After the Celtics lost – at home no less – to the Nets at the end of February, I was almost ready to give up hope. With the additions of Rasheed Wallace and Marquis Daniels this past summer, along with a healthy KG, I really thought it would be like 2008 all over again. But things are never that easy. So after the C’s responded with a four-game winning streak, things are back on track and my wavering faith has been restored. Sorry LeBron, Dwight and Kobe, but I think Boston’s got it this year.
With 21 games left in the regular season, the next two months should prepare the Celtics for the playoffs. Sure their last four wins have come at the hands of some of the Eastern Conference’s bottom feeders (Detroit, Charlotte, Philly and Washington), but they’ve finally got their rhythm back. And here are five reasons that Celtics fans should be planning a trip to Boston this June.
1. The emergence of Nate Robinson
Sure Nate was 0-for-3 in the Celtics win yesterday over the Wizards, but his 14- and 16-point outings against the Pistons and Bobcats provided vital of the C’s. Don’t get me wrong: I didn’t want to see Eddie House go. But Nate has shown that he can fit well in this system. He’s definitely not a longterm option, and can’t be trusted with the ball in his hands in pressure situations, but in small does you’d be hard pressed to find a better volume scorer coming off the bench.
2. The health of Marquis Daniels
His numbers haven’t been amazing since his return, but the important thing is that he’s healthy. ‘Quis will be invaluable for the Celtics as they make a deep playoff push. He can score when needed, D-up the other team’s best wing and lead the troops in the second unit. If he’s able to do all three, Celtics fans will be like, “Posey who?”
3. The arrival of Michael Finley
Although Finley was in Boston on Sunday night, he did not make his Celtic debut. Nonetheless, his addition will prove to be huge for the C’s in time. “This was already a great team without me,” said Finley in The Providence Journal. “I’m just going to come in and lend my veteran expertise, whether that be on the court or in the locker room. I’m just going to do whatever I can to make this team a better one.”
4. Their schedule
There’s no better way to prepare for the playoffs than by playing playoff teams. This month, Boston will face Milwaukee, Cleveland, Dallas, Utah, Denver, San Antonio and Oklahoma City. I’m not saying their going to win all these games, but they should have a playoff atmosphere. And at the very least, if they do lose, they’ll see their weaknesses and try to address them. With a lot of doubters already out there, you know Boston is going to try and prove them wrong.
5. The luck of the Irish
Last year, after losing on Saint Patrick’s Day, the Celtics finished the season 12-2. This year, they’ll hope to do the same.
For one final footnote, the real reason I think the Celtics can still win the title this year is Rajon Rondo. Sure KG, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen get all the shine, but it’s Rondo that is currently the best player on the team. Averaging 14.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 9.9 assists and 2.5 steals per game, Rondo leaves his imprint all over the court.
What do you think? Can the Celtics still win the title?
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