With two months ‘till tip-off of the 2019-’20 NBA regular season, the Boston Celtics officially released their schedule on Wednesday, debuting on the road against 2018 Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers on Oct. 23 in the Wells Fargo Center. The C’s home opener brings the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors to the TD Garden, sans reigning NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.
Leonard’s departure for the Los Angeles Clippers may have been perhaps the biggest move of the off-season across the Association, but the Celtics will also be sporting a new look this campaign, signing Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter from Charlotte and Portland following the departures of Kyrie Irving and Al Horford.
Following those two early-season contests, here are some key games to look for this season:
Wednesday, Oct. 30 vs Milwaukee
In their first matchup since the Celtics fell 4-1 to the Eastern Conference Semifinals this past season, the Celtics get another crack at what is arguably the league’s most lethal weapon in Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Friday, Nov. 15 @ Golden State/Thursday Jan. 30 vs Golden State
Although 10-time NBA All-Star Kevin Durant has left to join Irving in Brooklyn, the brand of the Golden State dynasty remains largely intact with the return of Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Steph Curry.
Boston will hope to repeat the effort that helped them end Golden State’s record 54-game home winning streak in 2016 in a test to see whether the Celtics can hang with the title contenders.
The Warriors will return to Boston later in the season in a home stretch matchup that may be pivotal as wins become necessary for playoff seeding in the Eastern Conference.
Wednesday, Nov. 20 @ L.A Clippers
Leonard could have made any team a contender, but he joins a Clippers squad looking not only to climb in the Western Conference, but overtake the Lakers as the most popular team in the City of Angels.
Saturday Jan. 11 vs New Orleans/ Monday, Jan. 20 vs L.A Lakers
Leonard’s vie for Southern California dominance must compete with newcomer Anthony Davis, who joins LeBron James following a disappointing 2018-’19 Lakers season.
The six-time NBA All-Star came to the Lakers via trade from New Orleans, which in turn provides Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Derrick Favors as support for the top draft pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Zion Williamson
Saturday, Feb. 29 vs Houston
The Rockets were already among the favorites for this year’s title with 2018 NBA MVP James Harden, but their odds rose with the addition of former Harden Oklahoma City teammate and 2017 NBA MVP Russell Westbrook