BOSTON (CBS) — Get ready to see a lot of the Boston Celtics on national TV this season.
The NBA must love what Danny Ainge did over the offseason, adding free agent All-Star Gordon Hayward and No. 3 overall pick Jayson Tatum to the 53-win Celtics of last season, because Boston will be showcased on the league’s two biggest days in 2017.
The league announced on Thursday night that the Celtics will help tip off the 2017-18 NBA season, paying a visit the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday, October 17 at 8 pm. It’s one of only two games on the docket for the first night of the season, with the Houston Rockets visiting the Golden State Warriors in the late game.
Boston’s matchup with Cleveland is a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference finals when the Cavaliers bested the Celtics in five games. It will be a great early test for the C’s as they look to integrate Hayward into their system, and try to slow down the Cavaliers without guard Avery Bradley. It will also be interesting to see what the Cavaliers look like on opening night, with point guard Kyrie Irving reportedly requesting a trade from Cleveland.
But that isn’t the only time the spotlight will be on the Celtics on a national stage. The Celtics will host a Christmas Day game for the first time in franchise history, welcoming the Washington Wizards to the TD Garden for ABC’s 5:30 pm game. It’s the middle game of the NBA’s big day, and should draw plenty of eyeballs around the country while the Christmas bird is on the table.
This will be the first matchup between the two teams since the Celtics beat the Wizards in seven games in an entertaining and heated Eastern Conference semifinals. There were buzzer beaters, 50-point performances and plenty of bad blood in that series, so it should be a wildly entertaining tilt. Mix in the Morris twins, with Marcus now a member of the Celtics, and who knows what kind of tomfoolery may go down — even on Christmas Day.
The rest of the NBA’s 2017-18 schedule will be released next week, but it’s pretty clear the NBA has some high hopes for the Boston Celtics next season.