Celtics

Five takeaways from Celtics’ Orlando schedule release

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The NBA released the schedules for all 22 teams taking part in the Orlando bubble on Friday night, with the action set to kick off with a doubleheader on July 30th featuring the Jazz-Pelicans and Clippers-Lakers in primetime.

Boston’s schedule will pick up where it left off in mid-March with a showdown against Giannis Antetokounmpo on ESPN on July 31st. From there, the C’s will play every other day (with a back-to-back) mixed in over the next two weeks. A look at the full schedule:

A few takeaways from the release:

1. The Celtics have one of the easiest schedules in the league: It may feel like an entirely new season after a four-month layoff when the games resume on July 30th, but based on the regular-season standings, the Celtics have one of the easiest slate of opponents among the 22 teams in Orlando. Four of those eight opponents (Washington, Brooklyn, Portland, Orlando) will be .500 teams while another likely opponent in Milwaukee won’t be playing for much when it comes to seeding since they essentially have the No. 1 spot locked up in the East. The full lineup of opponents (Milwaukee, Toronto, Washington, Orlando, Brooklyn, Memphis, Portland, Miami) should help ensure the Celtics remain locked into the No. 3 seed barring a terrible two weeks of play (C’s hold 2.5 lead over MIA). Based on win-loss record, the C’s have the fifth-softest schedule out of 22 teams in the bubble.

2. Facing the Bucks in the opener may work out well: We already touched on how Milwaukee doesn’t have much to play for in the standings with the top seed lined up and no need to fight for homecourt advantage in the postseason that doesn’t exist. While the world will enjoy a battle between two heavyweights in the first seeding game back for both teams on July 31st in primetime, it’s fair to wonder whether the Bucks will handle the contest more like a preseason tuneup when it comes to minutes distributions for their stars like Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton. I wouldn’t expect Brad Stevens to have his foot on the gas much either when it comes to minutes but there will be more to fight for out of the gate for the C’s. It’s likely going to be an ugly game no matter what given the long layoff leading into it but the Celtics could benefit from the Bucks easing into it.

3. Catching the Raptors seems realistic after a look at their schedule: While the C’s benefitted