When I first looked over the Mavericks schedule for this year, my first thoughts were selfish: the Mavericks would not be coming to my hometown of Washington, D.C., Philadelphia is the closest they'll get to me.
We already knew the Mavs' schedule would be tough for a number of reasons.
In order to make sure the standings accurately reflect a team's play, 48 of the 66 games will be in the tougher Western Conference, and 12 games will be against Southwest Division teams, of which all but the Rockets made the playoffs last year.
The Mavericks will also have 18 games on ESPN, ABC or TNT, meaning those opponents will be tough. Except for the Clippers and the Warriors, each team of those 18 will be playoff teams, and 12 of those games are on the road.
Luckily there are no back-to-back-to-backs, but they will have a few long stretches, including a seven games in 10 nights stretch from Dec. 29 to Jan. 7.
UPDATE: Commenter Stephen pointed out below that the Mavericks do have a back-to-back-to-back on March 8, 9 and 10. All three will be on the road against the Suns, Kings and Warriors. That's another tough stretch on the schedule, with travel required after each game and none of the teams is a pushover.
That Mavs have two four-game road trips, the most brutal being from Jan. 16 to 21, where they play the Lakers, Clippers, Jazz and Hornets. The other four-game trip is late in the season against the Warriors, Blazers, Lakers and Jazz from April 12 to 16.
What's the toughest part of the Dallas Mavericks 2011-12 schedule?
Another key stretch will be from Feb. 29 to March 8, when the Mavs will face six teams in nine nights: at Memphis, at New Orleans, home for Utah, at Oklahoma City, home for New York Knicks and at Phoenix.
So the Mavs will have quite the road to a possible repeat, and while they are luckier than some teams, they also are one of the older teams in the league, meaning many games over a short period affects them more.
It won't be easy, but neither is winning one title, let alone a second.