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Charlotte Hornets make NBA return with heavy dose of early home games

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/08/13/21/59/FmofY.Em.138.JPG|205
    David T. Foster, III - dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com
    Hugo, the Charlotte Hornets mascot, gestures toward a monitor prior to the playing of a video presentation during a press conference announcing a plan for the Charlotte Hornets to formally submit a bid to host either the 2017 or 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend, at Time Warner Cable Arena on Tuesday, August 12, 2014.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/06/26/12/16/22x5t.Em.138.jpeg|228
    John D. Simmons - jsimmons@charlotteobserver.com
    The Charlotte Hornets unveiled their new playing floor at Time Warner Cable Arena during a Thursday morning June 26, 2014 press conference. Besides the new Hornets logo at center court the floor features a honeycomb pattern.

The Charlotte Hornets will show off their new name, colors and uniform at home in four of their first six regular-season games.

The NBA schedule, released Wednesday, has the Hornets opening at Time Warner Cable Arena Oct. 29 against the Milwaukee Bucks. Three of their next five are also at home, against the Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks.

The league was expected to have the Hornets at home a lot early to help promote the rebranding from the Bobcats to the Hornets. The NBA approved a switch to the name of Charlotte’s original NBA team, which the now-New Orleans franchise discarded for the Pelicans last season.

After that low-maintenance first 10 days (the Hornets will be off two days between the opener and their second game against the Grizzlies), the travel becomes heavy. The Hornets have a four-game West Coast trip that starts Nov. 9 against the Los Angeles Lakers and ends Nov. 15 at the Golden State Warriors.

The Warriors game is the first of two the first month against former Davidson star Stephen Curry. Curry and the Warriors are at Time Warner Cable Arena Nov. 28. Curry, whose father, Dell, is the Hornets’ all-time leading scorer, plays just once a season in Charlotte.

Some particulars about the 82-game Hornets schedule:

• The Hornets play the most games on Wednesdays (19), followed by Fridays (17) and Saturdays (15). The most home games are Wednesday (13), Saturday (nine) and Friday (seven.)

• The Hornets play 22 sets of games on back-to-back nights. That’s a relatively high number, but that’s partially a reflection of their requesting lots of weekend home games. The then-Bobcats tended not to draw well on other nights. They play a total of four home games this season on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

• The Hornets play 18 of their 41 home games before Jan. 1 and only 11 in January and February. Some factors in that: The NBA is going to a longer All-Star break this season that will have the Hornets off from Feb. 11 through Feb. 20. Also the team annually vacates Time Warner Cable Arena in late-February when the CIAA Tournament comes to town.

• The Hornets have no national television appearances on TNT and two on ESPN. The ESPN dates are both in April against the Toronto Raptors: April 8 in Charlotte and April 15 in Toronto. Since the second of those games is the last game of the regular season, the telecast could get bumped if another matchup is of more consequence in the playoff race.

• The longest road trip of the season is five games starting March 16 in Salt Lake City and finishing March 23 in Chicago.

Some highlights of the home schedule:

• LeBron James’ only appearance in Charlotte with the Cleveland Cavaliers is Jan. 2. It’s a three-game series with the other two games in Cleveland in December and January.

• The reigning champs, the San Antonio Spurs, make their only Charlotte appearance on Jan. 14.

• Reigning league Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder is in Charlotte Feb. 21.

• Former Wake Forest star Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Clippers make their only Charlotte appearance on Nov. 24.

• Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers make their only Charlotte appearance March 3.

Rick Bonnell: (704) 358-5129; @rick_bonnell
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