The NBA released a condensed 49-game preseason schedule Friday, with teams playing between two and four games starting on Dec. 11.

The Boston Celtics will play two preseason games against nearby rivals before the NBA season kicks off Dec. 22. The league hasn’t released the schedule for the 2020-21 season yet, but it’s preseason slate was revealed Friday.

The Celtics will travel to Philadelphia on Dec. 15 to face the Sixers and new coach/old friend Doc Rivers at 7 p.m. The former Boston coach, who parted ways with the Los Angeles Clippers shortly after the season, was hired by Philadelphia shortly after.

The Celtics will host the Brooklyn Nets on Dec. 18 at 7:30 p.m., which could mark Kyrie Irving’s first time back playing in TD Garden since leaving the Celtics as a free agent after the 2018-19 season.

The league plans to reveal the first half of the 72-game regular season schedule – that meaning games to be played between Dec. 22 and March 4 – in the coming days. Games for the season’s second half, scheduled as between March 11 and May 16, will be revealed around the midpoint of the season.

GOLF

EUROPEAN TOUR: Adrian Meronk is in line to make history after opening a three-shot lead after two rounds of the Alfred Dunhill Championship in Malelane, South Africa on Friday.

Meronk became the first Polish player to lead a European Tour event and is seeking his country’s first title on the tour after a second-round 66 moved him to 13 under par and put him in a great position at Leopard Creek. Joachim B. Hansen of Denmark and Richard Bland of England were tied for second on 10 under overall when bad light stopped play with just one player yet to finish his second round. That was Garrick Porteous down in a tie for 45th.

Robin Roussel, who shared the first-round lead with Meronk, slipped down into a tie for fourth after his 71.

Meronk is a trailblazer for his country having already become the first Pole to gain a European Tour card when he qualified for the circuit last season.

SKIING

MEN’S WORLD CUP: Alexis Pinturault edged Henrik Kristoffersen in a floodlit men’s World Cup parallel event on Friday at Lech-Zuers, Austria for his 30th career win.

The Frenchman built a lead of 0.16 seconds over his Norwegian rival on the slightly faster blue course, before Kristoffersen shaved off only five hundredths of his deficit in the deciding run. The victory lifted Pinturault into outright 10th place on the all-time winners list in men’s World Cup history, overtaking former Austrian standout Stephan Eberharter. Next on the list is American skier Bode Miller with 33 wins.

“If you talk about the victory and the race today, it is something really great,” Pinturault said. “It was pretty good, it was going so fast that you have no time to think about it. You have to focus on your race and on your runs.”

Pinturault has been the most successful active male skier since record eight-time overall champion Marcel Hirscher retired in 2019 after winning 67 races.

OLYMPICS

TOKYO GAMES: The postponed Tokyo Olympics are getting a kickstart.

Local organizers on Friday announced a series of 18 test events set to begin in March and run into May.

The Tokyo Olympics are set to open on July 23, 2021, after being postponed eight months ago because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The announcement in an online news conference came the same day that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government reported a one-day record of 570 new coronavirus infections in the capital.

Although Japan has handled the pandemic better than most countries, cases have been surging recently with about 2,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in a country of 125 million.

Officials said at least four of the test events will involve athletes from abroad, including tests in swimming, gymnastics, diving and volleyball.

A track and field meet on May 9 at the new National Stadium is listed as test event. It is not clear if athletes from abroad will participate.

 

 


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