The Celtics will begin their quest to bring the NBA championship back to Boston on Tuesday, October 27th in Cleveland against LeBron, Shaq and the Cleveland Cavaliers on TNT. That will be the first of a staggering 32 nationally televised games for the Celtics, nine of which will be on TNT. (Seven Celtics games are on NBA TV, so I’m not sure if those should really count as “Nationally Televised.”) The Celtics home opener is the next night, the 28th against the Charlotte Bobcats. The first rematch with the Chicago Bulls will be that Friday night, in a game that ESPN has picked up, the first of 10 ESPN appearances by the Celtics.
The early part of the schedule features 10 out of the first 16 games at home, but then starting on November 29th, the team hits a stretch of eight games in 16 nights, with seven of those games on the road, including a three game trip through Charlotte, San Antonio and Oklahoma City.
After a Christmas Day playoff rematch in Orlando with the Magic, (2:30pm ABC start time) the Celtics head out on their first West coast trip of the season. The Clippers, Warriors and Suns are on the itinerary for this quick three game set. Kobe Bryant and the world champion Los Angeles Lakers (that stings) make their only appearance at the TD Garden on Sunday, January 31st. This is another ABC game, tipping off at 3:30. With that being the weekend between the AFC and NFC championship games and the Super Bowl, the NBA will have the stage to itself to present that marquee matchup.
Boston sports fans are circling the following Sunday, February 7th on their sports calendar, hoping it turns out to be a Boston doubleheader. The Celtics host the Orlando Magic at 2:30 that afternoon on ABC, and the Super Bowl kicks off a little more than four hours later.
The last game prior to the All Star break for the Celtics is a trip to New Orleans to play the Hornets on February 10th. The 11th to the 15th of that month, the Celtics are off for the break before heading out on their traditional post All Star break West coast road trip starting in Sacramento on February 16th. Then, less than three weeks after their first matchup, the Celtics and Lakers conclude their two game season series on a Thursday night TNT game, which is a curious move on a couple fronts. Why would the NBA place two of their marquee games just a few weeks apart like this? And why have it at 10:30 at night on a weeknight? Why not another Sunday afternoon? Was TNT guaranteed to get one of these games, so it had to be then?
After that four game West coast swing, the Celtics will be home for nine of their next 13 games. The stretch includes a February 25th TNT home game with the Cavs, as well as a Sunday afternoon (3:30pm) ABC game in Cleveland on March 14th. At the end of that week, the Celtics depart on a mini, four night, three game swing through Houston, Dallas and Utah.
The final regular season matchup with LeBron, Shaq and the Cavs is scheduled for April 4th, another ABC game, this time at home at 1:00pm. The regular season concludes on Wednesday night, April 14 with a home game against the Milwaukee Bucks.
So what do you think? 74-8? Sound good? OK, that’s probably a tad optimistic, but this looks to be another fun season following the Celtics. Training camp is a week away. Can’t wait.