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NBA releases 2019-20 schedule for defending champion Toronto Raptors

For 29 NBA teams, their schedules include games against the defending NBA Champions. The Toronto Raptors are not one of those teams.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Toronto Raptors Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Exhale! You’ve made it. You can now plan your vacations / flights / off-days in preparation for the 2019-20 NBA season. The complete schedule has been released!

Here are the details for your defending champion Toronto Raptors:

The Raptors will kick off the NBA season - as defending champions customarily do - by receiving their championship rings. That news broke last week, so you already had October 22 circled on your calendar, as Zion Williamson makes his debut in Scotiabank Arena.

The NBA wasted no time reuniting the Raptors with the two biggest Free Agent departures - Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green - in an early West Coast road trip. On November 10, the Raptors visit Lebron James, Anthony Davis, and Green. Ironically, Toronto will finally see Leonard on court for the second game of a back-to-back.....except he’ll be suiting up for the opponent, Los Angeles Clippers.

Toronto will host its first Christmas Day game, kicking off the annual 5-game slate with a visit from the Boston Celtics.

On January 12, DeMar DeRozan pays his only visit to Toronto. Nothing to see there. Don’t bother wasting your money on that game.

March promises to be a month of reunions. March 5 will be an NBA Finals rematch, as the Raptors pay their first visit to the Golden State Warriors’ new home. 11 days later, the Warriors fly north of the border to renew hostilities. On March 24, Danny Green and the aforementioned Lakers pay their only visit to Scotiabank Arena. March closes out with a home-and-home on March 28 & 30 with the Memphis Grizzlies. Jonas Valanciunas and Bruno Caboclo will be receiving warm ovations from the SBA crowd - and possibly a championship ring for one of them (poor Bruno)!

In addition to the actual games, the NBA made some considerable changes to the schedule - friendly to the players AND fans. Majority of National TV double-headers have been moved to earlier time slots (from 7/9:30 pm ET or 7:30/10 pm ET instead of 8/10:30 pm ET) - which is great news for us on the East Coast. Also, back-to-back games are at the lowest they’ve ever been, from approximately 13 last season to 12 this season for each team (on average).

For Toronto, their busiest month is December (16 games), which also doubles as their busiest home month (11 games). That is followed by their second-busiest month, January (15 games), also doubling as their busiest road month (10 games).

Keep your Wednesdays open because a large portion of Toronto’s schedule (18 games) are on hump day.

Toronto has 11 US National TV games (down from 15 last season). For the nit-pickers, there are 13 teams with more national games, including the Kevin Durant-less Brooklyn Nets and the Dallas Mavericks.

The Raptors have 13 back-to-backs next season. Last season, Toronto was one of the best teams at the back-end of back-to-backs — you know, the games Kawhi sat — ranking 1st in win % (.750%) and 3rd in Net Rating.