Orlando Magic schedule 2013: Games against Dwight Howard, Bucks highlight year

USA TODAY Sports

The Orlando Magic will face trade partners from a year ago and beyond, plus some teams that will be fighting them to stay higher up on the NBA's totem pole.

The Orlando Magic are in the rebuilding process, but have gathered some talented young players including Nikola Vucevic, Tobias Harris and Victor Oladipo. Where does that put them in 2013-14? The Magic will be fighting to stay out of the NBA cellar and could make for an entertaining squad even if the record isn't pristine.

Five games to watch

Nov. 13 vs. Milwaukee -- The last time the Magic played against Milwaukee, their trade partner in the J.J. Redick deal of a year ago, former Bucks forward Tobias Harris went off against his old team for 30 points and 19 rebounds in a 113-103 overtime win for Orlando. It was as if Harris was making a point after being stuck to the Milwaukee bench before being traded. Center Nikola Vucevic added 30 points and 20 rebounds in the last game, as well, though the motivation on his end is not quite as obvious.

Dec. 31 vs. Warriors -- The Magic only had winning records against three teams last season. Two of those teams were the Phoenix Suns and Philadelphia 76ers, the squads expected to be in the NBA's cellar this year. The other? The Golden State Warriors, who lost both of their games against Orlando. For whatever reason -- matchups or luck -- there might be reason to pay attention to this one on New Year's Eve.

Feb. 5 vs. Pistons -- It's Orlando's only nationally televised game of the year. The Magic will face an Eastern Conference foe hoping that coupling its young big men with a few free agent pickups will put it back into the competitive playoff picture. Orlando would only hope to be a year or so behind in a similar process.

March 5 vs. Rockets -- It wasn't all that long ago when the Orlando Magic fans were the ones feeling crushed by Dwight Howard. Now, Lakers fans understand the feeling. The former center visits the team that drafted him first overall in 2004 after leaving the Magic for the Lakers -- only to leave the Lakers the next offseason. It's likely Magic fans haven't forgotten.

Any game against the Suns or 76ers -- If the Magic want to stay away from the cellar, they should beat the Suns and Sixers. Then again, if they want to stay in the tanking competition, losing to either team might help them get there. The Magic play Phoenix on Nov. 24 and March 19, and they face Philadelphia Nov. 27, Dec. 3, Feb. 26 and March 2.

Tough tests

In mid-November, Orlando begins a tough month of basketball that includes a back-to-back set against the Miami Heat and games against San Antonio, New York, Houston and Memphis. There are, however, winnable games against Phoenix and Philadelphia in that tough 11-game stretch.

The Magic also play the Pistons, Thunder, Grizzlies and the Pacers twice in a five-game stretch from Feb. 3 through Feb. 12.

Easiest stretches

Ten games from Jan. 17 through Feb. 2 should provide the young Magic a chance to grow their confidence. Orlando plays a series of non-elite-level teams such as Boston, Charlotte, Toronto and New Orleans. There are also games against teams that project as lower-tier playoff squads like the Lakers, Hawks and Pistons. Aside from a game against the Brooklyn Nets, it should be a reasonable few weeks.

And from March 19 through April 5, the Magic have another easier stretch with games against Phoenix, Utah, Charlotte and Cleveland. Orlando's tougher games during that span come against the Lakers, Raptors, Timberwolves and Trail Blazers.

Important schedule facts

Back-to-backs: 18

Season opener: Oct. 29 at Indiana

Home opener: Nov. 1 vs. Pelicans

Longest road trip: Six games (Dec. 2-11)

Longest homestand: Six games (Dec. 18-31)

