If lining up against the toughest competition in the NBA is the best way of gauging one’s ability, then the Boston Celtics are up against a heck of a measuring stick this Saturday. Bet on the NBA regular season at its finest.
On the road against the San Antonio Spurs, the veteran C’s will hope to prove that they’re still capable of doing damage across not only the Eastern Conference, but across the league as a whole. The question is: can they actually pull it off?
Bovada’s oddsmakers give Boston just 25-1 odds of winning the NBA championship, compared to San Antonio’s 9-1 and the league-leading Miami Heat’s 19-10.
With a platoon of household names and unheralded international stars that only Gregg Popovich could assemble, the Spurs have burst out of the gates to lead the Western Conference standings. Considering last season’s impressive regular season campaign as well, it’s getting safe to say that the San Antonio core may never truly age.
For Boston, a ballclub with veterans just now entering phases of their career similar to those of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Co., the early-season clash could be an opportunity to learn how to age gracefully. While the Spurs haven’t beaten the NBA odds and won a championship since 2007, they’ve stayed competitive ever since — and in the past two seasons have gotten even tougher.
Now, while the Celtics struggle to retain their identity as contenders in the Eastern Conference, the Spurs will look to add to their win column. With Western Conference threats in Oklahoma City and Memphis breathing down their necks, the Spurs can’t afford to squander winnable opportunities.
Should Kevin Garnett and Boston prevail, however, don’t rule out a momentum boost capable of turning the Celtics’ fortune. As frustrating as it would be for Boston to travel south only to be stymied by the league’s alpha, a win could be just what Doc Rivers‘ crew needs to regain the confidence they exuded during their days atop the NBA futures.
If that doesn’t count as a measuring stick, we don’t know what would.