Celtics Release 2014-’15 Schedule

The Boston Celtics released their schedule for the 2014-’15 season on Wednesday.  The Celtics will play only one nationally televised game on January 14th at home against the Atlanta Hawks. This means the Celtics are not a premier team in the NBA.

Their lone star (Rajon Rondo) is in the final year of his contract. Their roster is filled with either players who have been disappointments (Jeff Green, Evan Turner, and Tyler Zeller) and rookies like Marcus Smart and James Young.

The Celtics schedule in November looks to be daunting. They have to travel to Houston (Rockets), Dallas (Mavericks), and Chicago Bulls. The only game where they could be favored is on the road against the Philadelphia 76ers. Then they have a six-game road trip through the Western Conference from January 19th through January 28th.

Here are some notable games for Celtics fans to look forward to.

-October 29th – The Celtics open the season versus the Brooklyn Nets at the Garden. Kevin Garnett could be back with the Nets. This might be Garnett’s final season in the NBA.

– November will be filled with home dates against the elite teams in the NBA. On November 12th, the Celtics will square off against Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Two nights later, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers will visit Boston. Then on November 28th, the Bulls make their first appearance at TD Garden. On the last night of November, the Celtics will face the defending champion San Antonio Spurs.

– Paul Pierce, Kris Humphries, and the Washington Wizards play in Boston on December 7th in their only visit to Boston.

– The Celtics will not play on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day. Boston sports fans will have a doubleheader with the Bruins and Celtics both playing at home on Black Friday (annual ritual except in the case of lockout) and New Year’s Eve. The Celtics will host the Bulls on Black Friday and they will see the Sacramento Kings on New Year’s Eve.

– In January, the Celtics begin their journey on the West Coast against Doc Rivers and the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers come to Boston on March 29th.

– The All-Star break is lengthy this year as the Celtics will be off from February 11th until the 20th. The Celtics last game before the All-Star break and trade deadline (February 19th) is against the Hawks at home. This could be Rondo’s final game with the Celtics among other veterans like Brandon Bass, Green, etc.

– Featured rookies: Andrew Wiggins and the Minnesota Timberwolves will be in Boston on December 19th. The Milwaukee Bucks led by Jabari Parker play in Boston on April 3rd.

– The Celtics’ two meetings against the Los Angeles Lakers will be on December 5th (in Boston) and February 22nd (in Los Angeles).

This season appears to be another frustrating trek in the win-loss column. Though,there could be some interesting developments in the 2014-’15 season such as whether the Celtics will move Rondo and the development of Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk, Jared Sullinger, Smart, and Young. Next summer, the Celtics will have money coming off their books, but Kevin Love is not walking through that door.

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Kevin Durant Leaves Team USA, Leaves Giant Hole In Roster

Kevin Durant was supposed to be the bedrock of Team USA. He was their best player, he was their leader, and he was the man that would lead the team to glory against all-comers of the world.

But on Thursday, he dropped a nuclear bomb on Team USA by withdrawing himself from the team. Durant never gave a reason as to why he was packing his bags and heading back to Oklahoma City. But a big part of the reason for his sudden departure was the freak Paul George injury.

Durant was one of the players traumatized by that incident, and after thinking about it and wondering if the same thing could happen to him, Durant wanted no part of it. The NBA season is far more important than the FIBA World Cup, and risking his season — a season in which he could win his first NBA title — is just too much to fathom.

So with Durant’s sudden departure, that leaves the team with a gigantic void to fill not only in the starting power forward spot, where Durant was slated to play, but in the leadership. The only player with significant leadership capabilities on the team is Derrick Rose, but it is yet to be seen if he is back to his old self after a year and a half of battling injuries.

You have to get the feeling that Team USA just got significantly weaker with the loss of Durant, and the aura surrounding the team is now gone. Team USA had a chance to do something special, to continue to show the world that the USA is a basketball nation.

They still can, as the team still has a wealth of talent on the roster. But without there leader, I just don’t see how Team USA can be favorites going up against the best the world has to offer.

Team USA is in trouble.

Kevin Durant Topples LeBron James, Crowned 2014 NBA MVP

The king has fallen.

Kevin Durant has officially been named the 2014 NBA MVP, ending LeBron James’ two-year reign at the league’s throne. It marks the first time since he entered the NBA in 2007 that Durant has come away with the prestigious honor.

Following his seventh – and best – season in the NBA, Durant was assumed to be crowned MVP of the 2013-14 campaign. As expected, the Oklahoma City Thunder‘s star captured 119 of 125 first-place votes after averaging 32 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game.

For years, fans have been lobbying for Durant to receive his first MVP award, but have watched him fall well short of James in the voting process. However, this season, Durant took his game to the next level, routinely putting up huge numbers and dominating his opponents in ways we’ve yet to see from the Thunder’s All-Star forward. Just look at his 14 games of 40-plus points as evidence of his elevated game and ability to carry his team.

James finished second in voting after winning the award in four out of the last five seasons. Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin, Chicago Bulls’ Joakim Noah and Houston Rockets’ James Harden rounded out the top five finishers.

Put simply, Durant absolutely deserves this latest recognition of his elite talents. While James will surely win another MVP or two before his playing days are over, it’s great to see that Durant has given the king a run for his money as the best player in the NBA. At least in 2013-14, he was the best player in the NBA.

Who knows? Maybe Durant will eclipse James in the next couple of years and quiet the critics once and for all. It seems unlikely, but crazier things have happened.