Boston Celtics: 10 Most Important Games on the Schedule for the 2011-12 Season

Andrew Bock@andrew_bockCorrespondent IJuly 26, 2011

Boston Celtics: 10 Most Important Games on the Schedule for the 2011-12 Season

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    While our friends in the NFL will have their season go off (presumably) without a hitch, the NBA season will be in limbo for quite some time.  But, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t dissect the schedule of the Boston Celtics in the meantime and pick out their most exciting matchups throughout the 2011-12 season.

    I dearly hope the season can be played in full.  Nothing sucks the life out of an organization more than a lockout, and the NBA cannot afford to alienate its fanbase any further than it already has.  If you look at the NBA Finals ratings in the latter part of the 2000s versus the earlier half, it’s not good. 

    NBA Finals ratings aside, the Boston Celtics has a very intriguing schedule this year. It’s one that will surely have its share of storybook moments.  One can’t help but think there was a certain level of deliberation in the way the schedule was put together.  Even if it was completely random, that NBA finals DVD will be quite the treat.

    But, in order to get to that point, the Celtics will have to duke it out with their opponents, creating new rivalries and igniting the old.  Here are the most important games on the Celtics 2011-12 schedule.

Wednesday, Nov. 2 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

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    This game is great for a couple of reasons.  No. 1 it’s opening night.  Opening night is special for every fan, no matter what team you root for.

    The second reason is because the Celtics get to go up against the No. 1 pick, Kyrie Irving, in his first ever regular season game as a professional.  Though Irving will most likely come off the bench behind Baron Davis, it’ll still be interesting to see if the Cavs made the right decision in taking Irving over Arizona’s Derrick Williams.

Friday, Nov. 11 vs. Los Angeles Clippers

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    Blake Griffin comes to town for the fifth game of the season, which will keep the interest level high in Boston to start the year. 

    The Celtics split the series with the Clippers last year, so there’s no reason to think this won’t be another competitive game.  The potential for highlight dunks on a Friday will equal a sellout, so get ‘em quick if you want ‘em when they go on sale in September.

Wednesday, Nov. 16 @ Miami Heat

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    November surely is an action-packed month for the Celtics.  Shortly after Blake Griffin comes to town, the Celtics will head to Miami for their first matchup against the hated Miami Heat.

    Even though, Miami is more of a Big 3 now than the Celtics, it’s still one group versus the other, and you can’t help but draw comparisons between the two teams' elite players that way.

Thursday, Dec. 22 and Sunday Dec. 25 vs. New York Kincks

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    The two game-set versus the Knicks in late December, including the annual Christmas Day NBA marathon, will hopefully reignite the Celtics’ rivalry with the Knicks once and for all.

    The rivalry started to gain steam after the Knicks landed Carmelo Anthony, so a full year of the new-look Knicks working together should make for some competitive games.

Wednesday, Jan. 11 vs. Dallas Mavericks

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    The Dallas Mavericks will show up on a lot of team's “10 most important games” slide shows because they are the reigning champions, and everyone will be looking at Dallas through sniper scopes. 

    At this point in the season, it should be obvious if the Mavericks are legitimate contenders to repeat.  On paper, one would guess they should still be formidable, add in the fact they only play the Celtics twice per season and you have a high level of interest for this game.

Monday, Jan. 16 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

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    If I could only go to one game during the season, it’d be this one.  Not only do you get the youngest, most exciting team in the league, you get the return of Kendrick Perkins.

    Like Stone Cold Steve Austin hitting the ring in the WWE, Perkins should bring the house down when he’s introduced; expect a long standing ovation for the beloved big man.  Let’s just hope he doesn’t go all Acie Earl on the C’s and drop a new Garden record.

Wednesday, Jan. 25 vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

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    You might need to use your imagination a little bit on this one, but the Minnesota Timberwolves boast some interesting individual players worth checking out.

    Kevin Love is a star, no doubt about it.  Arizona rookie Derrick Williams makes his first trip to Boston.  Paul Pierce will have to cover him most likely, which should be and adventure.  Then you have the Spanish hype machine, Ricky Rubio.  Is he the next Steve Nash or Marko Jaric?

    The Wolves most likely won’t have their stuff together enough to be serious competitors in the NBA next season, but like the perpetual Golden State Warriors, they should be fun to watch.

Thursday, Feb. 9 vs. Los Angeles Lakers

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    Don’t worry, I didn’t skip the first Lakers games.  The teams just don’t play each other until this point in the season.  As long as Kobe Bryant is a Laker, there will be reason to tune in to a Lakers/Celtics matchup.  That’s all you really need to say about that.

Thursday, April 5 @ Chicago Bulls

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    The Celtics will have played 75 games already by the time this late-season doozy arrives on the schedule.  It’s important because both teams will likely be jockeying for playoff position, while they try and feel out each other one last time before the playoffs.

    Celtics fans certainly respect the Bulls, even if Joakim Noah and Kevin Garnett don’t always see eye to eye.  While Miami is the Rodney Dangerfield of the league, Chicago is that one team you hate because they’re so good.

Wednesday, April 18 vs. Orlando Magic

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    This is the last game of the regular season, and it’s only in this slideshow for scouting purposes.  Boston fans just doing their due diligence before we snag Dwight Howard in the offseason via free agency.

    In all seriousness, the Magic will be playoff contenders, and the way the East is setup, every game will count this upcoming season, so the last day of the regular season could affect the playoff seeding.

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