Looks like there will be no easing in to the new season for the Celtics.
Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and the rest of the green and white will tip off the 2009-10 campaign with a marquee matchup Tuesday, Oct. 27 against LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal and the Cavaliers in Cleveland, according to the Celtics’ schedule, which was released this afternoon.
The game will air on TNT, one of 28 nationally televised games for the Celtics in the coming season.
After tipping off the season against the Cavs, the Celtics will return to Boston for their home opener against the Charlotte Bobcats the following night, beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Here are a few of the schedule’s other highlights, quirks and notable matchups:
- The Celtics will spend Christmas in Orlando — convenient for resident Doc Rivers — when they play the Magic at 2:30 on ABC.
- They will face the defending champions Lakers for the first time when they host Kobe and Co. Jan. 31. The game is slated for a 3:30 p.m. start on ABC.
- They will play the Lakers again less than three weeks later when they head to LA on Feb. 18 for 10:30 p.m. showdown on TNT.
- The Celtics’ first matchup with Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls — their surprising nemesis in a memorable first-round playoff series last season — will come Oct. 30. It will be the Celtics’ third game in the first four days of the season.
- The Cavs will come to Boston Feb. 25 for an 8 p.m. matchup that will air on TNT. The Celtics will also face Cleveland twice later in the schedule: on the road March 14 (3:30 p.m., ABC) and at home April 4 (1 p.m., ABC).
- The Celtics will take on Dwight Howard and the Magic — the team that eliminated them from the postseason in the Eastern Conference semifinals — for the first time on Nov. 20 at the Garden. It’s set for an 8 p.m. start on ESPN.
- While they will face Charlotte, San Antonio (Dec. 3, TNT) and Oklahoma City from Dec. 1-4, their first extended Western road swing begins after Christmas, when they’ll meet the LA Clippers, Golden State, and Phoenix in a span of four days beginning Dec. 27.
- The Celtics will play five straight road games from Feb. 10-21, including back-to-back games versus the Lakers (Feb. 18, 10:30 p.m., TNT) and Portland (Feb. 19, 10:30 p.m., ESPN)
- Rasheed Wallace, who signed with the Celtics in the offseason after six years and one championship with the Pistons, will return to Detroit on Jan. 20. It is not a national TV game.
- The Celtics will play on ESPN nine times, TNT eight times, NBA TV six times, and ABC five times.
- They will close the regular season by hosting Milwaukee on April 14.