Boston Celtics: Predicting the Outcome of Every Game in February
Since the arrival of the Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in Beantown, head coach Doc Rivers has stressed defense. This season the Celtics are now back to winning with defense.
Talk about a defensive effort.
After a steady improvement to finish off the month of January, the Celtics schedule has this team looking to only continue to win games in February.
Here are the predictions for every Boston Celtics game in the month of February.
Boston Celtics vs. New York Knicks, Celtics Win
When these two teams met at Madison Square Garden on Christmas Day, the Celtics would fall short to the Knicks after making a promising comeback.
It was Carmelo Anthony that was able to dominate a newly put together Celtics team.
In this rematch, expect the Celtics to thrive at home. As of late, the Celtics have put together solid basketball when playing in TD Garden, winning two of the team's last three at home.
In a matchup where Rajon Rondo could well return to the rotation, expect the Celtics to bring their A-game defensively and pull out a close one at home.
Boston Celtics vs. Memphis Grizzlies, Celtics Lose
It will be the fourth game in six days for the Boston Celtics, as the Grizzlies will take full advantage of this and beat an older, injury-ridden Celtics ball club.
Prior to the four-game losing streak, the Grizzlies won seven games in a row. It was a span that included wins over some of the NBA's more talented teams, picking up wins against the Chicago Bulls, wins both at home and away against the Hornets, and a win over the New York Knicks.
Expect a Grizzlies team in dire need of victories to out-hustle what will be a worn-out Celtics team.
Boston Celtics vs. Charlotte Bobcats, Celtics Win
The Charlotte Bobcats have been outright pathetic in the 2011-2012 NBA season, as the Boston Celtics will have a field day at home against the 3-18 Bobcats.
Rondo is expected to be back and healthy by the time the team squares off against the Bobcats, as his play will be key in the team's win. Rondo has to set the pace against a young, talented group of players that like to get out and play the transition game.
Rondo's ability to get Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett going early will be the difference between this game being a blowout or a down-to-the-wire finish.
Bouncing back from a loss to the Grizzlies, the Celtics will prevail in this contest and find themselves a game or two above .500.
Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers, Celtics Win
It was a day that Celtics guard Ray Allen would put his name into the record books.
February last year the Celtics and Lakers met in what was another game between the two that would go down in history.
In this hard-fought contest Ray Allen would be the all-time leader in three-point shots made in a game where he would lead the Celtics in the scoring department with 20 points and three three-pointers.
Allen has been slumping this season, as he will likely step it up against the Lakers with the trade rumors only growing louder.
Unfortunately for Kobe Bryant and his Lakers, the team will come up just short against these Celtics at home.
Boston Celtics @ Toronto Raptors, Celtics Win
Kevin Garnett has picked up the pace since a rough start in December, upping his points per game average to 14.1 points and 7.7 rebounds in the month of January. For the season, he is averaging 13.4 points and 7.3 boards a contest.
It will be Garnet that decides this contest against the Toronto Raptors, as his size will give him a significant advantage against a smaller front court in Toronto.
In their one meeting earlier in the season, Garnett played just 25 minutes and put up 15 points and seven rebounds for the game. Expect much of the same against a smaller Raptors lineup in this one.
The Celtics beat the Raptors in the first meeting between these two teams, winning in convincing fashion 96-73.
Boston Celtics vs. Chicago Bulls, Celtics Lose
Rose and company seem to only be getting better as the season progresses. The Bulls are 18-5 on the season and have showed no signs of slowing down.
These Chicago Bulls are for real, and should bring it to the Celtics in this one.
It will be a close one as the Celtics do boast home-court advantage, but it will the Bulls getting the best of the C's in what should be a hard-fought fourth quarter.
Boston Celtics vs. Detroit Pistons, Celtics Win
This is a story of two teams in opposite directions, with the Boston Celtics competing for a playoff spot and the Detroit Pistons competing to win a handful of games.
The Celtics were able to beat the Pistons 96-85 at home earlier this season and should have no problem taking care of the Pistons in this one.
