The 76ers-Celtics rivalry, given new life after this spring’s playoff meeting, is getting top billing by NBA schedulers.
The Sixers travel to Boston on Oct. 16 to tip off the opening night of the 2018-19 NBA season. Joel Embiid and company will take on the Celtics at 8 p.m. on TNT.
With LeBron James now in the Western Conference, the Sixers and Celtics are heavy favorites to take control of the East. The Celtics will be looking to roll out a healthier roster, with Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward — two key players injured during the spirited five-game playoff series against the Sixers — now healthy
Sixers-Celtics will be followed by the Golden State Warriors hosting the Oklahoma City Thunder as part of TNT’s opening night doubleheader. The game will be prefaced with the Warriors’ championship ring ceremony.
Two days later, the Sixers will host the Chicago Bulls as part of another TNT doubleheader that will feature James’ debut with the Lakers, at home against the Portland Trail Blazers.
The NBA released a portion of the opening week schedule on Wednesday along with the Christmas Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day schedules, all of which feature the Sixers.
On Christmas Day, the Sixers and Celtics will be part of a marquee lineup when they face off on in Boston at 5:30 p.m on ABC. The Dec. 25 schedule consists of four other games: Knicks vs. Bucks, Thunder vs. Rockets, Lakers vs. Warriors and Trail Blazers vs. Jazz.
Last season the Sixers won their Christmas Day game, beating the Knicks 105-98 at Madison Square Garden.
On Martin Luther King Jr. Day — Jan. 21 — the Sixers will host Chris Paul, James Harden, Carmelo Anthony and the Houston Rockets at 8 p.m. on TNT. Other games that day include Pelicans-Grizzlies and Warriors-Lakers.
The NBA is set to release the rest of the 2018-19 schedule on Friday.