With the release of the NBA schedule Thursday night, fans were hitting up Facebook, Twitter, and other media sites to share what they think can be the greater showdowns in the 2012-2013 NBA season. Celtics’ fans, however, get the privilege of watching many games with intriguing story lines. The following examples are given an explanation of the significance of the game. Please comment and give thoughts on what games you guys are interested in for the upcoming season. These are just merely my opinions, and admittedly not from a Boston Celtics’ fan so a little personal interest is blended into all this. Note: these games are in chronological order and not by importance.
1. Boston Celtics @ Miami Heat (October 30, 2012)
- There is much need for the explanation for why this one of the top-10 games to watch in the Celtics’ schedule. For those of you, who didn’t know, this is the first game that tips of the NBA schedule. It’s going to be interesting to see how to see how the men in green view the Miami Heat as they receive their championship rings. The Celtics will be ready to play, and with all the frustration coming from Game 7 of last year’s Eastern Conference Finals, you know KG and the boys will want to seek revenge. However what is the most compelling reason to watch the game is to see how Ray Allen looks in a Miami Heat uniform. After spending 5 years with the Boston Celtics, Ray Allen will be up against his former crew. What is specially interesting is to see how Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen will greet each other, after much speculation that a decaying relationship with his all star point guard, persuaded Allen to leave the franchise. This game is going to be huge and every NBA fan should be watching this game.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder @ Boston Celtics (November 23, 2012)
- The Celtics were one victory away from being in the NBA Finals. That series would have been equally entertaining as the Miami-OKC series that actually happened. However in the present, both teams are polar opposites. One team, OKC, is built around young talent who make use of their speed and offensive finesse, while the other team, Boston, relies on experience and basketball knowledge to keep the game at a slow and patient pace. Another captivating story, is the first matchup for Jeff Green against his former team. Right now that trade 2 seasons ago seems one sided with the Thunder reaching impressive feats with Boston favorite Kendrick Perkins at center. However Jeff Green will be extra motivated to show his friends in the Thunder organization that Boston was not the clear cut loser from that trade. Jeff Green is a solid player and it’s grateful to see him player after a scary health hazard that kept him in the sidelines last year. This game will be a true indicator whether Boston can handle a youthful and quick team in the playoffs. Expect a cheerful applause from the Garden for Perk and a great game for Green.
3. Boston Celtics @ Brooklyn Nets (December 25, 2012)
- The Brooklyn Nets made a huge splash this offseason when they traded for Joe Johnson while keeping their young talent. With the additions of Mirza Teletovic and Reggie Evans, the Nets have a very good starting lineup with offensive firepower coming off the bench with MarShon Brooks. Many feel that there is a change of division power with the Knicks, Nets, and 76ers all making changes for the better while the Celtics are aging. This matchup will be a true test for the Celtics and whether they have full intention to keep their division crown. To add on, this a Christmas game. The NBA is famous for its attractive match-ups on Christmas Day, and this matchup sure will be interesting. A dynamic matchup between star point guards and a plethora of past, present, and future all-stars for both sides. You know the game is going to be played in the bright lights, when it is in Jay-Z’s playground in Brooklyn.
4. Indiana Pacers @ Boston Celtics (January 4, 2013)
- A personal favorite match-up to watch, both teams are easily the creme of the crop behind the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference. With the Chicago Bulls battered by the Derrick Rose injury, it seems to be that either the C’s or Pacers are the clear favorites for the #2 seed during the playoffs. This previews a possible semi-finals in 2013, and both teams will be eager for this match-up. Last year in 3 out of the 4 meetings weren’t very close and the Celtics won the season series 3-1. Things this year will change, as both teams have ramped up. The Pacers have acquired DJ Augustin, Gerald Green, and Ian Mahinmi, all of whom are talented young pieces to surround their all-star filled front court. Another side-note to this match-up is that Larry Bird is no longer a member of the Indiana Pacers’ front office. Bird instead will take time off to recuperate his health. He will watch this game and this game should be played in honor of the Celtic great and Pacer’s genius. Larry Legend will be watching this great game.
5. New Orleans Hornets @ Boston Celtics (January 16, 2013)
- This game should be dubbed the Father-Son game. Glenn “Doc” Rivers will go against his son, Austin Rivers, in this Wednesday matinee. The Celtics should be the heavy favorites in the this game and the game might not even be as competitive as the other games on this list, but every NBA fan should be watching the moment in which Doc shakes the hand of his competitor, Austin, before tip-off. It is hard to fathom the moment in which a father sees his son go to work and to add on to be part of the competition. Anthony Davis for the first time next season will not be the Hornet with the spotlight on him. Austin Rivers is famous for his ability to perform in big games and this will be a huge game. In the Celtics’ point of view, Doc Rivers should have the perfect scouting report for Austin. Do not expect Doc to tell his boys to go each on his son. Expect the rough play of Kevin Garnett and the constant pressure from Avery Bradley and Rajon Rondo to haunt Austin and the rest of the “bees” in this matchup.
