WEEK IN REVIEW
After unexpectedly losing to Larry Legend's Pacers in Indy the week before, the C's bounced back nicely with road wins in Houston and OKC before capping off an undefeated week at home versus the Redd-less Bucks.
All of last week's victories were earned, but as a fan of Gang Green I was happiest with the performance in Houston. To go on the road and win against the supposed new big three of Artest, McGrady and Yao in what some people say was a preview of the Finals was a big step down the path of repeating. That said, I don't want to read too much into this as the season is in its infancy and the Rockets will surely be a different team come playoff-time. Before I continue, I'd like to say that the nickname "The Big Three" should only be reserved for Bird, McHale and the Chief. Those three certainly earned the moniker playing in what I feel was the NBA at it's most competitive time, especially in the East. KG, RayRay and The Truth are all superstars in their own right, but they had the right idea with last season's SportsCenter commercial coming up with new nicknames - they need their own identity instead of playing in legendarily tall shadows of Celtics' past.
Sorry for the detour, let's get back on track while looking at the week ahead....
THE WEEK AHEAD
With five games in seven days, the champs have a full week ahead of them. Road showdowns against Detroit and Milwaukee start and end the week respectively while home games against the Raptors, Hawks and Nuggets fill in the work week.
Sunday's matchup in Detroit was circled on everyone's calendar before the season started and it has taken on even more meaning now that it will be A.I.'s home debut for his new squad. For what it's worth, now that McDyess has been bought out by Denver and looks to be coming back to Motown and the Pistons will be able to make cap room at the end of year by not re-signing the Answer, I have to give the nod to Dumars as the early winner of the trade. Mr. Big Shot will love playing with Carmelo in front of family and friends in the mile-high city, but I'm not convinced it will be enough to propel the Nuggets to the next level in the ultra-competitive West. Getting back to the game itself, the Celts will have to keep the crowd out of it so that no long runs or momentum comes back to hurt them. I don't think there will be any issues with the Celtics winning, though the Pistons are certainly capable, and the team should have a convincing win by 11 when it's all said and done, 103-92.
Home against the Raptors the next night leaves them prone to a possible hangover from Sunday's big game in Detroit, but they shuold still be able to hand the new look Toronto team a defeat. Toronto's GM (the younger Colangelo I think) should be lauded for the acquisition of Jermaine O'Neal to complement Bosh down low, but I don't think they'll be making the playoffs this year.... we'll see what happens with injuries though as that can change the landscape in a second.
Seeing those pesky Hawks hasn't been all fun as of late, but getting the win should be much easier with high flying Josh Smith now out up to a month with the high ankle sprain. I think the Celts will remember last year's first round well and will use that to help push them to a near blowout win.
Friday night at the Garden should be a fun one with the Nuggets coming to town. With more practice and game time under the belt with Billups at the helm will only serve to help the team and I'm sure Boston will get everything they have to throw at them. Still, I think this game is one Boston should be able to win albeit by a very slim margin. I think this game will be a good example of Perk getting closer to reaching his potential and I see a stat-stuffing 20 & 10 game for the young center.
Ending the week in Brewer nation shouldn't be a problem, even if Redd is suited up and healthy. RJ showed us last week that he has what it takes to still be an explosive scorer, but Milwaukee has to keep him involved (especially after a 16 point quarter against the league's premiere defensive team).
So, yes I do expect the home team to be 10-1 at the end of this week.... what do you think?