There will be no NBA season opener between the Celtics and the Heat this year. No Christmas clash with Brooklyn. Not even a home game on St. Patrick’s Day.
Thursday evening’s release of the Boston Celtics schedule served as a reality check for Celtics fans. By glancing at the schedule, it’s pretty clear that the C’s won’t be a part of many NBA showcases on national television this season due to the summer fire sale that sent star players and head coach out of Boston.
While the C’s aren’t poised for much national attention, the schedule at least gives us a chance to see when the C’s will partake in the match ups we’ve grown accustom to seeing, and when old hometown heroes will be returning the the Garden as visitors.
The Celtics don’t see a top Eastern Conference team until November ninth when they go to South Beach to play the defending champions. This time around there will be no Paul Pierce and LeBron James duel, and the Heat will be heavily favored to put the Celtics in their place. Don’t be to quick to write this game off as a blowout yet though, as Jeff Green will look to put together a LeBron-esque performance against the King himself. He’s done it before, to the tune of 43 points and 5-7 shooting from three point range in a home game against the Heat just last Spring.
The First big home assessment will come against the Indiana Pacers on November 22nd. The Pacers are coming off of a season that saw them in an Eastern Conference Championship battle that went a full seven games. They’ll be looking to stay at the head of the Eastern Conference pack. If the Celtics want to prove that they can still contend, they’ll need to make a statement early by showing that they can defend home court against anyone.
In December things begin to heat up. The C’s will travel to Madison Square Garden on December eighth to take on Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks in their first game of the season. The Knicks-Celtics rivalry is as old as they come, and this year should be no different. The Knicks bounced the C’s out of the first round of the playoffs last season, and those left in Boston will be looking to get one up on New York early.
Two days later, the C’s go across town to take on the new-look Nets. After the summer-swap that sent Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to the Nets, this game is one of the more intriguing of the entire season for Boston. Rajon Rondo and company will be looking to prove the point that they can win without their tenured stars, and the likes of Pierce, Garnett and Terry would obviously like nothing more than to stomp their former team to send a message to Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge that he made a mistake.
If those two games weren’t enough to intrigue the common sports fan, the next night the Celtics play host to the L.A. Clippers. The Clippers landed former Boston Head Coach Doc Rivers this off season, after Doc wavered on the concept of sticking around for the rebuild. Doc went to L.A. chasing titles, so the pressure is on him to prove that he made a viable move. Rondo spent his entire NBA career under Doc’s tutelage, so Doc’s game planning for his ex-star point guard is an interesting story line as well.
The C’s will travel to Chicago to take on the Bulls for the first time on January second. While it appears that the teams are on opposite swings, the C’s-Bulls match up has a history of being host to some of the toughest defensive basketball in the game. Even with defensive hound Kevin Garnett gone, the scrappy defensive approach will still be voluble with the locker room’s veterans. The return of Derrick Rose versus Rajon Rondo at the point guard position will be fun to watch, too. Rondo is set to prove that he is the best point guard in the league, and what better a way to make the case than against the last point guard to win league MVP?
The Lakers host the Celts on January 17th which is going to be a fun match up for a multitude of reasons. Not only is there the obvious rivalry, but both squads have a similar outlook. Both unloaded talent in the off season (Dwight Howard left for Houston) and both teams will be scrapping for a playoff birth if they are lucky.
The return of The Truth, The Big Ticket and The Jet. On January 26 the Celtics will play host to the aforementioned. It will be the first time that Pierce and KG will be visiting the TD Garden. In what is sure to be an emotional event for everyone – including players, coaches, staff, management, fans and even concession workers – the team’s will be looking to establish themselves in the conference by this point in the season. This game holds possibly the most intrigue of the year. It’s not so often that a face of a franchise returns as the enemy.
The Celtics are going to be scrapping every night of the 82 game season if they want to earn a post-season bid. There is still a lot of excitement to be seen for Celtics faithful; just don’t expect to see much of the excitement on national television.
You can purchase Celtics tickets from Razorgator for the 2013-14 season. Although it is early and quantity will eventually rise, the get-in price for the January 26 meeting with the Nets is already a whopping $284.