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NBA schedule release: Wizards to play 18 games on national TV in 2017-18

NBA: Playoffs-Washington Wizards at Atlanta Hawks Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time in a long time, the schedule is out and the Wizards are one of the NBA's biggest features.

They'll play on national TV 18 times this season, including their home opener at Capital One Arena against the 76ers and a Christmas day game against the Celtics. The Wizards will have 10 games on ESPN and 7 games on TNT. The Christmas day game will be played on ABC.

Quietly, the Wizards organization and their fans have been clamoring for more nationally televised games over the last few seasons as John Wall and Bradley Beal have continued their rise. This season they’ll get their wish.

When will they play on National TV?

  • October 18 at 7 p.m. vs. the 76ers on ESPN
  • October 25 at 10:30 p.m. vs. Lakers on ESPN
  • November 3 at 7 p.m. vs. Cavaliers on ESPN
  • December 25 at 5:30 p.m. at Celtics on ABC
  • January 5 at 9:30 p.m. at Grizzlies on ESPN
  • January 19 at 8:00 p.m. at Pistons on ESPN
  • January 25 at 8:00 p.m. at Thunder on TNT
  • February 6 at 8:00 p.m. at 76ers on ESPN
  • February 8 at 8:00 p.m. vs Celtics on TNT
  • February 22 at 8:00 p.m. at Cavaliers on TNT
  • February 25 at 8:00 p.m. vs. 76ers on ESPN
  • February 27 at 8:00 p.m. at Bucks on TNT
  • February 28 at 8:00 p.m. vs. Warriors on ESPN
  • March 2 at 8:00 p.m. vs. Raptors on ESPN
  • March 14 at 8:00 p.m. at Celtics on ESPN
  • March 21 at 7:00 p.m. at Spurs on ESPN
  • April 5 at 8:00 p.m. at Cavaliers on TNT
  • April 10 at 8:00 p.m. vs. Boston on TNT

When is the first rematch against the Celtics?

The Wizards will get their first shot at the Celtics on Christmas day. All four of the Wizards games against the Celtics will be nationally televised this season, so the stakes will be high. The matchup could very well have playoff implications and they may be jockeying for position each time.

When will the Wizards host DeMarcus Cousins and the Pelicans?

For those of you on the #Boogie2DC train, the Wizards will see the Pelicans for the first time in at home on December 19 at 7:00 p.m. in Capital One Arena. They won’t play again until March when the Wizards visit New Orleans, so there will be lots of time in between for some recruiting.

When are the Warriors coming to town?

The Warriors will visit Capital One Arena for the first time on February 28, which is a year to the day the Wizards spoiled Kevin Durant’s first trip to his hometown as a Warrior. They see them first in October on the 27th, but the February game will be nationally televised.

When are the big road trips?

The Wizards have three road trips of at least four games this season and will have one five game road trip this year. The first comes in October where they’ll see the Nuggets, Lakers, Warriors and Kings on an early-season West coast trip. Next, in December, they’ll travel to Utah, Portland, Phoenix and Los Angeles to see the Clippers from December 3 to December 9.

Their biggest road trip of the season will be in January where they’ll travel from Charlotte to Detroit to Dallas to Oklahoma City to Atlanta from the 17th to the 27th. They do have a rough patch from November to December where they’ll play 11 of 14 games on the road from November 15 to December 13, but luckily for Washington the schedule is spaced out and a handful of games are on the weekend.

Plus, unlike last season, the Wizards will have plenty of home games on the back end of their schedule with the front end of it loaded with road trips. If the Wizards can come out of that with a healthy record, they should be a shoe-in for a high seed come April.

How many back-to-backs will there be this season?

The Wizards will be playing 15 this season, after playing 16 last season. The drop is part of a league-wide effort to better manage player fatigue and discourage teams from resting players who do not have injuries, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

In a memo given to teams this week, the league outlined how it hopes to reduce the stresses of travel and give players a chance to recover more than in the past. This is a proactive measure aimed at both player safety and to reduce the number of games in which teams rest healthy players.

After a series of high-profile players didn't play in major matchups last season, the new schedule protects key national television matchups to make sure teams aren't playing on back-to-back nights.

Washington was one of the few contending teams who did not rest players during the course of the regular season, save for a couple at the end of the season once the Wizards were locked in as the fourth seed.

Back-to-backs were a struggle for the team last season, since the team had to rely on their starters more than other contenders. This season’s changes will give the team more opportunities to rest, but at the same time, it means their opposition is more likely to be well-rested and at full strength. We’ll see if that works out in Washington’s favor or not during the course of the season.