The Celtics will take the court in the regular season for the last time on Wednesday night when they take on the New York Knicks, the team that just so happens to be the Celtics' first-round opponent. Of course, that series won't be a 1-8 matchup, but rather a 3-6 showdown. In less than a month, the Celtics were passed in the East by not only Chicago, but by Miami as well.
It was certainly an odd regular season for the C's. Expectations were deservedly sky-high for a team that reached the precipice of an NBA title last season. Shaquille O'Neal and Jermaine O'Neal were supposed to hold down the fort until Kendrick Perkins returned from knee surgery. Delonte West was brought in to finally give the Celtics some legitimate point guard depth.
However, it never really turned out that way. Shaq has played in only 37 games this season. He looked great at times when he was on the court, but the whole staying on the court thing has been a huge problem. The same could be said for the other O'Neal and West. Between the two of them, they've missed 114 games.
Then, there's the issue of Perkins. The center, who was the missing link to a a starting five that Doc Rivers reminded everyone had never lost a playoff series, returned to the Celtics in January. In February, he was shipped away with Nate Robinson to the Thunder for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic.
Some nights, Rajon Rondo was magical, especially early in the season. Then, at times later in the season, he looked lethargic, disinterested. Really, his play was a microcosm for a Celtics team that at times showed it was the favorite to win another NBA title, and other times, it looked like it could care less what happened.
In spite of it all, the Celtics enter Wednesday's finale with 55 wins. Even with the aforementioned question marks, they showed plenty of times this season that they're still a team to be reckoned with.
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