Breaking Down the Schedule: Top Home Games
BOSTON – Everyone knows that 41 regular-season home games – and hopefully many more during an elongated playoff run – are on the docket for the Boston Celtics. But not everyone knows which 10 top the lengthy list.
Good news: We do. And now it’s time to relay that list to you.
Below, listed in order of intrigue, are the top 10 home games to be played during the upcoming Celtics season. Without further ado, let’s dive into the meatiest storylines of the season.
10. April 12, 2017 vs. Milwaukee
Remember how important last season's regular-season finale was, as five Eastern Conference seeds came down to the final night of the season? Boston will close out next season's regular-season schedule at 8 p.m. on April 12 against Milwaukee, another team that will likely be vying for playoff positioning. That night will double as Fan Appreciation Night. Milwaukee struggled last season with a 33-49 record but is expected to jump back into playoff contention.
9. Oct. 26, 2016 vs. Brooklyn
At the other end of the calendar, the C’s will open their season against the Brooklyn Nets at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 26. As was the case last season, every game against Brooklyn is of importance to Boston, as the Celtics own the rights to Brooklyn’s 2017 draft pick. That pick is expected to be in the high lottery, so every loss Boston can deal the Nets will give it more and more ping pong balls.
8. March 22, 2017 vs. Indiana
Paul George will grace the parquet floor only once during the regular season, and that game will be played at 7:30 p.m. on March 22. Indiana is one of only two Eastern Conference teams, along with Atlanta, that will visit Boston only once this season. Oh, and don’t forget, George has some new friends coming along for the ride by the names of Jeff Teague, Al Jefferson and Thaddeus Young.
7. Nov. 11, 2016 vs. New York
Every game against the New York Knicks is big, even if one of the teams is having a down year. This season the matchups will be even bigger, as Boston hopes to contend for Eastern Conference supremacy and New York looks to make a leap into the postseason with the additions of Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Courtney Lee to accompany Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis. New York comes to Boston for the first time for a Friday night tilt at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 11.
6. Nov. 2, 2016 vs. Chicago
Speaking of revamped teams looking to return to the postseason, Chicago wants to bounce back after its underwhelming 42-40 season. The Bulls will make their first trip to the Garden shortly after the season opens up, at 8 p.m. on Nov. 2, and they’ll do so with their new-look perimeter trio of former Celtic Rajon Rondo, former Heat guard Dwyane Wade, and swingman Jimmy Butler. This game will be broadcast on ESPN.
5. Dec. 23, 2016 vs. Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City might be the team that looks most different this season than it did last season. Kevin Durant signed with Golden State and Serge Ibaka was traded to Orlando. That leaves only Russell Westbrook standing from the team’s first Big Three era. But if you know anything about Westbrook, you know that you better be in the arena to watch this game. Westbrook, who now holds the Thunder's reigns all by himself, might get all crazy this season and average a triple-double while stacking the highlight reel, and he’d do so with a roster that remains stacked with talent. Don’t forget, Oklahoma City still has Steven Adams and Enes Kanter and it added Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and Domantas Sabonis during the offseason. Westbrook and the Thunder make their only visit to TD Garden at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 23.
4. April 5, 2017 vs. Cleveland
Who does everyone want to see play in person? The answer comes in the way of one name: LeBron. LeBron James and the defending-champion Cleveland Cavaliers visit the Celtics at 8 p.m. on April 5, a game that will be broadcast nationally on ESPN and will be a serious tune-up for both teams a week before their regular-season finales.
3. Feb. 5, 2017 vs. LA Clippers
A season ago, Celtics fans wondered whether the Clippers’ visit to TD Garden would also mark the final visit by Paul Pierce as an active player. It appears that such a moment will instead take place this season, at 2 p.m. on Feb. 5, when Los Angeles visits Boston. Pierce could very well hang up the sneaks for good after the upcoming season.
2. March 1, 2017 vs. Cleveland
Back to that LeBron guy. His visit on April 5 to the Garden will be his last of the regular season, but what about his first? Celtics faithful will be able to boo James and his teammates for the first time this season at 8 p.m. on Wednesday March 1. This will be Boston’s first crack at showing the defending champs that they’re now a team to be reckoned with in the East.
1. Nov. 18, 2016 vs. Golden State
There is no question about whether or not LeBron James is the biggest star in the game. There is also no question about whether or not the Cavs are the defending champs. But that doesn’t matter when it comes to which team will be the biggest draw in the other 28 arenas this season. That distinction will fall upon the Golden State Warriors, who won an NBA-record 73 games last season and then added Durant, a former MVP, to its roster. Golden State will make its one and only visit to Boston at 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 18. That game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN, and it will undoubtedly feature a sold-out arena packed with riled up Celtics fans.