Celtics

Breaking down the Boston Celtics' 2019-20 regular season schedule

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Breaking down the Boston Celtics' 2019-20 regular season schedule

The Boston Celtics will be tested out of the gates with a road-heavy slate featuring many of the league’s marquee teams early in the 2019-20 season.

Boston plays five of its first nine games, and 10 of its first 16 overall, away from home, including its season-opener in Philadelphia on Oct. 23. That initial stretch of road games also features Kemba Walker’s first trip back to Charlotte on Nov. 7.

Boston embarks on a season-long five-game road trip out west in mid-November that starts with a visit to Golden State’s new arena on Nov. 15 and also features tilts with the Kings, Suns, new-look Clippers, and Nuggets.

A second west coast road trip occurs coming out of the All-Star break, highlighted by a Sunday afternoon showdown with the Los Angeles Lakers on Feb. 23. The schedule eases a bit late in the year (though there is another four-game road trip in late March). Over the final seven weeks of the regular season, Boston will play only nine road games in a 23-game span. Boston plays five of its final eight games at home in April.

All of which seems to suggest that, if Boston can weather the early storm, it will be positioned to build momentum later in the year. But the challenges are bountiful out of the gates for a team that stumbled to a 10-10 start last season. That tough start might have contributed to the frustrations that quickly mounted and lingered much of the year.

Boston plays some of its top East rivals early in the year, starting with Philadelphia on opening night before Toronto visits for Boston’s home-opener on Oct. 25. The Milwaukee Bucks come to TD Garden on Oct. 30.

Boston has only one stretch with more than one day off in the month of November, with a two-day break coming after it returns from that five-game west coast trip. December is more forgiving with five instances of two-plus days of rest.

Kyrie Irving's first game back in Boston should be the night before Thanksgiving on Nov. 27. Even if Irving doesn’t make the trip — he only made one return to Cleveland during his time in Boston, the 2016-17 opener — Boston visits the Nets for a matinee on Nov. 29.

Al Horford returns to Boston on Dec. 12., and Terry Rozier's first game back at TD Garden following his preseason visit will be Dec 22. Aron Baynes comes back on Jan. 18.

The Celtics play 12 sets of back-to-backs, only three of which conclude at home. What’s more, only nine of the 24 back-to-back games overall are in Boston, adding a layer of difficulty to those sets.

A few more notable dates: Boston plays a New Year’s Eve matinee in Charlotte. The Lakers make their lone visit to Boston on Martin Luther King Day (Jan. 20). No. 1 pick Zion Williamson makes his lone appearance in Boston on Jan. 11. Boston has a rare Super Bowl Sunday off (Feb. 2). The Clippers, featuring summer additions Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, visit the game before the All-Star break (Feb. 13).

The Celtics are scheduled for 25 national TV appearances including a couple of Saturday night games in Boston against the 76ers (Feb. 1) and the Russell Westbrook-adding Rockets (Feb. 29). Sunday matinees on ABC include Boston’s trip to play the Lakers (Feb. 23) and a visit from the Bucks (April 5).

Be sure to tune in to NBC Sports Boston's Celtics Schedule Release Special at 8:00 p.m., presented by Ace Ticket.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

The Enes Kanter Show: Awesome story about Kevin Garnett's Celtics arrival

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

The Enes Kanter Show: Awesome story about Kevin Garnett's Celtics arrival

Everyone has a great Kevin Garnett story. And Enes Kanter's pretty much sums up how intensely committed KG was to winning.

The Boston Celtics forward recently ran into Garnett in Boston at the regional premiere of "Uncut Gems," a new movie Garnett stars in with Adam Sandler.

According to Kanter, Celtics lead owner Wyc Grousbeck also was at the premiere and told Kanter of the first time Garnett walked into TD Garden after being traded from the Minnesota Timberwolves to the Celtics in the summer of 2007.

Here's Kanter with NBC Sports Boston's Chris Forsberg on the latest episode of "The Enes Kanter Show:"

(Grousbeck) told me a story. He said, "When KG came to the Celtics, he stopped and looked at every (championship) banner for 30 minutes. For 30 minutes. And he studied (them). ... Before he came (to Boston), we had 16 banners. So, that's 30 minutes for every banner. And it's like, 'How do you spend that much (time)?' 

As Forsberg pointed out, that's essentially eight hours of Garnett staring at the TD Garden rafters and soaking in the franchise's rich history.

That may have been some hyperbole on Grousbeck's part, but if anyone would be that maniacally focused on success, it's the uber-competitive Garnett.

"Anybody else, I would be like, 'That's an exaggerated tale,' " Forsberg said, "but I can actually believe that with KG."

Garnett's commitment to winning paid off instantly, as the Celtics raised banner No. 17 to the rafters in his first season with the team in 2007-08.

Kanter and Forsberg also discussed what makes Garnett such a great trash talker, how his current minutes situation differs from his time with the New York Knicks, what the Celtics' chemistry is like on this team and much more.

Hear more from Kanter and Forsberg on Episode 5 of "The Enes Kanter Show," which drops every Wednesday on YouTube and the NBC Sports Boston podcast network.

 

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Pacers, which tips off Wednesday at 6 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Scal have the call at 7 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Celtics Talk Podcast: How will Al Horford be received in return to Boston with 76ers?

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Celtics Talk Podcast: How will Al Horford be received in return to Boston with 76ers?

Al Horford makes his return to TD Garden Thursday night in a Philadelphia 76ers uniform. How will the former Celtics big man be received now that's he joined one of Boston's key rivals in the East?

That's just one of the many storylines ahead of Philly's first game in Boston and the first meeting for the teams since the Sixers easily defeated the Celtics back on opening night in late October. 

Kyle Draper and Chris Forsberg talk about it in the latest episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast. 

"It should be all love," said Draper, "but let's keep it real: The way Horford went about it, some people aren't happy about it. It sounds like him and the Sixers had some kind agreement before you're allowed to actually talk. I get the sense that they [the Celtics] were caught off guard a little bit."

LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HERE:

Earlier in the podcast, Forsberg is joined by Sixers reporter Serena Winters from NBC Sports Philly to talk about all things 76ers, including Ben Simmons, Horford's veteran influence on the team and where Boston and Philadelphia are now as compared to the opener. 

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Pacers, which tips off Wednesday at 6 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Scal have the call at 7 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.