Expect this to be a game of unsung heroes, with bench players E'Twaun Moore and Avery Bradley putting forth positive minutes. The Celtics will win big in what is a must-win for the team at home.
Boston Celtics @ Chicago Bulls, Celtics Win
The most intriguing matchup when the Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics meet is the play of the point guards Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo.
The two league-elite point guards will duke it out in what should be a thriller in Chicago. Rose got the best of Rondo in the first matchup, as it will be Rondo getting the best of Rose in this one.
On a night where Rose struggles from the field, Rondo and company will flourish and steal a win from the favored Bulls in this one.
Boston Celtics @ Detroit Pistons, Celtics Lose
In a game that comes down to the wire between the Detroit Pistons and Boston Celtics, expect Greg Monroe to come up big for a Pistons team that boasts a plethora of young talent.
There is no question the Celtics are the better team, yet it will be the play of Monroe that makes this contest an interesting one.
Monroe has averaged an impressive 15.9 points and 9.7 rebounds, leading the team in both statistical categories this season. In his last five outings, Monroe is averaging 17.6 points and 10.2 rebounds per game.
The Celtics are a team capable of beating Monroe and the Pistons once, but in this second contest the Pistons will fight out what will be a hard-earned victory.
Boston Celtics @ Dallas Mavericks, Celtics Win
The Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics are two of the more similar teams in the NBA. Both are veteran ball clubs that win games with their play on the defensive end.
Despite coming up short in January, the Celtics will come back with a sense of urgency in this one and pick up a win on the road.
Paul Pierce will be the key in what will be a contest expected to go down to the wire.
In the previous meeting Rondo's 24 points would not suffice, as Pierce must and will step up for the occasion. Pierce has the clear advantage offensively against the Mavericks forwards, and should have a significant game scoring the basketball for the team.
Boston Celtics @ Oklahoma City Thunder, Celtics Lose
In the previous meeting between these two teams, it was clear that when Durant and Westbrook both get going, the Boston Celtics don't stand a chance.
Durant took care of the scoring load for the majority of the contest, scoring a game-high 28 points. After what was a close game in the final minutes, Westbrook would open up the lead with two straight three-point buckets to close the deal.
When these two are hot, the Oklahoma City Thunder are unbeatable. As was the case in the first matchup, this offense will again prove to be too much to handle. In another close contest, expect the Thunder to pull it out with big shots from these two All-Stars.
Boston Celtics @ Cleveland Cavaliers, Celtics Win
The Cleveland Cavaliers have proven they can beat these Boston Celtics, giving the team its most recent loss to date.
Yet it will be the Celtics who will prevail in this contest.
The Cavaliers are losers of six of the team's last eight games and will continue to struggle in February with a brutal schedule ahead of them. Games include meetings with the L.A. Clippers, Miami Heat, Phladelphia 76ers and Dallas Mavericks.
A tough slump in the team's recent games and an especially taxing schedule will leave the Cavs at the mercy of the Celtics in this one. Expect a big win for head coach Doc Rivers and company in this one.
Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks, Celtics Win
Finishing off the month with a bang, the Boston Celtics will take care of business against an average Milwaukee Bucks team without center Andrew Bogut.
Without Bogut, this Bucks team is yet to establish a rhythm this season and seem to struggle offensively at times.
Given the defensive improvements the Celtics have shown in their more recent victories, it should be expected that this will play right into Boston's hands.
Make no mistake about it, Brandon Jennings and company will be no walk in the park, but the veteran talent on the Celtics will be too much for these injury-ridden Bucks to handle.
Summing Up the Month of Februrary
In a month featuring eight home games and six away games, the Boston Celtics will be able to recover steadily from injuries to Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo and pull off a winning month of basketball.
As these predictions stand, the Celtics would finish the month 10-4. This would give the team an overall record of 20-14.
The team should expect the four losses to come in each of the following games:
vs. Memphis Grizzlies - 2/5/2012
vs. Chicago Bulls - 2/12/2012
@ Detroit Pistons - 2/19/2012
@ Oklahoma City Thunder - 2/22/2012
The Boston Celtics will make the most this month and put themselves back into the top half of the Eastern conference when it's all said and done.