Season Opener: Oct. 27 @ New Orleans
The Bucks split the series with New Orleans 1-1 last season, winning big at home and losing in OT in the Big Easy. They were lucky enough to not face Chris Paul in either game, although Darren Collison showed his mettle in Paul's place. The OT loss was a nasty one, with the Bucks taking a lead into the final minute but letting it slip away. Assuming the team is healthy, I think Milwaukee has a good shot at opening the year with a victory, especially given the turmoil in New Orleans over the past few months.
Home Opener: Oct. 30 vs. Charlotte
Another series split (2-2) last year, and another OT loss. Both teams won their home games, but the Bucks came this close to grabbing a game in Charlotte before Stephen Jackson hit a 3-pointer in the final minute of overtime April 2nd. The loss on December 28th was a particular disaster. Mired in a horrible stretch, Bogut and Redd (yes, he did play a couple games last year) were benched for the second half after miserable performances. Charlotte is probably a better team than New Orleans, but they won't have the talent on their roster next year like Milwaukee will (holy crap, did I just say that?).
They certainly won't be as deep, and if they walk into the Bradley Center with a mind to start D.J. Augustine at PG, I will laugh maliciously as Mr. 55 demolishes him.
Incidentally, a computerized D.J. Augustine once lit up my roommate and I in a game of NBA Live, an occurrence that defied all logic and natural laws in the universe. In retaliation, we nerfed all of his in-game ratings to about 15. Sweet Justice.
Nastiest 5-game stretch: Dec. 28 @Chicago, Jan. 1 vs. Dallas, Jan. 4 @Miami, Jan. 5 @Orlando, Jan. 7 vs. Miami
Dear NBA-God, What has our fair city done to offend thee so?
This is absolute murder. Start in Chicago against a retooled Bulls team that should probably be the favorites in the Central and might be the 3rd best team in the East on the second night of a back-to-back. Then it's just a home game against a top-3 Western Conference team stacked with veterans. And then it really gets tough. A road/road back-to-back against the South Beasts and the 2nd best team in the East is probably the most difficult feasiblepairing of games you could find (actually, that's kind of an interesting question in itself - most difficult-yet-realistically-schedule-able pair of games possible?). To wrap it up, Milwaukee will play host to the Heat two days later, just in case they weren't sore enough from their previous run-ins with the Floridians. I really think a 1-4 record would be nice in this stretch, 2-3 would be great, 3-2 amazing, 4-1 miraculous, and 5-0 would almost certainly warrant a segment on PTI in which Michael Wilbon would talk about how the Bucks' deep and talented roster makes such a run unremarkable and Tony Kornheiser would explode. If such a feat were completed, I would skip class for a week to organize Carlos Delfino's congressional campaign.
Easiest, Breeziest 10-game stretch: Jan. 29 - Feb. 14: New Jersey, @LA Clippers, @Phoenix, @Golden State, Detroit, Toronto, @Washington, @Memphis, Indiana, LA Clippers
Aside from Phoenix, none of these teams were in the playoffs last season, and they bring a meager .354 winning percentage in from last year (again, not counting Phoenix). There are three back-to-back pairs, but only one is road/road. Any NBA game is easy to lose, and teams like the Clippers and Nets should be significantly better this year than last, but this is a span of games that could very well see the Bucks go 9-1 if they play to potential. Assuming, of course, they have recovered from getting mauled by that 5-headed hellhound in early January.