During the lockout-shortened 2011-2012 season, the schedule had a huge impact on teams' chances of winning a championship. This year, that isn't true to the same extent.
The Celtics are one of those teams realistically hoping to make it to the NBA Finals after adding Jason Terry and Courtney Lee—among other players—and they don't have too much to be worried about from a scheduling perspective.
Whether or not the C's are an aging team or not is an interesting question.
Boston has gotten significantly younger as a whole, but they still feature a number of crucial players who might need to be a bit worried about Father Time. Paul Pierce, Jason Terry and Kevin Garnett in particular are getting up there in the years.
The only aspect of the schedule that should be particularly worrisome to those veteran members of the team is the number of back-to-back games.
Boston is one of eight teams that will be playing a league-high 22 back-to-backs, joining the Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Bobcats, Cleveland Cavaliers, Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves and Philadelphia 76ers.
While this could be a problem, it's impossible to predict injuries, so I'm not even going to try. It is safe to say that the back-to-backs won't be fraught with as much peril as the brutal back-to-back-to-backs of the lockout-compressed schedule.
Boston also has 19 nationally televised games on the docket and another seven that will be shown on NBATV. That's a fairly typical number for a contender from a major market, and the cumulative pressure associated with nationally broadcasted games won't be detrimental to the C's.
So, while the back-to-backs could be an ever-so-slight problem, the exposure won't be.
How does the schedule affect Boston's title chances?
Finally, Boston gets to play five of nine April games at home, and the month as a whole is fairly easy. The home games are against the Detroit Pistons, Cavaliers, Washington Wizards, Brooklyn Nets and Pacers, while the away games force the Celtics to travel and face the Timberwolves, Heat, Orlando Magic and Toronto Raptors.
None of these features of the schedule are going to have a huge impact on Boston's chances during the 2012-2013 campaign.
It will all come down to how well they mesh on the court.