Boston Celtics’ Weekly Preview: December 30-January 5

Jeff Green

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Celtics are looking at a 13-17 record and are currently 8th in the Eastern Conference. Considering the injury to Al Horford, the East is now more wide open than it was before which seemed impossible. After playing just one game last week, the Celtics feature four hearty upcoming matchups for this week against the Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls, New Orleans Pelicans, and Oklahoma City Thunder.

12/31 vs. Atlanta Hawks

This is a must win for the Celtics. Since the Celtics get the lesser of two draft picks regarding the Brooklyn Nets and Hawks, they need the Hawks to do poorly this season in order to obtain a high draft pick. With Al Horford out, that scenario is more than likely. Hopefully the Celtics can diminish the Hawks’ chances on Tuesday. Boston beat the Hawks earlier this season with an extremely balanced offensive attack. Six players were in double-digits in terms of scoring, and the C’s really need Jared Sullinger to bounce back in this one.

1/2 at Chicago Bulls

The Celtics kick off the New Year against the Bulls. Since losing Derrick Rose, the Bulls have been a less-than-mediocre team. Both these teams have top-5 defenses and are in the bottom of the league when it comes to scoring. Bulls rank second in points allowed and 30th in points scored while the Celtics are fifth in points allowed and rank 24th in points scored. The difference is that the Bulls rank in the top-10 with rebounds and top-15 in assists. The Celtics, on the other hand, are in the bottom in both those categories.

1/3 vs. New Orleans Pelicans

The Pelicans would be a much better team if they were in the Eastern Conference. They have obvious talent but have yet to put things together against the tougher completion in the Western Conference. The defense is shaky, but the offense can put up points in a hurry. Anthony Davis is a huge presence in the paint, and Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans, and Eric Gordon all have the ability to get buckets. Despite the Pelicans’ inconsistencies, the Celtics will have their hands full.

1/5 at Oklahoma City Thunder

The Boston Celtics have not fared well against the top teams in the league this year. Against teams with winning records, Boston is 3-8. Without Russell Westbrook Oklahoma City will be an easier challenge, but still a major challenge nonetheless. Who is going to guard Kevin Durant? The Celtics are vastly undersized against Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka so there is not a lot of hope for Boston in this contest.

Michael LeDuc writes about the Boston Celtics for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @mike_leduc, like his Facebook page and add him on Google.

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