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Here it is, Celtics fans – the night we’ve all been waiting for. After a lengthy preseason that surprisingly bored most fans in the Boston area, the Celtics are finally set to open up the 2007-2008 regular season, as they host the Washington Wizards at the TD BankNorth Garden. Boston’s brand spankin’ new illustrious trio of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen will match up against Washington’s sometimes underestimated trio of Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler, and Antawn Jamison. If you like offense, make sure you don’t blink tonight.
The Celtics also have some extra motivation tonight, as Wizards star Gilbert Arenas guaranteed a victory over the C’s tonight. Arenas has always had somewhat of a vendetta going against the Celtics, after they passed on him in the 2001 NBA Draft even though they verbally guaranteed him a selection with one of their three first round draft picks. Because of that, Arenas has always tried to make it a point to light us up. Though he has succeeded on a few occasions, we’re a much different basketball team now. We’ll see if "Agent Zero" can put his money where his mouth is this time.
Projected Starting Lineups
C Brendan Haywood / Kendrick Perkins
PF Antawn Jamison / Kevin Garnett
SF Caron Butler / Paul Pierce
SG DeShawn Stevenson / Ray Allen
PG Gilbert Arenas / Rajon Rondo
Key Matchup: Caron Butler vs. Paul Pierce
Pierce may be a bit more talented and established of the two, but Caron Butler is not to be underestimated. In fact, he’s very similar to Pierce in many ways. Both are big swingmen, both are slashers, both can score inside as well as outside, they both attack the basket, they may be the top two rebounding swingmen in the league, and both are much bigger/stronger than they look on TV from a distance. Caron and The Truth have their work cut out for them tonight, on both ends of the floor.
Celtics X-Factor: Rajon Rondo
Last year in Washington, Rajon Rondo did a terrific job on Gilbert Arenas defensively. He absolutely harassed him, didn’t give him any clean looks, contested every move, and really took him out of his game. After Arenas’ so-called "guarantee," the Celtics would like to see nothing more than for Rondo to shut him down again. Arenas has the size advantage, so this isn’t going to be a cake-walk for Rondo, but if he can at least contain Arenas and keep him away from that 30-point mark, the Celtics should be a decent shape.
- James Posey will not be in uniform for the opener, as he is serving a one-game suspension warrented to him for DUI charges.
Celtics Keys to the Game
- Ball Movement
- D Up
- Soak In the Atmosphere
- Make Gilbert Eat His Words
Let’s start this thing off with a "W," eh?
Washington Wizards @ Boston Celtics
Friday, November 2, 2007 – 8:00 pm ET
TD BankNorth Garden (Boston, MA)
Game aired on ESPN & CSN