2023-24 Boston Celtics preseason preview: Analysis and predictions

Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden and Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden and Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

As the 2023-24 season approaches, Celtics fans are eagerly anticipating the preseason as a way to fuel their excitement and get their Boston basketball fix. Let’s take a look at the Boston Celtics’ upcoming five preseason games and offer predictions as to how I think things might unfold.

The preseason schedule is as follows:

  • Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers – October 8th
  • New York Knicks vs. Boston Celtics – October 9th
  • Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics – October 11th
  • Boston Celtics vs. New York Knicks – October 17th
  • Charlotte Hornets vs. Boston Celtics – October 19th

The Boston Celtics have an Eastern Conference Semifinals rematch on October 8 and 11 against the Philadelphia 76ers

In the upcoming preseason games, the Boston Celtics are set to face off against their long-standing rivals, the Philadelphia 76ers, on October 8th and 11th in what will be two hugely entertaining games. While they may not carry the spectacle or weight of regular-season or playoff matchups, the historic rivalry between these two storied franchises ensures that both organizations will be hungry for victory.

The Celtics and the 76ers have a rich history, having met in an astonishing 22 playoff series, more than any other NBA matchup. Boston holds the upper hand in this historic rivalry, emerging victorious in 15 of those encounters, winning 66 out of 116 playoff meetings, with the most recent playoff series ending 4-3 in favor of the Celtics – only adding more fuel to the fire.

As the rivalry reignites on October 8th, Celtics fans will be eager to see their team establish dominance once again. The 76ers have faced off-season challenges, with uncertainties surrounding James Harden’s future in Philadelphia. This uncertainty of the potential absence of Harden mixed with the question of Joel Embiid’s happiness in the organization, leaves the 76ers in a precarious position. This leaves Boston with a golden opportunity to capitalize on Philadelphia’s current turmoil and gain momentum for the upcoming season. Expect the Celtics to enter these games with confidence, aiming for a preseason sweep against their wounded rivals.

Is the “Process” in Philadelphia truly over? Will James Harden remain with the 76ers? And will Joel Embiid consider a trade? These questions loom over the preseason matchup, making it a critical moment for Boston to assert itself. Although the 76ers possess the capability to steal a game, I can say with certainty that the Celtics will be well-prepared for this pivotal matchup.

Prediction: 2-0 Celtics.

The Boston Celtics have two battles, October 9 and 17, against the New York Knicks

Continuing the preseason action, the Boston Celtics are set to face off against another historic rival, the New York Knicks, on October 9th and 17th. These games precede their highly anticipated meeting on October 25th, the opening day of the 2023-24 season.

These two organizations have a storied past, going head to head in 15 playoff series throughout their history, 8 of which went in Boston’s favor as they ended victorious in 36 of 67 games during these matchups. Although these sides haven’t met in the playoffs since 2013, the animosity between these two organizations, and their fan bases, remains as vibrant as ever.

The Knicks, led by their star man, Jalen Brunson, definitely consider themselves a threat in these preseason fixtures. Fresh from an outstanding 2022-23 season, averaging 24 PPG, 6.2 APG, and 3.5 RPG, as well as a FIBA World Cup semi-final appearance, Brunson will feel poised and ready to lead his team into these showdowns. Aided by fellow standout co-stars, Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson, RJ Barrett, and Immanuel Quickley, the Knicks will be aiming to get one over on their Eastern Rivals.

Although the Knicks team is looking strong going into the season, it’s hard to not consider this Boston side to be even stronger. With games against the 76ers coming before both clashes with the Knicks, if we can get victories against Philadelphia and carry the moment over, I think we will be a hard team for the Knicks to beat. Although they might be able to nick one game from us, my prediction stands as yet another preseason sweep.

Prediction: 2-0 Celtics.

The question now remains: Can we make it a perfect 5-0 preseason?

October 19th against the Charlotte Hornets

Shifting from historic rivalries, the Boston Celtics wrap up their preseason schedule with a game against the Charlotte Hornets on October 19th.

The Charlotte Hornets, a more recent addition to the NBA, joined the league with the Miami Heat as a part of the 1988 Expansion Draft. Their playoff history has seen them make ten appearances, but they’ve only crossed paths with the Celtics once, resulting in a 3-1 loss for the Hornets back in 1993. The history between these two organizations doesn’t hold as much substance as the other preseason matchups, but a win remains as crucial with it being the last game before the regular season begins for the Celtics on October 25th.

With a favorable record of 75 wins out of 120 games between the two sides, the Celtics enter this matchup as clear favorites. Furthermore, the Hornets have struggled recently against Boston, with a 1-7 record against their preseason opponents since October 25th, 2021. These factors heavily tip the odds in favor of Boston. I’m expecting this to be the finale to Boston’s preseason sweep, proving why some sources have them as favorites to win it all this year.

Prediction: Celtics win.

An expected preseason sweep for the Boston Celtics?

Anticipation runs high as we approach this year’s preseason games, and the prospect of a 5-0 sweep feels like a genuine possibility. The boys from Beantown need to approach these games with fire and intensity, as well as matching the determination they will command during the regular season.

While each of our preseason opponents possesses the ability to steal a win from the Celtics, based on everything previously mentioned, I can’t help but feel that the odds of a preseason sweep are in our favor.

Let’s get the sweep and build some momentum heading into the regular season.