6. Miami Heat @ Boston Celtics (January 27, 2013)
- Ok, Miami again, well every game against Miami should be a must-watch. However this is the first time Walter Ray Allen will wear the black and red in the Garden. The many wearing the green and white in the stands, “o boy”, they will be loud. Expect the most raucous venue of the season as Ray Allen, who often draws comparison to Benedict Arnold, enters the court. LeBron James won’t be the biggest villain when he steps on the hardwood as hard as that is to believe. Other than that, the players will probably be the same barring any free agent signings or trades. Jason Terry will be added to the spotlight as he is the heir to Ray Allen’s role with the Celtics. If he performs poorly, many will call for his head, and if he does splendid, he will revered as a hero. This might be the biggest game for both Ray Allen and, maybe even, Jason Terry this season.
7. Orlando Magic @ Boston Celtics (February 1, 2013)
- The Celtics are going to be play either a playoff contender or the worst team in the NBA, this day. Obviously the whole Orlando franchise is dependent on the performance of star Dwight Howard. Howard has shown extreme displeasure in the Magic front office for their inability to get him traded after their previous inability to bring other star players into the Magic. Howard will not play for the Magic past next season. Now Orlando General Manager Rob Hennigan is given one option to avoid total checkmate of the organization’s future success. He must trade the disgruntled star. This game occurs a few weeks before the projected NBA trade deadline, so Dwight Howard still has a possibility of being part of the Magic. Howard is a handful of players in the league who can single handedly carry a team to a playoff and competing against the best in the NBA. If Dwight is still a member of the Magic on the 1st of February, expect this game to be a close heated clash between the titans. If the Celtics do beat the Magic, it gives the Magic enough motivation to trade Howard. The Celtics are the last real contender the Magic play before the All Star weekend with the exception of maybe the Los Angeles Clippers. To summarize this will either be a close matchup for the Celtics or just a complete blowout against a Dwight Howard-less Orlando Magic team. This top-10 game is essentially a roll of the dice.
8. Los Angeles Lakers @ Boston Celtics (February 7, 2013)
- Alas, the two greatest franchises in NBA history square-off in the 2012-2013 season. The Lakers were the clear winners of this offseason. Lakers made a clear improvement at the point-guard position when they got Steve Nash from a sign and trade with the Phoenix Suns. Lakers also improved their anemic bench, when they signed Antawn Jamison. Who knows, maybe Dwight Howard could be on the Lakers by then. This apparent “Dream-Team”, excuse me Vince Young, will be a clear powerhouse in the entire league. Window-shut for the Lakers, (pause for an answer) no, instead the window was forcibly pushed up and Kobe and company can smell the Larry O’Brien trophy. The Celtics made modest signings when they added Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, and Jeff Green. However a team does not merely win just because of a couple of signings. This game is going to be a hard-fought matchup between the Showtime Lakers v.2 and the gritty Beantown Celtics. The Garden will be rocking and this is easily a candidate for game of the year.
9. Boston Celtics @ Dallas Mavericks (March 22, 2013)
- Well, Jason Terry, here is your moment. Terry was a fan favorite among the Dallas faithful when he played for the Maverick’s organization in the last 8 years of his splendid career. Unlike Ray Allen who will expect a more negative response from the Boston crowd, expect Terry to be given a round of applause from the standing Dallas crowd. Dallas is the closest team to the backbone of the Celtics. Both have young pairs of guards: OJ Mayo and Darren Collison for the Mavericks, Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley for the Celtics. Both have essentially veterans filling out the rest of their team. Mavericks just added more experience to their team when they signed Chris Kaman and Elton Brand, both of whom are in the downturn in their playing ability. The Mavericks were 2-0 against the Celtics last season, but it does look like that Mavericks are heading downward at much faster rate than the Celtics are. So the edge in this match-up would have to go to the Celtics. On a side note, the Mavericks are seeing this as a lost season and owner Mark Cuban is gearing up for a huge splash next offseason when they make a push for Dwight Howard.
10. Boston Celtics @ New York Knicks (March 31, 2013)
- Drama in Manhattan. The NBA audience will see two playoff-eyeing teams face-off in a classic Atlantic Division matchup. By this time in the season, Division championships will be on the line and playoff seeding becomes crucial. Both teams will look to fight for a top 4 seed to avoid playing against the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers in the first round of the playoffs. The Celtics are looking to add to their 5 straight division titles, and the New York Knicks are their biggest obstacle that stands in front of 6-straight. Who can forget the epic series the two teams had in the 2011 playoffs. Knicks’ fans believe the series would have extended past 4 games, had Billups been healthy. Well both teams are pretty even for the first time in years. For the Knicks, its put-up or shut-up. No more excuses and this match-up will test the two teams and prove which one is better before the playoffs begin. Personal pride is at stake for the two bitter rivals. Most importantly, wins are crucial in the latter part of the NBA season for playoff seeding.
Now, these games are only 10 of the 82 games the Celtics will play. A true Celtic’s fan would watch all of them, but for basketball lovers and fans of other teams, these 10 games are a must watch even if you are rooting against the Celtics. This is going to be a great season and a season filled with surprises, heartbreaks, and celebrations. Good luck to the Celtics, and may they have better success than my disappointing Boston Red Sox this year.