The NBA is about to embark on another unprecedented season amidst the coronavirus pandemic. The league isn’t going back to the bubble concept, but the reduced 72-game schedule is filled with new and interesting twists.
For starters, the NBA is only releasing half of the schedule in case major adjustments need to be made down the road. This gives the league the advantage of postponing games on the fly if an outbreak occurs during the season.
The league is also limiting travel by having teams play multiple games in the same city. That begins for the Kings in the first week of the season when they play a back-to-back at home against the Phoenix Suns.
This is one of nine back-to-backs for the Kings, which is tied for the most by any team in the first half of the season. Sacramento has three home-and-home back-to-backs, four away-away and two home-away sets.
Sacramento has a seven-game homestand beginning on Jan. 6. They’ll host the Bulls, Raptors, Trail Blazers, Pacers, Trail Blazers, Clippers and Pelicans over an 11-day window.
Their longest road trip comes in late January. They’ll play a back-to-back in Memphis before traveling to Orlando, Tampa Bay (Raptors temporary home), Miami and New Orleans. The six-game stretch is over nine days and includes two sets of back-to-backs.
Of the first 38 games, the Kings play 20 at Golden 1 Center and 18 on the road.
The Kings will get their first look at the retooled Houston Rockets that feature John Wall, James Harden and DeMarcus Cousins on Dec. 31 and Jan. 2 at the Toyota Center.
Sacramento plays the Golden State Warriors for the first time on Jan. 4 in San Francisco and they’ll host the Championship Los Angeles Lakers on Mar. 3.
The Kings finish the first 38 games of the schedule Mar. 4 against the Trail Blazers at the Moda Center in Portland.
The Kings will open the season without fans in the building, although supporters have an opportunity to purchase cutouts through the team’s website. According to the Kings’ official press release:
“In accordance with state and local public health guidelines in place to slow the spread of COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution for the health and well-being of the community and valued fans, games will be played at Golden 1 Center without a crowd in attendance to start the 2020-21 season.”
Sacramento does not appear on the national television schedule through the first 38 games of the season, although all games can be seen on NBC Sports California.