
- The Raptors will play 14 back-to-back games this season and don't have any four games in five nights stretches.
- Toronto will not play on Christmas Day for a 16th straight season with 2001 being the only year they were chosen to play on the holiday.
- They will appear on U.S. national television five times in 2017-18, down from six last season.
- Their longest home stand is four games from Feb. 2-8 against the Trail Blazers, Memphis Grizzlies, Celtics and New York Knicks.