COMMENTARY | The Boston Celtics are getting prepped to start the 2013-2014 season with more question marks than they have had in the past six seasons combined.
How will Brad Stevens, now the youngest coach in the NBA, deal with the pressure of a big market like Boston? Will Jeff Green take that "next step" and elevate his game to NBA All-Star status? How will new additions Kris Humphries and Gerald Wallace fit in with a team they once considered to be a rival?
With all of these burning questions, fans have a lot to look forward to next season. Below are the five games all Celtics fans need to mark on their calendars as "must-watch" television:
1. Celtics visit South Beach for first time to take on NBA champs Miami Heat
Since the arrival of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in 2007, there has been no bigger villain for Celtics fans than reigning MVP LeBron James. Although it is extremely unlikely Boston will be competing with Miami as the Heat go for their third title in a row, this early-season matchup will serve as a good barometer for just how good (or how bad) the new-look Celtics really are.
Celtics are set to take on Miami on Saturday, Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m.
2. Old faces in new places: Boston visits the Brooklyn Nets
Celtics fans are going to have to mentally prepare for this one. After 15 seasons of watching Paul Pierce transform from an underrated draft pick from the University of Kansas to one of the most dynamic scorers in Boston's illustrious history, it's time to face the facts that "The Truth" is no longer suiting up in green and white.
And if seeing Pierce in another uniform playing in front of a home crowd of excited New Yorkers isn't tough enough, Boston fans must also endure watching Kevin Garnett, the heart and soul of the 2007-2008 championship team, bang his chest and play floor general for a new title contender. You may need to down a bottle of Pepto-Bismol to get through it, but you shouldn't avoid watching this highly anticipated must-watch game of basketball.
The Celtics are scheduled to travel to Brooklyn on Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
3. Doc Rivers returns home when the Los Angeles Clippers visit Boston
The return of Doc Rivers to Boston is going to be an emotional one, especially since it comes the day after the Celtics face off against Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in Nets uniforms for the first time. Although Rivers' departure was certainly not handled well (at times, it felt like postoperative dental surgery), it seems like most fans in Boston are willing to forgive and forget how Doc left the team. Expect a warm ovation from the Celtics faithful.
Once the basketball actually starts, fans will get to experience two of the NBA's best in assists and steals, Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo, square off in one of the best matchups of the season. Also, don't forget about the added bonus of watching television commercial superstar and NBA All-Star Blake Griffin throw down epic dunks.
The Los Angeles Clippers will battle Boston on Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 7:30 p.m.
4. The Detroit Pistons and Celtics square off as trade rumors loom large
When Boston visits Detroit for the second game of the season, the rumor mill is going to be running wild with speculation of a possible trade involving Celtics star Rajon Rondo. In July, rumors of a deal involving Rondo ending up in a Pistons uniform made headlines for a few weeks until Detroit landed point guard Brandon Jennings in a sign-and-trade deal with the Milwaukee Bucks.
While many have speculated that the arrival of Jennings marked the end of any potential deal involving Rondo in Detroit, the basketball world is well aware that the Pistons would prefer to have Rondo, a good friend and former high school teammate of Pistons star Josh Smith. And a deal that involves swapping Jennings for Rondo makes a lot of sense for Boston, if the Celtics can also manage to nab either forward Greg Monroe or center Andre Drummond as part of the agreement.
Because the Pistons have a rare surplus of talented big men, they may be willing to do what Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has been looking for over the past three trade deadlines -- a team that is willing to give up more than what Rondo is worth. With all of the ongoing speculation, this game is a must-watch for Celtics fans.
The Celtics visit the Detroit Pistons on Sunday, Nov. 3 at 6 p.m.
5. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett return home
If you watch only one game this season, see the emotionally charged return of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the TD Garden. Not only will you get to watch the Celtics take on a division rival in what is sure to be a hotly contested game, but you will also witness one of the longest and most dramatic standing ovations in Boston sports history when Pierce has his name announced over the public address system.
"The Truth" and the "Big Ticket" come home to Boston on Sunday, Jan. 26 when the Celtics host the Brooklyn Nets on ESPN at 6:30 p.m.
For the full slate of Celtics games in 2013-2014, visit Celtics.com.
Don't agree with me? Tell me why I am wrong on Twitter @TheNewRevere.
Justin Haskins is a New England native and journalism student at Regent University. He has been obsessively following Boston professional sports for 10 years and has been published in numerous online publications and websites.
- Sports & Recreation
- Kevin Garnett
- Boston Celtics
- Paul Pierce
- Brooklyn Nets
- Detroit Pistons