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With the calendar about to turn to February here is quick look at the upcoming schedules for a few NBA teams. In the tightened 66-game season format there are great discrepancies in the schedules this year and it will make a big difference in the standings. Here are three losing teams that could move upward in February and three decent teams that could stall this month.
Favorable February Schedules
Detroit Pistons: It has certainly been a tough start to the season for the Pistons but February should bring improvement. The Pistons will play nine of 14 games at home in the month and only two games will be against teams with winning records. They will play several of the worst teams in the NBA including three games with the Nets in addition to games against New Orleans, Washington, Sacramento, Cleveland, Toronto, and Charlotte. The toughest games will all be at home and the Pistons should certainly have opportunities to improve its current 4-17 record.
New Jersey Nets: The Nets have had to battle through one of the toughest slates in the league at this point in the season and by the end of February they could be a lot closer to a .500 team than they currently sit. The schedule ahead is favorable with eight of 14 February games at home and losing teams in five of the first six games of the month. There are some challenging games, facing the Bulls twice as well as road games in Indiana and Dallas but overall the Nets should emerge with an improved record as the team is showing some signs of progress in late January.
Toronto Raptors: Only five February games will be played away from home for the Raptors and while this is a team that has been inconsistent there will be opportunities for success in the next month. Toronto has just four games against winning teams in February and they have several games against some of the worst teams in the league, playing Washington twice as well as hosting Charlotte and Detroit and playing at New Orleans. They do play on consecutive nights three times but they have a stretch of seven straight home games which should help the team recover from a tough start with a road heavy January schedule.
Unfavorable February Schedules
San Antonio Spurs: The Spurs are only a few games above .500 and they have really struggled on the road with a 2-8 record and that could be problematic in February with a stretch of nine straight road games. Six of those nine games will be against winning teams and the aging Spurs will get little rest this month. There are just four home games in February for San Antonio and three of the four will be against difficult opponents, hosting Houston, Oklahoma City, and Chicago. San Antonio does get to play a couple of light foes in the month but games against New Orleans and Toronto will both come after playing the previous day.
Memphis Grizzlies: The Grizzlies may appear to have a favorable path in February with nine of 14 games at home but they will be facing a gauntlet of quality teams. Only four games will be against teams with losing records and two of those games are Boston and Minnesota, two teams just barely under .500 and with the potential to be much better than the record indicates. Atlanta, Oklahoma City, Denver, Indiana, and Philadelphia are on the schedule so there will be games against many of the teams with the best records in the NBA. Memphis also has five sets of back-to-back games on consecutive days in the month.
Milwaukee Bucks: The Bucks had a tough first few weeks of the season and the injury to center Andrew Bogut has not helped the cause. The Bucks should be a better team than the record indicates but things may not improve significantly in the next month. The Bucks recently played the Bulls and the Heat and they will get to play them both twice more in February as well as playing Orlando three times in the span of ten days in the middle of the month. There are some lighter teams mixed into the schedule but having to play so many big games will make Milwaukee vulnerable to an upset and this is a team that has really struggled away from home.