After an emotional week, the Boston Celtics are back to work with three games this upcoming week. The return of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett is over with and fans and players can now move on. It was a beautiful scene Sunday night at the Garden. Pierce and Garnett each received numerous standing ovations throughout the game. Video tributes brought tears to the faces of many fans and chills down their spines. The appreciation and shower of love KG and Pierce received was remarkable and well deserving. Now, it is time to move forward in the 2014 season.
1/28 at New York Knicks
Last time these two teams met in New York, the Celtics blew the Knicks out of Madison Square Garden with a 114-73 win. In the rematch in Boston, the Celtics again had the upper hand in a come back win. Since the most recent matchups, both teams have changed dramatically. In the blowout win Jordan Crawford was the leading scorer, and in the other win Courtney Lee was a major instrument in the victory. Both of those players are gone, the Knicks have Tyson Chandler back and Carmelo Anthony has been on a tear. I see the Knicks winning this game as they attempt to get back on track.
Prediction: Bos 101 NY 109
1/29 vs. Philadelphia 76ers
It surprisingly the first contest between these two teams. The Celtics and 76ers are currently tied for the third-worst record in the Eastern Conference, so this may be a competition for the most ping-pong balls in the lottery. Philadelphia has lost nine of their last 11 games while the Celtics haven’t done so hot either. I still see Boston taking this one at home.
Prediction: Bos 97 Phi 92
2/2 vs. Orlando Magic
These two teams have already played each other three times, and this will be their last matchup of the season. Right now, Boston has the upper hand with two wins and a loss. Two of the three games were decided by two points. The Magic came out on top last time when the Celtics failed to even attempt a shot. I expect Boston to execute much better in this game.
Prediction: Bos 98 Orl 95
Rajon Rondo‘s minutes allowed have been increased to 20-25. Let’s keep an eye on how he progresses this week as his stamina is important to pay attention to. It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes before Rondo is back to full strength and has shaken off the rust.
Michael LeDuc is a Boston Celtics writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @mike_leduc, and add him on Google.