The NBA officially released the first half of their regular-season schedule this past Friday. With Covid and so many other things going on, the NBA only released half of the schedule and will figure out the second half of it later on. With that being said, let’s take a deep dive at a few of the games that stand out the most during Boston’s first half of the season.
December 23 versus Milwaukee
The first game of the year is always one that fans look forward to the most. It’s the game where fans overreact to whether their favorite team wins or loses. If they win, they’re the best team in the league. If they lose, the season’s over. Well, good thing Boston has to play the Milwaukee Bucks right away, right?
Boston will have a challenging task ahead of them to start the season. Going up against a Milwaukee Bucks team that added Jrue Holiday in the offseason while keeping most of their players from last season will be interesting, to say the least.
Both teams will have something to prove. Boston wants to show they’re a top contender in the East even after losing Gordon Hayward. Milwaukee has a chip on their shoulder and is out for blood after being embarrassed in the second round of the playoffs by Miami. Both teams will be looking to start their year strong; it’s just a matter of who will want it more.
December 25 versus Brooklyn
Ah yes, the Brooklyn Nets. I know the first two games I brought up are the first two games of the year, but the NBA just wants to throw everything at Boston at once. Kyrie Irving will make his long-awaited return to the TD Garden since leaving Boston, but without any fans in the arena.
Not only will Boston have their hands full with Irving, but the Celtics will also have to go up against a returning Kevin Durant as well. He may be coming off a serious achilles injury, but it’s still Kevin freaking Durant.
This will be a great opportunity for guys like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to take it to KD and the Nets. Boston and Brooklyn don’t have a rivalry, but that might change as the season goes on. With the Nets back to being potentially one of the top teams in the East, the Celtics will have yet another team to go through on their way to raising another banner in Boston. Beating this team would just be so satisfying.
January 6 versus Miami
Boston won’t have to wait long to have its first chance to get revenge on the team that eliminated them in the playoffs last season. Boston will face off against Miami at the beginning of January for the first time since the playoffs.
Are the Heat as good as we think they are, or were they simply a team that took advantage of the Orlando bubble? That’s something we will find out early on in the year. In my opinion, as long as Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, and Duncan Robinson are healthy and on the same page, they’re one of the most dangerous teams in the league.
The Celtics will be out for blood this game. They were embarrassed by Miami in the playoffs and seemingly fell apart in front of our very eyes. They’ll have a ton to prove this game and hopefully show that they are the better team; Miami just got the best of them in the playoffs.
January 30 versus Los Angeles
Los Angeles versus Boston. 17 Championships versus 17 Championships. The King versus the Future. This game will be must-see basketball.
This is the NBA Finals matchup that should’ve happened. Last season the two teams split the series 1-1 and looked really good doing it. Boston blew out the Lakers by 32 at home the first time around, while Los Angeles beat the Celtics by two the second time they played. Although Boston dropped the second game, it was a breakout game for Tatum, who dropped 41 points without Kemba Walker in the lineup. Jayson Tatum became an “Absolute Problem” from that day forward.
Each team brings the intensity when they play each other. Since they’re going up against the best player in the league and one of the best players of all time, both Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum need to hold their own. They always do, but this game will mean more since LA are the defending champs. Every basketball fan should have this game circled on their calendar.
February 7 versus Phoenix
There’s no rivalry here or any beef between these two teams. I’m just excited to watch the Celtics play against the new-look Suns. I believe Phoenix will be like the OKC Thunder of last season. They’re a sleeper team that can make life difficult for some of the league’s best teams. If everything clicks, Chris Paul and the Suns could put a team on upset alert come playoff time.
February 23 versus Dallas
Once again, there’s no rivalry between Boston and Dallas or anything like that. Dallas is a young team with one of the best players in the league on their roster. And no, I’m not talking about Boban. I’m talking about Luka Doncic.
I just want to watch the war between Doncic and the Celtics. Doncic is about to enter his third year in the league and is already a top-10 player in the NBA. The kid is on track to be the best player in the league in a few short years, but Jayson Tatum isn’t too far behind him.
I just want to watch Doncic and Tatum go back-and-forth all game. This will be 48 minutes of pure entertainment.
These are just a handful of games that I believe are the best on Boston’s first-half schedule. Whether it’s because of a rivalry or for pure entertainment, these games will be must-watch and will have a lot of meaning to Boston. Can we just start the season already?
Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images