, Salem, MA


October 30, 2013

Matt Jenkins column: Celtics face long road, but there is hope

On Pro Basketball

Matt Jenkins

Could life get any better for a Boston sports fan right now?

The Red Sox, just one win away from their third World Series title in the last 10 years, need no introduction. Interest was clearly waning after last year’s catastrophe, but they won the fans back, in short, by winning games.

The longer story includes words and Twitter hashtags like heart, character, chemistry, beards and #highfivecity. Of course, that version of this tale has been oft-repeated this October.

The Patriots haven’t hidden in the shadows, but their skeleton-crew, 6-2 record likely would have been bigger news in other years. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady remain, so obviously the Pats are still grabbing some headlines.

Despite injuries to key players like Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola, Shane Vereen, Vince Wilfork, Jerrod Mayo, Aqib Talib, Amendola again, Sebastian Vollmer, and most likely Amendola again at some point, New England is still finding a way to win. In the AFC, they may not carry the hype of the Denver Broncos or the surprise of the Kansas City Chiefs, but no team will look forward to matching up with a Belichick and Brady-led group come playoff time.

While looking ahead to playoff time, let’s move on to the next hometown team expected to stretch its campaign well after the final regular season whistle has blown. The Bruins have as much talent and promise as any team in the National Hockey League. They were just two wins short of hoisting the Stanley Cup last spring, and some would say all they did in the offseason was get better. In July the Bruins made a key acquisition by signing 16-year veteran Jerome Iginla, and this time when Bruins fans woke up in the morning he was really on the roster.

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