The NBA season is just hours away from starting in Boston. Tonight, Banner 17 goes up to join it's fellows in Boston Garden, and with it, we immortalize Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce with the likes of Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Bob Cousy, Kevin McHale, John Havlicek, and Robert Parish.
While they will take a few moments to enjoy the rings and take pride in the banner fans have waited two decades for, the Boston Celtics will immediately turn their focus to the powerful Cleveland Cavaliers and living the season with a target on their backs.
Just like the New England Patriots and Boston Red Sox, now whenever the Celtics come to town, teams will play and prepare like its a playoff game.
In short, the entire Boston team is walking around with big red targets on their backs. The Cavs will take the first shot, and with the addition of Mo Williams, and the ever-impressive King James, they will be a force to be reckoned with.
The C's lost big when James Posey signed with the New Orleans Hornets, but maturation of some young players like Rajon Rondo and some good additions will more than make up for it.
The only thing that can stop big green is resting on their laurels. Somehow, I don't see guys as intense as Garnett letting that happen.
ESPN likes the Los Angeles Lakers to win the NBA Finals this year, with the Celtics being runners-up. So, will it comes down to the Lakers and Celtics again? The two teams have met 11 times in the finals since 1959, and the Celtics have a 9-2 advantage (40 games to 27.)
Is there a chance to make it number 12 and restart what was a long-dead rivalry? Like in the 1960s, where they played each other six times in the finals? Or will it be a new team, like the San Antonio Spurs or the Cavs? Is this the Pistons year? The Blazers? The Rockets?
Okay, the last one is extremely doubtful, but if the NFL season this year has taught us anything, it's that nothing is impossible in the world of professional sports.
A few more questions come to mind about the NBA this year. What will happen to the New York Knicks? Will they be good?
Anything will be an improvement from last year, and if the preseason is any indication, they look good. How about Seattle? Will any of the Sonics fans follow the Oklahoma City Thunder, or will there be a huge drop in NBA fans in the wet state of Washington?
All these questions and more will be answered as the season gets underway, but Here are a few parting shots.
Look for the Atlanta Hawks to build on last year's strong showing and make a big push in the playoffs, the Cavs, with Mo Williams acting as Robin to LeBron's Batman, will make it far, but look for a repeat of last year, with the Celtics and Lakers facing off again, with the least banged-up winning it all.