REVOLUTION: The New England Revolution take on New York City FC tonight @ 7:30pm on 98.5 HD2 (Hubcast) and Streaming Here.

Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JANUARY 28: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics defends LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers in the final shot of regulation play during the fourth quarter at TD Garden on January 28, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeat the Lakers in overtime 125-121. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The Celtics finally know when and where their quest for their first championship since 2008 will begin.

With the 2023-24 NBA schedule released earlier this week, and with this upcoming season featuring the introduction of the league’s new in-season tournament, it’s easy for the minutiae of the 82-game grind to outweigh the key matchups of the upcoming season. And for the Celtics, who came up short in the third round of the 2023 playoffs but are considered one of the top favorites for the 2024 NBA championship, there’s no shortage of key matchups and showdowns.

Here are the top 12 must-watch games on the C’s schedule for the 2023-24 season…

  • Wednesday, Oct. 25 at New York (7 p.m.)

    Feb 13, 2023; San Francisco, California, USA; Washington Wizards center Kristaps Porzingis (6) shoots during warm-ups before the game against the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

    Feb 13, 2023; San Francisco, California, USA; Washington Wizards center Kristaps Porzingis (6) shoots during warm-ups before the game against the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center. (John Hefti/USA TODAY Sports)

    Let’s get it cooking early. On Opening Night, in fact, as the Celtics will head to Madison Square Garden to kick off their quest for Banner 18 with a meeting with the Knicks. And this one should be juicy.

    The Knicks actually proved to be a bit of a challenge for the Celtics in 2022-23, with New York winning three of their four showdowns. But the sides required overtime in two of those meetings (and with those two games decided by two points and three points, respectively), and have gone to overtime in three of their last eight meetings over the last two seasons. And going back to their last 10 head-to-heads since 2021, the Celtics and Knicks have played six contests separated by five points or fewer.

    Oh, this game should also feature another return to MSG for ex-Knicks standout Kristaps Porzingis. This won’t be the 7-foot-3 Latvian’s first return to New York since his trade out of town, of course, but Porzingis seems to bring some extra spice out of that always-rowdy crowd, and his move to Boston probably won’t put the locals at ease.

    This game will be on both ESPN and NBC Sports Boston, and can be heard on 98.5 The Sports Hub.

  • Friday, Oct. 27 vs. Heat (7:30 p.m.)

    May 29, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) shakes hands with Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) after the Heat defeated the Celtics in game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals for the 2023 NBA playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports

    May 29, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) shakes hands with Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) after the Heat defeated the Celtics in game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

    Fans waiting for an Eastern Conference Finals rematch with Jimmy Butler and the Heat won’t have to wait long, as the Celtics will open their home slate with a showdown with Miami. Truth be told, this game likely won’t mean much to the Heat (it feels clear that Miami is a borderline playsoff-only team at this point), but for the Celtics, it’s a chance for the Celtics’ top stars to set the tone on home court after dropping three of four home tilts against the Heat in last year’s series.

    Another thing to watch: Portland’s Damian Lillard wants a trade to the Heat. He’s made that known again and again and again. Does it happen by the time the NBA season starts and if so, how does that change the rivalry between these sides?

    This game will be on ESPN and NBC Sports Boston, and can be heard on 98.5 The Sports Hub.

  • Wednesday, Nov. 8 at Philadelphia (7 p.m.)

    MASSACHUSETTS - MAY 09: Al Horford #42 of the Boston Celtic defends Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers during the first quarter of game five of the Eastern Conference Second Round Playoffs at TD Garden on May 09, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    MASSACHUSETTS – MAY 09: Al Horford defends Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers during the first quarter of game five of the Eastern Conference Second Round Playoffs at TD Garden on May 09, 2023. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    I am and will always be a sucker for a Boston-Philly rivalry game. Doesn’t matter the sport, doesn’t matter the state of the respective teams involved. Give me more and more of this whenever possible. And there’s no denying that Celtics-Sixers has delivered, and at a relatively consistent clip. The heat is pretty strong with these sides too after the Celtics took three of four in the regular season and then took down Philly in a Game 7 on the Garden parquet last year.

    That series loss to the Celtics ultimately made the Sixers decide to move on from ex-Celtics head coach Doc Rivers and hire Nick Nurse as the new man along the sidelines, and the Sixers have their own set of new problems right now with star guard James Harden wanting out of town as soon as possible. And Harden has been as vocal as any disgruntled superstar who’s wanted out, with Harden saying (into a microphone!) that the Sixers’ Daryl Morey is a ‘liar’ and that he would never play for any organization that Morey is a part of.

    All four regular-season Celtics-Sixers matchups last year were decided by less than 10 points.

