Breaking Down the 2013-14 Schedule

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BOSTON – Grab a marker and post up next to the calendar on your wall. It’s time to circle a few dates.

The Boston Celtics released their 2013-14 schedule on Tuesday and it arrives with quite a bit of intrigue. This schedule has it all, from helpful homestands, to emotional reunions, to interesting quirks. Let’s just say this season is shaping up to be unique.

Speaking of unique, how about this fun fact? The Celtics will do something on Opening Night that they have never done before.

Boston will open up its season at 7 p.m. on October 30 in Toronto, which is where the Celtics’ 2012-13 regular season ended. This will be the first time in franchise history in which the C’s end one regular season and begin the next regular season on the road against the same opponent.

Following that game against the Raptors, Brad Stevens’ crew will fly back to the United States and prepare for its home opener two days later. The C’s will host the new-look Milwaukee Bucks, who added O.J. Mayo and Brandon Knight this summer, in their home opener for the second consecutive year. That game will take place at 7:30 p.m. on November 1 at TD Garden.

Boston’s season begins in an interesting fashion and takes plenty of twists and turns from there on out. So without further ado, here’s an outline of the notable dates on Boston’s schedule.

Key Games

Paul Pierce defends Jeff Green during practice

Jeff Green and Paul Pierce will face off against each other in a meaningful game on December 10 in Brooklyn.
Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty Images

Saturday, Nov. 9 at Miami Heat – A few faces may have changed, but you can bet that the Celtics-Heat rivalry will live on. LeBron James and Co. will still view the C’s as a premier franchise.

Sunday, Dec. 8 at New York Knicks – Boston will face New York for the first time since the Knicks eliminated the Celtics in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at TD Garden.

Tuesday, Dec. 10 at Brooklyn – For the very first time in the regular season, the Boston Celtics will take the court to play against Paul Pierce. Pierce, the team’s former captain, will suit up for the Nets in what is sure to be an emotional night.

Wednesday, Dec. 11 vs. Los Angeles Clippers – An emotional two-game stretch continues as Doc Rivers returns to TD Garden as head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Thursday, Jan. 2 at Chicago Bulls – Rajon Rondo and Derrick Rose could face off for the first time since Jan. 13, 2012.

Sunday, Jan. 5 at Oklahoma City – Three days after a possible matchup between Rajon Rondo and Derrick Rose, Rondo might take on another formerly-injured point guard in Russell Westbrook. Oh, and there’s that Kevin Durant guy, too.

Monday, Jan. 13 vs. Houston Rockets – TD Garden fans get their first in-person look at Dwight Howard in a Rockets uniform. Boston will face a tough task in slowing down the combination of Howard and James Harden.

Friday, Jan. 17 vs. Los Angeles Lakers – The most storied rivalry in all of basketball adds another chapter as the Celtics host the Los Angeles Lakers and, hopefully, a healthy Kobe Bryant.

Friday, Jan. 24 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – The Celtics take on a Western Conference contender as they host Durant, Westbrook and former Celtic Kendrick Perkins.

Sunday, Jan. 26 vs. Brooklyn Nets – This will be the most emotional night of the season, when Pierce and Kevin Garnett return to TD Garden as visitors for the first time in a regular-season game.

Wednesday, Feb. 12 vs. San Antonio Spurs – The reigning Western Conference champions come to town as Rondo and the C’s host Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and the Spurs.

Wednesday, March 19 at Miami Heat – The Celtics take their show to Miami to take on James and the Heat for the final time in the regular season.

Friday, March 21 at Brooklyn Nets – Boston wraps up another season series as it heads to the Barclays Center to take on Pierce, Garnett and the rest of the Nets.

Homestands and Road Trips

TD Garden crowd cheers on Rajon Rondo after a 3-pointer

The Boston faithful will be able to cheer on Rajon Rondo and the Celtics during two lengthy homestands this season.
Boston Globe/NBAE/Getty Images

Boston will have two lengthy homestands during the 2013-14 season. The first arrives in mid-December, as the C’s will play five consecutive home games from December 11-21. Two of those games will be very challenging, as the first two contests are against Rivers, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and the Clippers, and then Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks.

Boston’s second homestand begins on February 26 and stretches to March 9. Those five games include feature matchups with Indiana, Golden State and Brooklyn. All in all, the Celtics will play seven of eight games at home from February 26 through March 14.

Luckily for the C’s, they are tasked with only two lengthy road trips. They will play five straight games on the road from January 5-11, including matchups with the Thunder, Clippers and Warriors. The next West Coast trek runs from February 19-24, and that four-game stretch includes Boston’s only visit to the Lakers.

Monthly Details

This schedule certainly doesn’t play out well for the Celtics in terms of monthly breakdowns. They will play more home games than road games in only two of this season’s six full months (December and March). December will be kind, however, as nine of Boston’s 12 games will be played at TD Garden.

The C’s are slammed with games during two months this season. They will play through an 18-game onslaught in November and a 17-game schedule in January.

Back-to-Backs

It’s a good thing this version of the Celtics is young, because it’s going to deal with a lot of back-to-backs.

This year’s squad will play on consecutive nights 20 times this season. That ties for the second-most back-to-backs the team has faced in the past seven seasons, trailing only the 22 they faced in 2012-13. Six of this season’s back-to-backs will be played in November, and sixteen of the 20 will conclude on the road.

Intriguing Twists

There’s no way this happened by coincidence: the Celtics will face the Nets and the Clippers on back-to-back nights in mid-December. They’re in for an emotional roller coaster.

The first game, which will be played on December 10 in Brooklyn, will be the first time Pierce faces the Celtics as an opponent. It will be the first time Garnett opposes the Celtics since March 4, 2007, when he tallied a triple-double of 33 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists for Minnesota.

This night won’t be as emotional as when Brooklyn visits Boston on January 26, but it’s going to be emotional nonetheless. Pierce, Garnett and all of their former teammates are surely going to feel a bit uncomfortable for the first few minutes of the game.

You can probably expect the same on the next night, at least for Rivers and his former players. Eight current Celtics played for Rivers on last season’s team. Now they’ll face off against him in the arena where they logged so many memories together.

One final twist that the NBA threw into this schedule is three home-and-home sets. A home-and-home is when the Celtics play consecutive games against one team, with one game in each team’s city.

Boston’s first home-and-home tips off on November 30 in Milwaukee and wraps up on December 3 at TD Garden. The Celtics’ final two sets, ironically, happen in succession; they play the Raptors on March 26 and 28, then play the Bulls on March 30 and 31. Both of those sets will start at home and end on the road.