Time: 7:30 PM EST, Tuesday, October 26th, 2010
Venue: TD Garden
TV: TNT, TSN Radio: ESPN, WEEI
And so it begins…… Finally, it’s time to play some real ball – Celtic Ball
A Bit of History
By the time the Celtics finish this new season next June, The greatest and most winning franchise in NBA history will be entering its’ 65th season. This one-of-a-kind organization could be winning a record-breaking 18th championship banner early next summer. As a side note, I am currently taking all bets that no banner will be raised in Miami next summer except maybe a small banner that says "Closed for the Summer due to Excess Hype", or as they say in Texas, "Big Hat No Cattle".
When I think of Celtics and this new season standing before us, I think of Red Auerbach. I think of his coaching style: team play, hard work and above all - winning. Well, 64 years later this "team", is still winning, is still filling the stands with green jerseys, and still bringing a constant flow of new, ever-faithful young smiling shamrock painted faces filled with Celtic pride.
50 years ago in the 1960-61 season, the Celtics also had a season opener. They won that game, and then went on to win their 4th NBA championship in 1961 against the St. Louis Hawks. The great Tommy Heinshon was the season’s leading scorer, averaging 21.3 PPG, and Mr. Bill Russell was the season’s leading rebounder with an astounding 23.9 Rebounds Per Game! Tommy Henson went on to win more championships as a player, and also went on to coach the Celtics to two more championships. Mr. Bill Russell went on to….well you know that amazing story.
Both Tommy Henson and Bill Russell with be on-hand tonight with an unsurpassed amount of championship Celtic history on their fingers. They will be watching the dynasty they help build take the floor once again to try and simply WIN, not as individuals but as a TEAM. Legends like JoJo White, John Havlicek, Tom "Satch" Sanders, Cornbread Maxwell, Bob Cousy and maybe even Dave Cowens will all be watching this game with copious amounts of Celtics pride. They bleed green. There is no gold shortage on the hands of these Celtic legends.
Opening night in the Boston Garden with a team full of future Hall of Famer’s being watched by Celtic Hall of Famers….well… it’s pretty exciting stuff for me anyway. I won’t be answering the phone, the door, or even my wife. Just let me watch in peace.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot. There is another team taking the floor tonight as well. The Celtics will be playing a newly assembled, highly touted, bunch of NBA players all wearing Miami Heat jerseys. Are they a "team" in something more than name only? Have they even all met each other yet, or rode the team bus together? Ok, I am being a bit harsh. A "team" does take time to jell, to build, and to find their own type of Ubuntu. I am guessing Miami Ubuntu is a tad different than Boston Ubuntu.
Of course, the most important component in building a team is learning to trust one another the whole season. You know what I am talking about don’t you? I am talking about having the kind of trust you feel just knowing your "teammate" won’t suddenly quit on you while playing in the 5th game of the Eastern Conference finals when things get tough. Ouch!
Miami fans just don’t know yet if their new "Chosen One" can actually help them hoist a championship banner. That might be tough with only one arm at his disposal, as he uses his other arm to massage his ego. Wrestling an ego like that with one arm can be tough. I hear it can make your shoulder sore around playoff time.
The Miami fans only know so far that he is an expert at holding press conferences, pontificating about his greatness, and trying to locate his mom’s whereabouts. For me, this former Princess from Ohio is nothing more than someone who has yet to translate great physical skills into winning team skills. He played on a good team in Ohio but something didn’t work. Geez….it must have been the fault of the other 11 guys not playing team ball.
The primary new guy in the Miami jersey is one heck of an athlete, and he could play one on one basketball very, very well. Yep, most assuredly "King" James is indeed an incredible athlete. His individual basketball skills are exceptional. He may score 50 + points tonight against us, but to me, he is still a quitter with lots to prove to his teammates, Pat Riley and all the people who buy all those front-running Heat jerseys. A win by the Celtics tonight would be quite a good thing for me and apparently most of the other NBA fans per the recent press coverage about you know who.
D-Wade, on the other hand, has proven he is a true teammate and can fight hard the whole season and he knows how to win….he has a ring to prove it. His hamstring is sore, so I would hope that we take full advantage of that issue tonight. I still think it’s possible that D-Wade might just look at Pat Riley right around the All-Star break and say "Pat, what in the heck were we thinking"?
I really don’t have any serious Chris Bosh hate. Does anyone really feel strongly about Chris Bosh? I just want him to fail miserably while playing with the other guy that he gleefully followed to Miami. I just hope the nose ring and chain isn’t too sore after getting pulled all the way to Miami from Toronto by way of Cleveland.
So what happens tonight in this BIG season opener which was preceded by a summer full of the greatest hype ever known in NBA history? I have no clue what will happen, but I can guarantee that not one of the Celtics will quit in the 3rd Quarter.
