Charlotte Bobcats (0-0) at Boston Celtics (1-0)
TD Bank Garden
The Celtics need to avoid the celebration hangover. Last night was a huge win on the road against the team and the arena that had been the bane of their existence, but that monkey on their back has now been replaced by a new monkey: not enough rest and health. The Garden opens tonight and I don’t foresee and lack of focus from the C’s (especially from their young guys and bench), but everyone can get carried away with that “winning” feeling, just ask D-Wade.
What I really want to see tonight is some Lester Hudson and J.R. Giddens action (ohhh Craig won’t like that). Aside from that, here are some other thoughts brought to you by the Celtics Hub new and approved preview format, hoping to inform as well as make you chuckle:
What The Bobcats do well (or did well last season): Play the C’s tough! I couldn’t believe last year when the lowly Bobcats gave the Celtics all they could handle on a few occasions (Double OT on April 2nd, a loss in OT on Jan. 6th, only a five point win on Nov. 29th). This is a young, athletic team that has strong guard and wing play.
What The Bobcats do poorly (or did poorly last season): The Bobcats have a lot of question marks along the front line. Tyson Chandler is hardly an upgrade over Emeka Okafor and greatly benefited from having Chris Paul as his PG. I can see what the Bobcats are trying to do, as in groom young D.J. Augustin into a Chris Paul, but I’m just not sold on Chandler’s ability to stay healthy. Speaking of health, Boris Diaw is coming off an injury and from everything I hear, he’s slow and out of shape. I don’t foresee him giving Garnett any issues. Shelden Williams maybe, but Garnett? No.
New Player to Watch: The Bobcats have added Tyson Chandler to their mix of players and as a C’s fan, I love this move. Getting a skinny guy who only thrived with Chris Paul as his point guard and who can’t stay healthy. Sweet. I won’t bore you with a made up analysis on why you should watch Chandler, so instead I’ll talk about some people you should watch.
Foremost on the list is D.J. Augustin. I, for one (and perhaps I’m alone on this), think Augustin is going to be a really good player in this league for a long time. Coming out of college, I really didn’t think the Bobcats did themselves any favors drafting Augustin when they already had Raymond Felton, but hey, that’s why I’m a blogger. Augustin has shown that he is just as quick as the Chris Pauls, Aaron Brooks, and Rajon Rondos of the world and he plays tough for a young player. Gerald Wallace is another guy who can give any player problems. He’s long and explosive and he’s a player that can really go off at any time. I’d look for Marquis Daniels to play a lot tonight. I don’t think it’s fair of Doc to ask Paul and Ray to guard Lebron and then Gerald in back to back nights.
Player who is gone: The Bobcats traded Emeka Okafor for Tyson Chandler which really gives them a lack of interior toughness. This exchange really begs the question, “Who is going to guard Perk?” Right now, it’s DeSagana Diop, and I’d take that match-up any day.
Guy who concerns us: A bit of a repeat from before but I have to go with D.J. Augustin. That is, unless he goes through some sort of sophomore slump this season, in which case no one concerns us (Derrick Brown? Gerald Henderson? Ha!)
Guy who doesn’t: Raja Bell. He would concern us, but he’s injured so I get to pick on him. Bell is a great defensive player and brings veteran leadership to a team that is really young. If he were playing, I would go as far to say I’d have to reevaluate this game. The C’s would still win, just differently.
What we want to see from the C’s tonight: The C’s need to get some rest tonight for their starters. This may sound a bit crazy considering this is an NBA game we’re talking about and nothing is given, but I want the C’s to come out hard, build a lead, and send in the bench to hold it. We all saw the bench do that last night against one of the best teams in the league, so I don’t think it’s too much to ask of them to do that against the Bobcats.
Some final thoughts and prediction after the jump.
The C’s are opening the Garden tonight and after last night’s win, I expect the crowd to be PUMPED. I almost feel bad for the Bobcats because tonight will be like a college homecoming football game minus the thousands of drunk students (instead of students they’ll just be adults…and not all of them will be drunk…okay some will….please drink responsibly). The crowd will also include my boss (not Henry, I do have a day job) and big props to her for going to opening night (on a work night no less).
Predicted Final Score: Celtics 106, Bobcats 82, Alexis Ajinca 0. I’m not sure why I think the C’s will win by 24, but I think it has something to do with playing the Bobcats. Enjoy the game C’s fans!