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Celtics schedule has few national TV dates

The Celtics and their rookie NBA head coach Brad Stevens open the regular season Oct. 30 in Toronto.


The Celtics and their rookie NBA head coach Brad Stevens open the regular season Oct. 30 in Toronto.

Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce are all gone, and so too it appears is the national interest they brought the Celtics.

That blunt fact revealed itself in full when the team’s 2013-14 regular-season schedule was released Tuesday, an event without the hype that it commanded in prior years.

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For the first time since 2007-08 season, the Celtics won’t play on Christmas Day, when the NBA showcases its headliners in heavyweight matchups.

And for the first time since the season before that, the Celtics won’t play in a game broadcast on TNT. In fact, the Celtics have just three games slated for ESPN, three for NBA TV.

Aside from that, Celtics games can be viewed on Comcast SportsNet New England, NBA League Pass . . . or in person.

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If there are games that Celtics fans and others have circled on their schedule, they are the “reunions” — when Rivers, Garnett, and Pierce face the Celtics, either at home or on the road.

Garnett and Pierce, the two Celtics icons who were traded to Brooklyn in a blockbuster swap this summer, face their former team for the first time in the regular season Dec. 10 in Brooklyn.

The next night, Rivers, who left the Celtics after nine seasons to join the Los Angeles Clippers this summer, returns to TD Garden when the Clippers visit the Celtics.

How’s that for an emotional back-to-back?

And in what should be the most emotional game of the season, Pierce and Garnett make their first regular-season return to TD Garden Jan. 26 in a 6:30 p.m. ESPN nationally televised game.

More matchups between these teams: Jan. 8, when the Celtics visit the Clippers; March 7, when the Nets return to Boston; and March 21, when the Celtics play the Nets in Brooklyn.

The Celtics’ other two ESPN games: Dec. 6 vs. Denver and Feb. 21 at the Los Angeles Lakers. Their two NBA TV games: Dec. 16 against Minnesota, Feb. 9 vs. Dallas, March 9 vs. Detroit.

The Celtics and their rookie NBA head coach Brad Stevens open the regular season Oct. 30 in Toronto, and their home opener is two days later when they host Milwaukee.

In another noted game, the Lakers visit the Celtics Jan 17, the only regular-season game in Boston between the two storied franchises who are now rebuilding. The Lakers, though, have 29 nationally televised games next season, more than two-time defending champion Miami (27).

(Chicago and the New York Knicks each have a league-high 33 nationally televised games.)

Speaking of the Heat, LeBron James and crew make their only visit to Boston March 19.

The Celtics have 20 back-to-backs — including six in November, when they play 18 games in 30 days. They’ll likely find themselves in an early hole.

They also have a five-game road trip in January and a four-game road trip in late February that could offset five-game homestands in mid-December and late February/early March.

Expectations and the win total will be low, just like the national exposure, except on the rare night when those who built that exposure face the team they departed, leaving it to start anew.

Baxter Holmes can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @BaxterHolmes.
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