Morning Sports Update: Celtics will reportedly host Nets and Kyrie Irving on Christmas Day

Irving missed all four matchups against his former team last season.

Kyrie Irving will take on former Celtics teammates Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart on Christmas Day. AP Photo/Adam Hunger

The Celtics opened up training camp on Tuesday just a little more than two months after they were defeated by the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. The team opened up training camp by announcing injury updates on Kemba Walker, Tristan Thompson, and Romeo Langford.

In football, the Ravens and Steelers will finally face off after three COVID-19 delays pushed their game back six days. Baltimore will be without last season’s MVP Lamar Jackson due to COVID-19, among several other players, when it takes on Pittsburgh. Kick-off is set for 3:40 p.m.

And the Patriots are set to travel west to Los Angeles to take on the Chargers on Sunday at 4:25 p.m. The Patriots will reportedly stay in a bubble environment at UCLA’s campus following Sunday’s game because they’re facing the Rams in Los Angeles just four days later.

The Celtics will reportedly host the Nets on Christmas Day: After nearly 18 months since his departure, Kyrie Irving’s return to Boston to face the Celtics has another date. The Nets will travel to Boston on Christmas Day to take on the Celtics, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Last season, Irving missed all four of the Nets-Celtics matchups due to injury. The teams split the season series against each other. The Christmas Day matchup will also come a week after the two teams play each other in the preseason. Boston’s other preseason game is against Philadelphia on Dec. 15.

In addition to the matchup marking Irving’s return to Boston, it will also be one of Kevin Durant’s first games as a member of the Nets. The former MVP winner signed a four-year deal with Brooklyn prior to the start of the 2019-20 season but missed the entire year due to a torn Achilles he suffered with the Warriors in the season prior.


While the Nets are expected to have their two stars on Christmas, the Celtics may be without one of theirs. Kemba Walker will miss the beginning of the season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee in October. Walker is expected to be out until January and could be out up to a full month, according to NBC Sports Boston’s Chris Forsberg.

The NBA’s other Christmas Day matchups include the Pelicans at Heat, Warriors at Bucks, Mavericks at Lakers, and Clippers at Nuggets.

The 72-game regular season is set to begin on Dec. 22. Whenever the league announces the regular-season schedule, it will only be for the first half of the season to allow flexibility for any makeup games due to COVID-19. The second half of the regular season will run from March 11 through May 16. The Celtics will face every Eastern Conference team three times and all 15 Western Conference teams twice over the 72 games.

Trivia: When the Patriots take on the Chargers this weekend, it will mark the first time that Philip Rivers won’t be under center for the Chargers in a game against the Patriots since 2005. The Chargers dominated the Patriots on that Sunday afternoon in 2005, winning 41-17 in Foxborough. In Rivers’ nine career matchups against New England, he’s only won once, which came against Matt Cassel in 2008.

Who was the Chargers’ starting quarterback in the 2005 matchup against the Patriots?

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: He left the team in free agency after the 2005 season and is still playing in 2020.


More from Boston.com:

Danny Ainge on how the Celtics might use the trade exception following Gordon Hayward’s departure

Gordon Hayward explained why he chose the Hornets in free agency

This is a rough stretch for Team Tom Brady

Gregg Popovich knows filling US Olympic roster may be a challenge

PawSox to host virtual yard sale this weekend

Jayson Tatum called his max extension with the Celtics ‘a dream come true’

Red Sox and Eduardo Rodriguez avoid arbitration, agree to one-year, $8.3 million deal

Celtics point guard Kemba Walker will miss the start of the regular season

On this day: The New York Mets signed outfielder Bobby Bonilla to a five-year, $29 million contract, making him the highest-paid player in National League history at the time.

The Mets traded Bonilla in his fourth season with the team in a deal with the Orioles. After stints with the Marlins and Dodgers, Bonilla made his way back to New York, re-joining the Mets prior to the 1999 season. Bonilla reportedly had a tumultuous season with the Mets, getting in several arguments with manager Bobby Valentine and released him at season’s end.

Bonilla was still owed $5.9 million by the Mets when he was released. As opposed to getting the money then, Bonilla and his agent proposed a plan to defer getting paid for a decade and instead get paid $1.19 million on July 1 for 25 years, starting in 2011. The Mets have followed through on their agreement and July 1 is celebrated by baseball fans as “Bobby Bonilla Day.”


An inspirational return: In late October, Baylor women’s basketball senior guard DiDi Richards suffered a spinal cord injury after a collision with a teammate in practice that briefly left her unable to walk. The injury was diagnosed as a radiographic abnormality, which causes temporary impairment and left Richards paralyzed below the hips for some time.

After regaining feeling and movement in her legs again, Richards returned to game action Tuesday night, just 38 days after she suffered the injury. She scored four points, dished out seven assists, and had two steals in Baylor’s 67-62 win over South Florida.

“More recently, everything just kind of clicked in,” Richards told reporters of her rehab, which included using a walker for a couple of weeks after the incident. ” And then I was like, ‘Well, if you can walk, you can run, and if you can run, you can dribble.’ I just started trying new things, and pushing myself a little bit more. I just did my first full practice [Saturday].”

Daily highlight: Kentucky small forward BJ Boston made his presence known Tuesday night when he took off from nearly the free-throw line for a dunk against Kansas as part of the “Champions Classic.” Boston, who is one of the top prospects in the 2021 NBA Draft, finished with 12 points on the evening. Kentucky ended up losing 65-62, dropping the Wildcats to a 1-2 record on the season. Boston native Terrence Clark, who is also a top prospect in next year’s draft, scored just six points in the loss.


Trivia answer: Drew Brees


Jump To Comments


This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on Boston.com