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Celtics to open against Knicks Oct. 20, will face the Bucks on Christmas

The Celtics will face two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the NBA champion Bucks on Christmas.Paul Sancya/Associated Press

The Celtics will visit the defending NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks at 2:30 p.m. on Christmas, one of five games on the biggest day of the league’s regular-season calendar. The Celtics also will be spotlighted in the season’s opening week, facing the Knicks at Madison Square Garden Oct. 20.

Milwaukee surged to the NBA title last season behind two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, defeating the Suns in the Finals. After the Celtics lost to the Nets in a five-game opening-round playoff series, Milwaukee toppled Brooklyn in a seven-game series to reach the conference finals, where it then defeated the Hawks.

The Knicks, who finished fourth in the Eastern Conference last year, retooled by adding a pair of former Celtics this summer. They signed former Boston point guard Kemba Walker after he reached a buyout agreement with the Thunder, and on Tuesday the Knicks and Celtics completed a sign-and-trade deal that sent veteran wing Evan Fournier to New York.


Former Celtics Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker have joined the Knicks.Dustin Satloff/Getty

Adam Himmelsbach can be reached at adam.himmelsbach@globe.com. Follow him @adamhimmelsbach.