NBA schedule released, Celtics open vs 76ers on October 28

The wait, on the schedule at least, is over. Even though we may not know what direction the Celtics’ season is going to take just yet, we now know who they’ll be playing.

The 2015-2016 journey all begins on October 28 against the 76ers in Boston. Philadelphia comes in led by highly-touted rookie center Jahil Okafor and 1st-team All-Rookie forward Nerlons Noel. Another fierce round of tanking under Hinkie might start right on the parquet.

After the Philadelphia opener, the C’s get to stay in the Garden for two more against the Raptors and newly loaded Spurs.

From there, it’s right into the first half grind for the green. November features games against high-level Hawks (twice), Thunder, Rockets, and Heat teams. The month also features four back-to-backs.

The tough schedule the Celtics look towards in November gets no easier as their season transitions into December. Five of Boston’s first seven opponents during that month consist of the Spurs, Pelicans, Bulls, Warriors, and the lone visit from the Cavaliers this year. Three sets of back-to-backs are scheduled in December, and the month rounds out with a yearly Lakers visit to the Garden on December 30.

Unsurprisingly the NBA Christmas schedule once again will not feature the green, but a fantastic round of games will be featured as always. Starting in Miami and ending with a Los Angeles crosstown matchup, with a Finals rematch in between, it’s going be one hot winter holiday.

NBA on Christmas lineup

Past New Year's Day into 2016, the schedule finally begins to ease up for Boston featuring only a very challenging pair of road games in Chicago and Memphis early in January.

February showcases a visit to Cleveland, a game against good old Rajon Rondo and the Kings in Boston, as well as a first half finale against Paul Pierce and the Clippers at home. Miami visits to end the month, before a fierce round of games in March/April may make or break a potential playoff return for Celtics.

March comes in like a lion, scheduling Boston against the Cavaliers, Grizzlies, Rockets, and Thunder early in the month. But there’s no easy exit for the green either, as a monster five game west coast trip leads into April against the Suns, Clippers, Blazers, Warriors, and Lakers.

From there April sees the Celtics finish the season with four of their last five games in Boston, including a visit from Anthony Davis on April 6, with the finale of their 82 game schedule at the Garden against the Heat on April 13.

As for the always anticipated national TV games, which the Celtics only received one of last year against Detroit, Boston has upped their national showcases to seven appearances on ESPN/TNT in 15-16. December 9 vs Chicago, January 13 vs Indiana, February 19 at Utah, March 16 vs Oklahoma, and April 1 at Golden State will all be ESPN-aired Celtics games this season. On TNT, the C's will be shown on November 24 at Atlanta and January 7 at Chicago.

In general the new schedule that dropped today made apparent the league's desire to work towards decreasing the workload on teams over the course of the season. 70 "four games in five nights" occurrences a year ago reduces to just 27 in the new schedule, with only one such case working into Boston's schedule from January 12-16.

Back-to-backs also took a slight hit as part of the NBA's new schedule plan, with 19.3 back-to-backs per team reducing to 17.8 for 2015-16. Nevertheless the Celtics stand pat with 18 of their own this season, the same amount they had a year ago.

The 2014-15 82 game schedule was one of the most winding and exciting regular seasons I’ve ever followed the Celtics for, so many ups and downs with thrilling finishes and finally a playoff berth. It’s still unclear what the C’s will look like, or what path they’ll take in 2015-16, that will be made more clear closer to the fall at training camp.

For now we know who they’ll be playing and it's time to let the countdown to opening night begin. A printable version of the 2015-2016 Celtics schedule is available here.

Follow Bobby Manning on Twitter @RealBobManning

Screenshots of month by month schedules via ESPN