First of all, I think it bears repeating that the Celtics have 22 back to backs this season. Eighteen of those back to backs end up on the road. That wouldn't be so bad in itself if it wasn't for the fact that it seems rather unbalanced when I counted the back to backs for other contenders. the Heat have 16, the Lakers have 16, the Thunder have 15, the Spurs have 16, the Knicks have 19. Only the Nets, among the top teams, matches the Celtics at 22.
Both of the Celtics games vs the Lakers are the second game of back to backs. There is a home and home vs Philadelphia. Their game at San Antonio is the second of a back to back set. The Celtics' two road games vs Atlanta are the second of back to backs. Other than that, the teams the Celtics face on the back side of the sets are WAS, MIL, BKN, DET, CLE, SAC, CHA, UTA, IND, MEM, MIN, and ORL.
Last year, back to backs were very tough and usually meant a guaranteed loss, especially on the road. This year, though, the Celtics are a much deeper team. And, more importantly, they are a much younger team. Doc can afford to limit minutes for the older players (Pierce, KG, and Jet) and still expect to win games. The Celtics should be able to win a majority of these games in spite of them being back to backs. It still doesn't sit right that the number of back to back sets for the Celtics is at least 6 more than the other title contenders, though.
I wonder how many of you were as excited as I was listening to Jason Terry's interview on the NBA special last night. Here are some of the highlights from it that I think will be exciting for Celtics fans.
"The first call I got was from Doc Rivers. I was grinning from ear to ear. There were only 2 or 3 teams out there for me that would be a perfect fit. ... I'm the piece that can catapult them to getting back to the finals and hopefully win it all."
"I talked to KG two or three days ago and he and I are going to get together in LA, work out a couple of days, and start to build that chemistry that’s going to be needed for us to win it all."
"It's must see TV. We already know the matchup. It’s going to be me vs. Ray. You know what? Everyone can just sit down, and take their seat on the bench. Forget about LeBron, forget DWade, KG, Rondo, Double P all can just rest and me and Ray will just have a three-point shooting contest and we’ll shoot it out."
He also said that he is shooting and making 1000 jumpers a day and going to the track 3 times a week and will unveil a new tatoo in training camp as he did the season Dallas won the championship. He also is excited to play with Rondo and mentioned that in a conversation he had with Jason Kidd that he said that Rondo is the best point guard in the league, an old school throwback. Out of all of that, I think the fact that he is going to go work out with KG to start building chemistry is the most exciting. I can't wait for camp to start!!!
Opening night will feature an irony that might be missed by some. When the Celtics got their rings on opening night of the 2008-09 season, LeBron James was there listening to the cheers and Paul Pierce’s emotional speech. This was just months after his Cavs team had been knocked out of the playoffs by the Celtics in a very tough 7 game series. This season, it will be Paul Pierce and the Celtics having to stand by and watch LeBron get his ring and hear the cheers. I still say that the Celtics couldn't get any better motivation for the season than this.