- Chris Forsberg, Celtics reporter, ESPNBoston.com
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Rapid reaction after the Celtics' 2011-12 schedule was released Tuesday night by the NBA:
Home-opener vs. Detroit: The Celtics open on Christmas Day in New York and play three games away from home before returning to the TD Garden on Dec. 30 for the home-opener against the Detroit Pistons (now coached by former top assistant Lawrence Frank).
Six they won't see at home: Denver, Golden State, LA Clippers, Minnesota, New Orleans, Sacramento
Six they won't see on road: Houston, Memphis, Phoenix, Portland, San Antonio, Utah
Feeling the Heat: The Celtics play the Heat four times this season, including three times in April. Those games are in Miami on Dec. 27 and April 10, and in Boston on April 1 and 24.
The NBA's best rivalry: Boston hosts the Lakers on Thursday, Feb. 9, then visit Los Angeles on Sunday, March 11.
The most grueling stretch: That visit to the Lakers is a back-to-back, as the Celtics also play the Clippers the next night. It ignites a five-games-in-seven-days stretch stops in Golden State on Wednesday before a back-to-back in Sacramento and Denver. Coming back from the west coast, the Celtics make stops in Atlanta, Milwaukee and Philadelphia as part of a killer eight-game road trip.
The easiest stretch: The Celtics can dig in and enjoy much of January. After playing in Washington on New Year's Day, Boston plays only one other road game (Jan. 14 at Indiana) over the next three weeks. There's eight home games during that stretch.
National attention: Boston plays 24 nationally televised games, including 10 games on TNT, 10 on ESPN, and four ABC Sunday matchups (Feb. 12 vs. Chicago, March 4 vs. New York, March 11 at Lakers, April 1 vs. Miami).
Breaking down month-by-month: Here's a look at how the schedule breaks down by month:
December: 4 games (1 home, 3 road)
January: 16 games (11 home, 5 road)
February: 14 games (8 home, 6 road)
March: 17 games (6 home, 11 road)
April: 15 games (7 home, 8 road)
Opportunity before the All-Star break: The Celtics play 32 games before the All-Star break, 19 of which are at home. That's a chance to get off to a good start. Particularly when 20 of the final 34 after the break are on the road.
Breaking down the back-to-backs: The Celtics will play 19 back-to-backs this season and one back-to-back-to-back (a grueling three-game from April 13-15 with stops in Toronto, New Jersey, and Charlotte). Of the 41 games overall, 27 will take place on the road, which includes 12 that close on the road (something the Celtics struggled mightily with last season). A full breakdown of those consecutive games:
Dec. 27-28: at Miami, at New Orleans
Jan. 1-2: at Washington, Washington
Jan. 13-14: Chicago, at Indiana
Jan. 22-23: at Washington, Orlando
Jan. 26-27: at Orlando, Indiana
Jan. 31, Feb. 1: at Cleveland, Toronto
Feb. 9-10: Lakers, at Toronto
Feb. 15-16: Detroit, at Chicago
Feb. 19-20: at Detroit, at Dallas
Feb. 28-29: at Cleveland, Milwaukee
March 6-7: Houston, at Philadelphia
March 11-12: at Lakers, at Clippers
March 16-17: at Sacramento, at Denver
March 22-23: at Milwaukee, at Philadelphia
March 25-26: Washington, at Charlotte
April 4-5: San Antonio, at Chicago
April 7-8: at Indiana, Philadelphia
April 10-11: at Miami, Atlanta
April 13-14-15: at Toronto, at New Jersey, at Charlotte
April 17-18: at New York, Orlando
Rapid reaction after the Celtics' 2011-12 schedule was released Tuesday night by the NBA:Home-opener vs. Detroit: The Celtics open on Christmas Day in New York and play three games away from home before returning to the TD Garden on Dec.