This might be an exciting month for some people. This is the month that is two months before most people turn their backs on their resolutions. Many are halfway through the first month they quit smoking and just weeks away from only smoking when “out” and just a little further away from only smoking when no one is looking. Others are just getting their new shoes broken in at the gym and about 15 days away from laying in bed and feigning an ankle injury .
Aside from the failed promises we make to ourselves, January isn’t very exciting. In the NBA we are pretty much waiting for the All-Star break so we can watch Lisa Leslie catch a pass from Bill Laimbeer in that delightful WNBA commercial they call the 3-Ball competition. Or watch Jimmy Kimmel try to defend Justin Timberlake with hilarious consequences during the Celebrity All-Star game.
Me? I resolved to write about the Celtics. So here I am.
I can’t say I know what Doc Rivers' Celtics resolved to do in the new year. I hope it had something to do with winning the games they’re supposed to win. So far so good.
Heading into January’s halfway point (Game 7 of 14) against the Bulls on Thursday, the Celtics are 4-2. Both losses have come against the Atlanta Hawks. Two of those wins were against the Raptors, one was against the depressing Nets and, of course, the miracle against Miami. Not a terrible start to the new year. And yes, that is a backhanded compliment.
The underachieving Bulls should do just enough to make tonight's game interesting. In Chicago’s last two games they have blown out the Pistons by 33 and beat the Timberwolves by 16 — both games played in Chicago.
This is the Bulls second trip back to Boston after their OT riddled playoff series ended last year with a 109-99 Celtics victory in game seven. In their first meeting, the Cs picked up where they left off and sent the Bulls away with a 118-90 blowout.
After the Bulls, the Cs get three nights of rest and then play Dallas at home, Detroit away, and home games against the Blazers and Clippers. Barring injury or losing three of four, it will likely be a boring stretch of basketball.
Rivers has said, however, that Kevin Garnett MAY be back by the Blazers game which would be more tense than it is exciting. Another serious Garnett injury before the playoffs might sink any championship hopes the Celtics have.
If he does return healthy, KG is right in time for the only fun part of January - the end. After two nights off, the Celtics are away at Orlando, away at the apparently indestructible Hawks, and home against the reigning champion Los Angeles Lakers. So far, Kobe Bryant is also expected to attend.
The end of January is when the weak give in and break promises they made to themselves. The Celtics have committed to “Banner 18.” Ending the month with Kevin Garnett and wins against rivals, old and new, keeps them one-step above the guy in your office who sneaks sweets into the bathroom stall.