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NBA Season Preview: Boston Celtics

Dec 15, 2011, 6:50 AM EDT

Boston Celtics v Denver Nuggets Getty Images

Last season: 56-26 and a tough out by the hand of LeBron James.

Head Coach: The perennially fantastic Doc Rivers. He may not have the mystique of Gregg Popovich or the cult appeal of Stan Van Gundy, but Rivers consistently does a great job of balancing the personalities on Boston’s roster while drawing up highly effective plays. Swell guy, to boot.

Key Departures: Glen Davis, Shaquille O’Neal, Nenad Krstic

Key Additions: Brandon Bass, Keyon Dooling, Chris Wilcox

Best case scenario: Rajon Rondo puts together a complete campaign to power Boston to the East’s second seed, but a tough Conference Semifinal with the third-seeded Bulls looms. Even the Big Four’s collective brilliance in that highly competitive series isn’t good enough, as Boston’s run — and this era of Celtics basketball — is fittingly brought to a close due to the team’s lack of depth. The more things change, the more you have to uncomfortably rely on Jeff Green to provide productive minutes.

For that to happen: First, the obvious: Rondo needs to find a way to dispose of all that weighs on his mind, and make an impact rivaling that of the league’s other top point guards. When focused, Rondo is Boston’s best player, and a true terror on both ends of the court. When moody and distracted, he’s a legitimate tax on his squad, and a thorn in the side of Boston’s core vets. Sadly, there’s no Rondsetta stone (I’m so, so sorry) for the Celtics to harness, no cipher that reveals the path to accessing his complete potential. It’s all between Rondo’s ears, and if he can find some sense of peace (Or consistent rage? Rondo seems to play rather well when he’s angry), Boston will roll through almost any competition.

It’s also essential that Boston’s bigs stay healthy and productive for the entire season. This Celtics aren’t at all in a position to deal with a significant frontcourt injury; Kevin Garnett, Jermaine O’Neal, Brandon Bass, and Chris Wilcox make up a pretty solid rotation of bigs, but Green would have to play some serious minutes at the 4 in case of disaster. Considering the injury histories of Garnett and O’Neal — and Green’s career to date — that should make Celtics Nation a bit nervous.

More likely, the Celtics will: Follow a different course of action to a similar fate. Rondo’s performance may have a ridiculous amount of variability, but the same can hardly be said of the Celtics’ likely result. Boston — even if hobbled — isn’t likely at all to be dropped in the first round by inferior competition, and yet the Celtics lack serious potential to compete with either the Bulls or the Heat. There’s a chance they could still overwhelm the new-and-improved Knicks, but even that much is far from certain.

It’s been a great run for the Celtics, but the road ends in this year’s playoffs. Maybe the’ll go out in style as they claw their way into a Game 7, or maybe they’ll go quietly in the night. But it seems inescapable that the Celtics will go before they’re good and ready. This just isn’t a championship team — there are just too many pitfalls, and so little potential for offensive improvement. The league’s 18th best offense isn’t going to cut it for a title team, no matter how oppressive its defense.

Prediction: 44-22, good for the East’s third seed.

  1. 1historian - Dec 15, 2011 at 7:47 AM

    Good assessment. With no injuries and the shortened season Rivers will get the most anyone could out of this lineup.

  2. bozosforall - Dec 15, 2011 at 9:10 AM

    Easy call…they are going to choke late, just like the Red Sox did…and lose early in the playoffs, just like the Patriots will.

    • kygreen - Dec 15, 2011 at 9:28 AM

      For some people, the only way to feel good about themselves is to denegrate those superior to them. Same things happen in the world of sports fans.

      Yah sure they win championships but they suck. Good call.

  3. patriotsdiehard - Dec 15, 2011 at 10:09 AM

    LOL@ this Bozo guy trolling the threads about Boston teams. It’s alright to be jealous dude.

  4. bozosforall - Dec 15, 2011 at 10:49 AM

    Both teams listed in my above post haven’t won a title in awhile now, so citing old titles is lame…then again, that figures for a loser Boston fan like yourself.

    As for “denigrating those superior to them”, that must explain all of the “Yankees Suck” T-shirts that pop up in Fenway every year, as well as the “LA Sucks” signs in the Garden whenever the Lakers show up to play in Boston. But thanks for outing yourself, chump.

    • nhmac - Dec 15, 2011 at 11:55 AM

      I guess if you’re ten, a Super Bowl victory in ’04 and a World Series title in ’07 would seem like “awhile” ago. But in the world of professional sports, that’s pretty damn recent man. Lest ye forget the ’01, ’03 (SBs), and the ’04 (WS). Given the odds, it’s only natural some Boston teams have choked in championships. Since 2000 Boston teams have won %77 percent of the championships they’ve been in. I love those odds man, all those “old titles” are still fresh in my memory.

      • bozosforall - Dec 15, 2011 at 4:49 PM

        And I guess if you are 17, you don’t know about the titleless 1990s in Beantown. Those were even better years…for the rest of us that didn’t have to hear all the empty boasting emanating from your stupid region. Odds like 2 in 92 (Red Sox), 1 in 25 (Celtics) and Pats (3 in 50) are even greater music to the ears of the rest of us.

    • ras1tafari - Dec 15, 2011 at 12:34 PM

      what are you blabbering about?!

      “haven’t won a title in a while now”

      Put the bong down. Boston is on an unprecidented run of sports success. There is no city in America that has had all four major teams win ONE Title in 10 years.

      Let me remind you: Boston has 7 in 10 years, all four sports. 3 for the Pats, 2 for the Sox.

      Tell me where you are from, so I can spit out lame memes and drivel just like you do.

      “outing yourself” WTF is that about?

      • bozosforall - Dec 15, 2011 at 4:53 PM

        “Outing yourself” for the whiny fan base that you are, moron.

        Then again, given the fact that most of New England allows legalized gay marriage, I can understand why you might think that I meant something else. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

        And bragging about your “unprecedented run of success” is lame given that all those teams are nothing more than paid mercenaries, unrepresented by local athletes for the most part. In fact, the New England area is the most underrepresented area in the US in pro sports. Bunch of pencil necked geeks.

  5. patriotsdiehard - Dec 15, 2011 at 11:17 AM

    Hey Bozo, quit trolling the Boston threads you loozah.

  6. bostonbornandbred - Dec 15, 2011 at 11:44 AM

    Haha you’ve got to love losers that post on here like Bozosforall… You’re right. They haven’t won a title in a while now… Unless of course you think 4 years and 7 years are a long time . Did you happen to forget the Bruins won the Stanley cup in June or are you gonna be a naive little prick that thinks hockey sucks?? But I’m sure you’re a steelers fan, a Yankees fan, a lakers fan, and a Red Wings fan… Jump off Boston’s nuts

  7. passerby23 - Dec 15, 2011 at 12:29 PM

    I think this analysis is off. Remember that the Series with Miami was highly competitive until Rondo’s injury and their offense came to a grinding halt. They lost Game 4 in overtime which would’ve tied the series. Jeff Green gives them some scoring punch. Boston’s lack of scoring efficiency was amplified with Perkins playing most of that season. Add an improving E’Twaun Moore to the mix and Boston has gotten more athletic.

    The best case scenario is they win another championship and call it a day. Worst case scenario is they lose a couple of bodies and get bounced in the first round. I say 45 wins for the C’s.

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