Let me first ask how many of you can name the 5 Celtics starters without looking it up. I can't. I gave up on the Celts several weeks ago, and have not been watching them at all.
The Celts are a lot different from last season. New coach, new system, only three players from last year.
Couple of general observations:
Mark Blount has really improved his game, he is now a factor and someone the Pacers have to account for. Mihm is also a very good rebounder.
Celts are not nearly the defensive team they were one year ago, they don't play the same style of flooding the strong side and leaving the weakside open, they are not nearly as good but are more traditional in their approach.
I figure the Celts will win one game and that one game will be when Ricky Davis has more than 22 points. In my mind he is the guy the Pacers have to keep down, if he scores less than 15 in a game the Pacers win. Reggie has trouble guarding him, Artest can keep him down, but Artest will be on Pierce, although you might see AL on Paul and Artest on Davis at times. But I also think Freddie will play a key roll guarding Ricky Davis
Chucky is also a factor, he can get very hot from 3 point land, look for him in the 4th quarters.
Of course Pierce is their main guy we all know that, Artest will do a better job than anyone in the league on him. Keep him off the free throw line and keep him from getting 20 point quarters because that is what killed us last season.
Overall the Celts offense is as good as last season, maybe even better, but their defense is not nearly as good. They have no one to guard Artest and will likely double team him, and J.O.
The point guard matchup is key. Tinsley has to outplay Chucky, not outscore, but he has to outplay him. Tinsley has had some of his better games against him, and in the past Jamaal has been able to use his size and strength to overpower Chucky.