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VOL. 131 | NO. 161 | Friday, August 12, 2016

Grizzlies to Open Season Oct. 26 at Home vs. Minnesota

NBA Moves Grizz's MLK Day Game to Sunday Night and ESPN

By Don Wade

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The NBA released the 2016-17 regular season schedule and while it gave the Grizzlies an intriguing home opener and a packed December with 11 home games, it moved the Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Game to the preceding Sunday night and hit Memphis with 17 sets of back-to-back games (34 games total).

The Grizzlies will begin their quest for a franchise-record seventh straight trip to the NBA Playoffs against the Timberwolves and 2015-16 NBA Rookie of the Year Karl-Anthony Towns at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 26 at FedExForum.

The Grizzlies’ Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration Weekend will, for the first time, not include a game on MLK Day. The NBA moved the game to Sunday night, Jan. 15, but the game against Dwyane Wade and the Chicago Bulls will be carried by ESPN; the game tips at 8 p.m. Then on Monday, Jan. 16 there will be a Martin Luther King Jr. Grizzlies Day of Service featuring Grizzlies’ players, coaches and staff in the community.

In total, Memphis will be featured on national television nine times this season (twice on TNT, three times on ESPN and four times on NBA TV), including a home contest against 2015-16 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs on Monday, Feb. 6 at 8:30 p.m. at FedExForum. The complete Grizzlies local television schedule on FOX Sports Southeast will be released at a later date.

The Grizzlies will play six of their first eight games at home, including a game with Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday, Nov. 4, before playing six of the next seven on the road leading into Thanksgiving Day. After Thanksgiving, Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale will lead Memphis into a home-and-home series with his former team, the Miami Heat, on Friday, Nov. 25 at FedExForum and Saturday, Nov. 26 at American Airlines Arena.

The Grizzlies will play 11 of their 41 regular season home games in the month of December, setting a Memphis-era record for home games in a single month. During the month of December, fans can get a glimpse of the broad changes across the NBA landscape, as the Grizzlies host D’Angelo Russell and the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday, Dec. 3; 2016 No. 1 overall draft pick Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday, Dec. 6; 2015-16 NBA MVP Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors on Saturday, Dec. 10; and Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday, Dec. 29.

Other home December highlights include visits by Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday, Dec. 8; LeBron James and the 2015-16 NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, Dec. 14; DeMarcus Cousins and the Sacramento Kings on Friday, Dec. 16 (not to mention the return of former Grizz coach Dave Joerger); and James Harden and the Houston Rockets on Friday, Dec. 23.

Memphis will play a total of four four-game home stands, including an eight-day stretch from April 5-12 to close the regular season. The Grizzlies’ longest road trip of the season will run for six games from Jan. 27-Feb. 4, which ties the club’s longest road trip since relocating to Memphis in 2001 and is its longest since a six-game stretch from March 24-April 1, 2007. Overall, the Grizzlies will travel a total distance of 45,582 miles this season.

Memphis will play 20 of its 41 home games on the weekend (eight on Friday, six on Saturday and six on Sunday) and will play 17 back-to-back sets (11 home games; 23 road games) with seven instances of both games being played on the road.

To see the full schedule, go to http://www.nba.com/grizzlies/schedule/.

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