Basketball

A Celtics schedule deep dive and record prediction

Yes, every game matters. Yes, the team will say that they’re not looking ahead and treating every opponent on a night-to-night basis. And yes, the Celtics play 41 home games and 41 road games and each one weighs exactly the same at the end of the regular season.

However, it’s natural to group things together. “If I can get through this week, I’ll be OK.” For teams heading out west on the road and then subsequently coming back east for an extended homestand, you can’t blame them for thinking of an NBA’s 82-game schedule in manageable chunks.

CelticsBlog’s Jack Simone previewed some of the schedule’s highlights, but let’s dig a little deeper into what the Celtics will be facing in two months:

76ers, at Heat, at Magic, at Bulls
After kicking off the regular season against a division rival, the Celtics immediately hit the road for three-games-in-four-nights for a good litmus test of how well training camp went. PREDICTION: 3-1

Cavaliers, Wizards, at Cavaliers, Bulls, at Knicks, at Grizzlies, Pistons, Nuggets, at Pistons, Thunder
The Celtics early schedule is peppered with two game sets. Double meetings with Chicago, Cleveland, and Detroit provide a good test of how well the team can adjust from one game to another. Two weekend home-and-away back-to-backs will give us a hint of how head coach Ime Udoka plans on resting Al Horford and even Robert Williams. That 10-game stretch also includes a November 7th date with Memphis followed by the entire league not playing November 8th for the mid-term elections. Get to the polls, folks. PREDICTION: 7-3

at Hawks, at Pelicans, at Bulls
A very accommodating roadie here. Sweep, make a statement, and we’re on a roll. PREDICTION: 3-0

Mavericks, Kings, Wizards, Hornets, Heat, Heat
Twelve days in Boston during Thanksgiving weekend and the Celtics should feast. There’s a meeting with Luka Doncic and a revenge game of sorts with Dallas beating Boston on KG Day last season and a back-to-back rematch of the Eastern Conference Finals vs. Miami. PREDICTON: 5-1

at Nets, at Raptors, at Suns, at Warriors, at Clippers, at Lakers
Here’s the first gauntlet. That east-to-west road trip is bookended by back-to-backs and of course, a Saturday night visit to the Bay. The Celtics have traditionally made a statement on this winter sojourn — for better or for worse. Get a split and enjoy the holidays back in Boston. PREDICTION: 3-3

Magic, Magic, Pacers, Timberwolves, Bucks, Rockets, Clippers
As many have noted, this seven-game, eighteen-day homestand represents the longest one in fourty-three years. There’s the marquee Christmas game against the Bucks and a send-off to 20222 hosting the Clippers, but the Celtics have a real chance to close out the year on a high note. PREDICTION: 7-1

at Nuggets, at Thunder, at Mavericks, at Spurs, Bulls, Pelicans, at Nets, at Hornets, at Hornets, Warriors, at Raptors, at Magic, at Heat
Time to pay the piper. After that extended stay at home, Boston embarks on a January where ten of their fifteen games are away from TD Garden. It’s not exactly a murderer’s row with just one back-to-back on tap, but by this point of the season, complacency can set in. PREDICTION: 7-6

Knicks, Lakers, Nets, Suns, at Pistons, 76ers, Hornets, Grizzlies, at Bucks, Pistons
This is right when Boston picked it up last year. Leading up to All-Star Weekend (and the trade deadline), the Celtics play eight of their next ten games at home and are on national television seven times in February. It’s a statement month for sure. PREDICTION: 8-2

at Pacers, at 76ers, at Knicks, Cavaliers, Nets, Knicks, at Cavaliers, Trail Blazers
The slog of the regular season sees the Celtics puddle-jumping around the Eastern Conference as they try to solidify their place in the standings. Again, they cleaned up in March last year, but this could also be a good chance to rest and recover before the playoffs. PREDICTION: 6-2

at Hawks, at Rockets, at Timberwolves, at Trail Blazers, at Jazz, at Kings
Fingers crossed that the team doesn’t need a long road trip to cure any late season strife. Treat a fairly cupcake schedule as a business trip and finish strong. PREDICTION: 5-1

Pacers, Spurs, at Wizards, at Bucks, Jazz, at 76ers, Raptors, Raptors, Hawks
Hopefully, those final six games will be largely inconsequential to close out the year. With only thirteen back-to-backs all year, the veterans could use a little rest before the postseason. PREDICTION: 6-3

Can the Celtics touch sixty wins next season? Vegas has Boston pegged at 55.5 wins for the year, the highest of any team in the league. I’ve got them optimistically hitting 59, an eight-game improvement from last season’s 51-31 squad that closed the year 33-10 at a 63-win pace.

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