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Breaking down the Celtics schedule

12.06.11 at 11:00 pm ET
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Now that the 2011-12 schedule has finally been released, it’s time to dig in on what it means for the Celtics. With 66 games in only four months, there are a lot of odd quirks.

The Celtics won’t travel to Houston, Memphis, Phoenix, Portland, San Antonio or Utah. Boston fans won’t get a chance to see Denver, Golden State, the Clippers, Minnesota, New Orleans or Sacramento, which means no visits from Blake Griffin.

The three Western Conference teams the Celtics will face twice are Dallas, Oklahoma City and the Lakers. They will also play Chicago and Miami four times. There are also 18 back-to-backs and one set of back-to-back-to-backs with all three games coming on the road in April against Toronto, New Jersey and Charlotte.

Here are some other takeaways from the schedule.

There’s opportunity for a fast start.

After opening with three straight road games the Celtics face the Pistons in their home-opener on Dec. 30. After a quick trip to Washington on New Year’s Day, they then have five straight games at TD Garden and eight of their next nine at home. Add on a five-game homestand to open February and the Celtics will play 16 of 20 games at the Garden.

March and April will be a slog.

The Celtics frontloaded schedule will come back to haunt them in March when they have 11 of their 17 games on the road including a brutal stretch of eight straight road games featuring their only true west coast swing of the season.

Wed 07 @ Philadelphia   7 p.m.
Fri 09 vs Portland  7:30 p.m.
Sun 11 @ LA Lakers   3:30 p.m.
Mon 12 @ LA Clippers   10:30 p.m.
Wed 14 @ Golden State   10:30 p.m.
Fri 16 @ Sacramento   10 p.m.
Sat 17 @ Denver   9 p.m.
Mon 19 @ Atlanta   7:30 p.m.
Thu 22 @ Milwaukee   8 p.m.
Fri 23 @ Philadelphia   8 p.m.
Sun 25 vs Washington  6 p.m.
Mon 26 @ Charlotte   7 p.m.
Wed 28 vs Utah  7:30 p.m.
Fri 30 @ Minnesota   8 p.m.

April will be difficult because of the sheer number of games including that three games in three night on the swing that will also have them play five games in six days.

Fri 13 @ Toronto   7 p.m.
Sat 14 @ New Jersey   7:30 p.m.
Sun 15 @ Charlotte   6 p.m.
Tue 17 @ New York   8 p.m.
Wed 18 vs Orlando  8 p.m.
Fri 20 @ Atlanta   7 p.m.

Big Game Breakdown

Miami: The Celtics will first meet the Heat on Dec. 27 and then they won’t see them again until April when they face them three times.

Chicago: The slate of games against the Bulls is a little more spread out with home games on Jan. 13 and Feb. 12. They travel to Chicago for the rematch four days later and then return on April 5.

Lakers: The Lakers travel to Boston on Feb. 9 for a Thursday night game and the Celtics play in L.A. on March 11 for a Sunday afternoon contest that kicks off their long road trip.

Other games of interest include:

Dec. 28 at New Orleans: One night after playing the Heat, the C’s drop into the Big Easy and even if Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo are still on their respective teams that game will have no shortage of intrigue.

Jan. 11 vs. Dallas: The defending champs make their visit to Boston. Enjoy Kevin Garnett vs. Dirk Nowitzki while you can.

Jan. 16 vs. Oklahoma City: Expect another round of whether the Celtics would have drafted Kevin Durant if they had the chance stories. Oh and Kendrick Perkins makes his return as well.

Feb. 5 vs. Memphis: Speaking of ex-Celtics, Tony Allen is back with the Grizzlies on Super Bowl Sunday.

April 4 vs. San Antonio: The only time the C’s will see Tim Duncan and the Spurs.

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