Boston Celtics Season Schedule & Outlook
The Boston Celtics have grown accustomed to winning. Celtics tickets are usually in high demand and TD Garden is often at or near capacity. That said, Boston has now gone over a decade without an NBA championship and back-to-back years without winning the Atlantic Division. Brad Stevens and company are hopeful that the 2019-20 season will be different, but it won't be easy with the Eastern Conference growing more difficult and a challenging Celtics season schedule. Let’s take a look at the Celtics season schedule that lies ahead, starting with an opening night showdown against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Just the Beginning
In a conference that will be tight and competitive at the top, the Celtics vs. 76ers opening game could end being meaningful in the standings when all is said and done. This year, the Celtics and 76ers rivalry will take on a different meaning, now that former Boston big man Al Horford has moved to the 76ers after leaving the Celtics in free agency over the summer. With Horford now playing for Philadelphia, not only do the Celtics have to think about defending Horford, but they have to be extra concerned about guarding 76ers center Joel Embiid, who has been guarded by Horford in recent years.
After the season opener in Philadelphia, things don’t get much easier for the Celtics. Their home opener will come against the Toronto Raptors, the defending NBA champions. Even with the Raptors no longer having Kawhi Leonard, Toronto is still expected to be one of the top contenders in the Eastern Conference. Before the month of October is over, the Celtics will also play the Milwaukee Bucks, who were the top seed in the Eastern Conference last season and could be poised to finally reach the NBA Finals this season.
Needless to say, the Celtics season schedule is especially difficult during the first couple of weeks. That will be followed up by Boston’s first west coast road trip of the season, starting with a game against Western Conference powerhouse Golden State. After the Celtics return home from that trip, they will play one of their most anticipated games of the season on November 27, which is when the Brooklyn Nets come to Boston. That game will be the homecoming for former Celtics guard Kyrie Irving, who left Boston as a free agent this past summer to sign with Brooklyn, where he’ll be playing alongside Kevin Durant. Celtics fans are sure to let Irving know how they feel about him the second he steps on the court, and let’s just say it may not be the most pleasant reaction Irving has ever received from a crowd.
There will be plenty of marquee games on the Celtics season schedule during the first couple of months. But the month of December may be when the Celtics make their move up the standings. Based on last year’s standings, this could be the easiest stretch of Boston’s season, as they have two games against the Cavaliers, two against the Hornets, and a game against the Knicks. Of course, there will be a few difficult games mixed in, most notably a Christmas Day game against the Raptors, putting two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference on display.
Around the all-star break in February, most NBA teams get a little bit of a break. However, that won’t be the case with the Celtics this season. Right before the break, the team travels west to take on the likes of Oklahoma City and Houston. They then close out the unofficial first half of the season in Los Angeles with a game against the Clippers, who could become the class of the Western Conference after adding Leonard and Paul George during the offseason. But it doesn’t end there. The Celtics have another west coast swing immediately after the all-star break. That trip will include trips to Minnesota, Portland, Utah, and Los Angeles to play the Lakers. When all is said and done, the Celtics will travel the fifth-most miles of any NBA team and the most miles of any team in the Eastern Conference, as the Celtics season schedule is at times unkind to Boston.
The silver lining for the Celtics is that they will get to spend more time at home in March and April while the season is starting to wind down. In March, the Celtics will play games against some of the top teams in the Western Conference, but they’ll have the home crowd behind them for most of them. It will be more of the same during the stretch run when the Celtics are fighting for playoff seeding. Five of the Celtics’ last eight games will be at home. The team’s three road games during that stretch are against the Magic, Pistons, and Heat, which should all be winnable games, even on the road. In short, if the Celtics can survive a difficult winter, they’ll have a chance to finish the regular season strong once the weather starts to warm up.