The Boston Celtics conclude their six-game home stand on Friday against the Miami Heat before they start a six-game road trip on Sunday with their first stop being Brooklyn.
Over the course of this road trip, the Celtics will see two back-to-back games, one at the beginning from Brooklyn to Toronto and then another at the end of the road trip in LA playing the Clippers and Lakers on back-to-back nights.
Let’s “open up the files” on the upcoming six games Boston will be traveling to this week.
1.Brooklyn Nets 13-11 (12/4)
The Celtics start their road trip against Brooklyn on Sunday. This will be the first meeting between the Celtics and the Nets this season after they were allegedly talking throughout the summer in possible trade negotiations.
It will always be interestingly awkward when the C’s and Nets face off. There’s so many storylines from the Kyrie Irving drama, Blake Griffin being on the Nets last year, and Jaylen Brown stepping up for Kyrie as a vice president of the NBAPA.
Kevin Durant is still a top player in the league and it is showing this season. He’s averaging 30 points at 36.7 minutes per game. The matchup between KD and Jayson Tatum will be must-see basketball on Sunday.
The Nets have already ruled out Ben Simmons for the next three games due to a left calf strain, which isn’t ideal for Brooklyn as Simmons seemed to be getting his career back on track after making his season debut a couple of weeks ago.
It’s worth noting that Irving has been reinstated by the Nets and should be playing on Sunday against the Celtics. It’s also worth noting that Nic Claxton is having a great season and is a player to remember for Sunday.
TJ Warren could be available to play in this game by Sunday.
2.Toronto Raptors 11-11(12/5)
The Raptors always seem to give the Celtics a run for their money. However, this season is different as I don’t believe there are many teams who can keep up with Boston and the Raptors are one of them as of right now.
There is no consistency when it comes to Toronto on a game-to-game basis. There isn’t one member of their core group shooting close to 40 percent on their 3-pointers, and furthermore, the Raptors are averaging only 33.1 percent as a team from behind the arc.
They rank at the top of the league in turnovers with 12.7 per game and at the bottom of the league in assists with 23.2 per game.
The Celtics on the other hand, connect on 6.1 more 3-pointers per game than the Raptors. When you look at it from this perspective, 18 points can make or break a game.
It’ll be a great matchup to see our guys go against Fred Van Vleet, OG Anunoby, and Pascal Siakam, a three-headed beast who have given the Celtics problems in the past.
This game will be the second night of a back-to-back, so we shouldn’t expect Al Horford to play in this one.
3.Phoenix Suns 15-7 (12/7)
The Celtics and Suns are the two best teams in the league, with Boston at 18-4 and Phoenix at 15-6.
The Suns are once again one of the top teams in the league, ranking first in the West and seventh in points per game at 115.8.
Devin Booker is leading the way for Phoenix this season as Chris Paul has missed half the season, Cam Johnson is still getting his footing since he had meniscus surgery, and Jae Crowder has not played yet this season as he’d like to be traded to another team. Booker has done it all.
Booker is a realistic MVP candidate. He dropped 51 points against the Bulls on the same night Jayson Tatum hit 49 against the Heat. The battle between Tatum and Booker is going to be an elite showing on both ends of the court.
Deandre Ayton is a problem for any team but he can cause serious issues for the Celtics down low when it comes to matching size. Luke Kornet has done a great job defensively so that’ll be a matchup in this game to keep an eye on.
4.Golden State Warriors 12-11 (12/10)
An NBA Finals rematch between these two teams has been anticipated by the Celtics and their fans since June after Boston lost in the Finals in six games.
The Warriors have started off decently this season but not as great as the Celtics. Unlike Boston, the Warriors haven’t been able to shake their offseason issues and it translates to the court at times. Their core group are all averaging at least 15 points per game at a 48.2 percent clip from the floor.
It’ll be great to see the Celtics dominate in a way they weren’t able to in the Finals in this game next week. I think the Warriors are going to be shocked at what they see from this Celtics team, a group that did not change much since these teams last faced off against each other.
5.Los Angeles Clippers 13-10 (12/12)
The Clippers are still surprisingly struggling without Kawhi Leonard and I find it shocking as they should be used to him being unavailable at this point in his third season with them.
The Clippers have the ninth best record in the NBA at 13-10 and are last in the league in total points scored per game with 107.2.
Paul George leads LA with 23.6 points per game, however he’s already missed seven games on the year.
6.Los Angeles Lakers 9-12 (12/13)
The Lakers started off historically bad this season but they’re slowly starting to turn things around. In fact, LA just defeated the Bucks on Friday night, so it’s fair to say they’re starting to figure it out over there.
The Big Three of LeBron, Anthony Davis, and Russel Westbrook still have some kinks to figure out as the season progresses. There was a time I thought Westbrook would be traded but perhaps I was wrong on that.
Lonnie Walker has played a big role as a free agent acquisition this summer. He only signed a one-year deal and will probably test the market again for next season.
In all, the Celtics have fared well against the West coast and should once again this season. This will be a fun road trip and a good test to see what these guys can do. However, the real test won’t come until Christmas Day when Boston plays Milwaukee.
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