For fourth year in a row, Celtics will play on Christmas

Toronto Raptors center Serge Ibaka (9) and teammate Jeremy Lin (17) tag team Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) as he tries to dunk the ball during first half NBA basketball action in Toronto on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)
The Celtics went 2-2 vs. the Raptors last season. –frank gunn/AP file

The Celtics will face the Raptors in Toronto on Christmas Day, according to ESPN. It will mark Boston’s fourth consecutive year playing on the signature day of the NBA’s regular-season schedule. The Celtics went on the road to play the Knicks in 2016 and played home games against the Wizards and Sixers the last two years.

Although the Raptors are the defending NBA champions, the departure of superstar forward Kawhi Leonard takes plenty of the sizzle out of this matchup. The Celtics also lost All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving and former All-Star Al Horford, although they added All-Star point guard Kemba Walker.

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Christmas games against either Irving’s new team, the Nets, or Horford’s new team, the Sixers, probably would have generated more buzz. But Brooklyn, which is expected to be without injured star Kevin Durant for most of next season, did not receive a Christmas game.

Philadelphia will face league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks on Christmas, according to ESPN.

The full 2019-20 NBA schedule is expected to be released later this month.