Must-see Celtics games on the 2019-20 NBA regular season schedule
BOSTON -- NBA players have been wooing us all summer long with their player movement, petty bickering and overall drama on top of drama on top of drama.
And as the summer draws to a close, there’s no better nightcap than the release of the NBA schedule.
The Boston Celtics like most teams, have more than a few - quite a few, actually - dates on NBA calendar that are must-see events for fans.
While there are plenty to choose from, here’s a look at a few that stand out from the rest.
1. Brooklyn at Boston
NOVEMBER 27, 7:00 p.m.
This will be the hardest ticket to get your hands on all season. The return of Kyrie Irving to the TD Garden will not only bring out the best in the teammates he left behind, but the level of trolling and petty comments from Celtics fans towards Irving will be at an all-time high for an opposing player… and you can bank on Enes Kanter who now wears Irving’s old number 11 jersey, will come up with some way to uh, “welcome” Irving back to the Garden. Internet, prepare to be broken.
2. Boston at Philadelphia
OCTOBER 23, 7:30 p.m.
We won’t have to wait long to see if that “Property of the Boston Celtics” sign that has hung over the Sixers franchise, is indeed still in effect. That success in recent years has been aided heavily by the play of Kyrie Irving, Al Horford and to a lesser extent, Aron Baynes and Marcus Morris. All are now with other teams, including Horford who now suits up for a Sixers team that already has Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris. Boston’s annual bullying of the Sixers will be hard to replicate this season.
3. Boston vs. Milwaukee
OCTOBER 30, 7:30 p.m.
The Bucks pulled out a gentleman's sweep of the Celtics in last year’s second round of the playoffs, and Milwaukee will go into this season as the prohibitive favorite in the East. League MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo returns along with All-Star wing Khris Middleton. While the Bucks lost Malcolm Brogdon (Indiana), they still return a strong core only aided by adding veterans Robin Lopez in the frontcourt and Kyle Korver from the perimeter.
4. Boston at Charlotte
NOVEMBER 7, 8:00 p.m.
Count on Kemba Walker’s return to Charlotte being the anti-Kyrie homecoming. Walker, the Hornets’ all-time leading scorer, will get lots of love all game long from the fans who still got love for him after having spent his first eight NBA seasons in the Queen City. It’ll be interesting to see how Walker’s replacement, ex-Celtic Terry Rozier, responds to what will be one of the few nights when the home crowd might be cheering for the other team’s point guard and not him.
5. Boston at Toronto
DECEMBER 25, 12:00 p.m.
Regardless of whether Kawhi Leonard returned, any time you face the defending NBA champions it’s a big deal. Toronto isn’t nearly as good after Leonard left to join the Los Angeles Clippers, but this game has significant meaning for other reasons. Newly acquired Turkish center Enes Kanter has not played outside the United States since his passport was revoked in 2017 and an arrest warrant was issued as a result of his outspoken opposition to Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) has been leading the charge locally to ensure Kanter can travel to Toronto, for example, and do so without fear or concern of being detained. And that would be the perfect Christmas present for both Kanter and the Celtics this year.
6. Boston at Indiana
DECEMBER 11, 7:00 p.m.
It’s always a bit of a homecoming when the Boston Celtics play in Indiana. But this year, that “Welcome Back” feeling will be expanded. In addition to Brad Stevens and Gordon Hayward and their deep ties to the state of Indiana (assistant coach Jamie Young is also from the Hoosier state), Boston’s first-round pick Romeo Langford played one season at Indiana. And then there’s second-round pick Carsen Edwards who capped off a stellar collegiate career at Purdue.
7. Boston at Golden State
NOVEMBER 15, 10:30 p.m.
The Warriors may not be as laden with superhero talent as they have been the past couple of years, but they will still have elite talent in the form of two-time league MVP Stephen Curry and All-Star forward Draymond Green. Klay Thompson (torn ACL) will likely return at some point this season, which will add even more star power down the stretch as the Celtics make their first trip to Golden State’s new arena set to open this season.
8. Boston vs. the Los Angeles Lakers
JANUARY 20, 7:30 p.m.
This will forever be a game where the Celtics’ boo-birds will be out in full force. But with LeBron James in the mix and now Anthony Davis, only Kyrie Irving’s return to Boston will generate a more venomous reaction from the Green Teamers.
9. Boston at the Los Angeles Clippers
NOVEMBER 20, 10:00 p.m.
Sandwiched in the middle of a five-game road trip, the Celtics will get their first look at a Clippers team that has 1-2 punch that embodies the league’s shift - this offseason at least - to being more about power couples than power teams. And with the Clippers, we have arguably the most unexpected pairing of the summer with Kawhi Leonard’s stealth power move to convince Paul George to demand a trade out of Oklahoma City and join him in Los Angeles and play for the Clippers. Two big-time scorers who are also next-level defenders, surrounded by a bunch of gritty, grinders - “agitators” as head coach Doc Rivers likes to call them - makes this team a fun group to watch. But playing against them? Not so much.
10. Boston at Houston
FEBRUARY 11, 9:30 p.m.
James Harden and Russell Westbrook have been putting up video game-like numbers for years. Now that they are on the same team … no one has any idea how the hell this is going to work. But I tell you what. For the casual basketball fan, watching them is indeed must-see TV. Because win or lose, they put on a great show that will keep the stands filled and the ratings high at any and all arenas they play at this season while keeping teams like the Celtics on their toes in trying to come up with a successful game plan to limit two of the NBA’s most explosive scoring threats.