Boston Celtics: Ins, outs and tough stretches of 2018-19 schedule

The NBA schedule for 2018-19 has been released, meaning we are one step closer to the start of the Boston Celtics chase for banner 18.

The Boston Celtics will have to wait until early 2019 to get their first taste of going up against LeBron James in purple and gold.

We are getting ever closer to NBA training camps opening for the 2018-19 season. And on Friday we learned the full slate of games for the upcoming season.

Boston and their fans had previously learned of opening night and Christmas day games against the Philadelphia 76ers. Both of these games will be held at the TD Garden.

Now, we have the full schedule to look at, dissect and antagonize over until Oct. 16, when the season officially tips for the Celtics.

As for a matchup against James and Los Angeles Lakers, that will have to wait until February 7, 2019.

Many might have wanted a classic Celtics/Lakers game on Christmas Day. And while this would have been fantastic, the five games scheduled are all conference games, including the Lakers taking on the Golden State Warriors.

That’s not to say a Celtics/76ers matchup won’t be enticing. Both are expected to be near the top of the Eastern Conference and in the early stages of reigniting a storied rivalry.

The Celtics are 13-18 all-time on Christmas day, losing 111-103 in 2017 to the Washington Wizards.

Other key games

Fans of the Boston Celtics will also have to wait until 2019 for the team to battle the defending world champions. The Golden State Warriors will be in Boston on January 26, part of a five-game homestand for the Celtics.

MLK Day has also as of late been a day of a full slate of games for the NBA. After not playing on the holiday last season due to their London trip, the Celtics will host the Miami Heat. The game is on 1/21/19 and kicks off the same five-game homestand in which the Warriors visit.

The Celtics will get their first taste of the new-look Toronto Raptors in the second game of the season, on October 19. They will finish their season series with the Raptors on Feb. 26, a full six weeks before the end of the regular season.

For those looking forward to seeing high draft picks, number one pick Deandre Ayton and the Phoenix Suns will be in Boston on Nov. 8. Second pick Marvin Bagley III will be in town March 14 and Jerome Robinson, the former Boston College Eagles star, will be in town with the Los Angeles Clippers on February 9.

Road trips and tough months

Over the past few seasons, one of the goals of the NBA, in an effort to put the best product forward, has been to limit the number of games on back-to-back nights.

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In 2018-19, the Boston Celtics are only scheduled to play on back-to-back nights on 12 occasions.

Even better, their longest road trip of the season will take place the first of part of November. Boston will take to the road for five games, where they will play the Indiana Pacers, Denver Nuggets, Suns, Utah Jazz and Portland Trail Blazers.

A tough stretch awaits the Celtics in March, where they will play the Warriors, Sacramento Kings, Lakers, and Clippers.

March might be one of the tougher months for the Celtics. Right before the road trip, they host the Houston Rockets (3/3/19) and also have games against the San Antonio Spurs and 76ers during the month.

From the looks of it — sitting here in August — the schedule seems pretty favorable for the Boston Celtics. The limited number of back-to-back games will certainly help as Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward return from injuries. And with the King abdicating his throne, the Eastern Conference is Boston’s to be had.

Let the quest for banner 18 begin.