The Celtics tip off the 2023-24 season tonight — with very high expectations

Boston Celtics guard Jrue Holiday in action during a preseason game this month against the Philadelphia 76ers. (Chris Szagola/AP)
Boston Celtics guard Jrue Holiday in action during a preseason game this month against the Philadelphia 76ers. (Chris Szagola/AP)

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The Red Sox have a new general manager, the Bruins are still undefeated and the Celtics tip off their new season tonight.

While the collective opinion of the C’s new cream-white alternate jerseys may be low, the expectations for the team are very high. Here’s a preview:

Banner #18 or bust: After getting close the last two seasons, the Celtics enter this fall as a betting favorite to win the 2024 NBA Finals. It’s a high bar to set, but Boston Globe basketball reporter Gary Washburn told WBUR Morning Edition host Rupa Shenoy that it’s a reasonable one. “If they stay healthy, they should be able to win the championship,” Washburn said. That’s because the Celtics retooled in a major way this summer, adding some big names to go along with Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and friends:

  • First, they traded fan favorite Marcus Smart to get Kristaps Porzingis, a 7-foot-3 center who can shoot three-pointers as well as he can block opponents’ shots. The former top draft pick’s career was slightly derailed by injuries, but he bounced back last year and enters this season healthy. (Some added intrigue: Porzingis will make his Celtics debut tonight against the team that first drafted him: the New York Knicks).
  • Second — and perhaps just as important — is the player replacing Smart: Jrue Holiday. The Celtics acquired the 2023 All-Star after he was traded away by the rival Milwaukee Bucks. The C’s gave up Malcolm Brogdon and Robert Williams, but they get one of the NBA’s best defensive guards — and a scary starting five.
  • That supercharged starting lineup does come a bit at the expense of the team’s depth. (Grant Williams also left in free agency.) But the organization is instilling confidence in one player who spent much of last season on the end of the bench: Payton Pritchard. The point guard got a contract extension and has impressed so far in preseason. “He hasn’t had really a fair shake at times in terms of when he’s going to play,” Washburn said. “He should step up and be a contributor.”
  • What’s next: The Celtics make their way back to Boston to play their first home game this Friday against the Miami Heat, who knocked them out of the playoffs this past spring. Listen to Rupa’s full preview with Washburn here.

The Boston City Council will vote today on Mayor Michelle Wu’s ordinance to give police more power to remove tents from the Mass. and Cass area. But what they’re voting on perhaps won’t look exactly as she proposed it.

  • Councilor Ricardo Arroyo, who chairs the committee that reviewed the measure, is putting forward an amended version of Wu’s plan, with two big changes. (The original version filed by Wu was met with some concerns among progressive like Arroyo.) First, it removes a $25 penalty for people who refuse tent removal. And second, it calls for more involvement by public health professionals.

The MBTA is inching toward a plan to make repairs to the Green Line Extension’s defective tracks while avoiding any full-day shutdowns. But that could mean some early nighttime closures.

  • MBTA General Manager Phil Eng told the T’s board that he is reviewing a proposal by the contractors who worked on the GLX to begin overnight work as soon as next week. According to Eng, the proposal would involve closing the GLX early at 9 p.m. for “potentially 10 to 14 nights.” Still, nothing is finalized yet.

Big brew news: Braintree’s Widowmaker Brewing is opening its new taproom in Boston’s Brighton neighborhood today, with a “grand opening” celebration planned for Saturday. Located by that other public radio station, the 190 North Beacon Street brewpub includes a full kitchen, thanks to a partnership with the food truck Bone & Bread. They also plan to have a seasonal outdoor patio beginning next spring.

P.S.— The fifth episode of The Gun Machine is here. It explores how gun companies court police departments across the country – and how those departments have become some of the biggest customers of gun manufacturers, as well as their “guiding inspiration.”


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Nik DeCosta-Klipa Newsletter Editor
Nik DeCosta-Klipa is the newsletter editor for WBUR.



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