2019-20 Schedule Breakdown – 10 Can't-Miss Matchups
BOSTON – Celtics fans can begin marking up their calendars now that the 2019-20 regular season schedule has officially been released. We’d like to aid the process by narrowing down the top games on the slate.
Below, we’ve listed what we believe are the top 10 matchups of the season in chronological order. So, get out your pens and jot down these dates because you do not want to miss out on the following games.
Oct. 23 at Philadelphia
For the second straight year, the Celtics will open up their regular season against Atlantic Division foe, Philadelphia. This time, the rivalry matchup will come with an added twist, as it will mark Boston’s first time facing off against recently departed big man Al Horford, who signed with Philly over the summer. This will be a great test right off the bat for Boston’s frontcourt, as it goes to battle against two of the top interior defenders in the league in Horford and Joel Embiid.
Nov. 7 at Charlotte
Speaking of reunions, Boston’s early-November matchup against the Charlotte Hornets will provide a couple of them. After swapping places this past offseason during free agency, Kemba Walker and Terry Rozier will go toe-to-toe as they both face off against their former teams. This should be a particularly emotional matchup for Walker, as he returns to the city that drafted him and that he called home for the last eight years of his life. Rozier will receive his homecoming a month and a half later on Dec. 22, when the Hornets make their lone trip of the campaign to TD Garden.
Nov. 20 at LA Clippers
This past summer involved a remarkable number of moving pieces among the 30 NBA organizations, and no team cashed in more than the LA Clippers. Over a span of 24 hours, they signed Kawhi Leonard and traded for Paul George, making them a legitimate title contender in a matter of a day. The Celtics on Nov. 20 at Staples Center will take their first crack at the team that many pundits believe is the league’s championship favorite.
Nov. 27 vs. Brooklyn
Kyrie Irving will make his highly-anticipated return to Boston the day before Thanksgiving in a matchup between his new Brooklyn Nets team and his former Celtics squad. It will also be one of the most hyped up individual matchups of the season, as Irving faces off against Boston’s new All-Star point guard and his replacement in Kemba Walker. Walker has had the upper hand in their matchups over the last two seasons having averaged 27.8 points, 4.0 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game to Irving’s 23.0 PPG, 2.7 RPG and 5.8 APG. If 48 minutes of those two trading buckets isn’t enough, you can also tune in two nights later for a rematch in Brooklyn.
Dec. 25 at Toronto
The Celtics will ring in the Christmas cheer north of the border this holiday season, as they head to Toronto for a Dec. 25 matchup against their Atlantic Division rival Raptors. The nationally televised matchup, which is slated to start at noon, will be the first of five games played that day. It will mark Boston’s fourth consecutive appearance on the Christmas Day slate and it’s 33rd overall.
Jan. 11 vs. New Orleans
The NBA hasn’t seen an incoming rookie garner as much attention as Zion Williamson since LeBron James arrived in 2003. The 6-foot-7 285-pound athletic anomaly is expected to take the league by storm, just as he did the NCAA during his only season at Duke. Celtics fans will get their lone chance to catch the No. 1 overall pick in action Jan. 11 when the New Orleans Pelicans come to the Bean.
Jan. 20 vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Every Celtics-Lakers matchup is much-awaited, but this season’s pair of regular-season battles should pack a more powerful punch than any of recent years. That’s largely due to the franchise-altering LA made this past offseason in trading for superstar forward Anthony Davis. His pairing with LeBron James immediately places Los Angeles back into the title contention conversation and should also help bring back the buzz of the NBA’s most storied rivalry. Former Celtics players Avery Bradley and Rajon Rondo will return to TD Garden Jan. 20 with the Lakers and their new dynamic frontcourt tandem. Their other matchup will be a Sunday matinee Feb. 23 at Staples Center.
Jan. 30 vs. Golden State
While the Golden State Warriors sans Kevin Durant may not command the same level of attention as they did in recent years, they will still be one of Boston’s most anticipated opponents of the season. The C’s and Dubs have had plenty of epic battles over the last several campaigns, and there’s no reason to believe that will change this season. The Warriors will likely be without Klay Thompson during the first matchup on Nov. 15 at their new digs in San Francisco, but there’s a chance that the star wing could return from his ACL injury by Jan. 30. That’s when he, Steph Curry and Draymond Green are set to step foot in Boston for what should be another phenomenal fight.
Feb. 11 at Houston
Both James Harden and Russell Westbrook have had some tremendous performances against the Celtics over the years. Now, they’ll be able to combine their efforts as one. After swapping Chris Paul for Westbrook in a surprising trade with Oklahoma City this summer, the Rockets are set to have one of the most talented backcourts in recent memory. The C’s will test the waters against the duo Feb. 11 in Houston.
April 5 vs. Milwaukee
The playoff picture will be shaping up by the time April rolls around, and there may not be a more important late-season game on Boston’s slate than its April 5 home matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks. Both Milwaukee and Boston are widely expected to finish near the top of the Eastern Conference standings, meaning there could be a lot at stake during this contest. The C’s will have their hands full against reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, as he and the Bucks look to defend their regular-season title.