2013-14 schedule

OCTOBER
@ Indiana Tuesday, October 29 2013 7:00 PM EDT coverage
@ Minnesota Wednesday, October 30 2013 8:00 PM EDT coverage
NOVEMBER
New Orleans Friday, November 01 2013 7:00 PM EDT coverage
Brooklyn Sunday, November 03 2013 6:00 PM EST coverage
Los Angeles Clippers Wednesday, November 06 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
Boston Friday, November 08 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ Atlanta Saturday, November 09 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
@ Boston Monday, November 11 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
Milwaukee Wednesday, November 13 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
Dallas Saturday, November 16 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
Miami Wednesday, November 20 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ Miami Saturday, November 23 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
Phoenix Sunday, November 24 2013 6:00 PM EST coverage
@ Atlanta Tuesday, November 26 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
Philadelphia Wednesday, November 27 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
San Antonio Friday, November 29 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
DECEMBER
@ Washington Monday, December 02 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ Philadelphia Tuesday, December 03 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ New York Friday, December 06 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
@ Houston Sunday, December 08 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ Memphis Monday, December 09 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
@ Charlotte Wednesday, December 11 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
Cleveland Friday, December 13 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ Oklahoma City Sunday, December 15 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ Chicago Monday, December 16 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
Utah Wednesday, December 18 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
Sacramento Saturday, December 21 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
New York Monday, December 23 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
Detroit Friday, December 27 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
Atlanta Sunday, December 29 2013 6:00 PM EST coverage
Golden State Tuesday, December 31 2013 5:00 PM EST coverage
JANUARY
@ Cleveland Thursday, January 02 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
Miami Saturday, January 04 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ Los Angeles Clippers Monday, January 06 2014 10:30 PM EST coverage
@ Portland Wednesday, January 08 2014 10:00 PM EST coverage
@ Sacramento Friday, January 10 2014 10:00 PM EST coverage
@ Denver Saturday, January 11 2014 9:00 PM EST coverage
@ Dallas Monday, January 13 2014 8:30 PM EST coverage
Chicago Wednesday, January 15 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
Charlotte Friday, January 17 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
Boston Sunday, January 19 2014 6:00 PM EST coverage
@ Brooklyn Tuesday, January 21 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
Atlanta Wednesday, January 22 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
Los Angeles Lakers Friday, January 24 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ New Orleans Sunday, January 26 2014 6:00 PM EST coverage
@ Detroit Tuesday, January 28 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
@ Toronto Wednesday, January 29 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
Milwaukee Friday, January 31 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
FEBRUARY
@ Boston Sunday, February 02 2014 1:00 PM EST coverage
@ Indiana Monday, February 03 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
Detroit Wednesday, February 05 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
Oklahoma City Friday, February 07 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
Indiana Sunday, February 09 2014 6:00 PM EST coverage
Memphis Wednesday, February 12 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ Milwaukee Tuesday, February 18 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
@ Cleveland Wednesday, February 19 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
New York Friday, February 21 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ Toronto Sunday, February 23 2014 6:00 PM EST coverage
@ Washington Tuesday, February 25 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ Philadelphia Wednesday, February 26 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
MARCH
@ Miami Saturday, March 01 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
Philadelphia Sunday, March 02 2014 6:00 PM EST coverage
Houston Wednesday, March 05 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ San Antonio Saturday, March 08 2014 8:30 PM EST coverage
@ Milwaukee Monday, March 10 2014 8:00 PM EDT coverage
Denver Wednesday, March 12 2014 7:00 PM EDT coverage
Washington Friday, March 14 2014 7:00 PM EDT coverage
@ Golden State Tuesday, March 18 2014 10:30 PM EDT coverage
@ Phoenix Wednesday, March 19 2014 10:00 PM EDT coverage
@ Utah Saturday, March 22 2014 9:00 PM EDT coverage
@ Los Angeles Lakers Sunday, March 23 2014 9:30 PM EDT coverage
Portland Tuesday, March 25 2014 7:00 PM EDT coverage
Charlotte Friday, March 28 2014 7:00 PM EDT coverage
Toronto Sunday, March 30 2014 6:00 PM EDT coverage
APRIL
Cleveland Wednesday, April 02 2014 7:00 PM EDT coverage
@ Charlotte Friday, April 04 2014 7:00 PM EDT coverage
Minnesota Saturday, April 05 2014 7:00 PM EDT coverage
Brooklyn Wednesday, April 09 2014 7:00 PM EDT coverage
Washington Friday, April 11 2014 7:00 PM EDT coverage
@ Brooklyn Sunday, April 13 2014 6:00 PM EDT coverage
@ Chicago Monday, April 14 2014 8:00 PM EDT coverage
Indiana Wednesday, April 16 2014 8:00 PM EDT coverage
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