    This game will be on NBC Sports Boston and can be heard on 98.5 The Sports Hub.

  • Monday, Dec. 25 at LA Lakers (5 p.m.)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JANUARY 28: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics and LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers shake hands during overtime at TD Garden on January 28, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeat the Lakers 125-121. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – JANUARY 28: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics and LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers shake hands during overtime at TD Garden on January 28, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    Christmas in Hollywood, baby.

    The Celtics and Lakers will renew their rivalry at Staples Center (I’m not calling it that stupid Crypto name, it’s the Staples Center and it always will be) in a Dec. 25 showdown. And the shine on the Lakers may not be what it once was, but so long as the Lakers still have LeBron James, this is still a must-watch game.

    There’s also a part of me that’s trying to appreciate these games while we still have them, especially with LeBron in a Laker uniform. It’s been widely speculated that LeBron will follow his son Bronny to wherever he lands in the 2024 NBA Draft, and while that’ll be its own story worth following, if it spells the end of LeBron in Los Angeles, that’s a bit of a bummer. I mean, think about it, it’s the Celtics’ top individual rival of this era on their top rivalry in the franchise’s history. It’s just the perfect angle for all involved, and if this is it, I’m gonna be sure to enjoy it while I still can.

    Also: These teams had some awesome slugfests last year, with both meetings requiring overtime.

    This game will be a nationally-televised affair on ABC, and can be heard on 98.5 The Sports Hub.

  • Sunday, Dec. 31 at San Antonio (7 p.m.)

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 12: Victor Wembanyama #1 of the San Antonio Spurs poses for a portrait during the 2023 NBA rookie photo shoot at UNLV on July 12, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JULY 12: Victor Wembanyama #1 of the San Antonio Spurs poses for a portrait during the 2023 NBA rookie photo shoot at UNLV on July 12, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

    New Year’s Eve will come with the Celtics’ first look at who many considered to be the ‘next big thing’ in the NBA in the Spurs’ Victor Wembanyama.

    Drafted with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, ‘Wemby’ is a 7-foot-5 threat who can score from all over the court. If he pans out like many expect, we’re talking about a potential once-in-a-lifetime talent. He’s like a Kevin Durant that’s a mere inch shorter than Tacko Fall. Complete insanity.

    On TV, this game can be seen on NBC Sports Boston, and will be aired on the Celtics radio network. It’ll also serve as the capper to a busy Boston sports day, with the Patriots playing the Bills at 1 p.m. and the Bruins playing the Red Wings at 5 p.m. ahead of the 7 p.m. tipoff between the C’s and Spurs.

  • Saturday, Jan. 13 vs. Rockets (7 p.m.)

    Jun 1, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Rockets head coach Ime Udoka prepares to throw out the first pitch prior to the game between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Angels at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

    Jun 1, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Rockets head coach Ime Udoka prepares to throw out the first pitch prior to the game between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Angels at Minute Maid Park. (Erik Williams/USA TODAY Sports)

    Following a suspension and eventual dismissal from the Celtics, Ime Udoka is back in the NBA and as the new head coach of the Houston Rockets. That circles Jan. 13 as Udoka’s first time back in Boston since he left the organization, and it’ll be interesting to see just how everybody reacts to his return. Udoka’s former players made frequent mention of Udoka during the 2022-23, so it’s fair to assume there’s no bad blood there, and Udoka has expressed remorse over what happened in Boston, but it’s no secret that he’d love to get a win over the C’s in his first trip back.

    This game can be seen on NBC Sports Boston and heard on 98.5 The Sports Hub.

  • Friday, Jan. 19 v. Nuggets (7:30 p.m.)

    Apr 11, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) lines up a shot over Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III (44) in the third quarter at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

    Apr 11, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) lines up a shot over Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III (44) in the third quarter at Ball Arena. (Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports)

    The reigning NBA champions will come to town for a Friday night showdown at TD Garden on Jan. 19. Powered by a triple-double from Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets ended Boston’s six-game win streak over Denver in their last meeting. This is another one of those teams that the Celtics seem to have close, entertaining games against, too.

    ESPN and NBC Sports Boston will carry this contest, while 98.5 The Sports Hub will have the radio call.

  • Sunday, Feb. 4 vs. Grizzlies (6 p.m.)

    May 19, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) exits the court after warm up before game two of the Eastern Conference Finals for the 2023 NBA playoffs against the Miami Heat at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

    May 19, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) exits the court after warm up before game two of the Eastern Conference Finals for the 2023 NBA playoffs against the Miami Heat at TD Garden. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

    Only Marcus Smart can make an early February visit from the Grizzlies one of the hottest tickets in town. Traded by the Celtics as part of the three-team deal to bring Porzingis to Boston, Smart will get his standing ovation from the TD Garden crowd in a Sunday night meeting between the Grizzlies and Celtics. A Celtic for nine seasons, Smart has embraced his next chapter with Memphis, but his emotions will surely be on display in this return.

