Breaking down the NBA's back-to-back-to-back series

By John Rohde, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Published: January 7, 2012

Wow, who did George Karl make angry? Or is this about the Carmelo Anthony trade last season? Perhaps it's the tattooed Chinese defections and attitudes of Kenyon Martin and J.R. Smith.

BRU-TAL.

Potentially embarrassing BTBTB: Boston Celtics. The aging Celtics don't play their BTBTB until mid-April and will have played 58 games up to that point. Though their opponents are only Toronto, New Jersey and Charlotte, all three games are on the road, and old legs don't travel well.

Three-step double-dip: These teams have two BTBTBs — Atlanta, Denver, Detroit, Indiana, LA Clippers, Minnesota, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, San Antonio and Washington.

Most demanding three-step double-dip: Washington Wizards. The Wizards don't play their first BTBTB until March 24-26. They play their second BTBTB just nine days later from April 4-6.

Plus, they stink.

No worries. The quicker the Wizards play, the quicker they're mathematically eliminated.

Least demanding three-step double-dip: Indiana Pacers. The Pacers open at home against Miami, but their five remaining games are against non-playoff candidates in Cleveland, New Jersey, Washington, Phoenix and Milwaukee.

Road warriors: Minnesota Timberwolves. The Wolves have two BTBTBs and five games are on the road. The lone home game is against Chicago, which had the league's best record last season at 62-20. One of Minnesota's games is on Feb. 29 — Leap Day — which is somewhat akin to playing in the Olympics since you only get to do it once every quadrennial.

Frequent-flier specials: The following teams play an entire BTBTB on the road Boston, Dallas, Detroit, Golden State, LA Clippers, Miami, Minnesota, New Orleans, San Antonio and Utah.

Rivalry week: New York Knicks. From Feb. 2-4, the Knicks host Chicago, play at Boston, then are back home against New Jersey.

I love LA: Minnesota Timberwolves. The Wolves play at the Clippers and Lakers back-to-back. Same hotel, same arena, presumably the same locker room.

I hate LA: Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets face the Clippers once and the Lakers three times in their two BTBTBs.