The C’s knew they would be challenged this season with Delonte West, one of their best performers in the second unit this preseason would be out of action for the first ten games. The bad news though? The schedule makers did not do the C’s any favors with the lineup they had the C’s facing. Julian Benbow of The Boston Globe covers just how challenging the lineup will be:
“When you read the list of teams we’re playing our first 10 games, it’s a brutal list,’’ Rivers said.
The lineup? It features matchups with Chicago, Milwaukee, a return date with Miami and road jaunts to Dallas, Oklahoma City and Memphis. The C’s will need to push themselves if they want to match their hot starts from their earlier seasons which has been their trademark:
“A 27-2 start the 08-09 season made it seem as though the Celtics were destined to defend their title. They ripped off 19 straight wins starting Nov. 14 and were 44-11 at the All-Star break. Then Kevin Garnett strained his knee in Utah in the first game after the break and the Celtics went 18-9 the rest of the way.
Last season, they shot out of the gates 23-5, and even though there were some warning signs (e.g. fourth-quarter collapses), the hot start let them get away with playing .500 ball the rest of the year as they navigated through a minefield of injuries on their way to the fourth seed in the East.
“We can’t dwell on what we’ve done in the past, getting off to good starts,’’ said Paul Pierce. “This is a new year, we’ve got new members on this team, and we have to help them understand that this is important for us down the road to get off to a good start, develop some confidence.’’
The good news about the schedule this year? If the C’s can get through this opening stretch they should be okay. There are no more long road trips (4 games tops it out) and the C’s have some quirky scheduling given them favorable home stretches (10 of 11 games at home in January) that teams like the Lakers had benefited from in past years.
So what can we expect out of this opening stretch? 7-3? 6-4? 8-2? The C’s have their work cut out for them no matter what it is.