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Celtics 2019-20 Schedule: Top Games, Championship and Record Predictions

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 12, 2019

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JULY 17: Kemba Walker is introduced as a member of the Boston Celtics during a press conference at the Auerbach Center at New Balance World Headquarters on July 17, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)
Tim Bradbury/Getty Images

The Boston Celtics fell well short of expectations during the 2018-19 NBA season, so the offseason roster overhaul didn't come as a surprise. 

Kyrie Irving, Al Horford and Terry Rozier all left the organization. The Celtics signed Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter to fill the void with hope that the refreshed lineup will lead to better results after finishing fourth in the Eastern Conference with a 49-33 record last season.

Boston head coach Brad Stevens faces the challenge of finding a consistent rotation that works after unsuccessfully juggling one of the league's deepest rosters a year ago.

Let's check out all of the important information about the team's slate for next season following the NBA's schedule release. That's followed by a look at the best matchups and a record prediction.

               

2019-20 Celtics Schedule Details

Season Opener: Oct. 23 at Philadelphia 76ers

Championship Odds: 28-1 (via Caesars)

Full Schedule: NBA.com

        

Top Matchups

Brooklyn Nets (First Game: Nov. 27)

The Nets' chances of title contention next season rely almost exclusively on whether Kevin Durant returns before the playoffs after suffering a ruptured Achilles in the 2019 NBA Finals. Regardless, the meetings with the Celtics will be high-profile clashes with Irving moving from Boston to Brooklyn.

Although Irving put up strong individual numbers during his time with the C's, it didn't translate to the type of team success most expected. Adam Himmelsbach of Boston Globe reported the point guard "essentially ghosted" the franchise ahead of free agency, ending his tenure on a negative note.

Brooklyn and Boston could develop quite a rivalry in the coming years, especially if swapping Kyrie for Kemba leads to better team chemistry for the Celtics.

The reaction Irving receives in his first trip back to TD Garden will be a major storyline, and it'll set the stage for plenty of big meetings between the title hopefuls.

                     

Philadelphia 76ers (First Game: Oct. 23)

The Sixers and Milwaukee Bucks will enter the campaign as the teams to beat in the Eastern Conference. If Boston wants to prove it belongs in that category, it's going to need strong performances against both, with Philly being the likelier team to leapfrog.

Like Brooklyn, the 76ers also feature one of the Celtics' former stalwarts in Horford, and those type of team switches among contenders always brings a little extra spice to games. Handling Horford and Joel Embiid could be a significant matchup problem for Boston.

The winner of the head-to-head battles between the teams could earn home-court advantage should they face off during the playoffs.

             

Season Forecast

Gordon Hayward may hold the key to the Celtics' season. He missed nearly his entire first year with Boston after suffering serious injuries to his left leg, and he didn't showcase his previous All-Star form in his return last season, averaging just 11.5 points in 72 appearances.

That said, it's not uncommon for athletes to struggle in their return from a major injury and look more like their prior self the following year. That's what the Celtics will be hoping to see from the former Utah Jazz star, who put up 21.9 points per game in 2016-17.

If Hayward does shine, the Celtics will likely lean pretty heavily on a small-ball lineup with Walker, Kanter, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum on the floor.

Boston's interior defense is a serious concern, so going small and forcing teams using two bigs into matchup problems is one possible way to minimize the impact of that problem area.

The Celtics have enough talent to compete with anybody in the East. Last season showed that it takes more than pure skill level to seriously contend for a championship, however, and the front office reworked the core with that in mind.

There may be some early growing pains as Walker and Kanter get acclimated. But Boston should safely secure a playoff berth, and if the puzzle pieces fit together, it could feature a lot of postseason upside.

Record Prediction: 45-37

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