Schedule Breakdown: Atlantic Division

The five-team Atlantic Division hosts plenty of new faces in new places heading into next season.
by Kyle Ramos
Writer, Digital

As the 2017-18 season continues to draw nearer with many exciting encounters on the horizon, is breaking down each division around the Association.

Take a closer look at what to watch for when Sacramento faces the Atlantic Division below.

Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics were at the center of some of NBA’s most noteworthy events during the offseason - acquiring multi-time All-Star Kyrie Irving in a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers and signing free agent forward Gordon Hayward away from the Utah Jazz.

The addition of Irving and Hayward add even more potential to a team that was already contending in the Eastern Conference as the Celtics look to make another deep playoff run in 2017-18.

As for the regular season, Boston will see Sacramento twice after each team came away with a win in their matchups from the 2016-17 campaign.

In their final contest, Kings big man Willie Cauley-Stein produced one of the most exciting highlights of the season with a monster alley-oop slam that sent Golden 1 Center into a frenzy.

The Kings will now roll out their young core to see if they can top the new look Boston team once again in 2017-18.

2017-18 matchups vs Celtics

11/1/17 @ Boston
3/25/18 vs Boston

Brooklyn Nets

Though Brooklyn has struggled to climb the standings in recent seasons, an active offseason has injected some fresh talent on the Nets roster - most notably bringing in D’Angelo Russell from the Los Angeles Lakers.

In addition to Russell, Brooklyn brought on new contributors in Allen Crabbe, DeMarre Carroll, and rookie Jarrett Allen.

The backcourt duo of Russell and Jeremy Lin is likely to make for an exciting matchup with Kings guards Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic.

2017-18 matchups vs Nets

12/20/17 @ Brooklyn
3/1/18 vs Brooklyn

New York Knicks

One area of growing strength for New York is the development of its young froncourt tandem of Kristaps Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez.

The two big men are on the rise after Porzingis showed continued improvement in his sophomore campaign, averaging 18.1 points, 7.2 rebounds, and two blocks per contest. Hernangomez turned in an impressive rookie season on top of that, being named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team.

As for both of Sacramento’s encounters with New York next season, the primary focus will be on limiting the versatile Porzingis - a job that could be suitable for Willie Cauley-Stein, who possesses the physical attributes and defensive prowess necessary to try and slow Porzingis.

2017-18 matchups vs Knicks

11/11/17 @ New York
3/4/18 vs New York

Philadelphia 76ers

After securing the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, the 76ers may have added one of their most crucial franchise cornerstones in rookie guard Markelle Fultz.

Though Philly’s top pick from the 2016 Draft class, Ben Simmons, did not suit up in 2016-17, his arrival will be something to look out for as well as he joins the likes of Fultz and Joel Embiid, who enjoyed a breakout rookie season last year.

As the third point guard taken in the 2017 NBA Draft, Kings guard De’Aaron Fox will have two chances to matchup against Fultz and the Sixers this season, allowing a prime opportunity for Fox to claim the title as the best rookie guard in his class.

These teams have split the season series for four consecutive years and both will be on the hunt to end that streak with a series sweep in 2017-18.

2017-18 matchups vs 76ers

11/9/17 vs Philadelphia
12/19/18 @ Philadelphia

Toronto Raptors

Though many teams throughout the Association brought in new faces, Toronto’s offseason consisted mostly of retaining key pieces by re-signing guard Kyle Lowry and forward Serge Ibaka.

By inking these two to extensions, the Raptors keep important pieces of their core (also featuring DeMar DeRozan) in place, while eyeing another strong showing in the NBA Playoffs come next April.

Sacramento has enjoyed some sustained success against their Canadian opponents in the past two seasons, winning four straight games against Toronto. The Kings will look to keep that streak alive in 2017-18 and should the purple and black emerge victorious in both contests, it would mark the longest winning streak against the Raptors in franchise history.

2017-18 matchups vs Raptors

12/10/17 vs Toronto
12/17/17 @ Toronto

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