There won’t be much rest for the soon-to-be tired and weary Boston Celtics over the course of the 2015-16 NBA season. While all teams possess relatively the same 82-game schedule, replete with an equitable and balanced split of 41 home and road games apiece, that’s where the similarities end and the grind could take its toll on the Celts.
ESPN reports the Celtics will play just 15 games this season where they will have more rest than their opponent, ranking them dead-last in the league in that category. In addition, NBAsavant.com estimates that the team will travel 49,282 miles this season, including a December 3 tilt against Sacramento in Mexico City, easily placing them among the league’s Top-10 in miles amassed.
Other steep challenges will also seemingly commence from the opening tip for the Celtics. Over their first 16 games, Boston faces 11 playoff squads from last season, including the Houston Rockets, Washington Wizards, Oklahoma City Thunder, and San Antonio Spurs. Boston Celtics tickets on the secondary market will be a hot commodity from the opening tip of the season.
Boston opens the season against the lowly Philadelphia 76ers at TD Garden on Oct. 28, a very winnable matchup for the team that could at least have them starting the year a perfect 1-0. As a result, fans might want to take this one in live before things get extremely difficult. With their being such a large contingent of Boston faithful throughout the country, out-of-town fans can craft their trip with ease using Hipmunk.com. They have affordable airfare to Boston available from most major airline carriers, as well as Boston hotel deals for those wanting to turn it into a basketball vacation.
From there, things do get difficult right away, as the Celtics will embark on a stretch of four games in six nights, with clashes against Toronto, San Antonio, Indiana and Washington. Three of those teams made the playoffs last season and were contenders, while the other (Pacers) figures to be back on the rise.
For the Celtics to survive, they will need every bit of the team effort they mustered last season when seven players averaged double figures and coach Brad Stevens shepherded his men to a surprising 40-42 finish, good enough for the Eastern Conference’s No. 7 seed. Easily, they were one of the biggest overachievers of a season ago after entering the campaign with low expectations.
But before Boston can even utter the word “playoffs” this season, there’s the matter of trying to get the upper hand on the grueling hand disguised as the schedule they’ve been dealt.
In Isaiah Thomas (19 points, five assists), Avery Bradley (14 points, three rebounds), Jared Sullinger (13 points, eight rebounds), Kelly Olynyk (10 points, five rebounds), Tyler Zeller ( 10 points, six rebounds), Evan Turner (10 points, five rebounds) and Jae Crowder (10 points, five rebounds), the C’s just may have the depth they need to survive the rigors of their schedule. But the question remains, what player can they turn to come crunch time? They don’t really possess that one go-to star that many teams have, although Thomas has exhibited some potential in becoming that guy. Sullinger has displayed some promise in that regard, too.
The Celts’ longest homestand of the year comes in late-February, when they host five games over roughly a week, including matchups with Miami, Milwaukee and New York, three teams they’ll ideally be competing with for one of the bottom playoff berths in the Eastern Conference.
Indeed, there will be no rest for the weary.