Replacement referees have you down? Forget all about them, because the Boston Celtics -- the runner up in the Eastern Conference last season -- officially start the journey to opening day with media day on Friday, presumably at Healthpoint (the team's training facility) in Waltham, MA.
Boston's improbably run to the Eastern Conference Finals last year was sparked by a resurgence of Kevin Garnett, the power forward turned center, during the second half of the season, as well as some top notch play from Rajon Rondo and second-year guard Avery Bradley. The Celtics went 39-27 in the lockout-shortened 66-game regular season to finish first in the Atlantic Division. Boston went on to oust the Atlanta Hawks in six games in the first round of the playoffs before outlasting the Philadelphia 76ers in the conference semifinals, setting up a rematch with the dreaded Miami Heat. As you might expect, there was no quit in the Celtics, who defied the odds again to take a 3-2 series lead heading into Game 6 at TD Garden. LeBron James wouldn't let that stand, though, putting the Heat on his back in Game 6 and 7 to send Miami back to the NBA Finals for the second straight year. James and company encountered little resistance upon reaching the final stage, conquering the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games.
That's all in the past now, and the Celtics are ready to embark upon what could very well be another successful season. Boston lost the services of Big Three member Ray Allen (ironically, to the very team that ended his tenure in Boston: the Heat), but was able to restock its roster quite nicely with the additions of bench scoring specialist Jason Terry, Courtney Lee and Jason Collins. The team also brought back forwards Jeff Green and Chris Wilcox, both of whom were sidelined with heart ailments last season, as well as the heart and soul, Garnett, and Brandon Bass. Boston also picked up a pair of bigs via the draft, selection Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo with back-to-back picks late in the first round and also adding Melo's teammate, Kris Joseph, late in the second round.
Of course, the big question going into media day and training camp is whether or not the Celtics can repeat their success this season. The answer is, obviously, unknown. Boston did catch some breaks come the postseason with the injury to Derrick Rose, which derailed the top-seeded Chicago Bulls. Honestly, though, who knows? The Celtics certainly have a lot of talent on their roster, and provided that everyone stays healthy, they should be among the top five teams in the East once again. After all, as KG famously told us, anything's possible.
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