BOSTON (CBS) — The 2018-19 Celtics schedule has finally been released, and the NBA reallllllly likes Boston’s basketball team this season.
The Celtics will be featured on National TV a whopping 27 times this season, a true show of their national allure. With Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward joining stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, it’s hard to blame the league for showcasing their most exciting team in the Eastern Conference.
It should come as no surprise that they will indeed play 41 games in Boston and 41 games on the road. You can check out the full schedule here, but here’s a quick roundup of the games you’ll want to run (not walk) to your calendar to mark off.
The season opener is always one to circle, but this year, the Celtics get to help tip-off the NBA season on their home floor on Tuesday, October 16. It’s also a rematch of last season’s East semis with the Philadelphia 76ers coming to town, as the NBA is really pushing the revival of the Boston-Philly rivalry.
Boston fans will get their first look at Hayward in a C’s uniform (in a real game), and they get a chance to hoot and holler at 76ers center Joel Embiid after he spent most of the playoffs trolling them. Oh, and lots and lots of Ben Simmons taunts whenever he has an open look from downtown.
Christmas With The C’s
The 76ers will be back in town on Christmas Day, as the C’s will host a game on the NBA’s marquee day for the second straight season.
In The City Of Brotherly Love
Boston will head to the friendly surroundings of Philadelphia on Tuesday, February 12 (on TNT) and Wednesday, March 20.
Taking On The Defending Champs
A potential finals preview takes place in Boston on January 26 when the Warriors pay a visit to the TD Garden for a Saturday night primetime tilt.
The C’s visit Golden State for a Tuesday night TNT game on March 5.
Rajon Rondo and the Los Angeles Lakers make their only trip to Boston on Thursday, February 7. Oh yeah, LeBron James is on the team too.
That will be a nationally televised game on TNT. The Celtics head to La La Land on March 9, ABC’s Saturday night showcase that week.
Hayward Back In Utah
The Celtics head out west early in the season, which includes Gordon Hayward’s first return to Utah on Friday, November 9.
The Jazz will be in Boston a week later on Saturday, November 17 (one of four Saturday home games for the season), so Boston fans get to see Jae Crowder again.
Smart vs. The Beard
Marcus Smart will get another chance to pester reigning MVP James Harden on Thursday, December 27 in Houston (on TNT), and again on Sunday, March 3 in Boston (nationally televised on ABC).
Taking On The Dinosaurs From The North
The Raptors will be fighting for Eastern Conference supremacy with the Celtics and 76ers this season, and it won’t take long to get our first look at the Kawhi Leonard-led Toronto team (that is, if Kawhi decides to play for them). The C’s head north of the border for their second game of the season on Friday, October 19.
The Raptors come to town for the first time a month later on Friday, November 16, and again on Wednesday, January 16. Their final showdown of the regular season takes place in Toronto on Tuesday, February 26.
Super Bowl Sunday
The Celtics will host Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Super Bowl Sunday (February 2) at 2 pm.
Isaiah Thomas and the Denver Nuggets come to town on March 18. That means we’ll get five months of Isaiah Tribute Video talk leading up the tilt (unless he’s dealt ahead of the February 7 trade deadline).
In all seriousness, it will be nice to see a healthy (and highly motivated) IT come to Boston. He gets his first crack at his former team when Boston pays a visit to Denver on Monday, November 5.
Giannis (And Drew Bledsoe) Come To Town
Terry Rozier and Eric (Drew) Bledsoe can resume their feud on Thursday, November 1 when the Bucks come to Boston. It’s the first of three matchups the C’s will have with The Greek Freak, all of which will be on national TV.
The Bucks also come to town Friday, December 21, with the Celtics heading to Milwaukee on Thursday, February 21.
The C’s can improve their odds of landing the King pick (or worsen maybe) when they visit Sacramento on Wednesday, March 6. The Kings come to Boston a week later on Thursday, March 14.
The Celtics will get Sacramento’s pick in the upcoming draft as long as it isn’t the first overall selection.
Other Schedule Notes
– The C’s will spent a lot of time away from Boston to start the season, with nine of their first 13 games on the road. That includes a five-game road trip played over 10 days from November 3-11 , their longest road trip of the season.
– For the first time in 50 years, the Celtics will not play at home on the day after Thanksgiving. Instead, the C’s will travel to Atlanta to face the dreadful Hawks.
– Boston has 12 back-to-backs during the season, six of which happen in the first nine weeks of the season.
– The Celtics won’t play on St. Patrick’s Day. What a shame.