After a month of December in which the Celtics jacked up their medical bill, the team managed to squeeze out a 10-4 record. What will they do in the upcoming month? Lets take a look at the competition. First off they have 14 games, just like they did in the previous month. There are two big differences, the first of which is how many away games they have. As we remember in December the Celtics had 10 road games. This month, the team will split 50/50 and have 7 home games and 7 away games. The home games last month were against sub .500 teams. In January, half of the home games are against teams with records above .500. This includes games against Portland, Atlanta, Dallas, and LA. As for the road games, half of those will be against above average competition as well.
I guess I will just break this month down week by week from Sunday to Saturday.
January 1st through January 2nd – Home against Toronto.
The Celtics have already taken care of this game with a great team victory against the Raptors who are red hot. Regardless to the loss of 3 key starters, Doc mixed and matched the right amount of every player available to secure the team their first victory of the new year.
January 3rd through January 9th- At Miami / At Atlanta.
Both of these games will be very difficult. In any road game, but these places especially, the C’s will have to get out in a hurry and keep a lead so the crowd can’t get involved. Pierce is suppose to be back so that should help in these games. In both games the Celtics will have to play mistake free basketball as both teams, but especially the Hawks like to take advantage on turnovers turned into fast break opportunities. For the team to take both of these games without what looks to be Rondo, KG, and maybe Perk and Eddie, would deffinitely be impressive.
January 10th through January 16th – At Toronto / Vs. Atlanta / At New Jersey / Vs. Chicago.
These games are broken into two sets of back to backs. The first of which is obviously Toronto and Atlanta. This is an afternoon game into a night game, so there is a little extra time to get back home for the Celtics. This will be the first visit of the year for the Celtics in Toronto. In the big three era the C’s have had no problem with games in Toronto and have gone 4-0. This is a completely different Toronto team, though, and are playing much better. Then we know that Atlanta put it to us on our home court earlier this year.
The next back to back is in New Jersey, and back home for Chicago. Again, this is not the most difficult back to back as the Celtics will be close to home, never the less it is still 2 games in 2 nights which will finish off their 4 games in 5 nights stretch. The Celtics struggled in New Jersey early this year when the Nets had all they could do to fine a player who was not injured to suit up. They will have to have a different approach to this game. Then in the 3rd game of the year, Boston put it to the Bulls at the TD Garden. We will have to see if the Celtics just plain old have Chicago’s number as they have waxed them twice this year.
January 17th through January 23rd - Vs. Dallas / At Detroit / Vs. Portland.
We have yet to see Dallas but they are pretty much the same team they are every year. The Celtics will just need to see how Dirk does and go from there. Dallas is a team who can hang 77 on a team in one half like they did this year against New Jersey, while at the same time they can get absolutely steam rolled by the Lakers. Who knows what will happen? The game at Detroit will be tough no matter what because the Pistons will want to play their best during the return of Sheed. The home game against the Trailblazers will be tough the way that team is playing at this moment with all of their injuries. I dont know how long they can keep it up, though.
January 24th through January 30th – Vs. Clippers / At Orlando / At Atlanta
Lets face it, in the game in LA against the Clippers, the Celtics manhandled that team with exception to late in the 4th where they choked the game away. I don’t expect the same when the Clippers have to travel to the East coast to play the Celtics. If the game at Orlando goes the way the 2 matchups thus far in this season have gone, the game will be a tough, low scoring, grind it out game that the team who has the biggest run in them will come away with it.
January 31st - Vs. LA Lakers
Needs little description. This will be the game of the year where the Celtics can officially see if they got what it takes to go the distance this year. Lets just hope the Celtics can put out a full team onto the court to make that measurement.
Predicted record for the month of January- At the worst, I can see the Celtics doing no less than 9-5. I will say 10-4 assuming all of these players struck by injury make it back throughout the course of this month.
I will come back to this at the end of the month and see what happened before breaking down the month of February.
(Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)