The NBA is trying something new this year, as it's featuring an In-Season Tournament set to begin in November. While this regular season competition is the first of its kind in league history, the Boston Celtics will look to set the standard and become the first time to win the brand-new NBA Cup.
In order to do so, they must first make it out of the group stage. The In-Season Tournament has six different groups with five teams in each, the Celtics being in Group East C. Alongside the Green Team will be the Brooklyn Nets, Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls, and Orlando Magic.
Here's when and where the Celtics will be taking part in Group Play (all times Eastern):
- Fri. Nov. 10 — vs. Brooklyn (7:30 p.m.)
- Fri. Nov. 17 — at Toronto (7:30 p.m.)
- Fri. Nov. 24 – at Orlando (2:30 p.m.)
- Tue. Nov. 28 — vs. Chicago (7:3o p.m.)
The Celtics will face all of these Eastern Conference foes in November, and if they perform well enough to have one of the best eight records in the tournament, they'll move on to the quarterfinals. After that, they'll be semifinals and then the championship game to crown an NBA Cup champion.
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Although the East is packed with bitter rivals for the Celtics, none of them are in their group for this tournament. That doesn't necessarily mean the C's should underestimate their opponents, as many of their Group C counterparts had success against them last season.
For example, the up-and-coming Orlando Magic beat the Celtics in three out of their four matchups during the 2022-23 season. The Chicago Bulls, who failed to make the postseason, split their season series with Boston.
The C's had no trouble with the Brooklyn Nets until their final meeting in March, a game in which Boston blew a 28-point lead. As for the Toronto Raptors, they were the one team that is in Group C the Celtics didn't have much trouble with, as Boston swept the four-game season series.
Overall, the Celtics will probably be the favorites to win the group. No matter what, the inaugural In-Season Tournament should be one to remember.