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.
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