The NBA released its 2016-2017 regular season schedule Thursday, with the Celtics slated for 22 national television games on ESPN, TNT and ABC. They will open their season on Wednesday October 26th, as they host the Brooklyn Nets.
The Celtics will be featured in their first Chirstmas Day matchup since 2012 when they visit the New York Knicks for a noon matinee, as first reported by Kevin O’Connor of
CelticsBlog The Ringer. They join a Christmas Day lineup that features a Finals rematch and a battle for the Staples Center between the Clippers and Lakers.
Boston will host Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors on Friday November 18, in what will surely be a revenge game for Jae Crowder at the very least. They will face $100 million man LeBron James and the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers for the first time on November 3 when they visit the Q.
Jared Sullinger makes his Boston return with the Toronto Raptors on December 9, while Evan Turner makes his return with the Portland Trail Blazers on January 21. Al Horford will bring the Celtics into Atlanta for his return there on January 13, although there will undoubtedly be as many Celtics fans as Hawks fans in attendance.
The Celtics will visit the Chicago Bulls on Thursday October 27 to open the first TNT double-header of the season, which is followed by the Clippers vs. the Blazers.
Boston has 22 national television games this season after being scheduled for seven last season and one the year before. During the Big Three era, the Celtics averaged 22.3 national TV games per season according to The Sports Hub’s Sean Grande. They play ten games on ESPN, nine on TNT and three on ABC (Super Bowl Sunday February 5 vs. Clippers; Sunday March 12 vs. Bulls; and Sunday April 2 vs. Knicks.)
The Celtics will host the Pistons in the second edition of TNT’s new Monday night lineup, a nice new wrinkle after decades of TNT sticking to Thursday night broadcasts.
They will host the Clippers for what could be Paul Pierce’s final game in the Garden in the traditional Super Bowl Sunday matinee. They will visit Toronto the day after the trade deadline on February 24. Kawhi Leonard’s San Antonio Spurs will visit the Garden full of stuffing for the annual post-Thanksgiving day game.
They will play 17 back-to-backs this season. Each of their games in Cleveland will be on one leg of a back-to-back. One of these back-to-backs is unique, as they will host the Philadelphia 76ers and New Orleans Pelicans on January 6th and 7th. A home-stand back-to-back is unheard of. They will have a six-game home-stand March 20 through March 31 when they host the Wizards, Pacers, Suns, Heat, Bucks and Magic.
The Celtics will have a pair of West coast swings surrounding the All-Star break, as they visit Sacramento, Portland, Utah and Dallas in their first trip and then the Lakers, Suns, Clippers, Warriors and Nuggets to start March.
They close out the regular season with a gauntlet week of Eastern Conference teams fighting for playoff seeding. They host the Cavs on Wednesday April 5 and then fly straight away to Atlanta for a crucial second leg of a back-to-back. They then head up the road to Charlotte for their last road game of the year. They finish off the season with a home-stand starting with a crucial game against #NetsPick and a team who could be fighting for a playoff spot in the Milwaukee Bucks.
Teams typically play each team in their conference four times, although in the modern scheduling system, there are a few teams with whom that is reduced to three matchups. This year for the Celtics, those teams are Atlanta, Indiana, Orlando and Milwaukee.
The Celtics will get a tough test early in December, as they play 16 games, with 10 of them on the road. This includes games in Cleveland, Oklahoma, San Antonio, Houston New York on Xmas, Indiana, Memphis, Miami, Orlando and Philadelphia.
They are rewarded with an easier schedule in January, where they play only 14 games, with just four of them out of town.
The Celtics’ full schedule: