Boston Celtics

2017-18 Celtics schedule: The road starts early

2017-18 Celtics schedule: The road starts early

BOSTON -- For most of Brad Stevens’ time in Boston, the Celtics have been a pretty good road team.
 
Last season, Boston’s 23-18 road record was tops among teams in the East and fourth overall in the NBA.
 
That talent will be put to the test to start the season.
 
The Celtics, coming off a season in which they won more games (53) than any team in the East, will open with four of their first five games, and 7 of their first 11, away from the TD Garden.
 
Of the Celtics’ 82 regular-season games, 70 will be televised on CSN while the remaining 12 will be nationally televised -- the highest number of exclusively televised national games allowed by the NBA. 

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On Oct. 17, Boston will open the season on the road at Cleveland, the reigning Eastern Conference champion. The two met in the conference finals, with the Cavs knocking off Boston in five games. 
 
The league made an emphasis to do a better job of spacing out games as to allow teams and players to better rest their players without having them held out of games. One of the ways they're doing that is starting the season about two weeks earlier than normal.
 
Boston had 17 back-to-back sets last season, but only 14 this season.

Gordon Hayward opens up about disappointment of losing Isaiah Thomas

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Gordon Hayward opens up about disappointment of losing Isaiah Thomas

Gordon Hayward wanted to go to Boston to play with Isaiah Thomas.

Of course, that's not going to happen. The Celtics traded Thomas to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a package for Kyrie Irving. Hayward explained what it was like for him to learn he and Thomas would not get the chance to hit the court together in Celtics' green.

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"My first reaction was to text I.T., and wish him the best," Hayward wrote in a blog post which he published Thursday. "That was a really strange moment because I’d really been looking forward to playing with him. He didn’t just help recruit me to Boston—he was a big piece of that recruitment. He had talked a lot about city and how it was different to be a Celtic. He talked about the intensity of playing in the Eastern Conference Finals, playing at the Garden in the playoffs, and how much fun it was, and how much fun he had playing in Boston.

"All of that ultimately helped win me over. And by the time of the trade, I had already started to build a little bit of a relationship with him.

"But that is just how the business works. I have spent enough years in the NBA to realize that things can change like that, in an instant. Still, even though we didn’t necessarily get to be teammates, I’m definitely going to be watching him as a fan. In this league, I think we are all rooting for each other in some way or another—just to try to stay healthy, to try to be the best we can be."

Hayward may be genuine about rooting for Thomas -- except perhaps when he faces off against the Cavaliers in the season-opener on Oct. 17 at Quicken Loans Arena. Thomas is uncertain to play due to a hip injury. But the two teams are expected to see each other in the Eastern Conference Finals again after the 2017-18 season. This preview will be an opportunity for Thomas and Irving to get their first shot at revenge against their previous team.

The trade wasn't all bad for Hayward, he explained. He was pleased at the prospect of playing with Irving. Hayward cited Irving's abilities in 1-on-1 situations and clutch moments. He appreciated Irving's scoring ability, because Hayward knows the point guard will open up space for Hayward to knock down open shots. Above all, Hayward seemed to value Irving's unique experience.

"And then getting a chance to play with LeBron James, and going to the Finals three straight years—those are experiences that are invaluable and that you really can’t teach," Hayward wrote. "Having that experience of playing in those big moments, dealing with the circus of the media, dealing with expectations, those are all things that I think he can help us with. Because most of us, myself especially, have never been through that."

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