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|Former Celtics coach Jim O’Brien, now the coach of the Pacers, meets his old team Tuesday.(Courtesy of NBA.com)|
The Boston Celtics are sitting alone atop the basketball world right now. Their main star, Kevin Garnett, earned himself the NBA Eastern Conference player of the week for leading the Celtics to a 3-0 week and a 5-0 overall record. I expect more than a few more for KG. He’s averaging a career-best 15.8 rebounds per game. I know it’s early, so i’ll spare you the rest of his ridiculous stats.
As Roy Hobbs noted over on Celticsblog.com, the Celtics are ranked No. 1 in two of three power rankings polls (I know standings don’t tell the whole story, but it’s nice to get the recognition). They’re No. 1 in both the NBA.com and SI.com Power Rankings, and listed at No. 2 (behind the defending champion Spurs) on the ESPN.com Power Rankings. I can’t believe I just typed that. We’re the last undefeated team. Such a far cry from last year…
Next up is the Indiana Pacers. Can the Pacers even stop the Celtics? Every game, I’ve sounded like Bill Belichick by talking up the other team to make them sound like Jordan’s Bulls. And every game, the Celtics have made me look foolish. But, I’m telling you the Celtics won’t go 82-0. They have to lose at some point. They shouldn’t lose this one though.
Despite strong starts from Jermaine O’Neal, Jamaal Tinsley, and Danny Granger (among others), the Pacers are coming off an heartbreaking 113-106 loss at home to the Nuggets. Yes, the same Nuggets team that got annihilated by the Celtics last week. The way the Pacers lost hurt the most. They were up by 25 at the half and managed to lose by 7.
Said Danny Granger after the loss:
“In the second half, we made bad decisions and took bad shots. We have to figure out a way to close out games.”
The Pacers are going to need to figure out how to close out games sometime soon, but I don’t think they’ll have a chance to close this one out. The Celtics should be ahead early and often in this game. While Pacers head coach Jim O’Brien coached with the Celtics in the early part of the decade, this team is a totally different squad top to bottom. Paul Pierce is the only player that remains from the Jim O’Brien era, so O’Brien won’t have any advantage in game-planning.
I’d take the Celtics by 8 due to the mere fact that they’re just a better basketball team right now and are in competition with the Patriots as to see who can get to 16 wins first. Only time will tell…