I am guessing that a surreal playoff atmosphere will make the Boston Garden the place to be for all NBA fans tonight. The rumor was the Wyc Grouseback was so excited that he invited Dan Gilbert to sing the National Anthem tonight in front of the Miami bench tonight. Unfortunately, Dan refused to accept the offer after Delonte would not loan him any weapons for at least the first 10 games.
Do preseason stats matter on how these two teams match up tonight, or who might have the edge? Nah…..not really. However, here are a couple of quick preseason stats that I am quite positive will hold up throughout the regular season, and might also show their ugly heads in tonight’s game as well.
- The Celtics had no player in preseason who finished in the top 25 of scoring (Nate was 40th), yet Miami had 2 players in the Top 25 (Bosh and what’s his name).
- The Celtics had no player in the top 25 of preseason rebounding and Miami had two (Haslem and Bosh).
- However when you look at Team Stats Boston far exceeds Miami. Miami is 27th in team Offense and Boston is 9th. Regarding Team Defense Boston in preseason Boston was 11th and Miami 19th.
Pre-season record: Boston 7-1…….Miami: 3-4 …..just sayin
It’s called team ball, being balanced scoring, and a very deep bench -Advantage: Boston
**All stats from 2009-2010
+ stats from 2008-2009
Injuries and Stuff: Mike Miller (OUT), Eddie House (PROB), D. Wade (PROB)
3 Keys to the Tonight’s Game:
Emotions – No doubt that this game will be a playoff type atmosphere with Miami trying to show the world they can win right from the start. If you combine normal season opener emotions, and then add Miami Hype Machine emotions, you have a foul problem just waiting to happen. If we get in foul trouble early, especially KG or Shaq then Wade, Bosh and the Ohio Princess can penetrate our defense much much easier. This will be tough to stop if we lose the two bigs early. Emotion also equals Technical Fouls, and that too can change the game for us so very quickly. Any bets that certain players on the Miami team avoid foul trouble and Technical’s?
Penetration – between Mario Chalmers (slow) Arroyo (groin and being too angry) and a recuperating D-Wade, Rondo can shred this defense. IF he will penetrate. When Rondo is aggressively penetrating he can inflict great pain, and get our big men involved by dishing off under the basket and thus the other team is in quick foul trouble. He can also set up some nice three pointers (hate those).
Team Interior Defense and the Screen and Roll – There is no mistaking Wade, Bosh, and The Human Press Conference can get to the hoop in a hurry. Bosh setting up the screen and roll for the Princess with perhaps a kick out to Wade for a three will be a repeating theme tonight and throughout the season. Tonight will be test for the Celtics to move their feet and talk fast and loud to one another on Defense….Rondo Red Bull anyone?
Key Match Ups
Shaq and Jermaine vs. Jo-elle "Lurch" Anthony and Zyclops Ilgauskas
I don’t really see a worry here at all now that JO is supposedly ready to go. Zyclops still has an outside shot with range that has hurt us in the past, but in preseason he played somewhat lethargic…Perhaps too many Lithuanian Turnips and red cabbage? If we play this right tonight, Jo-elle should be in foul trouble by the end of the 1st Quarter. Hey Shaquita!!! –put on that dress and get busy in the paint!
Power Forward Position
Kevin Garnett vs. Chris Bosh - Should be interesting. KG has more strength and length, so it's just a matter of his aggression on the offensive side of the ball. Both will score some points, but KG's D is far superior to that of Bosh....Attack the basket KG!!!
Forward Position or "Point Foward Position"
The Truth vs. What's His Name - You cannot guard probably the best one-on-one player in the world by yourself - it takes help defense and defending the screen and roll and not letting him fastbreak you to death. Paul Pierce is healthy and is always up to a challenge. I say put Luke Harangody on him, bang him up a little and maybe give him a cheap foul when PP needs a breather,
Shooting Guard Position
Ray Allen vs. D-Wade - I hate to say this but Ray Allen will have a very hard time staying in front of D-Wade. In the past Ray Allen has had trouble doing this. I think I would put RR on D-Wade and let Ray Allen guard the slow Chalmers or the groin injured Arroyo.
Rajon "Alien" Rondo vs. One Half a slow Mario Brother or Carlos "Hothead" Arroyo. Like I said above, Rajon Rondo can literally torch both of these guys if he will just drive, drive, and drive. He can either dish it off to the big man, kick it out for a three, or lay it up. Be aggressive and draw fouls!!!
And let RR guard D-Wade on the defensive end not Ray Allen.
When Winners Win they say: "we still have a long way to go"
When Losers Win they say:" We are great - I told you so"
GO Celtics!...I want win this battle tonight, but more than that I want to win the war....Game 1 , Game On, Switch On.
82+16 to go. Enjoy the season.