Boston Celtics: A deep-dive Into the first half of the C’s 2020-21 Schedule

Boston Celtics (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
Boston Celtics (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /
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The first half of the schedule for the Boston Celtics includes a lot of travel, difficult initial matchups, easy but travel intensive second games on back-to-backs… oh, and not a lot of rest.

The Boston Celtics and, frankly as a whole, the NBA are almost back, and while jubilation fills the air with the birth of a new season, COVID-19 concerns still are a subject we cannot ignore.

Even though the league proved to be the model for sports during a pandemic, reverting to a non-bubble atmosphere will likely result in several canceled games, similar to what we’ve seen with the MLB, NFL, and college basketball.

As recently as last weekend, the Portland Trail Blazers closed their practice facilities after three staff members reported positive COVID-19 test results.

After forgoing summer league altogether, the Boston Celtics will have had an 86-day rest period until their first regular-season game. The NBA reduced travel for every team through these first 37 games of the season.

Peter Zanca took the time to break down the new travel circumstances for each team and found the Cs almost smack dab in the middle, with a 37 percent travel reduction compared to their past five seasons.

Despite this notable reduction, the Celtics still have a very travel intensive first-half of the season.

While they rank 12th in ESPN’s strength of schedule, they will be traveling the fourth most of any team in the league in total mileage. To put everything in perspective, the Cs of 2019-20 played ten games on zero days rest through 72 matches.

The Celtics of 2020-21 will play seven games on zero days rest through ONLY 38 games.

Before we dive headfirst into this season’s schedule, let’s revisit how the Celtics of last season dealt with their schedule’s various challenges. This team’s regular-season resilience was extremely underrated.

Projected to win 48 games (per ESPN) last season, they outperformed this number on pace to win 54 regular-season games.

2019-20 Boston Celtics

  • 26-10 at home and 22-14 on the road
  • 6-4 on the second night of back-to-back games (above league average)
  • 5-3 on the second night of a back-to-back when the Celtics traveled
  • 32-16 on one day’s rest
  • 23-10 on 500+ mile travel games
  • 11-2 on 1000+ mile travel games
  • 6-2 on 1500+ mile travel games
  • 6-1 with a rest advantage
  • 4-4 with a rest disadvantage
  • 6-4 involving at least one-time change
  • 39,722 total miles traveled (10th highest )

Through 38 games the Celtics have:

  • 7 back-to-back games (average)
  • 19 home and 19 away games (average)
  • 6 games with a rest advantage (below average)
  • 9 with a rest disadvantage ( above average)
  • 15 with 500+ miles traveled (above average)
  • 5 with 1000+ miles traveled (above average)
  • 20,155 total miles traveled (above average, 4th highest in the league)
  • 12th hardest schedule (per ESPN)
  • 5 back-to-back opponent games (below average, a good thing)

Alright, that was a lot of numbers.

Let us take a gander at the various stages of this year’s first half of the schedule. A few common themes to keep in mind: lots of travel, difficult initial matchups, easy but travel intensive second games on back-to-backs.

Oh, and one more thing… not a lot of rest.