On Thursday night the 2012/2013 NBA schedule was released, and I knew we were alright when I saw all 82 games and the opening night in October. This season will be highly anticipated for Celtics fans. The Big 3 era is over, replaced by the revised version of the Big 3 with Rondo replacing Ray Allen, Allen leaves Boston for Miami, and another year of a possible run at the NBA Championship.
So lets take a look at the 10 games of the Celtics 2012/2013 season that will be the most entertaining and exciting.
#1 October 30th, Opening Night, at the Miami Heat
Opening night is always the most anticipated game of the year. Add two Eastern Conference rivals, and a Championship Banner ceremony and you have a game that will be talked about weeks if not months ahead of time. Ray Allen will also be making his debut in a Heat uniform, and as a Celtics fan, I can’t wait to see how his former teammates will embrace him when they meet on the court for the first time.
For Heat fans, Opening Night begins another championship run. Can the Heat repeat, or will they fall just short of another title? Is Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis going to be enough to get them over the hump again? For both the Celtics and Heat, the speculations begin that night.
#2 November 2nd, Celtics Home Opener Versus the Milwaukee Bucks
The Celtics first home game of the season will be against the possible playoff contending Milwaukee Bucks. They started the rebuilding process last season after acquiring Monte Ellis, and with their combination of youth and some experience, they may make the 6-8th seeds by the end of the season.
The home opener is always fun. The intro’s always get the fans pumped, KG screaming on the Jumbotron, and you know the season has begun when “Welcome to the Jungle” gets played right before tip-off.
#3 November 23, Celtics Versus OKC
The defending Western Conference Champions make their only appearance in Boston, and when you have an exciting and energetic team like the Thunder being your opponent, the game will definitely be worth watching. Last season, when these two teams met, it was an old team vs a young team. Now with Danny Ainge’s retooling, the Celtics will not be the old, slow team in this matchup.
#4 December 25, Christmas Day Game In Brooklyn
While this won’t be the first time these two teams meet, we’ll still have the opportunity to see the new and improved, no longer playing in New Jersey, Nets team. Last year, the Celtics first game of the season was on Christmas Day against the New York Knicks. This year, the season will already be on its 27th game.
At this point in the season, it will be interesting to see how well the Nets are doing in the standings. With Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, they will give the Atlantic Division some trouble. Hopefully for Celtics fans, we get another Christmas gift with a win in Brooklyn.
#5 January 16th, Austin Rivers And Anthony Davis Come To Boston
January 16th will be the first time we get a look at the #1 pick Anthony Davis, and Doc Rivers son Austin will be playing against his father’s team. This is going to be a great matchup, father vs son, Anthony Davis vs Kevin Garnett, and Rajon Rondo vs Austin Rivers.
I’m looking forward to seeing how the two first round picks play, and how well both have adjusted to the NBA level. I wonder if Doc will double team or full court press his son? It should be a fun matchup for the players and the fans.
#6 January 27, Ray Allen Returns To Boston
A Miami Heat and Boston Celtics matchup is already a good game. Add Ray Allen returning to the Garden for the first time, and it becomes a must see game.. The Garden’s atmosphere was already going to be juiced, but this will raise it a few notches.
I’m interested in seeing how the fans react when Ray Allen’s name is announced. I think there will be cheers, mixed in with boos. This will also be the Heat’s first time in Boston since Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Circle this date, you won’t want to miss this game.
#7 February 7th, Kobe Bryant And the Lakers Come To Town
Besides this being a typical Boston versus LA game, there may be another super star on that Lakers roster. Its very possible that Dwight Howard could find himself in Los Angeles, and what better way to fuel a rivalry then to add one more future Hall of Famer into the mix?
Games between these two teams are always entertaining, I expect nothing different.
#8 March 10th, Celtics Visit Thunder
The Celtics go to Oklahoma City for their only time in the regular season on March 10th. The Thunder’s home crowd is probably one of the most intimidating in the league, along with the loudest fans. With 20 games left in the regular season, this game could be a good indicator as to how the Celtics are looking heading into the playoffs.
#9 March 22, The Jet Lands In Dallas, Faces His Old Team
This game isn’t as exciting as it is interesting. Dallas is clearly in a rebuilding phase, and after losing Jason Kidd and Jason Terry, I’m wondering how good they’ll be this season. Dirk Nowitzki and Shaun Marion are getting old, and without a supporting cast they may have some trouble this year.
Maybe this time when Boston goes down to Dallas, they can have an easy victory. It seems like every year, someone on the Mavericks would have a big game.
#10 April 12, Boston Goes Down To Miami, Potentially Huge Game
When I saw this matchup on the calendar, I immediately thought that this will be the biggest game of the season. Its possible that both these teams could be fighting for 1st or 2nd in the East. This game right here could be the difference between an Eastern Conference exit and a trip to the Finals.
Usually teams rest their starters near the end of the season, but this game may be an exception.
2012/2013 Season Outlook
Looking at the entire schedule, the Celtics actually have it easier than they have in the past. There are a few tough stretches when they go on their road trips, and back-to-backs are always a concern with a veteran team. Overall, the schedule plays in their favor, especially in April when they play 5 out of the last 9 games at home.
This is going to be a fun season. Opening night is nearly 3 months away. Are you ready?