The Boston Celtics have found themselves on a bit of a roll in the New Year, and it couldn’t have come at a better time as the veterans look forward to a rematch with their Eastern Conference rival, the Chicago Bulls, this Friday.
Though the Celts themselves are respectable candidates on the NBA futures, a win over an opponent of Chicago’s stature could boost their odds even higher. Considering how things have gone of late — victories over conference contenders Indiana, Atlanta and New York, among others — it’s not out of the question to suggest that the momentum might continue.
With superstar point guard Rajon Rondo leading the show, aided by club elder-statesmen Kevin Garnett and Paul Piece, it’s grown even harder to rule the Celtics out on the moneyline on any given night.
Although bragging rights over an opponent as hated as the Bulls is significant, perhaps more so is the fact that Chicago sits ahead of the club in the current Eastern Conference playoff picture.
Don’t expect Joakim Noah and company to get a warm welcome when they hit the court for the Friday night fight, especially considering that the last time the two clubs met it was Chicago coming out on top.
Since that loss we’ve seen Boston rise and fall in the standings, occasionally showing glimpses of the talent that’s made them a contender for the better part of the past decade, and occasionally looking like a team whose time has come. Now with the veteran core in check and some solid contributions from up and comers Jared Sullinger and Avery Bradley, the club is once again a force to be reckoned with in the East.
Might the January resurgence continue and last for the remainder of the 2012-13 season? If it does, take a good long look at where the C’s are forecast to finish today, because it may not be the same a month – or even a week – from now.
It all starts Friday against the team Celtics fans love to hate.