Sunday, March 29, 2020

The Boston Celtics lost some key pieces during the off season, and picked up some more along the way. Lets see when the Celtics play against some of their former teammates this season.

The start of the NBA regular season is finally upon us!  Teams are gathering together for training camp and getting ready for the start of preseason.  As regular season basketball is about a month or so out, I thought it would be nice to go over when the Celtics will be seeing some familiar faces.  I know as a fan, I get excited when some former teammates come back to town.  Let’s see who the Boston Celtics will be running into this season.

Al Horford and the Philadelphia 76ers will kick off the start to the NBA season against his former Boston Celtics, in Philadelphia on October 23rd.   Being with the Celtics for the last three seasons, Big Al was able to be part of some really special moments at the TD Garden, and become a fan favorite along the way.  Horford may have been the perfect Boston Celtic, and Brad Stevens has said that Horford “does all of the little things.”

Horford and the Boston Celtics have played in some pretty intense battles with the 76ers.  It’s definitely going to be bittersweet seeing Horford sporting a Philly jersey.  For a while, Philly was the enemy for Horford, now he’s one of them.  When the two teams meet up again in Boston for the first time during an early December match-up, I’m expecting the Boston Garden crowd to have some mixed emotions about the return of Big Al, but more love than anything.  Possibly even a video tribute to our former big man.

 

Marcus Morris and his New York Knicks will face the Boston Celtics for the first time this season at Madison Square Garden on October 26th.  It will be the third game of the season for the C’s.  Morris spent the last two seasons with the Celtics and became a huge favorite throughout the organization.  I think every team needs at least one bulldog on their roster.  The Celtics were lucky to have two bulldogs on their team, at the same times, who both share the same first name (Marcus Morris, & Marcus Smart).

During his two year stint with the C’s, Morris really exploded in the Brad Stevens system.  Even though Morris wasn’t a full time starter here in Boston, I truly think his two seasons with the Celtics are some of the best of his career.  Last season, Morris had career highs in field goal percentage, three point field goal percentage, free throw percentage, rebounds, and tied for points per game.

His strong efforts last season are what propelled him as a “hot commodity” in free agency this summer.  I can’t wait to see him back in Boston for the first time on November 1st.

Terry Rozier will be returning to Boston during the preseason on October 6th.  Then on November 7th the Celtics will travel to Charlotte to face Rozier and the Hornets during the regular season.  I think Terry enjoyed the start to his career as a Boston Celtic; even when it was coming to an end.  The Celtics Nation faithful, will never forget the “Scary Terry” moments at the Garden.

The relationship between the C’s and Rozier started to dwindle because Rozier was forced to take on a lesser role last season.  Something he made public he was not happy about, even going out and saying things like “I’m a starting point guard in this league.”  Last season put a sour taste in Rozier’s mouth, in terms of per player minute distribution.  By the end of the season, he made it clear that he wanted a one way ticket out of Logan International Airport.

Many people forget that Terry was part of the sign and trade that brought in Kemba Walker, and that’s what makes this match-up even more intriguing.  Whether the game is played in Boston or in Charlotte, the atmosphere is going to be crazy!  Kemba will be returning to Charlotte for the first time as a Celtic on November 7th, and Rozier back in Boston for the first time on December 22nd.  I think he will get a standing ovation when he steps onto the parquet.

 

Coach Popovich and his San Antonio Spurs will be hosting the Boston Celtics on November 9th.  This game intrigues me because Popovich has spent more time with the Celtics core this summer, than Brad Stevens.  Popovich was Team USA’s head coach this summer, and had the pleasure of working with Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Kemba Walker.  Pop has talked highly of these guys all summer, and I’m looking forward to seeing them match up against one another.

Isaiah Thomas needs no special introduction in Boston; as all of Celtics Nation knows where he stands in Celtics history.  Thomas is now part of the Washington Wizards for the 2019 campaign.  As he already received his video tribute, Thomas will always be loved and welcome at the TD Garden.  He has said many times that all he needed is an opportunity, and Brad Stevens and the Celtics gave that to him.  The Little Guy returns back to Boston on November 13th.

Aaron Baynes opted in to his $5.4M player option with the Boston Celtics this summer, but the team made a trade on draft night that sent him to Phoenix, along with the 24th overall pick in the 2019 draft.  The Celtics received Milwaukee’s 2020 first round pick, which Phoenix obtained in the trade for Eric Bledsoe.  Even though that Danny Ainge is always looking to improve for the future, the trade with Baynes surprised me.

Baynes came into Boston in 2017.  Many people don’t realize that Baynes won an NBA championship in 2014 with the San Antonio Spurs.  Coming from a Popovich based system, Baynes came from a winning structured organization.  He did spend two seasons in Detroit before joining the Boston Celtics.  Baynes will be returning to Boston for the first time on January 18th.  But the Celtics travel to Phoenix on November 18th.  I’m expecting a very warm welcome from the TD Garden crowd.

Kyrie Irving will probably make a game time decision about playing or not against the Celtics.  It seems to be a trend he follows when playing his former team.  But never the less, the Celtics will face off against the Brooklyn Nets on November 27th in Boston, and then again on the 29th in New York.  Kyrie does have a new incentive based contract, so maybe he will indeed play.

Irving brought a lot of hope with him to Boston.  What was primed to be winning championship seasons, didn’t amount to anything.  Irving even went as far as telling the season ticket holders he planned on signing with the team in free agency the following summer.  He has made harsh comments about brad Stevens coaching abilities and the young teammates he used to have.

Kyrie has been looked at and degraded in many ways as a person and a ball player; in which the way he can be the leader of a team or not.  With all that said, I can’t wait for him to return to Boston for the first time!  There should be no video tribute, as there is nothing to tribute.  I should be there ready to “cheer” him on!

Follow The Celtics Center on Twitter & Instagram @_Celtics_Center and listen to the Podcast on the Google Podcast AppITunes, and the CastBox App

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My name is Justin, I'm from Rhode Island, and I'm a HUGE New England sports fan. Sports are important part of my life, which works out well seeing as I follow the greatest sports city in the country!

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