Inspecting strength of schedule

January will be good to the Nuggets, who begin a stretch with 15 of 18 games at home. Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images

One of the basic tenets of the NBA season is that the schedule evens out. Sure, a team in the West might face a slightly more difficult slate than one in the East, but over 82 games, everybody gets 41 home games and 41 away, and everybody plays each team at least twice. That means 58 of the 82 games are exactly the same; the differences in the other 24 need to be pretty huge to make much of a difference in the final result.