Celtics Nation can’t wait to get another pursuit of Banner 18 underway. Finally, we now know what that pursuit is going to look like – at least in terms of a game schedule.
Boston’s schedule, along with those of the other 29 teams in the league, was released Thursday by the NBA and there is plenty to unpack. So, as we do each and every year, we’ve pulled all of the key information and relayed them to you as succinctly as possible below. Take a dive into the details!
Those who are looking forward to watching the Celtics on and around their holidays this upcoming season are in luck. Those who are looking forward to watching them at TD Garden? Not so much.
Boston will play the day before Thanksgiving (Bucks), the day after Thanksgiving (Orlando), on Christmas Day (Lakers), on New Year’s Eve (Spurs), and on Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Raptors). Unfortunately, the only home game of that bunch is the Thanksgiving Eve matchup with Milwaukee. That Christmas Day matchup with the rival Lakers should make up for it, though!
The Celtics now know their schedule for the first-ever In-Season tournament. Their Group Play schedule is listed below:
|7:30 PM||Friday, Nov. 10||Home||Brooklyn Nets|
|7:30 PM||Friday, Nov. 17||Away||Toronto Raptors|
|2:30 PM||Friday, Nov. 24||Away||Orlando Magic|
|7:30 PM||Tuesday, Nov. 28||Home||Chicago Bulls|
The winner of this group gets an automatic bid into the Knockout Rounds, which begin Dec. 4. Should the C’s not win their group, they’d also have a chance to advance to the Knockout Rounds by earning one of the two available wild card spots.
The Celts may wind up on the national stage even more often this season than last season, and that’s saying something.
Twenty-four of their 80 scheduled games (30 percent) will be played in front of a national audience, which matches their total a season ago. Ten will be broadcast on ESPN, nine will be on TNT, and five will be on ABC.
Should the Celtics advance into the Knockout Rounds of the In-Season Tournament, their number of national TV games will climb to at least 25.
A few national TV highlights are below:
- The Celtics open the season Nov. 25 in New York against the Knicks on ESPN, then play again on ESPN two nights later when they host the Heat.
- Boston visits the Warriors Dec. 19 in a game carried by ESPN.
- The C’s take on the Lakers on Christmas Day on ABC.
- Boston hosts the defending-champion Nuggets on ESPN on Jan. 19.
- Both Celtics-Suns matchups will be on national TV, first March 9 on ABC from Phoenix, and then March 14 on TNT from Boston.
The Celtics will play 14 back-to-backs this season, up from 13 last season. The good news, however, is that they won’t need to travel for five of them.
Surprisingly, Boston will host five back-to-backs at TD Garden. That’s more such occurrences than their last three seasons combined (four).
The most intriguing back-to-back of the season might be when the Celtics take on the Warriors and Kings, who dueled in last season’s Western Conference Playoffs, on consecutive nights in December. The C’s will play the Warriors Dec. 19 in San Francisco, and the Kings Dec. 20 in Sacramento.
Homestands and Road Trips
Boston’s longest homestand lasts nearly half a month. It spans seven games, arriving Jan. 27 and ending Feb. 9. The Celtics will host the Clippers, Pelicans, Pacers, Lakers, Grizzlies, Hawks and Wizards, in that order, during that stretch.
The longest road trip of the season will span six games and 11 days. It begins March 22 and ends April 1. Interestingly, the Celtics won’t venture very far west during the trip, as New Orleans is the Western-most city among the six destinations.
Here are a few other noteworthy items from the schedule:
- The Celtics will travel an estimated 42,000 miles throughout their 80-game, pre-determined schedule. The Eastern Conference average is 38,000 miles.
- Boston will play more games fresh this season (16) than tired (11), compared to its opponents. “Fresh” means that it did not play the day before, while its opponent did. “Tired” means that it played the day before, while its opponent did not. The other 53 games are considered “even.”
- Marcus Smart is scheduled to make his return to Boston, where he'll surely receive a standing ovation, Feb. 4.
- Half of Boston’s 20 scheduled home games will be played on the weekend, with 11 coming on Fridays, three on Saturdays, and six on Sundays.