The National Basketball Association has confirmed that the Boston Celtics will indeed open their 2018-19 regular season at home against the Philadelphia 76ers in primetime on Oct. 16.
First reported by the Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn last week, the confirmation came with a release detailing all of the NBA’s 2018-19 key dates, and features more than just an appealing Opening Night at TD Garden.
In an opening week that kicks off with a rematch of a second-round playoff showdown, the Celtics will get another dose of stiff competition in a primetime setting in week one, as they’ll visit Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors on Friday, Oct. 19. The Raptors finished with the most wins in the Eastern Conference last year, and parted with heart-and-soul player DeMar DeRozan and more to acquire Leonard (and Danny Green) from the San Antonio Spurs this offseason.
The Celtics will once again play a home game on Christmas Day, too, with a 5:30 p.m. head-to-head against the Sixers.
Coming off their best season yet under Brad Stevens, the Celtics are expected to be the East’s top team in 2018-19 thanks to the expected return of a healthy Gordon Hayward after he missed all of last season due to a severe leg injury, as well as the continued growth of promising young guns such as Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.
The complete 2018-19 schedule will be released later this month.