Regular Season Records: Boston Celtics 41-40 vs. New York Knicks 54-28
The 2013 NBA playoffs have finally arrived and it is time to see if the Boston Celtics are real contenders for this year’s NBA title. They enter the postseason as the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. Their first opponent will be the Atlantic Division champion and second seeded New York Knicks.
This will be a huge challenge for the Celtics, as the Knicks have finished the regular season playing great basketball. They have won sixteen of their last eighteen games and have been among the NBA’s best three point shooting teams all season long. Additionally, they have shown in the last month that they are a very good defensive team that rebounds the basketball on both ends of the floor.
For the Celtics to beat the Knicks in this series they will of course need Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to be at the top of their games. But, that will not be enough. If they are going to beat the Knicks they will need the following things to happen.
Rebound the basketball
In all likelihood Derrick Rose’s potential return to the Chicago Bulls for the upcoming NBA postseason would be a useless endeavor. Rose who has not played since tearing his ACL in the first game of last season’s Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Philadelphia 76ers would not be in game shape when the playoffs begin on April 20th. His lack of game activity this season would put him at a disadvantage, as he would be playing against men who have been active all season and ready for the rigors of the postseason.
Anyone who follows the NBA knows the game changes when the playoffs arrive each spring. Games become more physical and mentally demanding, often testing the endurance limit of the players competing to win a NBA championship. It would be unfair of the Bulls to insert Rose into the lineup at this time.
Los Angeles Lakers 23 - 26 at Boston Celtics 25 - 23
First meeting of the season
The Boston Celtics will face the Los Angeles Lakers tonight at the TD Garden. This will be the first meeting of the season between the NBA’s most prolific franchises. Tonight’s game should be a good battle between the two teams. Both are looking to overcome early season adversity and find a groove that will propel them back into this season’s championship picture.
The Celtics enter tonight’s game looking to maintain their momentum after a 99-95 victory over the Raptors last night in Toronto that pushed their winning streak to five games. For the Lakers this will be another opportunity for them to establish the consistency that will get them back into the Western Conference’s playoff picture. They are coming of an impressive Tuesday night victory against the Nets in Brooklyn which saw them control the game late in the fourth quarter for the second straight time, something they have struggled to do all season.
Miami Heat 28 - 12 at Boston Celtics 20 - 23
Result of last meeting: Boston 107 – Miami 120
The Miami Heat will be at the TD garden today for a matinee game against the Boston Celtics. This will be the first meeting between the two teams since the NBA’s opening night. Today’s game will also be Ray Allen’s first game back at the Garden since leaving the Celtics for the Heat last summer. The Heat enters the game fresh off a 110 to 88 victory Friday night over the Detroit Pistons that pushes their winning streak to four games.
While the Heat have established themselves as the best team in the Eastern Conference so far this season, the Celtics have continued to be a disappointment. Their losing streak was extended to six games after a depressing loss Friday night to the Atlanta Hawks where they blew a twenty-seven point lead and lost 123 to 111 in double overtime.
Chicago 22-15 at Boston 20 – 18
Result of last meeting: Chicago 100 – Boston 89
The Boston Celtics will be facing the Chicago Bulls tonight at TD garden. The two teams have met on two occasions this season with each team winning one game. Both teams have been playing well lately with the Celtics winning six of their last seven games and the Bulls winning seven of their last ten to pull within a half game of the Indiana Pacers for first place in the Central Division.
For the Celtics to beat a tough Bulls team tonight, the following will have to happen.
Minimize the impact of Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer in the post
The Bulls frontcourt led by Noah and Boozer is one of the best in the NBA. They dominated the Celtics when the two teams last met in December, with Noah posting a triple double and Boozer scoring 21 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.