Brooklyn Nets schedule 2013: Ready to challenge the contenders

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Brooklyn should be ready to develop an identit behind newcomers Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.

Brooklyn had a roster full of big names last season, but it was missing the winning ingredients. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett join the Nets for 2013-14 with the goal of teaching talent how to win.

The Nets flopped in the first round of last year's playoffs against an undermanned Chicago Bulls squad that had the very fight Brooklyn is looking for this time around. Because of the additions of Pierce and Garnett and a likelihood they follow through in bringing an edge to a team that includes All-Stars Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson, Brooklyn seems bound to create a few more enemies. Across the river in Manhattan, they already have.

Five games to watch

Nov. 1 vs. Heat -- If Brooklyn wants to call itself one of the NBA's big boys, it'll have to make a statement against the defending champs. Pierce and Garnett have a history against James and company themselves, but how the Nets perform against the Heat overall will be sure to dictate the playoff storylines. It all starts in the teams' first meeting.

Nov. 16 at Clippers -- The Clippers are the Western Conference version of the Nets, the squad filled to the brim with talent, but learning how to play postseason basketball. And like the Nets, the influence of a former Celtic is also in Los Angeles in the form of head coach Doc Rivers.

Dec. 5 vs. Knicks -- Upon arriving in Brooklyn, Pierce was quick to announce his distaste for the New York Knicks. A war of words has already begun in the Battle of the Boroughs with Raymond Felton and J.R. Smith responding to Pierce's edgy comments. The Dec. 5 matchup is only the first meeting of what should be an even more intense series between the two teams -- it's also coach Jason Kidd's first game against his old team. The Knicks and Nets also meet on April 2, April 15 and Jan. 20.

Dec. 25 vs. Bulls -- Chicago has Derrick Rose back for the season, and the Nets have a bone to pick after falling to the injury-riddled Bulls this past postseason. Among the steps in building a postseason style of toughness will be using the first-round series loss to Chicago as motivation. Christmas Day will be a big one for Kidd's team.

Jan. 26 vs. Celtics -- This is the game everyone has circled on their calendars; Garnett and Pierce return to Boston for the first of two times this season. The ovation for the two former Celtics stars should be special. While the current Celtics likely don't pose much of a threat to the Nets, the fans should greatly appreciate everything the two future Hall of Fame inductees did for the franchise.

Tough tests

In order, the Nets have a seven-game road swing starting Feb. 13 against the Bulls, Jazz, Warriors, Lakers, Blazers, Nuggets and Bucks. The Jazz and Bucks could be considered the only teams that should be below .500 at that point. And after the road trip, Brooklyn returns home to face Chicago and Memphis.

Easiest stretches

From March 15 through the end of the season, Brooklyn plays 19 games, but only four -- Miami, Houston and twice New York -- against teams that should be considered locks to make the playoffs. The stretch includes two games each against the Charlotte Bobcats and Orlando Magic as well as contests against rebuilding Phoenix and Boston.

Important schedule facts

Back-to-backs: 20

Season opener: Oct. 30 at Cleveland

Home opener: Nov. 1 vs. Heat

Longest road trip: Seven games (Feb. 13 - March 1)

Longest homestand: Four games (Jan. 4-10)

