Published: Tue, August 13, 2019
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National Basketball Association releases 2019-20 schedule, doubleheaders to tip off earlier

National Basketball Association releases 2019-20 schedule, doubleheaders to tip off earlier

The Celtics play their first home game on October 25 against the Toronto Raptors.

The key Raptors dates for Season 25: October 22 - Zion Williamson and New Orleans open the season on championship banner and rings night. The Celtics play the Raptors in Toronto at noon on Christmas, and they take on the Lakers on MLK Day - two holidays traditionally dominated by the National Basketball Association.

Kawhi Leonard's return to Toronto will reportedly come on December 11, when the Raptors host the Los Angeles Clippers.

The lone visit by LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers on March 24.

The first 10 games in particular will be especially hard, considering superstar forward Paul George may not be available to play any of them. The three road games: Miami, Orlando and Detroit.

A hard back-to-back in Los Angeles against the Lakers on November 10 and the Clippers on November 11.

The longest homestand of the season is four games from February 21-28.

The team will embark on two five-game road trips (Nov. 8-16 and March 1-9) and the longest homestand is four games from February 21-28, which includes one of two appearances by reigning league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks.

The stretches of four games in five days might be gone for good.

Also, in case you missed it, the Celts preseason schedule was already announced. For a third straight season, there will be no four-in-five-night games for any team and no eight-games-in-12-nights for a second consecutive season.

The Clippers have 13 back-to-backs this season, which is one fewer than last season (14).

This will be the 10th time in the last 11 seasons that the season begins at home, but the atmosphere will be like nothing we've seen in these parts before because of what happened back in June.

The Lakers lead the way in national TV appearances (ABC, ESPN and TNT) with 31, winning the first matchup with the Clippers, who clock in with 26.

The NBA has also taken into consideration fans on the eastern side of the continent who might not want to stay up past midnight watching the higher-profile west coast teams play.

In the new year, the team will face off with a combination of Western Conference opponents at home, including the Los Angeles Lakers on January 20, the five-time defending Western Conference Champion Golden State Warriors on January 30, and the Los Angeles Clippers on February 13.

Doug Smith is a sports reporter based in Toronto.

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