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With the exception of hosting the Sixers on opening night, the rest of the initial leaks about the Celtics’ schedule feature playoff rematches.
After the Celtics gained a 2-1 series lead in the NBA Finals, including erasing a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit to take Game 1, the Warriors championship resolve and superior depth led them to three-straight wins and the NBA title.
This summer, Boston upgraded its supporting cast, acquiring Malcolm Brogdon in a trade where the Celtics parted with next year's first-round pick to keep the mainstays of their playoff rotation. The six-year veteran who averaged 19.1 points, 5.9 assists, and 5.1 rebounds last season can start games, finish them, play alongside Marcus Smart, and operate as the floor general when Smart's on the bench.
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Boston also signed Danilo Gallinari, who allows Ime Udoka to get more creative with his lineup combinations and brings a needed boost to the team's second-unit scoring.
The Celtics' bench ranked in the bottom five in points per game in the regular season, averaging 30.2 per contest. In the playoffs, they ranked 14th out of 16 teams, providing only 22.5 points, according to NBA.com.
Gallinari is a career 15.6 points per game scorer that produced 11.7 points while logging 25.3 minutes per contest for the Hawks last season.
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Those additions have led to outlets such as FanDuel Sportsbook listing Boston as the betting favorite to win the championship this season. As for the defending NBA champions, FanDuel Sportsbook gives them the third-best odds of lifting the Larry O'Brien Trophy.
While Gary Payton II departed from Golden State in free agency to sign with the Blazers, the Warriors added Donte DiVincenzo, and they'll welcome back James Wiseman. The former second overall pick missed last season due to a knee injury and subsequent setback in his recovery.
Golden State also expects more meaningful contributions from promising prospects Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody. Also, Jordan Poole took a massive step forward last season. Growth isn't always linear, and his next leap may prove more incremental, but at 23 years old, he likely has more to contribute moving forward.
So, as these two teams prepare for the NBA's 76th season, one that could end with a Finals rematch, they now know when they'll face off in the coming campaign.
First, the Warriors will host the Celtics on Dec. 10. Then, Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and company come to Boston on Jan. 19, per Shams Charania of The Athletic.
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And speaking of playoff rematches, Charania also reports the Celtics will travel to South Beach to face the Heat on Oct. 21.
Boston triumphed over Miami in an Eastern Conference Finals that required all seven games and Jimmy Butler front-rimming an open look at a pull-up three with his team trailing 98-96 with less than 20 seconds left.
Jayson Tatum, who generated 25 points, 8.3 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 1.1 steals, and nearly a block per game, took home the newly created Larry Bird Eastern Conference Finals MVP award.
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