The Toronto Raptors will open their 2022-23 NBA season on Oct. 19 at Scotiabank Arena. Their regular season will conclude on April 9 at home against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Here are some things to highlight in the Raptors’ schedule this season.
Facing off against familiar foes
As has become customary, former beloved Raptors — especially those from the 2019 championship team — are likely to receive heroes’ welcomes upon their return to Toronto. If you’re looking to join in on the festivities, here’s a list of notable players and their arrivals back at Scotiabank Arena:
Demar DeRozan: In his second season with the Chicago Bulls, DeRozan is scheduled to pay two visits to Toronto: First on Nov. 6, and then on Feb. 28.
Serge Ibaka: Now with the Milwaukee Bucks, Ibaka is slated to return to Scotiabank Arena on Jan. 4 and the season finale on April 9.
Kawhi Leonard: The 2019 Finals MVP missed all of last season recovering from a partial tear in his right knee. He will, hopefully, be available when his Los Angeles Clippers come to town on Dec. 27.
Kyle Lowry: The return to Toronto for perhaps the most beloved Raptor of all time, and his Miami Heat, will be on Nov. 16 and March 28.
Norman Powell: Now a member of the Clippers, Powell will be accompanying Leonard when Los Angeles visits Toronto on Dec. 27.
Jonas Valanciunas: The well-liked New Orleans Pelicans centre and his team will be visiting on Feb. 23.
January could prove to be a pivotal month
Looking at each individual month of the schedule, January stands out since it features both the longest homestand the team will enjoy as well as the start of its longest road trip.
For six games and 11 days between Jan. 4 and Jan. 14, the Raptors will play in the friendly confines of Scotiabank Arena as they look to kick off the new year with some wind in their sails. The Raptors will face Milwaukee, New York, Portland, Charlotte twice (but not on a back-to-back) and then Atlanta during that period.
Beginning on Jan. 25 and then lasting seven games and 12 days until Feb. 5, the Raptors will be on their longest road swing of the season with stops in Sacramento, Golden State, Portland, Phoenix, Utah, Houston and Memphis.
The contests against Golden State and Portland will be back-to-backs and are one of 12 back-to-back sets the team will play this season (two fewer than last season).
Given the scheduling quirks in January, it could be important month as a means for the Raptors to rack up wins during the homestand and test themselves out on the road still with plenty of runway until the post-season.
Other games of note
Here’s a quick list of other notable games to keep an eye on:
Nov. 23/Dec. 16 — versus Brooklyn: It’s unclear if Kevin Durant will still be a member of the Brooklyn Nets when they make their trips up north, but if he is, that will surely be a scene at Scotiabank Arena.
Nov. 26 — versus Dallas: The NBA’s brightest young star, Luka Doncic, and his Dallas Mavericks are coming to town early in the season. As a bonus, Canadian national team stud Dwight Powell also plays for Dallas.
Dec. 5 — versus Boston: The eighth annual Giants of Africa Game celebrating the life of Nelson Mandela.
Dec. 7 — versus Los Angeles Lakers: LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers make their annual visit to Toronto.
Dec. 18 — versus Golden State: Canadian Andrew Wiggins and the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors make their only trip to the Six.
Dec. 29 — versus Memphis: Raptors fans will be in for a treat as high-flying point guard Ja Morant will make his only trip to Toronto, but more importantly, Canadians Dillon Brooks and Brandon Clarke will be playing on home soil once again.
Jan. 6/Jan. 22 — versus New York: R.J. Barrett and the New York Knicks will be in Toronto in January.
Jan. 8 — versus Portland: Dame time is well and good, but the real attraction with this match is the opportunity to see London, Ont., native Shaedon Sharpe live. The most mysterious pick in the 2022 draft, no one really knows what kind of player he may be.
Feb. 10 — versus Utah: Canada’s Nickeil Alexander-Walker and the Utah Jazz will take on the Raptors in Toronto.
March 14 — versus Denver: Two-time defending MVP Nikola Jokic and Canadian star guard Jamal Murray will be in town with the Denver Nuggets to take on the Raptors.
March 16 — versus Oklahoma City: A game after hosting Murray, the Raptors will invite in another of Canada’s best in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Luguentz Dort when they face off against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
March 22 — versus Indiana: With three Canadians on the Indiana Pacers roster (Oshae Brissett and rookies Bennedict Mathurin and Andrew Nembhard), this Wednesday night in March should be a special one at Scotiabank Arena.
March 24 — versus Detroit: Canadian veterans Kelly Olynyk and Cory Joseph feature on this young, exciting Detroit Pistons team, but the storyline that will likely be on Raptors fans’ minds when the Pistons visit will be if Dwane Casey will, once again, get the best of his former team.
U.S. national television games
Lastly, for those who care about this kind of thing, the Raptors announced they will be on U.S. national television four times (twice on ESPN and twice on TNT). Additionally, Toronto will play on NBATV five times this season.
The Raptors will appear on two more U.S. national television games than last season.