Boston Celtics Schedule 2013-14: 10 Most Anticipated Games of the Regular Season
For the Boston Celtics, the start of the regular season will be a welcome respite from a tumultuous summer of offseason activity.
Hell, the Rajon Rondo trade discussions may even die down.
It will finally all be about what happens on the court, and there are plenty of intriguing games to choose from.
The Celtics' 2013-14 schedule is filled with great individual matchups, rivalry games and contests sure to cause severe emotional reactions.
You can find the full schedule here, but go ahead and circle these 10 dates on your calendar right now.
October 30 at Toronto Raptors
Questions abound about the first game of the season.
Will Rajon Rondo be in the lineup? If he is, how healthy will he be, and will the coaching staff hold him back at all?
Speaking of the coaching staff, what can we expect from Brad Stevens in his NBA debut? Will he struggle to transition from Butler to Boston?
And, of course, we don't really know what to expect from this team either. They could end up with one of the best lottery picks in the 2014 NBA draft, but they could also surprise plenty of people and truly compete for one of the coveted playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.
The season opener is always an exciting event, but that will be especially true for a C's team that currently features more questions than answers.
November 9 vs. Miami Heat
The Celtics and Miami Heat have been building a bigger and bigger rivalry as the years progress.
There won't be as much hype surrounding this matchup as there was last year when Ray Allen made his debut against his former team, but it's still a burgeoning series between two squads that really don't care for each other.
Boston isn't exactly in the same class as Miami going into the 2013-14 campaign, but that doesn't tend to matter in these rivalry games. With the blood boiling and plenty of locker-room motivation, this game is sure to be an intense, heated matchup.
Plus we know that Rajon Rondo loves showing up to big games, and this is sure to be the biggest during the first month of Boston's season.
Can Jeff Green drop another 43 points this time? He might have to for Boston to come out on top.
November 29 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
Rondo has been established as one of the top point guards in the NBA for a while now. In fact, there's still a small contingent of Celtics fans who believes that the incredible distributor is the best floor general in the league.
But it's not the time or place for that argument.
Instead, let's focus on one of the premier individual battles on the schedule, a matchup that is sure to draw plenty of media attention.
Kyrie Irving isn't on Rondo's level yet, but he's not far away from getting there. All it takes is a little bit more effort on the defensive end of the court.
These two 1-guards will be going head-to-head throughout the first battle between the Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers, and neither will be letting up. Irving's yo-yo handles against Rondo's suffocating defense are sure to provide plenty of highlights and memorable plays.
You won't be able to take your eyes off them.
December 8 at New York Knicks
The New York Knicks ended the Celtics' Rajon Rondo-less postseason dreams in 2013, cutting short their brief stay in the playoffs after just six games.
This is the first chance for revenge, as Boston travels to Madison Square Garden and hopes to play spoiler to a promising Knicks season.
Avery Bradley will have his work cut out for him in this game, as he'll probably be counted on to periodically slow down J.R. Smith and maybe even Carmelo Anthony, just like you can see him doing in the photo up above.
He'll also need to improve his offensive output for the C's to put up enough points.
Kelly Olynyk will be facing a nice test during this contest as well by matching up against Tyson Chandler. The former Defensive Player of the Year is exactly the kind of center that many expect to give the Gonzaga product trouble, so this game will serve as a barometer for his Rookie of the Year hopes.
The Boston-New York rivalry is only growing, and this year will be no exception.
December 10 at Brooklyn Nets
The picture up above says it all, although Jason Terry doesn't really have the same impact on the Boston heartstrings.
Paul Pierce has spent his entire career, well over a decade, wearing the green Celtics jersey. Kevin Garnett may have played for other teams, but he's still become a true member of the Boston organization and one of the most beloved players on the roster.
It's going to be shocking to see these two stars playing for a different team. "Shocking" might not be a strong enough word.
The handshakes are sure to be emotional, and the game will be intense.
KG doesn't understand how to play with anything other than intensity, and Pierce will certainly want to prove to his new team that he no longer has strong feelings for the old one.
But while the adjectives describing this game will range from "intense" to "shocking," the best word may just be "weird."
December 11 vs. Los Angeles Clippers
Speaking of old faces in new places...
While the Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce departures went pretty smoothly and were done voluntarily by all parties involved, the same can't be said about Doc Rivers' transition to the Los Angeles Clippers.
The beginning of the offseason was filled with plenty of drama about the former Boston head coach. Will he stay? Will he retire? Is he a package deal with KG and Pierce? Does Danny Ainge like him anymore?
There were constant updates, none of which really told that much about what was happening with Rivers. But the end result was a move to L.A., where he'll look to coach the Clippers to the best record in the Western Conference.
It wouldn't surprise me at all if the Boston Garden filled with boos as soon as he walked out of the tunnel. For all the good he did during his Boston tenure, Rivers still didn't leave on the best of terms.
The emotional turmoil of traveling to the Barclays Center and then returning home for a game with Rivers' Clippers is going to make mid-December rather tough for the Celtics.
January 17 vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Boston and Los Angeles.
Don't the two names appearing in the same sentence just get you pumped up?
That's how strong the rivalry is between the NBA's two most historic franchises. Even during a year that doesn't figure to see either team as competitive as normal, this matchup will still be a big deal, and the Garden will surely be rocking.
At this point in the season, everyone will be back at full strength.
There should be no concerns about Kobe Bryant's Achilles. Nor should worries exist about Rajon Rondo's ACL.
These two teams will just come out and play hard.
January 26 vs. Brooklyn Nets
If you thought the December 10 battle between the Nets and Celtics would be strange, then prepare yourselves for the second meeting of the two Eastern Conference squads.
The Barclays Center crowd has no reason to get that excited about Pierce and Garnett facing their former teams. However, the same certainly can't be said when the two stars travel to the Boston Garden.
What will be the response?
Will the crowd shower boos down upon the two former Celtics standouts? Will they give them standing ovations and thank them for all their wonderful years of service? Will it be mixed?
If there's any pregame action that needs to be watched during the 2013-14 season, it comes on January 26.
And, of course, the game will be entertaining as well.
February 21 at Los Angeles Lakers
The Celtics and Lakers only get to meet twice each year, which makes each of the matchups quite intriguing to fans of the two franchises. After all, they're developed that storied rivalry over the years, and it's not going to die away anytime soon.
It's highly unlikely that Boston and L.A. meet in the NBA Finals, so this is going to be the final time that the two squads match up.
Could it also be the last time that Kobe Bryant plays against Boston? He's wavered enough on how long he plays that it's at least a minute possibility.
In a season without many expectations—a playoff spot isn't impossible, but it's a remarkably large longshot that Boston advances out of the first round—beating L.A. in the hostile Staples Center would certainly be a nice accomplishment.
April 16 vs. Washington Wizards
There are two huge reasons that this game could be one of the most exciting contests on the Celtics' schedule.
First, there's the point guard matchup between Rondo and John Wall. On the heels of signing an $80 million contract, the Washington Wizards floor general needs to put together a remarkable season and prove he's worth the hype.
The lasting impression will stem from this battle against his fellow Kentucky product, but this game has more implications than those coming from an individual contest.
Washington is expected to compete for one of the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference with the Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Detroit Pistons. If the C's develop chemistry quickly enough and Rondo plays the whole season at full strength, Boston could assert itself in that conversation as well.
Since this is the final game on the schedule, it could very well become a de facto playoff game, with the winner advancing to the actual postseason.
But even if it's less meaningful, the Rondo-Wall battle still makes it an anticipated game.