    In case you’re wondering, the cheapest ticket for Smart’s return to Boston checks in at $213 on TicketMaster, and just under $170 on AceTickets. Those figures do not include the fees that’ll come with said ticket.

  • Friday, Mar. 1 vs. Mavericks (7:30 p.m.)

    ATLANTA, GEORGIA - APRIL 02: Kyrie Irving #2 and Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks react against the Atlanta Hawks during the fourth quarter at State Farm Arena on April 02, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

    ATLANTA, GEORGIA – APRIL 02: Kyrie Irving #2 and Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks react against the Atlanta Hawks during the fourth quarter at State Farm Arena on April 02, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

    Another return on the schedule will come on Mar. 1 when Grant Williams, moved to Dallas in a sign-and-trade earlier this summer, comes back to Boston as a member of the Mavericks.

    But the story in this one will likely come back to another return to Boston for Kyrie Irving, and his fit with Luka Doncic. Acquired by the Mavericks last season, the Irving-Doncic combination never quite got off the ground in 2023, as the Mavs went just 5-11 with Irving and Doncic in the lineup together a year ago. That didn’t stop the Mavericks from re-signing Irving, and this combination is a must-watch on their own next season. By now, it’s no secret that Irving is never quite happy wherever he is, and if he sours Doncic in Dallas, absolutely all bets are off.

    Led by Jayson Tatum winning his duels with Doncic, the Celtics swept last year’s season series with the Mavericks after Dallas swept the season series in both 2020-21 and 2021-22.

    This game be found on ESPN and NBC Sports Boston, and heard on 98.5 The Sports Hub.

  • Sunday, Mar. 3 vs. Warriors (3:30 p.m.)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JANUARY 19: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics talks with Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors during the first half at TD Garden on January 19, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – JANUARY 19: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics talks with Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors during the first half at TD Garden on January 19, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    No matter the roster, and no matter the juggernaut status of either club, the head-to-heads between the Celtics and Warriors have remained the gold standard of regular-season basketball if you ask me. Since the start of the 2015-16 season, these teams have matched up for 16 contests, with the C’s capturing wins in 10 of those games. Boston captured a victory in the second leg of their 2022-23 series, and in thrilling fashion, too, with a 121-118 overtime win.

    Roster-wise, we know what the Cltics have done, while Golden State decided to shake things up a bit for 2023-24, with veteran Chris Paul added to the mix and Jordan Poole shipped out of town.

    As you’d expect, ABC will carry this game. 98.5 The Sports Hub will have the call on the radio side of things.

  • Saturday, Mar. 9 at Phoenix (9:30 p.m.)

    PHOENIX, ARIZONA - DECEMBER 07: Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns and Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics during the second half of the NBA game at Footprint Center on December 07, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    PHOENIX, ARIZONA – DECEMBER 07: Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns and Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics during the second half of the NBA game at Footprint Center on December 07, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    The Celtics have their new big three with Porzingis added to the one-two punch of Brown and Tatum, and the Suns have found theirs with Bradley Beal joining forces with Kevin Durant and Devin Booker. And if both teams hit their ceiling, this could very well be a preview of the 2024 NBA Finals.

    The C’s and Suns have split their season series in five straight seasons.

    This game will be carried by ABC and 98.5 The Sports Hub.

  • Wednesday, Mar. 20 vs. Bucks (7:30 p.m.)

    MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MAY 13: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics celebrates a basket against Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks during the third quarter in Game Six of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals at Fiserv Forum on May 13, 2022 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

    MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – MAY 13: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics celebrates a basket against Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks during the third quarter in Game Six of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals at Fiserv Forum on May 13, 2022 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

    This one is obvious. The top two seeds in the Eastern Conference last year, a late-season showdown between the Bucks and Celtics could have some playoff-seeding implications on the line. The Celtics have captured wins in six of their 10 head-to-heads with Milwaukee over the last three seasons, and took two of three in the 2022-23 season.

    This game will be on both ESPN and NBC Sports Boston, and heard on 98.5 The Sports Hub.

Sign me up for the 98.5 The Sports Hub email newsletter!

Get the latest Boston sports news and analysis, plus exclusive on-demand content and special giveaways from Boston's Home for Sports, 98.5 The Sports Hub.

*
*
By clicking "Subscribe" I agree to the website's terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand I can unsubscribe at any time.