This year's Boston Celtics team consists of young upstarts and veterans looking to prove their worth. Many predict that the Celtics will end the season as the 3rd seed in the Eastern Conference. Before we jump to conclusions like that, there are a few games this season where this team can prove themselves. With winning these games will come the evolution of a new star-studded Celtics, in due time . Here are five 'Prove-it' games for the Celtics this season.
October 23: Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers
The Celtics kick off the regular season by facing a bitter rival in Philadelphia. This rendition of Philly also has former C's star Al Horford. They are expected to face much adversity as well as a ravenous Philly crowd. All the odds seemed stacked against the relatively inexperienced Boston Celtics. The Celtic's uncertainty at leadership is one that makes Philly more daunting. That's why a win would prove a lot. It would show this team can hang with the best under the bright lights and in the face of sheer adversity. It would establish the C's as Eastern Conference contenders by beating who is arguably the second best team in the East.
November 15: Boston Celtics at Golden State Warriors
Everyone knows who the Warriors are. They've been to the past three NBA Finals and won two of them. This is a team that represents the cream of the crop in the NBA. This makes it the perfect opportunity for the Celtics. If they can win this game, or even keep it close, it shows that they won't back down to anyone. Showing resilience and competing with a top-caliber team is something these players need. No one expects them to win, so why not prove everybody wrong?
November 27th: vs. Brooklyn Nets
In what is expected to be a wild home game, this will tell us how the Celtics keep focus. Kyrie Irving and his split with Boston is well documented, so I won't recite it here. However, the Uncle Drew saga plays a direct role in this matchup. Irving will return to TD Garden with something to prove on what many consider a better team. Meanwhile, the Celtics want to continue the story line that they win more without the All-Star. This sets up a high-stakes clash in what we expect to be an obnoxious TD Garden. If the C's young guys can keep their focus and composure for 60 minutes, it'll be a good sign of their budding maturity.
January 20th: vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Boston and LA have one of the greatest sport rivalries across all sports, just a notch down from Boston v. New York. Two cities that are filled with banners, trophys, and icons of all forms of professional sports. Now, the Lakers have constructed a super duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis surrounded by role players. The Celtics have built a team on the foundation of their future. A clash of proven superpowers versus a wave of young stars will re-ignite one of sports' hottest rivalries. The Celtics pulling out a win would be a surefire way to prove they are serious about competing this year and in the future.
February 26th: Boston Celtics at Utah Jazz
The Celtics have a few tests as we get towards the end of the season, with a big one being the Utah Jazz. The Jazz quietly had a nice offseason adding key role players, and an All-Star in Mike Conley. This is a team regarded as a finals contender, and is likely battling for seeding in the West at this point like the Celtics in the East. This shows us if the Celtics can make serious noise in the playoffs, or if they are too young. Then, their direction becomes more clear at seasons end.