The Boston Celtics have been surprising a lot of people this season. They are second in the Eastern Conference with a 16-5 record. If you haven't looked lately, they are soaring in the NBA power rankings.
The Celtics are back to work this week with a loaded schedule. Let's break down their schedule this week game by game.
Monday December 9th vs. Cavaliers
I'm not going to sugarcoat this one. The Celtics should easily win this game. They are the better team on paper. The Cavaliers are going through a rebuild, and are apparently having issues with their head coach.
Yeah, give me the Celtics in a blowout in this game.
Wednesday December 11th @ Pacers
This should be a good game as the Celtics travel to Indiana to take on the Pacers. The Pacers have some solid guards in Victor Oladipo and Malcolm Brogden. They also have some scoring forward with Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner. But with this game, I think it's going to come down to the bench play. The Celtics need to get more production out of bench guys like Carsen Edwards and Grant Williams. If they can get good production from their bench, they should be able to win this game with ease. Plus, if/when Gordon Hayward is back in the fold the Celtics will have another scorer to help spread the floor. Another factor is going to be limiting shot attempts and fouls. You don't want the Pacers getting to the foul line. They are third in the NBA in free throw percentage, converting on 81.5% of free throws attempted. So no dumb fouls and play solid defense. If you leave Indiana shooters uncovered, that's not going to be a good thing for your team. Indiana is fifth in the NBA in field goal percentage at 47.3%. So bottom line, cover Indiana and don't let them get easy shots.
Thursday December 12th vs. 76ers
This game is going to be difficult for a number of reasons. The first reason being that it is the second game of a back to back for the Celtics. The second reason being is that Philadelphia is loaded this season. They currently sit at 4th in the East with a 17-7 record. The one big thing to remember is that the Celtics are currently undefeated at home (9-0), while the 76ers are under .500 when playing on the road (5-7). The 76ers took the opening night matchup in Philadelphia 107-93. So, this is going to be a huge game for the Celtics. The 76ers like to share the ball, as they are third in the NBA with 27 assists per game as a team. They also hit a lot of shots, as they are third in the league with a 47.8 field goal percentage per game. The 76ers have a lot of solid players in Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, Joel Embiid, and old friend Al Horford. The Celtics will need the T.D. Garden crowd to get behind them in this one it will be an Eastern Conference playoff preview. This game will be close, but I think the Celtics can win this game narrowly.
This is a big week for the Celtics. If you can go 3-0 on the week then you can continue to make noise around the NBA. The Cavs should almost be a "gimme" type of win. If you can beat good teams in the Pacers and 76ers in back to back nights, it only boosts up the Celtics confidence moving forward. It's going to be a heck of a week. Let's ride!