In what always serves as a bit of a bonus during the dog days of a basketball-free summer, the NBA unveiled their full 82-game schedule earlier tonight for all 30 teams around the league, including your Boston Celtics. This year’s slate looks even better than usual, as instead of 66 games crammed into four months of action, we’re back to the complete slate of games, over a more reasonable six months. Without further ado, let’s take a look at a few of the notable items from today’s release involving the C’s:
Games of Note:
October 30th: Celtics @ Heat 8 P.M. TNT
Opening night is always exciting and will be magnified as Boston faces off with the defending champs. Plus…what’s that you say? Ray Allen plays for the Heat now?!? Oh boy, this should be something.
November 2nd: Bucks @ Celtics 7:30 P.M. ET CSN
The Bucks aren’t anything special, but the second game of the season will serve as the team’s home opener on a Friday night.
November 23rd: Thunder @ Celtics 7:30 P.M. ET NBA TV
Enjoy your Thanksgiving leftovers with a dose of Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Durant, and company in what is always a fun day-night Bruins-C’s doubleheader at the Garden on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
December 25th: Celtics @ Nets 12 P.M. ET ESPN
Doc Rivers won’t be happy that the Magic are less relevant than ever now, as the C’s are forced to play in New York on Christmas for the second straight year instead of near his home in Orlando. Boston hits the west coast after this contest.
January 7th: Celtics @ Knicks 7:30 P.M. CSN
Takes 30+ games to see the revamped Atlantic Division rivals for the C’s. Will the reign of domination continue over NYK?
January 27th: Heat @ Celtics 1:00 P.M. ABC
Really curious to see what will be the cheer/boo breakdown at the Garden for Allen at this one. 70 percent boos/30 percent cheers? Will 40+ games of the season passing help ease the pain for bitter Boston fans? Will the two-minute montage tribute at the first timeout bring the house down? Beyond the opener, this may be one of the most anticipated games of the entire NBA season.
February 7th: Lakers @ Celtics 8:00 P.M. TNT
These Garden matchups between the cross-country rivals have been decided in the closing moments for four straight years. With Steve Nash now in LA, another element of intrigue is also in play.
February 17th: All-Star Game 8:00 P.M. TNT
How many will be there from the revamped Celtics roster?
March 6th: Celtics @ Pacers 8:00 P.M. CSN
Will these two be battling for positioning behind the Heat for the 2-3 seeds in the East? Barring injuries, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them back both back at the top.
April 17th: Celtics @ Raptors 8:00 P.M. CSN
Regular season finale! Hopefully the Raptors will have packed it for awhile at this point.
We get into the nitty-gritty of this packed slate, and show you the full schedule, after the jump
— 18 of those 22 back-to-backs end on the road. This is largely due to scheduling the TD Garden with the Boston Bruins
0 days rest: 22 games
1 day rest: 39 games
2 days rest: 19 games
3 days rest: 8 games (tied for most in NBA)
What It Means: The return of practice! With multiple days off between one-third of their contests this season, Doc Rivers and company will be able to hit the practice floor more often than not for a change.
—One five-game trip in late February (@Denver, @LA Lakers, @Phoenix, @Portland, @Utah)
—One four-game trip in late December (@Brooklyn, @LA Clippers, @Golden State, @Sacramento)
—Two three-game trips in December, (@Houston, @San Antonio, @Chicago) and March (@New Orleans, @Dallas, @Memphis)
Eastern Conference opponents:
The C’s will face their Atlantic Division rivals four times, while facing other teams in the East three or four times. Here is how those matchups breakdown:
Milwaukee:4 (All before December 21st. Get ready to see the Bucks early and often)
Not great news with these breakdowns, as the C’s are facing (outside of Indiana) the toughest teams in the Central and Southeast divisions four times. Weaker squads like Washington, Charlotte, and Detroit they will only see three times during the year. Not the biggest deal, but not ideal for Boston, as they will be in high demand for national TV showdowns against Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, etc.
Final Verdict: Beyond the road back-to-backs, which is a reality for the C’s every year, not too much to complain about here. The high number of those is balanced out by long periods of rest between eight games, which Rivers will be able to make use of. With the C’s adding terrific depth at all positions this year, they should be in good shape to handle a full docket of games in 2012-13.
You can check out the full schedule breakdown by clicking here.