The Heat's 2011-12 schedule in color

Want an informative, quick look at the Heat's 2011-12 schedule?

We've got you covered.

Here's a visualization of the 2011-12 Heat schedule. The dates were released by the NBA Tuesday night.

What does it tell you?

A few things. First, the bookkeeping stuff. The dates, locations, times, and opponents. Go put that stuff on your calendar. It's all there.

But more interestingly, this visualization gives us a handy guide to the Heat's brutal stretches and cakewalks. How did I do it? By calculating each Heat opponent's win percentage from last season and running a trailing five-game average of that win percentage (you can find it there in that last column marked "WPct5G.") This is strictly looking at last season's record and does not consider days rest and location. These things matter. But these things are trickier to calculate. For now, this is what I have for you.

This isn't a perfect measure of schedule difficulty -- far from it. But it's still fun to look at. The teams will look very different from now and when the season starts on Dec. 25. For instance, the Dallas Mavericks could start Tyson Chandler at the center position. They could not. They could start, say, Deron Williams at the point guard position. They could not. They could start Ian Mahinmi at shooting guard ... well, now I'm getting carried away. You get the point; things will change.

It's fairly simple: The better the opponent, the redder the cell. The rougher the stretch, the redder the next cell. If it's a cakewalk opponent or stretch, it's green.

Heat schedule 1Tom Haberstroh/ESPN.com

Some quick impressions:

  • The Heat potentially have a rough, ROUGH March and April. There's a lot of basketball orange over there. See that .607 spot in the beginning of April? It's the end of a stretch featuring Boston, Philadelphia, Oklahoma City, Memphis, Detroit, Boston again and then finishing up in Chicago. Silver lining? All at home except for that capper in the Windy City.

  • The Heat's cushiest month? Probably February. There's a lot of green there. Of course, there's a back-to-back-to-back tucked in, but it's against Atlanta, Milwaukee and Indiana. Could be worse.

  • Not a tough finish. New Jersey could be much better, but they'll finish the season with four of their final seven games coming against Washington, New Jersey and Toronto. Looks like a recipe to rest the Big Three for playoffs.

  • Notice the colors in the home stands and road trips. First couple road trips are not terrifying but the ones on the back end of the schedule look tough.

  • Colors are cool.

We'll have more schedule analysis on the way, which will take a deeper look at the Heat's slate of back-to-backs, back-to-back-to-backs and other quirky parts of the schedule.

But for now, enjoy.