Washington Wizards schedule 2013: Difficulty peaks early in D.C.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Wizards will be challenged early this year while they integrate the recently acquired Marcin Gortat.

Hoping to reach the postseason for the first time in five years, the Washington Wizards couldn't help but make things complicated. With early injuries to Emeka Okafor and Chris Singleton clouding the team's plans just weeks before the season, answers are still being worked on by Randy Wittman and the rest of his coaching staff.

Considering all that, the schedule could be a bit kinder to the Wizards. While the general prognosis for the team's 2013-14 slate isn't too bad, the first few weeks of action should be challenging for a team trying to integrate a new starting center.

Luckily for the Wizards, things appear to get easier after that first month. The schedule softens a good deal around the holiday season, plus a lengthy homestand in January could give fans a chance to see the team finally hitting its stride.

Five games to watch

Nov. 3 at Heat -- What better way to gauge where Washington is early in the season than a road matchup against the league's defending champions? After a relatively easy start to the season with games against Phiadelphia and Detroit, the Wiz head to South Beach for an evening with LeBron and company.

Dec. 13 at Hawks -- Last season, the Wizards didn't win their first road contest until Dec. 11. By this time, Washington will have played 10 games away from Verizon Center, including five against Detroit, Philly, Cleveland, Toronto and Milwaukee, respectively. The Wiz can't afford to repeat and enter Atlanta struggling on the road.

Feb. 7. vs. Cavaliers -- The Wizards' only nationally televised game of the season comes in early February against Kyrie Irving and the Cavs (no, NBA TV doesn't count). Broadcast on ESPN, it could also be a matchup with postseason implications assuming both teams stay relatively healthy.

March 3 vs. Grizzlies -- Last time the Grizzlies came to D.C., John Wall exploded for a career-high 48 points in arguably the best performance of his career to date. Next time the two teams meet at Verizon Center, we'll see if the point guard can come close to repeating that effort.

Apr. 16 at Celtics -- Considering the uncertainty surrounding the Wizards' season, who knows when we'll really know their postseason destiny? The regular season finale in Boston could end up being pretty important, though, especially if the Celtics are similarly on the fringe of a low seed.

Tough tests

The Wizards have a consistently challenging schedule in the first month with 10 of 17 games on the road, but the first really brutal stretch comes in mid-January. Starting on Jan. 10, Washington will play a five-game stretch against Indiana, Miami, Houston and Chicago (twice), the kind of stretch that could easily jumpstart a nasty losing streak.

Things only temporarily ease up from there, too, as a road trip starting on Jan. 24 signals another tough stretch for the team. In less than two weeks, the Wizards will play road games against Phoenix, Utah, Golden State and the L.A. Clippers before heading home to play OKC, Portland and San Antonio. That sequence will be as big a test as any.

Important schedule facts

Back-to-backs: 20

Season opener: Oct. 30 at Pistons

Home opener: Nov. 1 vs. 76ers

Longest road trip: 4 games (three times)

Longest homestand: 5 games (two times)

October
@ Detroit Wednesday, October 30 2013 7:30 PM EDT coverage
November
Philadelphia Friday, November 01 2013 7:00 PM EDT coverage
@ Miami Sunday, November 03 2013 6:00 PM EST coverage
@ Philadelphia Wednesday, November 06 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
Brooklyn Friday, November 08 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ Oklahoma City Sunday, November 10 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ Dallas Tuesday, November 12 2013 8:30 PM EST coverage
@ San Antonio Wednesday, November 13 2013 8:30 PM EST coverage
Cleveland Saturday, November 16 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
Minnesota Tuesday, November 19 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ Cleveland Wednesday, November 20 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ Toronto Friday, November 22 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
New York Saturday, November 23 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
Los Angeles Lakers Tuesday, November 26 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ Milwaukee Wednesday, November 27 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
@ Indiana Friday, November 29 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
Atlanta Saturday, November 30 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
December
Orlando Monday, December 02 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
Milwaukee Friday, December 06 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
Denver Monday, December 09 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ Atlanta Friday, December 13 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
Los Angeles Clippers Saturday, December 14 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ New York Monday, December 16 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
@ Brooklyn Wednesday, December 18 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
@ Boston Saturday, December 21 2013 1:00 PM EST coverage
@ Minnesota Friday, December 27 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
Detroit Saturday, December 28 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ Detroit Monday, December 30 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
January
Dallas Wednesday, January 01 2014 6:00 PM EST coverage
Toronto Friday, January 03 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
Golden State Sunday, January 05 2014 6:00 PM EST coverage
@ Charlotte Tuesday, January 07 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ New Orleans Wednesday, January 08 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
@ Indiana Friday, January 10 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
Houston Saturday, January 11 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ Chicago Monday, January 13 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
Miami Wednesday, January 15 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
Chicago Friday, January 17 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
Detroit Saturday, January 18 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
Philadelphia Monday, January 20 2014 2:00 PM EST coverage
Boston Wednesday, January 22 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ Phoenix Friday, January 24 2014 9:00 PM EST coverage
@ Utah Saturday, January 25 2014 9:00 PM EST coverage
@ Golden State Tuesday, January 28 2014 10:30 PM EST coverage
@ Los Angeles Clippers Wednesday, January 29 2014 10:30 PM EST coverage
February
Oklahoma City Saturday, February 01 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
Portland Monday, February 03 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
San Antonio Wednesday, February 05 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
Cleveland Friday, February 07 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
Sacramento Sunday, February 09 2014 6:00 PM EST coverage
@ Memphis Tuesday, February 11 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
@ Houston Wednesday, February 12 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
Toronto Tuesday, February 18 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ Atlanta Wednesday, February 19 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
New Orleans Saturday, February 22 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ Cleveland Sunday, February 23 2014 6:00 PM EST coverage
Orlando Tuesday, February 25 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ Toronto Thursday, February 27 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
March
@ Philadelphia Saturday, March 01 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
Memphis Monday, March 03 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
Utah Wednesday, March 05 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ Milwaukee Saturday, March 08 2014 8:30 PM EST coverage
@ Miami Monday, March 10 2014 7:30 PM EDT coverage
Charlotte Wednesday, March 12 2014 7:00 PM EDT coverage
@ Orlando Friday, March 14 2014 7:00 PM EDT coverage
Brooklyn Saturday, March 15 2014 7:00 PM EDT coverage
@ Sacramento Tuesday, March 18 2014 10:00 PM EDT coverage
@ Portland Thursday, March 20 2014 10:00 PM EDT coverage
@ Los Angeles Lakers Friday, March 21 2014 10:30 PM EDT coverage
@ Denver Sunday, March 23 2014 5:00 PM EDT coverage
Phoenix Wednesday, March 26 2014 7:00 PM EDT coverage
Indiana Friday, March 28 2014 7:00 PM EDT coverage
Atlanta Saturday, March 29 2014 8:00 PM EDT coverage
@ Charlotte Monday, March 31 2014 7:00 PM EDT coverage
April
Boston Wednesday, April 02 2014 7:00 PM EDT coverage
@ New York Friday, April 04 2014 7:30 PM EDT coverage
Chicago Saturday, April 05 2014 7:00 PM EDT coverage
Charlotte Wednesday, April 09 2014 7:00 PM EDT coverage
@ Orlando Friday, April 11 2014 7:00 PM EDT coverage
Milwaukee Saturday, April 12 2014 7:00 PM EDT coverage
Miami Monday, April 14 2014 7:00 PM EDT coverage
@ Boston Wednesday, April 16 2014 8:00 PM EDT coverage
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