Though the Celtics will be facing some much tougher competition in the Eastern Conference this year, they still stand to be among the favourites to emerge from the East and potentially dethrone the Lakers in the NBA Finals. Though Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett are all aging, they are all smart players whose games have aged well and should continue to do so. As long as injuries don’t dramatically hit the Celtics, the team should figure to be a good regular season team and a playoff monster.
Rajon Rondo should continue to improve, and will almost certainly be the best point guard in the East this year. That gives the Celtics an edge in almost every potential playoff match-up from the start, as covering Rondo forces most every team to adjust their defense significantly. Last year, in the second round against the Cavaliers, Rondo was the best player on the floor for either team, despite being covered by Lebron James. He should be the Celtics best player, and is integral to their success at both ends of the floor. Expect a big season from him, with improvements across the board. I think he could average 15 ppg, 11-12 apg, 5.5 rpg, and 2.5-3 spg, and no matter who else is on the court, the Celts will be competitive with Rondo on the floor.
Of course, he’s got a lot of weapons playing alongside him. Paul Pierce is still one of the NBA’s craftiest players and he plays excellent defense, especially on Lebron, which makes the Celts one of the teams best-suited to playing the Heat, especially in the playoffs. Kevin Garnett’s health is always a concern, but as long as he is fresh for the playoffs he makes the Celtics remarkably difficult to play against, as he is still one of the league’s best interior defenders. As well, he will also help the Celts against the Heat, as he has often outplayed and shut down Chris Bosh when Bosh was with the Raptors. Ray Allen, despite some dismal shooting performances in the NBA finals, should regain his form as one of the best shooters in the league, and is always a threat off the screen.
Kendrick Perkins is ideally suited to play Center for the Celtics – he doesn’t require many touches on the offensive end and is a monster on the boards. Unfortunately, he’ll be out until approximately February after ACL surgery this summer, but the Celts brought in a couple of O’Neals quite capable of picking up the slack. Between Jermaine O’Neal and Shaq, the Celts should be very solid at Center even without Perkins, and though doubts exist about both players and their advancing ages, the combination of the two is still rather potent, especially given that neither will be asked to play over 30 minutes a night. While the Celts will miss Perkins, they addressed the situation nicely in the offseason and should be just fine without him.
The Celtics will face some very tough competition this year – Miami could be the NBA’s best team, especially if Eric Spoelstra can figure out how to properly harness the combination of Lebron, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh. Orlando will be as good as ever, and the Chicago Bulls, who always play well against the Celtics, should be even better with the addition of Carlos Boozer. However, the Celtics have proven in the past that they can beat both Orlando and Chicago, and they seem ideally suited to beat Miami. They can throw some of the league’s best one-on-one defenders at Lebron, Wade and Bosh, and looking at Miami’s roster it seems that they will have difficulty handling Rondo at the point and Boston’s enormous centers, which should prove advantageous to the Celts. In the Finals the Celts played the Lakers exceptionally well last year, and could have won the Championship with a couple of lucky bounces and some better shooting on the part of Ray Allen. Neither team has changed significantly this off-season, so it figures that the Celtics would have at least a good chance against the Lakers. Boston is better than every other team in the West, so they should be able to beat any other team that comes out of the West if the Lakers fail to advance to their fourth straight NBA finals. In short, Boston stands a good chance of beating the other great teams in the East, especially if they’re healthy come playoff time, and they also look to have a good chance to hoist the NBA Championship next June.
Boston Celtics NBA Championship Odds – October 18, 2010
The following are the current Boston Celtics odds to win the NBA Championships at each of our recommended online bookies.
Celtics NBA Championship Betting Prediction
Given that most believe that the Heat will dominate this year, the Celtics have rather good odds if you believe that they can beat the Heat and win the East and potentially the NBA Championship. I certainly think that they can do both. With Bodog.com giving the Celtics 17/2 odds to win the Championship and Sportsbook.com listing them at +900, a bet on the Celtics holds good value and could produce big returns. If you’re not sure they can beat the Lakers in the Finals, a bet on the Celts to win the Eastern Conference also represents a good option.
Prediction: Bet on the Celtics at +900
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Written by: Shane Zurbrigg