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Posted at 07:47 PM ET, 07/26/2012

Wizards have work cut out for them in early part of season

The Washington Wizards began last season by losing a franchise worst eight consecutive games. The early portion of next season’s schedule doesn’t appear particularly kind either, with seven of the Wizards’ first 10 games against teams that made the playoffs.

Washington opens the season on Oct. 30 on the road against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who finished percentage points ahead of the Wizards for third to last place in the Eastern Conference. But after the Cavaliers, Washington has consecutive games against the Boston Celtics, the first at home on Nov. 3 and the next at TD Garden on Nov. 7.

The Celtics advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals and swept four games against the Wizards during the regular season, although this season they’ll be without prolific shooter Ray Allen, who went to the Miami Heat this offseason.

Also in the first 10 games, the Wizards play the Indiana Pacers twice and the Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz and Atlanta Hawks once. The Pacers finished with the third-best record in the East while the Hawks had the conference’s fifth best record. The Mavericks won the NBA title two seasons ago, and the Jazz secured the final playoff berth in the Western Conference after closing last season with five straight victories.

Included in the first 10 games are consecutive back-to-backs: Nov. 9 at home vs. the Milwaukee Bucks and Nov. 10 at Indiana and Nov. 13 at the Charlotte Bobcats and Nov. 14 at Dallas.

The Wizards play the NBA champion Miami Heat on Dec. 4 at Verizon Center in their 15th game of the season, go on the road to play the Houston Rockets and new point guard Jeremy Lin on Dec. 12 and two days later are at home to play the Los Angeles Lakers with former Wizards standout Antawn Jamison and new point guard Steve Nash.

Washington’s final game of 2012 is at the Chicago Bulls on Dec. 29. The Bulls finished first in the East last season but aren’t expected to have All-Star point guard Derrick Rose in the lineup for that game. The 2010-11 league MVP is recovering from knee surgery that’s slated to keep him out most of next season.

The Mavericks come to Verizon Center on New Year’s Day for a 6 p.m. tip-off, and five days later, the Wizards travel for their first road game against Miami. Then in another back-to-back, Washington plays Oklahoma City and NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant on Jan. 7 at Verizon Center.

The Wizards’ longest road trip of the season begins at the Sacramento Kings on Jan. 16 and comprises five games in seven days. The road trip concludes at Utah.

Also from March 18 through 29, Washington plays six of seven games on the road. The only home game in that stretch is March 25 against the Memphis Grizzlies, who finished tied with the Lakers for the third best record in the West.

By  |  07:47 PM ET, 07/26/2012

 
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