2013-14 schedule

OCTOBER
@ Cleveland Wednesday, October 30 2013 7:00 PM EDT coverage
NOVEMBER
Miami Friday, November 01 2013 8:00 PM EDT coverage
@ Orlando Sunday, November 03 2013 6:00 PM EST coverage
Utah Tuesday, November 05 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
@ Washington Friday, November 08 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
Indiana Saturday, November 09 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
@ Sacramento Wednesday, November 13 2013 10:00 PM EST coverage
@ Phoenix Friday, November 15 2013 9:00 PM EST coverage
@ Los Angeles Clippers Saturday, November 16 2013 10:30 PM EST coverage
Portland Monday, November 18 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
@ Charlotte Wednesday, November 20 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ Minnesota Friday, November 22 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
Detroit Sunday, November 24 2013 2:00 PM EST coverage
@ Toronto Tuesday, November 26 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
Los Angeles Lakers Wednesday, November 27 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
@ Houston Friday, November 29 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
@ Memphis Saturday, November 30 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
DECEMBER
Denver Tuesday, December 03 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
New York Thursday, December 05 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ Milwaukee Saturday, December 07 2013 8:30 PM EST coverage
Boston Tuesday, December 10 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
Los Angeles Clippers Thursday, December 12 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
@ Detroit Friday, December 13 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
Philadelphia Monday, December 16 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
Washington Wednesday, December 18 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
@ Philadelphia Friday, December 20 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
Indiana Monday, December 23 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
Chicago Wednesday, December 25 2013 12:00 PM EST coverage
Milwaukee Friday, December 27 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
@ Indiana Saturday, December 28 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ San Antonio Tuesday, December 31 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
JANUARY
@ Oklahoma City Thursday, January 02 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
Cleveland Saturday, January 04 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
Atlanta Monday, January 06 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
Golden State Wednesday, January 08 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
Miami Friday, January 10 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
@ Toronto Saturday, January 11 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ Atlanta Thursday, January 16 2014 3:00 PM EST coverage
@ New York Monday, January 20 2014 2:30 PM EST coverage
Orlando Tuesday, January 21 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
Dallas Friday, January 24 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
@ Boston Sunday, January 26 2014 6:30 PM EST coverage
Toronto Monday, January 27 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
Oklahoma City Friday, January 31 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
FEBRUARY
@ Indiana Saturday, February 01 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
Philadelphia Monday, February 03 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
San Antonio Thursday, February 06 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
@ Detroit Friday, February 07 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
New Orleans Sunday, February 09 2014 6:00 PM EST coverage
Charlotte Wednesday, February 12 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
@ Chicago Thursday, February 13 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
@ Utah Wednesday, February 19 2014 9:00 PM EST coverage
@ Golden State Saturday, February 22 2014 10:30 PM EST coverage
@ Los Angeles Lakers Sunday, February 23 2014 9:00 PM EST coverage
@ Portland Wednesday, February 26 2014 10:00 PM EST coverage
@ Denver Thursday, February 27 2014 10:30 PM EST coverage
MARCH
@ Milwaukee Saturday, March 01 2014 8:30 PM EST coverage
Chicago Monday, March 03 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
Memphis Wednesday, March 05 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
@ Boston Friday, March 07 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
Sacramento Sunday, March 09 2014 6:00 PM EDT coverage
Toronto Monday, March 10 2014 7:30 PM EDT coverage
@ Miami Wednesday, March 12 2014 7:00 PM EDT coverage
@ Washington Saturday, March 15 2014 7:00 PM EDT coverage
Phoenix Monday, March 17 2014 7:30 PM EDT coverage
Charlotte Wednesday, March 19 2014 7:30 PM EDT coverage
Boston Friday, March 21 2014 7:30 PM EDT coverage
@ Dallas Sunday, March 23 2014 7:30 PM EDT coverage
@ New Orleans Monday, March 24 2014 8:00 PM EDT coverage
@ Charlotte Wednesday, March 26 2014 7:00 PM EDT coverage
Cleveland Friday, March 28 2014 7:30 PM EDT coverage
Minnesota Sunday, March 30 2014 6:00 PM EDT coverage
APRIL
Houston Tuesday, April 01 2014 8:00 PM EDT coverage
@ New York Wednesday, April 02 2014 7:00 PM EDT coverage
Detroit Friday, April 04 2014 7:30 PM EDT coverage
@ Philadelphia Saturday, April 05 2014 7:30 PM EDT coverage
@ Miami Tuesday, April 08 2014 8:00 PM EDT coverage
@ Orlando Wednesday, April 09 2014 7:00 PM EDT coverage
Atlanta Friday, April 11 2014 7:30 PM EDT coverage
Orlando Sunday, April 13 2014 6:00 PM EDT coverage
New York Tuesday, April 15 2014 8:00 PM EDT coverage
@ Cleveland Wednesday, April 16 2014 8:00 PM EDT coverage
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