Game day and only 2 games left in the preseason. The last time we played New Jersey, we had to come back from a 23 point deficit to win the game. We also learned that Leon Powe can indeed play. Hopefully we will see more Powe tonight. His energy and effort just seems to get everyone else going and we have needed someone like that. Here is what is goin on around the Celtic Nation today:
There are a few articles on Powe this morning and I love it. The first is a great article in the Herald. Pierce is a Powe fan too and has given him the nickname "G-Unit", as in Gorilla Unit. I love it!!!
And when Powe went down hard in the fight for a rebound, Pierce laughed and shouted to the referees, “Hey, see if the floor’s all right.” Pierce always has had an affinity for tough guys, bemoaning the loss of Danny Fortson years ago. “Yeah, I like the guys who like to get down and dirty,” said Pierce, who agreed Powe might be a less psychotic version of Fortson.
I love this kid's effort and I love his attitude. It seems when he comes on the floor, everyone picks up their game. Energy like he brings is catchy.
“I just try to go out there and sometimes be the enforcer,” Powe said. “I try to get all the rebounds. Whatever I can do to help my team win, that’s what I do. Rebounding is all about effort. It’s all about effort and positioning. Whoever is quick to the ball, that’s who’s going to get it. That’s the attitude you’ve got to have. May the best man get it; that’s how I look at it.”
Now we have both Perk and Powe to be enforcers. I agree with Pierce... I love this kind of player.
"So (in the games) I have to try to get offensive rebounds, and transition buckets, and fight for loose balls," he continued. "By running the floor (in games), if I see a guard running up with the ball I can flash all the way to the post. Then it’s his choice. He can either hit me, or he doesn’t hit me and I get out of there and just get in position for the rebound." His improved play of late is already putting him in a better position for more looks all the way around. "We ran a game-ending play for him today," Rivers said. "I did it more to see if he could execute it, and he did. But I wouldn’t have done that two weeks ago. He is starting to get more comfortable and starting to understanding what we need out of him."
I see several very good things in this quote. First, Powe knows his role and he is going to fight for every rebound and every loose ball. We saw him doing that in his first two games out there and I don't believe he is the kind of person that will ever back off that kind of effort. Second, he runs the floor and knows how to play with our speedy point guards. Third, Doc is running game ending plays for Powe. Doc doesn't run plays for guys just for fun. He is going to be around and is going to play.
Even the NY papers have some good things to say about Powe. Here is the blurb I found in the midst of a Vescey article.
The following quote by exceptionally enticing Celtic rookie Leon Powe warrants wood-framing in locker rooms throughout the NBA: "It isn't about what I can do. It's about what Doc [Rivers] and the team need." Selected No. 49 by the Nuggets last June and traded for an '07 second-round pick, the 20-point, 10-rebound (last year for California; both Pac-10 highs) macho forward is averaging nine and 8.3 in 18.3 minutes. Why was Powe taken so low? He's a bit undersized for his position. He hasn't developed an outside shot (that's a plus, in my book) and his knees have twice gone under the knife. "We need someone to play hard, be physical, be a man," Rivers accents. Considering the Celts' cavity in that category last season, as well as their rebounding issues, Powe's presence is very welcomed. At the same time, his transfer from Denver to Boston is shaping up as one of the draft's biggest hijackings.
You just have to love this kid. His attitude is great, his work ethic is one of the best in the league (right up there with Perk), and he plays very tough in your face defense in the paint and goes for every single rebound. I honestly believe that the drafting of Rondo and Powe is going to go down as one of the biggest draft day steals in league history.
The Herald Notebook tells us that Danny is still looking to trade and that a 2 or 3 for 1 trade would solve our roster problems. Barring a trade within the next week, it seems as though Luke Jackson is the odd man out with Doc saying how much he likes Allan Ray for his ball handling abilities.
The Herald also has a reminder about the Celtics Pride radio post game show. It was on 1510 last season but has moved to ESPN radio 890 AM this season. If you are looking for some good Celtics talk after the game you can tune in here.
The Globe Notebook centers on the fact that Ratliff's injury may open the door for Kandi to make the team. He would get the veteran minimum and the League would pay part of it. Not a bad deal for some insurance at center. If nothing else, it would give them a veteran big body in practice for the centers to go up against.
The Globe reports that the reaction to the new ball has been mixed. Shaq and Nash have been very outspoken critics of it. I loved this part of the article:
In an early Heat practice, O'Neal lost the handle on the ball three times in 15 seconds and predicted that turnovers would increase dramatically because of the new ball. But Shaq had played with that very same ball last February in the All-Star Game in Houston. He was 7 for 9 from the field in 22-plus minutes. Nash had six assists in 27-plus minutes in the same game. Nary a discouraging word was heard afterward.
Could this be a case of mind over matter? When they didn't know it was a new ball they did fine with it but when they are thinking about it and dwelling on it, they are looking for negatives. The Celtics overall have been fairly positive about it.
The Patriot Ledger comments on Al's play in the last game. They state that it is no concidence that it happened when West came back. I also believe that it is no coincidence that it happened when he played along side Leon Powe. Powe's energy and effort are infectious.
JB has another good article over on CelticsStuff. I agree that a return to team oriented basketball. We have players who can run, pass first point guards, some very good scorers, and most importantly some very strong rebounders on this team. If Doc uses them all correctly we should see some very exciting basketball this season.
Finally, SI.com has a story about Bassy and the NY incident that has a positive spin. They say that credible league sources say that there was no connection between Bassy's loss of his necklace and the Fabolous shooting. They give the correct time frame that the shooting took place 2 hours after Bassy's robbery and not minutes as most articles have been reporting. This is good news in the midst of all the stories that have been trying to link Bassy to the shooting.