The NBA released the 2014-15 regular season schedule on Wednesday night and just like last year, the league’s schedule makers did not make showcasing a rebuilding Boston Celtics team a priority.
The Celtics will play just one game on national television (ESPN, ABC, TNT) this year (in January). That’s a very meager total compared to a league-leading 25 national television games the Bulls, Cavaliers, and Thunder will play in this year.
Despite the lack of attention on Boston on a league-wide level, the Celtics still have a number of interesting match-ups throughout the team’s 82-game slate. Here’s a quick rundown of the 10 games you should be circling on your calendar for the upcoming 2014-15 season.
Brooklyn at Boston – October 29: The Celtics will kick off the 2014-15 season with a visit from old friend Kevin Garnett and the Brooklyn Nets. It will be bizarre seeing Garnett in uniform playing without good friend Paul Pierce by his side for the first time since the 2006-07 season. Still, it will be only Garnett’s second stop in Boston since last summer’s blockbuster trade (he missed one game last year due to injury). His arrival should create plenty of additional buzz during opening night.
Oklahoma City at Boston – November 12: Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Durant, and co. will make an early season visit to the TD Garden this year. Celtics fans can hope this time around they will get to watch Durant and Westbrook in person, after both players sat out the Thunder’s 101-83 win over the Celtics back in January due to injury.
Cleveland at Boston – November 14: LeBron James does not have many fond memories of playing in Boston while wearing a Cleveland Cavaliers uniform and he’ll return to those roots for the first time in five years on a Friday night in mid-November. The Garden crowd will also be riled up for Kevin Love’s arrival to town, after the Celtics fell short in attempting to acquire the superstar power forward this summer.
Chicago at Boston – November 28: Like the rest of the NBA, the Celtics have not had a good look at Derrick Rose over the past couple seasons. His return to the floor, alongside notable new teammates like Pau Gasol and Doug McDermott will make this post Thanksgiving matinee matchup a tough early test for the Celtics.
San Antonio at Boston – November 30: The defending champions make their way into Beantown at the tail end of the Thanksgiving weekend to cap off a home heavy month of November for the Celtics. Boston will play eight of their 13 games during November at the TD Garden.
LA Lakers at Boston – December 5: Even though the Celtics and Lakers aren’t expected to get a sniff of the postseason this year, the rivalry between both teams still makes this a must-see matchup. Kobe Bryant will be back after missing his annual visit to the Garden last season, while Steve Nash may be making the final stop of his legendary career in Boston as well.
Washington at Boston – December 7: There won’t be quite as many tears this time around when Paul Pierce returns to the Garden in December for the third time as an opponent. This will be the only trip to Boston on the calendar for Pierce this season, making this Sunday evening matchup a must-see contest for Celtics fans. Old friend Kris Humphries will be back in town as well after the Celtics sign-and-traded him to the Wizards last month.
Boston at Milwaukee – February 7: Jabari Parker was on the mind of Celtics fans for much of last season before the Celtics failed to move up in the NBA Draft Lottery. The first head-to-head matchup between the Bucks and Celtics in the 2014-15 season should bring back some painful reminders of what could have been if the ping pong balls fell Boston’s way. Additionally, with both teams likely locked in near the bottom of the Eastern Conference yet again, this matchup could have some lottery implications.
Boston at Sacramento – February 20: The Celtics will get a sizable nine-day respite thanks to the extended All-Star Break this year before heading out west in late February. Why will this matchup with the lowly Kings matter though? It will be the first game after the trade deadline, at which point several veteran Celtics including Rajon Rondo could be shipped out of town.
LA Clippers at Boston – March 29: Doc Rivers made a gracious return last season to the Garden to kick off a string of memorable homecomings throughout the year. His talented Clippers roster will likely be fighting for playoff positioning upon their late season pit stop in Boston.
You can check out the full Celtics schedule here