- Chris Forsberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Celtics will start the 2012-13 season where the 2011-12 campaign ended.
OCT. 30: OPENING NIGHT IN SOUTH BEACH
If only there was a storyline to be found with this one. Not only is this a rematch of the Eastern Conference finals, not only will this be the night the Heat get their 2011-12 championship rings, not only is it the NBA's marquee season tip-off, but when the Celtics visit Miami, it will be Ray Allen's first regular-season game in a Heat uniform and his first game against his old team rolled into one. The hype for this battle is already dizzying and we're still three months out. It's hard to imagine a Celtics-Heat regular-season game being bigger than the Battle of the Big Threes that opened the 2010-11 campaign, but this one should challenge it.
NOV. 2: HOME OPENER VS. THE BUCKS
The Celtics return home immediately after the season opener in Miami, enjoy a couple of days off, then open their home slate with a visit from the Milwaukee Bucks. Don't get too comfortable, though; it's a one-game homestand and Boston immediately heads to Washington the next night for its first back-to-back of the season.
DEC. 25: CHRISTMAS IN BROOKLYN
Boston is used to giving Santa Claus a forwarding address and this year will be no different. The Celtics open the NBA's five-game holiday slate by visiting the Brooklyn Nets at noon. Clearly this gets a little extra flare if the new-look Nets prove to be a contender in the Atlantic Division.
DEC. 27-30: A QUICK TRIP OUT WEST
Another post-Christmas staple, the Celtics immediately head out west after the holiday, visiting the Clippers (Dec. 27), Warriors (Dec. 29) and Kings (Dec. 30) before returning home to host Memphis on (Jan. 2).
JAN. 16: AUSTIN COMES TO BOSTON
It's father versus son when the New Orleans Hornets visit TD Garden in mid-January. That night will feature Celtics coach Doc Rivers' first battle against his son Austin, who is a rookie with the Hornets. It's also Boston's first look at this year's No. 1 overall pick, Anthony Davis. The Celtics trek to New Orleans for a rematch on March 20.
JAN. 27: RAY'S RETURN TO THE GARDEN
Looking for something to do during the two-week break before the Super Bowl? The Celtics will help fill the gridiron void, as Allen returns to Boston for the first time with the Heat in a 1 p.m. matinee. A week later, Boston hosts the Clippers (remember, the lockout cost us a look at The Blake Show and a Rajon Rondo-Chris Paul showdown in Boston last season) in another 1 p.m. kickoff leading up to Super Bowl XLVII. Allen and the Heat return to Boston on March 18.
RIVALRY RENEWED: LAKERS MATCHUPS (AND WEST COAST TRIP)
Always two of the most anticipated dates of the season, the Celtics host the Lakers on Feb. 7, while Boston heads to LaLa Land for a rematch on Feb. 20. That visit to Staples Center is part of a five-game, post-All-Star break, West Coast trip for the Celtics, which also includes stops in Denver, Phoenix, Portland and Utah.
MARCH 22: TERRY DOES DALLAS
The Mavericks come to Boston on Dec. 12, but Jason Terry's first trip back to Dallas won't occur until March 22. Boston's new sixth man visits his old squad as part of a three-game road trip for the Celtics.
BEST OF THE REST: STIEMSMA'S RETURN, SEASON FINALE
Late November brings two of the West's top squads to Boston with visits from the San Antonio Spurs on Nov. 21 and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Nov. 23 (Thanksgiving is wedged in between). ... Greg Stiemsma comes back to Boston with the Minnesota Timberwolves on Dec. 5. ... The Celtics play a home-and-home with Atlantic Division rival (and pesky playoff foe) 76ers on Dec. 7-8 starting in Philadelphia. ... The Celtics close out the regular season with a trip to Toronto on April 17.
The Celtics are scheduled to play 22 back-to-backs this season, meaning more than half of their total regular-season slate will come as part of consecutive games. What's more, 18 of those back-to-backs close on the road (hey, at least there's no back-to-back-to-backs in this post-lockout world):
Nov. 2-3: vs. Milwaukee, at Washington
Nov. 9-10: vs. Philadelphia, at Milwaukee
Nov. 14-15: vs. Utah, at Brooklyn
Nov. 17-18: vs. Toronto, at Detroit
Nov. 30-Dec. 1: vs. Portland, at Milwaukee
Dec. 7-8: at Philadelphia, vs. Philadelphia
Dec. 14-15: at Houston, at San Antonio
Dec. 18-19: at Chicago, vs. Cleveland
Dec. 29-30: at Golden State, at Sacramento
Jan. 4-5: vs. Indiana, at Atlanta
Jan. 24-25: vs. New York, at Atlanta
Feb. 6-7: at Toronto, vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Feb. 10-11: vs. Denver, at Charlotte
Feb. 19-20: at Denver, at Los Angeles Lakers
Feb. 24-25: at Portland, at Utah
March 5-6: at Philadelphia, at Indiana
March 12-13: at Charlotte, vs. Toronto
March 22-23: at Dallas, at Memphis
March 26-27: vs. New York, at Cleveland
March 31-April 1: at New York, at Minnesota
April 12-13: at Miami, at Orlando
April 16-17: vs. Indiana, at Toronto
The Celtics will start the 2012-13 season where the 2011-12 campaign ended.Rapid reaction after the NBA released the Boston Celtics' 2012-13 regular-season schedule on Thursday evening.