The Celtics were one of the teams in the NBA that was expected to tank the season to obtain a high draft pick, but they began to shock everyone, including themselves and their fans, once the season started. With Rajon Rondo sidelined, the lineup didn’t seem like they would be able to compete, but they came out the gate giving teams a hard-fought game every night.
With veterans such as Gerald Wallace, Brandon Bass, Kris Humphries and Jeff Green, the Celtics were once atop the Atlantic Division.
The Nets were the team that many picked to give the Miami Heat a run for Eastern Conference supremacy, but injuries, bad play and awful coaching had them on the outside looking in. Now that players are healthy and have brought into Jason Kidd’s new lineup and defensive approach, fans are now seeing the team that many thought would be a title contender.
This will be Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce‘s first games back in Boston since the mega-trade that sent them to Brooklyn. If a player tells you coming back home is just another game, then they are lying. This game will have special meaning for both the players and the fans as well.
Garnett has been playing inspired defensive basketball over the last few weeks and should control the paint against the smaller, less experienced Celtics frontcourt. Pierce will have his hands full guarding Bass on the low blocks, but the extra adrenaline pumping through his veins will have him playing like a rookie tonight.
If there was ever a reason for a team to rally around their teammates, this is it. The crowd will and should give the two former Celtics a standing ovation during introductions, but they must go out and show the Celtics faithful what they have been missing all season. The Celtics are just another hurdle standing in the Nets’ way as they continue to prove they are worthy of their preseason accolades.