The Celtics’ 2014-15 schedule was released Wednesday and it’s similar to last season’s, as the NBA answered the team’s lack of major offseason changes by awarding the Green only one national television game, a far cry from the days of the Big Three.
Despite the lack of regard nationally, the Celtics will still play an intriguing schedule, which includes one long road trip — six games against Western Conference teams in January — and a loaded early schedule, including home games against Brooklyn, Indiana, Oklahoma City, Cleveland, Phoenix, Portland, Chicago, and San Antonio.
With a healthy Rajon Rondo and new players such as Marcus Smart, Evan Turner, Marcus Thornton, and Tyler Zeller, the Celtics will look to improve on their 25 wins of last season. But the journey will be arduous.
Here’s a look at the 10 most notable games:
Oct. 29, vs. Brooklyn — The Nets are without Paul Pierce, and opening night serves as an opportunity for the Celtics to get off to a positive start against a team that’s not the contender it was last season.
Nov. 14, vs. Cleveland — LeBron James returns to TD Garden, site of some of his most notable games, but this time in a Cleveland uniform again.
Nov. 28, vs. Chicago — If the Cavaliers aren’t the favorites in the Eastern Conference, the Bulls are. Derrick Rose is expected to enter the season healthy, joined by Joakim Noah and free agent acquisition Pau Gasol.
Nov. 30, vs. San Antonio — A treacherous November ends with the defending champion Spurs, who have methodically broken down the Celtics at TD Garden over the past few years. It could be the final visit for San Antonio’s Big Three of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker.
Dec. 7, vs. Washington — It will be Pierce’s return to the Garden, but also the return of Kris Humphries, who turned in a positive season with the Celtics in 2013-14. The Wizards come to Boston with expectations after reaching the conference semifinals last season.
Jan. 19, at Los Angeles Clippers — It will be the Celtics’ first matchup of the season against Doc Rivers and the Clippers, who have championship aspirations after a turbulent offseason.
Feb. 11, vs. Atlanta — Could this be Rondo’s final game as a Celtic? It’s the Celtics’ final game before the All-Star break and trade deadline, and the Celtics may well be dangling Rondo, who is in the final year of his contract and may be an attractive piece for a contending team.
Feb. 27, vs. Charlotte — These aren’t the old Bobcats, these are the new Hornets, and they’re ready to challenge Miami and Washington for the Southeast Division title. With Haverhill native Noah Vonleh, newly signed Lance Stephenson, and Cody Zeller, brother of Tyler, the Hornets will be a team to watch.
March 9, at Miami — They’re not the Heat of the past four years, but Miami is still a formidable team with Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, and Roxbury native Shabazz Napier. Will the rivalry with the Heat continue without LeBron?
April 15, at Milwaukee — The Celtics’ regular-season finale, and the question is whether they will be playing out the string or making a bid for a playoff spot.