There are other complicating factors (days rest, injuries, etc.), but here’s a chart sorting NBA teams by the two most important elements of a schedule – opponent quality and location – for the rest of the season:
- Top right: Good opponents, more road games
- Top left: Bad opponents, more road games
- Bottom right: Good opponents, more home games
- Bottom left: Bad opponets, more home games
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A few observations:
- Western Conference teams, because they play each other, face much better opponents than Eastern Conference teams.
- The Toronto Raptors, who are already 28-24 and third in the East, have the NBA’s easiest remaining schedule – by far.
- The Houston Rockets, who are 36-17 and third in the West, arguably have the hardest remaining schedule, though the home-road split tilts the difficulty more than opponent quality.
- The Detroit Pistons will have a tough time cracking the playoffs. They’re a half game out, and they have the East’s hardest remaining schedule.
- The Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks both face interesting roads. The Lakers play extremely tough opponents, but they’re mostly in Los Angeles. The Knicks, on the other hand, are mostly on the road, but they face relatively bad opponents.