Breaking Down the C's 2012-13 Schedule

Ray Allen, Paul Pierce

These two won't be wearing the same jersey on Opening Night. Instead, they'll be looking to send each other to an 0-1 record.
Boston Globe/Boston Celtics

BOSTON – It’s time to say sayonara to the brutal, 66-game grind that NBA teams were forced to navigate through a season ago. All is back to normal for the NBA schedule makers.

The league released a full, 82-game schedule Thursday night for each of the 30 teams, including the Boston Celtics. The C’s will open up their regular season on Oct. 30 and play 19 games on national television.

The Celtics managed to get out of their 66-game trek a season ago with 39 victories, which was good enough to take home the Atlantic Division crown for the fifth consecutive season and secure the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. This year, they’ll be looking to push that win total much closer to 60.

A refreshed roster will showcase several new faces as well as many that we’re all very familiar with. The team is likely to break for training camp in late September before opening up its regular season on Oct. 30. If that Oct. 30 game is any indication, you might want to tighten your seatbelt as you take off for this 82-game ride.

Boston will begin its season in the same location that its 2011-12 campaign came to an end – in Miami. The C’s and Heat will collide on Opening Night in a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals. And oh, by the way, some guy named Ray Allen will be sporting a Heat jersey for the very first time against the teammates and coaches he left this summer.

Talk about a thick plot.

That Opening Night game is sure to be a great one, as will many, many more during Boston’s season. Here’s a quick breakdown of some contests you should look out for, as well as some intricacies of the schedule that may not be caught by the naked eye.

Key Games

Friday, Nov. 9 vs. Philadelphia 76ers - The Celtics open up their divisional play against a team they knocked out of the playoffs last season.

Thursday, Nov. 15 at Brooklyn Nets - Brooklyn hosts the C’s for the very first time in the state-of-the-art Barclays Center.

Friday, Nov. 23 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder - Kendrick Perkins and the reigning Western Conference champion Thunder come to town.

Thursday, Dec. 27 at Los Angeles Clippers - After playing a tough game on Christmas Day and then flying across the country, the Celtics are forced to take on a tough Clippers team in the second game of a four-game road trip.

Monday, Jan. 7 at New York Knicks - The Knicks and Celtics will both look very different this season, but they’ll both remain as challengers in the Eastern Conference. This will be the first meeting between the two division foes.

Wednesday, Jan. 16 vs. New Orleans Hornets - If you like drama, tune in to this one. Doc Rivers will coach against his son, Austin, for the very first time live on ESPN.

Friday, Jan. 18 vs. Chicago Bulls - Boston and Chicago face off at a time in which Derrick Rose may be returning from his devastating knee injury.

Sunday, Jan. 27 vs. Miami Heat - Allen makes his return to Boston, playing as a visitor for the first time since the 2006-07 season.

Thursday, Feb. 7 vs. Los Angeles Lakers - The Celtics and Lakers face off for the first time in 2012-13, and it will take place in TD Garden.

Sunday, March 10 at Oklahoma City Thunder - Boston travels to Oklahoma City to take on the reigning Western Conference champs.

Sunday, March 31 at New York Knicks - The C’s and Knicks meet for the second time in five days, a stretch that could play a large role in the conference and divisional standings as the season winds down.

Friday, April 12 at Miami Heat - Miami and Boston meet for the final time in the regular season.

Wednesday, April 17 at Toronto Raptors - The Celtics’ regular season comes to a close on the road, as they take on a divisional opponent in Toronto.

Holiday Games

If you’re looking to see the Celtics during your holiday celebrations, you aren’t going to enjoy this schedule. Boston’s only holiday game this season arrives on Christmas Day, when it will travel to Brooklyn to take on the Nets at noon.

Friendliest Details

We’re going to discount October as a month of this season, as the Celtics play just one regular season game during that month. Of the other five-plus months of basketball, Boston will play more home games than road games in three of them (November, January and April). That has to be a caveat that Rivers and his staff are enjoying as they look over the schedule.

In addition to that friendly fact, the Celtics also will face only two road trips that are longer than three games this season. (And believe it or not, they only have two road trips that are three games long.) One extended trip spans four games from Dec. 25-30, and the other spans five games from Feb. 19-25. Two lengthy trips and two three-game trips are certainly not insurmountable.

Boston’s favorite month will yet again be January, as the C’s will play 10 of their 15 games in the confines of TD Garden. That month will include a season-long, five-game homestand from Jan. 9-18 that will include matchups against Rivers’ son, Austin (Jan. 16), and the Chicago Bulls (Jan. 18).

Back-to-Backs

If you thought the Celtics would avoid an onslaught of back-to-backs during their return to an 82-game schedule, think again. They will have 20 of them during the 2012-13 season. That’s two more than they faced during the 2010-11 season, which was the last time they played a full 82-game schedule.

February will be the most demanding month of the season when it comes to back-to-backs. Rivers and his staff will need to navigate through four of them in 25 days. Those back-to-backs will account for eight of Boston’s 12 games during the month.

It doesn’t get much easier as the season winds down. In fact, it might become even more difficult. The Celtics will close out there season with two back-to-backs that account for their final four games. The first will take place from April 12-13 in Miami and Orlando, respectively, and the second will be on April 16 in Boston against Indiana, and on April 17 in Toronto against the Raptors.