Celtics to play Sixers in London
NEW YORK—The Boston Celtics will meet the Philadelphia 76ers at the O2 Arena in London in January for a regular NBA game, league officials announced Thursday.
The game, to be played January 11, will be the Celtics’ second trip to London, having played Minnesota there in a 2007 pre-season contest, and the first for the 76ers, whose prior British experience was a 2013 pre-season game at Manchester against Oklahoma City.
The league announced the London game, its opening night contests and Christmas Day games as part of a partial release of its 2017-18 schedule on Thursday.
Chris Paul will make his debut with Houston on October 17 when the Rockets visit the Golden State Warriors on opening night.
The 76ers boast some of the NBA’s top young talent, including 2016 NBA Draft top pick Ben Simmons of Australia, who missed all of last season with a foot injury, and 2017 top draft selection Markelle Fultz as well as 2016-17 campaign All-Rookie selections Joel Embiid of Cameroon and Dario Saric of Croatia.
“I look forward to coming back to London with the Sixers after visiting for the first time this summer,” Embiid said. “We are a young, hungry team and will be sure to give the fans an exciting game against Boston in January.”
The Celtics feature two-time NBA All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas, who led Boston with a career-high 28.9 points a game last season, plus newly acquired All-Star Gordon Hayward from Utah and four-time NBA All-Star Al Horford, the team’s top rebounder, from the Dominican Republic.
“It’s very exciting for our team and the whole Celtics organization to compete in front of our loyal fans in London,” Thomas said. “I can’t wait to connect with them at the NBA London Game 2018 and hopefully make new fans in the process.”
Counting pre-season contests, it will be the NBA’s 16th game in London.
“Our events have become an annual opportunity for basketball fans across Europe to come together and share their passion for the NBA,” league commissioner Adam Silver said.
The Houston-Golden State contest will not only feature nine-time all star Paul in a new uniform but the Warriors will receive their NBA championship rings for the second time in the past three seasons.
Gordon Hayward’s Celtics will also take on LeBron James’s Cleveland Cavaliers on opening night in a NBA playoff semi-final rematch.
The NBA announced its five Christmas Day matchups Thursday with an NBA finals rematch between the Cavaliers and host Warriors representing the marquee contest. The two teams have met in each of the past three finals.
The remainder of the NBA schedule will be announced next week. The October 17 opening is the earliest start since the 1980-81 campaign began on October 10, 1980.