Ball Don't Lie - NBA

Last year's record?
50-32; lost in the finals

Significant departures? Tony Allen(notes), Rasheed Wallace(notes).

Significant arrivals? Shaquille O'Neal(notes), Jermaine O'Neal(notes), Delonte West(notes), Semih Erden(notes), Luke Harangody(notes).

Projected record, as predicted three months ago in time to publish in Yahoo! Sports' NBA Preview Magazine? 50-32.

Why I think that sounds about right?

Because the Celtics have the talent to win 60 games, but also have enough nagging questions surrounding (honestly, any of these guys could go at any second) them to barely struggle to top .500. Gotta split the difference, there.

The team looks great. Kevin Garnett(notes) appears to be the picture of health, a chubbed-out Paul Pierce(notes) is as feisty as ever, Ray Allen(notes) looks about the same, and the team just oozes competitive spirit. But this is a team built to turn over a new leaf when there aren't any leaves on the trees next spring, not when the foliage is blowing around and the days are getting shorter. It's a long season, people get injured, and things tend to even out.

And, as was the case last year, those 50 wins would have little bearing on what happens in the postseason. This is a championship contender. Perhaps more than ever.

Why I think I could be terribly, terribly wrong?

This team has heart you wouldn't believe, and a deep if incredibly old roster. You'd be right to expect the same white-hot start we've seen from the Celtics in every year since 2007, but what happens if the team sustains it? What happens if mercurial types like Nate Robinson(notes) and Delonte West, both entering their prime, win a series of games for the C's during the team's typical January-March swoon?

What happens if Kevin Garnett, for one last time, keeps it up all season at 31 minutes per game, as was the case in 2007-08? Then Boston could finish with 60 wins. Perhaps more.

They'd fall apart like Elwood Blues' car at the end of "The Blues Brothers" in the first round, but at least the regular season would be special.

Pardon the terrible music:

Dan Devine's Corner Three

Mark Eaton rhymes ...

Made-up limericks about "going for it" in the NBA regular season and in life, from the 7-foot-4
former Utah Jazz center and current celebrity motivational speaker.

There once was a man name o' Baby
Whose talent, at times, seemed a maybe.
   But through hard work and spit
   He now looks legit,
And I bet you he doesn't have scabies.


Let's take a closer look at Nate Robinson

This has been a closer look at Nate Robinson.

We'll be missing you

"Give anything to see you get half a tech / I know you're still livin' life in cutoff sweats."

Related Articles

Ball Don't Lie

Add to My Yahoo RSS

Related Photo Gallery

Y! Sports Blog