It’s been a long offseason for Celtics’ fans. First, that crushing Game 7 loss in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Heat, then he who shall not be named deciding that he too, would be taking his talents to South Beach. The movie practically writes itself… The Celtics will head to Miami on Tuesday to take on Lebron James and the Championship winning Heat. Doc Rivers and the gang will have to stand by and watch as that banner is dropped in American Airlines Arena.
Many questions surround the Celtics coming into the season. Could Avery Bradley fill our Ray Allen sized void? Sure, he’s younger, more aggressive on defense, he’s decent with the three’s… It’s just too early to tell. But Bradley is still recovering from surgery that he had last season, to repair two dislocated shoulders. He is ahead of schedule but will definitely not be ready for the start of the season on Tuesday. Courtney Lee will likely step in, in his absence and Jason Terry will come in off the bench.
Although the Celtics lost some key players they also gained a lot. Resigning Kevin Garnett was huge, and trading for Jason Terry and Darko Milicic can only help. I think the biggest acquisitions made were getting Fab Melo, Jared Sullinger and Kris Joseph in this year’s draft. There were plenty of concerns over Sullinger’s back, which caused his drop in the draft, (he was projected a top 5 pick a year earlier, but fell to 21). Both Sullinger and Doc Rivers insist that his back is A-ok.
Losing Allen, and gaining young and talented players like Melo, Sullinger and Joseph will liven up this aging Celtics team. Sure KG, 36, and Paul Pierce, 35, are “well-seasoned” and Jason Terry, 35, is no spring chicken, but the intensity that Kevin Garnett brings to this locker room is unmatched. Not to mention, he went off in the playoffs, averaging just over 19 points per game last postseason.
The tension will be palpable on Tuesday night in Miami. The Heat will be out to prove that last season wasn’t a fluke. The Celtics will try to make one last push to the postseason before they potentially lose Paul Pierce to free agency at the end of the season.
Tipoff is Tuesday night at 8:00.