By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com
Two days after their home opener was revealed, we now know the first half of the Celtics 2020-2021 regular season schedule.
As a part of their COVID-shortened season, the NBA is putting together the schedule in two parts. The first half, released Friday afternoon, will run from December 22 through early March. At some point in February, the league will announce the second half schedule. This allows for more flexibility, should games need to be canceled or moved due to COVID.
There are other ways this year’s schedule isn’t your classic NBA slate. Most notably, there is very little down time. Only twice does the team have more than a day off in between games, with both instances coming very close together (January 28-29 and January 31-February 1). In that same time span, the team has 14 scheduled back-to-backs (28 games total).
Traditional ‘home-and-home’ series have been put aside, in favor of limiting travel by having teams play in the same city for back-to-back games. For instance, the Celtics will host the Orlando Magic for two games in three days (January 13 and 15) with an off day in between. The next week, they’ll play two straight against the Sixers in Philadelphia.
One tradition that did make it into the new schedule – Friday home games. The Celtics are scheduled to play on all but one Friday (January 29) during the first half, with six of those nine games happening at TD Garden.
The first Eastern Conference Finals rematch against the Miami Heat will take place on Wednesday, December 6. That’s a road game for the Celtics, although the teams will meet again in Boston a few days later on December 10.
The defending NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers are only on the schedule once for the first half. That game is set to be played in Boston on January 30. It’ll be the Celtics’ last home game before a five-game, eight-day west coast road trip that includes the Clippers, but not LeBron & company. This could mean the Celtics have to go west again in the second half of the season to finish their season series.
Not on the schedule is the Charlotte Hornets, Gordon Hayward’s new employer. Celtics fans will apparently have to wait until the second half of the season to see that reunion.
Of course, this is all just tentative, as COVID and local health policies will dictate things as the season goes on. But there are now basketball games on the calendar through mid-March, ending just shy of a year to when the league had to shut down at the start of the pandemic.
To see the full first-half Celtics schedule, click here.
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at Alexander.Barth@bbgi.com.