113 days ago (if I did the math right) the Celtics destroyed the Lakers in game 6 of the NBA Finals and secured the 17th Championship in franchise history. The parade is over, the party has ended, the offseason has come to an end. The new season is upon us and the title defense starts now.
Of course this is still just a glorified practice until the games start to count. So take Doc's advice and "get there early" if you want to see Finals MVP Paul Pierce, Defensive Player of the Year Kevin Garnett, or Best Shooter In The Game Ray Allen play tonight. Also, we know that Perkins will be held out of tonight's action to further heal his shoulder and Sam Cassell will miss the game for personal reasons.
Preseason is all about seeing what we have in younger players and new faces. So we'll get our first real looks at Patrick O'Bryant, Darius Miles, Bill Walker, and JR Giddens. I'm very curious to see O'Bryant work on the post and I want to get a feel for how each of the wing players plays the game. I hear that Walker attacks the basket relentlessly while Giddens has a Pierce type of slashing style. I know a little about Miles from his years in the league, but admittedly not enough (and his style may have changed completely because of the injury).
We'll also get more chances to see Gabe Pruitt and of course Glen Davis and Leon Powe. I want to see if Gabe is more aggressive or if he's still reluctant to assert himself. I want to see what Davis can add to his game and I'm really looking for Powe to step up as a leader on the 2nd unit.
For the most part we know what to expect from everyone else, but every player has things they can improve on and the preseason is a good time to experiment and attempt to add things to your game. So don't be surprised to see Rajon take a few extra deep shots. Expect to see Eddie House bring the ball up against pressure defense. I think we'll see a larger role for Tony Allen too. Maybe even Scal can work on getting more confidence in his outside shooting.
We also get our first look at the new-look 76ers. They may play their starters more to get Brand familiar with his new teammates (so don't be surprised if this goes down as a loss - not that it matters).
It was a short offseason (though at times it seemed long) and we have NBA basketball again. We are the Defending Champions and we have a great team with an excellent chance at repeating. And it all starts tonight. Life is good.
As a reminder, don't forget to follow along in either the Forum Game Thread or the Chat Room tonight.