Celtics

Robb: Month-By-Month Breakdown Of Celtics Schedule

By Brian Robb, CBS Boston
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Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo and Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James greet each other before a game. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo and Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James greet each other before a game. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Celtics’ 2014-15 schedule is out, and just like any other year, studying the nuances of the team’s upcoming slate of games is a fun exercise.

A team’s win and loss record in the NBA depends primarily on the talent of the roster, but their schedule is a factor in the results as well. Weighing the factors of long road trips, back-to-back games, and strength of opponents over certain stretches of the season is crucial in helping keep in perspective a team’s success or failure at any point of the year. 

For instance, did that four-game winning streak really mean anything in November, or were the Celtics just catching a bunch of tired teams at the end of a road trip? Were the Celtics really that awful after a 2-8 start, or did they just play a brutally tough set of opponents over the first month?

To help us be better prepared to answer these questions when they come up throughout the year, let’s do a full schedule breakdown for next season.

November (14 games including Brooklyn opener on Oct 30)

9 home, 5 road

1 back-to-back

Games against expected playoff teams: 12

Games to watch: vs. Cleveland, vs. Oklahoma City, vs. San Antonio

Notable: November is the classic good news, bad news month for the Celtics. Outside of February, this is easily the lightest load of games Boston will face this season during a given month. Just one back-to-back set over these 30 days means there will be plenty of practice time available for Brad Stevens to get his new team on the same page. Sadly, he’ll likely need all of it, since 12 of Boston’s 14 games come against expected playoff teams.  In fact, the Celtics don’t get an “easy” opponent until November 19th against Philadelphia. While the extra home games may lead to a couple upset wins, a sub .500 start is almost a guarantee for November.

December (15 games)

8 home, 7 road

3 back-to-backs

Games against expected playoff teams: 8

Games to watch: vs. Lakers, vs. Brooklyn, vs. Washington (3)

Notable: We might as well call December reunion month for Boston. The Celtics play all three of their head-to-head matchups with Washington in December, including Pierce’s sole visit to Boston as a Wizard this year. Kevin Garnett also may be making the final stop of his career in Boston late December during Brooklyn’s last road trip to Boston for the season. Overall very manageable number of games and a step back in strength of opponents could give the Celtics a winning record for the month. No road trips that last over two games during the month will also be help Boston rebound from a tough November.

January (16 games)

6 home, 10 road

4 back-to-backs

Games against expected playoff teams: 12

Games to watch: vs. Chicago, @ Clippers, vs. Houston

Notable: A new year generally means a long trip out west for the Celtics, and that stays true for the 2014-15 season. Boston’s 2013-14 season fell apart in January last year during the trip and the same could happen again in 2015 as the Celtics face a season-high six game road trip against Western Conference opponents. Combine that challenge with four back-to-backs and a heavy lineup of likely playoff opponents in January, and the Celtics will likely be limping back to Boston by the end of the month.

February (11 games)

6 home, 5 road

3 back-to-backs

Games against expected playoff teams: 4

Games to watch: vs. Miami vs. New York, @ Lakers

Notable: Among all the NBA teams, the Celtics might be the biggest fan of the newly extended All-Star Break. Each franchise will get at least seven days off in mid-February, but the Celtics will get eight days off from Feb 12-19, before returning to action in Sacramento after the trade deadline. Incredibly, the Celtics will play just one game in 12 days from Feb 7-20, which should provide a well-needed rest (along with some potential rust) for the team’s roster in the middle of the year. A weak batch of opponents also signals that this could be a winning month for Boston, although it’s possible that the roster could be blown up by the trade deadline on February 19th.

March (18 games)

8 home, 10 road

5 back-to-backs

Games against expected playoff teams: 12

Games to watch: vs. Golden State, @ Cleveland, vs. Clippers

Notable:  The Schedule Gods get some payback on the Celtics for their restful February during the month of March. A season high 18 games over 31 days, combined with five back-to-backs, spells trouble towards the end of what will surely be a challenging season for the C’s. With visits from Western Conference powers like the Clippers and Warriors also on the docket, the Celtics will likely say goodbye to any potential lingering playoff hopes by the start of April.

April (8 games)

4 home, 4 road

2 back-to-backs

Games against expected playoff teams: 5

Games to watch: vs. Indiana, vs. Cleveland, @ Cleveland

Notable: LeBron James and Kevin Love make their final regular season visit to the Garden, and Boston fans also get their first look at Jabari Parker in person on April 3. Otherwise, this month is about as ho-hum as it gets as the Celtics wrap up another rebuilding campaign.

Brian Robb covers the Celtics for CBS Boston and contributes to NBA.com, among other media outlets. You can follow him on Twitter @CelticsHub.

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