Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The EPIC Celtics-Heat season opener and Roster Breakdown

Like every other basketball fan, I am SO excited for tonight's slate of games. But one sticks out. Yes, I am talking about Celtics-Heat. This one is for all the marbles. This is THE matchup we have all been waiting for.
OK, we may be taking this all a little too seriously. It is the first game of the season. So it may be the best season opening matchup of all-time. Who cares? (Besides the NBA. The NBA always cares.) Last year, the Celtics manhandled the Cavaliers in the first game of the season. Guess how much it mattered down the road? Not one bit. The Cavs were in transition. Shaq had just joined them, and I believe Delonte West was deactivated due to an investigation into his hiding a loaded shotgun in a guitar case while riding his motorcycle. Seriously, that happened. Anyways, the Celtics had their Core 4 and Perk, and the Cavs were just trying to figure out how to play together.
Sound familiar?
The Heat's big 3 have played a whopping 3 minutes together. Wade injured his hammy, and Bron also went down with an injury- leaving Chris Bosh with memories of his years on the Raptors (him, and no one else). They are amazing, no doubt. But they are in transition. The Celtics have added a few pieces as well (Shaq, Jermaine, Von Wafer...don't ask), but their Core 4 are still there- chugging along as usual. People are talking about a healthy Kevin Garnett and a finally healthy Paul Pierce, and they assume the Celtics will be bigger (definitely) and better (who knows?) than last year. The truth is, this game means nothing in the grand scheme of things.
Will it be fun? Yes. Will it be entertaining? Yes. Will everyone write rapid reactions and scrutinize every second of action (including me)? Yes. But what does it all mean? The game is almost meaningless. The C's will be without Delonte "Wild Wild" West and Kendrick Perkins, while the Heat will be without sharpshooter Mike Miller. Neither team is complete, and neither team is in midseason form. So while we are all enjoying tonight's game, try and keep it in perspective. (By the way, Celtics will win it with stingy defense and team chemistry. Also, Lebron is a jerk.)

We all waited so long for Celtics season to start up again, especially after last season's heartbreak, let's take a closer look at each member of this years squad (Reloaded. Again.)

Rajon Rondo- After absolutely exploding onto the National Stage with his pantheon performance in game 4 (29-18-13, from a point guard) of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Rondo is ready for the big time. I, like many others, expect Rondo to make the leap this season to superstar, and win some games for this team by himself. Finally armed with some offensively capable centers, look for Rondo's assist numbers to be even higher this year.

Ray Allen- Besides for being a consummate professional, Ray Ray has always been the Celtics 3 point threat. We were all praising him after his record breaking performance in game 2 of the Finals, and we were all cursing him in game 3. That is how Ray is. He is a rhythm shooter. Last year we saw a dip in his 3 point percentage, but with KG healthy, and the Diesel keeping defenses honest, we should expect Ray to get more open looks this season.

Paul Pierce- The captain. Pierce is the leader of this team. He preps his warriors for battle. He fights through injuries, and is always called on when the Celtics need a basket at the end of the game. Slowed last season by an array of injuries, Paul seemed to be quickly deteriorating before our eyes. He showed some flashes of his old self in the playoffs, but he really needs to be more consistent this year to still be considered an elite scorer. Let's hope Paul stays healthy and bounces back this season.

Kevin Garnett- KG. The big ticket. The guy who slaps his own head. We can all agree that KG may go overboard sometimes with his emotions, but he gives this team an identity. He spread it to his other half (Kendrick Perkins), and he lets everyone know. We are going to play great defense, and we are going to be loud while we do it. KG had a tough year coming back from his knee injury, but seemed to pick it up in the playoffs. Everyone says it takes two years to recover from a serious knee injury. Hopefully, they are right.

Shaquille O'Neal
- The Diesel has come to Boston for one purpose- to win a ring. OK, so he also went to Phoenix and Cleveland to win a ring, but we will forget about those for now. This is the deepest team he has played on since his years with the Lakers. He is highly motivated to get at least another ring in what he calls his last "730 days" as an NBA player. Kobe threw it in his face last year, and he hates Kobe- ("Hey Kobe, tell me how my A$$ tastes"). I expect big rebounding numbers, and a bunch of easy buckets for the Big Shamrock.

Delonte West- Despite the Celtics addition of Shaq Diesel, I think Delonte is going to prove to be the most significant off-season acquisition by the end of the year. Starting off with a 10 game suspension, Delonte will certainly be behind when he comes back, but he is going to be a great backup for both Rondo and Ray. A high percentage shooter and a great passer, Delonte also possesses the great ability to control the tempo of the game without turning the ball over. He also fits in very well with this tough one on one defensive minded team- he is considered one of the best man to man defenders in the league.

Marquis Daniels + Nate Robinson- Both players figure to play big roles off the bench this season. Quis' is "a completely different player" according to Paul Pierce, and Nate will have a better handle on the offense with his first off-season with the team. I expect both of these players to have very good years, and help solidify the revamped second unit.

Glen "Big Baby" Davis
- Hit a huge speed bump last year when he broke his thumb in a fight with a friend on the eve of the season opener (you can't make this stuff up), Glen was huge for the Celtics by the time the playoffs rolled around. He's got to cut down on his Blocks Against (he got blocked on about 33% of his shots around the rim area), but he seems to be primed for a breakout year. The Celtics will need it, as their bench struggled to score at points last season.

Semih Erden + Jermain O'Neal
- Both big guys figure to play pretty significant roles. Erden is obviously a surprise, but he definitely played well enough in the preseason to garner some attention, and minutes from Coach Doc Rivers. Erden is a wild card, but if he could develop his game, he might be the first rookie to help the Celtics since the Big 3 arrived in 08'. With O'Neal, you know what you're getting. A decent shot blocker, and a pretty good offensive player and rebounder, he is a solid addition to the already deep Celtics bench.

Overall, this team is almost definitely better than last season's squad, but let's just hope there are no more injuries along the way, or it will be very hard for the C's to repeat as Eastern Conference Champions.

On to the links-

A few articles from Celtics-Heat hype machine:



Articles for Celtics fans:



Some other sport's links:
Peter "King" King's great Monday Morning Quarterback-

Strange article about Roger Federer and a hidden Tennis Tournament of high rollers who gamble thousands and thousands of dollars on a single point!

Interesting article on Texas' success this postseason-

Nice blurb about everyone's favorite Patriot: Danny Woodhead-

Finally, Haynesworth earns his paycheck (sort of, maybe, a little)-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDRLSepq11g&feature=related (at the 1:25 mark)


Great new Lebron Commercial. And to answer your question, you should NOT be an asshole-

And just to get you ready for tonight:

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