With expectations still running high for the Celtics in the East despite the departures of Kyrie Irving and Al Horford, the impact of the schedule on Boston’s performance during the year cannot be understated. For NBA teams, some success can be dependent on varying effects of long road trips, back-to-back games, and overall strength of opponents. A 10-10 start for Boston last year after a tough October/November was a hole the C's never really fully dug out of as the year wore on.
How does the Celtics schedule look this year from front-to-back? What patches of the calendar can they take advantage of? Let’s take a closer look at the full 82 games and see whether one of the easier schedules in the league (23rd in strength of schedule) will be outweighed by another challenging reality.
October (4 games)
2 home, 2 road
Games against expected playoff teams: 3
Games to watch: @ Philadelphia, vs. Toronto, vs. Milwaukee
Notable: The Eastern Conference contenders will be tested mightily out of the gate for the second straight season with three of their first four games coming against Eastern Conference heavyweights. There will be plenty of buzz surrounding opening night as Boston gets a crack at Al Horford and the Sixers, while the defending champions arrive in town for the Garden opener just two nights later. An early reunion will be in play on Saturday night of the first week as well with Marcus Morris facing off with Boston inside of Madison Square Garden. Giannis and the Bucks come to town to close out the month, which puts a 2-2 or 1-3 start very much in play for the C's out of the gate if they aren't running on all cylinders.
November (14 games)
5 home, 9 road
Games against expected playoff teams: 6
Games to watch: @ Golden State, @ LA Clippers, vs. Brooklyn