The day is finally here! The first game of the Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen era for the Boston Celtics. I haven't been this excited for a preseason game since the days when Larry Bird walked through those doors.
Here are the particulars on the game: Boston Celtics vs Toronto Raptors Palalottomatica Arena Rome, Italy 10/6/07 2:30 PM Comcast SportsNet , NBA TV From noon on, NBA TV will be running Celtics related programming. Pregame show begins at 2:00 ET on CSN Key matchups to watch out for: Kevin Garnett vs Chris Bosh. Bosh is one of the best young PF's in the league and KG is one of the best ever. This should be a good matchup, with KG coming out on top. Ray Allen vs Jason Kapono. This matchup pits two of the leagues premiere 3 point shooters against each other. Kapono has the edge in 3 point percentage (46% for Kapono vs 37% for Allen) but Allen has the edge in experience. Doc Rivers vs Sam Mitchell. Sam Mitchell went from being a lame duck coach on the verge of being fired to being coach of the year. Doc has all the pieces right now to win and is going to have to prove himself this season. Coaching matchups are going to be crucial.
A rivalry has arisen between these two team thanks to Gerald Green's dunks that got the Raptors and their fans all up in arms. Many Raptors fans still hold a grudge and would love nothing better than to beat the Celtics. The Raptors are the defending Atlantic division champions and we need to send them a message that the Celtics will be a challenger for the division, the conference and the title this season.
Preseason games don't usually matter for the most part, but to the Celtics who are looking to make a statement, they will come out with a purpose. Chemistry may be a problem early with 9 new players on the team and the Raptors are basically returning with the group that won the division last season along with a few key additions. But, the Celtics have been together working out for several weeks now and hopefully, with a veteran team, they have gotten to know each other well enough that they can come out of the gates with a win. You can join us to chat about the game on Celtics Green on the game thread. Here are some game day links to keep you busy until game time. Big Baby continues to entertain us with his diary. I think it is pretty funny that much of what he talks about is food. The Herald tells us that KG treated the rookies to new suits and that Pierce is fired up and ready to go. Also in the Herald, we get words of confidence in Rondo as the starting point guard. KG especially seems to be confident that Rondo can run the team.
“I didn’t realize how young Rondo was,” Garnett said of the 21-year-old. “And I didn’t know how good of a defender he was. I just thought of him as an average defender, knowing what little I did from last year. “But so far he’s been phenomenal for us. He’s come in and he’s a very, very hard worker. You know I respect that right off the bat. He comes in and gets his nose dirty. He plays really, really hard. I love him. He’s unselfish. I’m trying to get him acclimated with Ray and Paul and myself.” Garnett paused, shook his head and added, “I didn’t know this was just his second year, man. If Rondo’s not good, it’d only be because he doesn’t want to be good. The sky’s the limit for that kid.”
The Globe tells us that the new Celtics are still trying to learn each other but that KG is thrilled to be in Boston and likes how they do things there. He loves the organization and loves his teammates and told Sam Mitchell that if he knew the NBA was like this he would have asked to be traded long ago.
"I'm a little bit revived," Garnett said after yesterday's press conference at the Rome mayor's office. "It's good to be around excellence. It's cool . . . The organization, everything so far has been first-class. Obviously, the guys on the team [and coach Doc Rivers have] been phenomenal. In 13 years, this is the best camp I've been involved with by far . . . "I've never experienced a lot of things that have been going on. But you can definitely tell a difference in the organizations. It's revived me, I will say that. I'm having a lot of fun."
Hollinger projects the Celtics to end up 3rd in the East behind the Bulls and the Cavs. The Globe and Mail questions whether the Celtics will have the chemistry to win right away with 9 new players. Sports Talk questions whether Scal could be the X-factor this season. Bright Cove TV has a good interview with KG, RA and PP.