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And with that, the NBA is officially back. As Paul Pierce exploded with emotion, relief after seeing all his hard work and commitment to the once/now great franchise, the NBA came roaring back into our lives. Unlike other ring ceremonies of the past, the recipient team actually won their game, beating LeBron and his new-look Cavaliers, 90-85; however, the game was almost secondary to the celebration.

After getting their snazzy new Liberace-style rings, the Celtics raised their 17th championship banner and raised the curtain on a new NBA season.

Celtics Ring

The awfully early question is, can the Ubuntu tribe repeat their performance? Since many consider last night’s game to be preview of next summer’s Eastern Conference Championship, I’d say the Celtics conducted themselves quite nicely. There are still some questions, such as, is Tony Allen the James Posey replacement Doc Rivers wants him to be? If last night was anything to go on, Allen should do well. He’s not the defensive presence Posey is, but he’s probably a better scorer and he’s younger and more athletic.

How good is Rondo going to be? Take away Paul Pierce, and Rondo was the best Celtic on the floor last night. He continually attacked the Cavaliers defense and generally controlled the flow of the game. His shooting is still suspect, but I’m not sure any Celtic attacks the rim as fearlessly as Rondo does. A word of advice for the third-year point guard — you might not make it through an entire season if you keep getting knocked to the floor like that.

After last night’s game, Rondo is well on his way to leading the league in most times knocked to the floor when going to the hole.