The Boston Celtics will kick-off the 2015-2016 regular season on October 28th against their division rival Philadelphia 76ers. This will be the first of 18 games in the first month of NBA action, 10 of which will be played at TD Garden and for a young team that is hoping to build off of last year’s playoff appearance, a strong start to the year is imperative. Even with the veteran acquisitions of David Lee and Amir Johnson, the last thing this inexperienced roster wants to do is get off on the wrong foot and be forced to play catch up for the rest of the season.
Coming off of a championship run with the Golden State Warriors, 32-year old big man David Lee has looked solid in a Celtics jersey throughout the preseason and looks as if he’s ready to once again handle major responsibilities. Most importantly, he’s looking polished as ever in his ability to score the ball. His added offense looks to be an added luxury for Brad Stevens’ men as they were relying heavily on internal growth to bolster their offense which was ranked in the bottom third of the league last season. This offense will be put to the test very early on in the season as seven of their first ten games come against opponents who finished the year with a top-10 defence. A full year with Isaiah Thomas as a Celt in addition to the acquisition of solid slashers Perry Jones and Terry Rozier should also contribute. However it remains to be seen if Brad Stevens can architect an elite offense without a true go-to scorer.
The Boston Celtics have the luxury of playing in the Atlantic Division, which is often looked at as the most inferior in the association by far. They finished 12-4 against divisional rivals last year, which is something they should strive to replicate. Outside of the Toronto Raptors, the teams are projected to all be lottery teams, giving the Celtics a number of games against lesser opponents and can potentially be the difference between making and missing the postseason for a team on the fence. During first month of action, the Celtics will play division rivals on five separate occasions, including twice against both the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets. These games will also play a role in setting up head-to-heads to come later this season, as stealing the first game or two often leads to a mental advantage later in the season.
The Celtics have a very balanced schedule for the first month of the season, as half of the 18 games they play will come against clubs who finished with a record above .500 in 2014-2015. The men in green and white don’t need to get off to a blazing start, but it is imperative that they hold their own by staying in the playoff picture from the get-go. Brad Stevens understands the importance of finding their rhythm in the opening month, as they have a tough month of December to follow.
Courtesy of USA Today