It's game day finally. I know the team needs these breaks to practice and heal, but they sure do seem long for me. I always worry about these breaks, though. Often they don't play as well after they have had 2 or 3 days off. Wally says it breaks their rhythm and that may be true. The Nets are on a 6 games losing streak and will be coming in desperate for a win. But, they are also coming in tired after a long west coast trip and playing last night. We should be able to run them and if we commit to playing defense from the beginning should be able to take control of the game early as being tired, their jump shots may be flat and we will need to keep them outside. Having Perk and Powe in the center would certaingly help. As I anxiously wait for the game tonight, here is what is going on around the Celtics Nation today.
What can Rivers possibly do to make the fans happy, short of calling more timeouts to allow for more appearances from the vapid new dance team, a collection of fine-looking young ladies whose dance routines are, truly, routine?
He should just play the kids. Let Perkins and Jefferson get all the minutes 12 fouls will allow. So far Green is getting roughly 10 minutes a game. Why not double it?
Play Delonte West, but keep Scalabrine and Tony Allen on the pine. Why Ainge chose to exercise the team option on the contract of Allen, the dribble-challenged guard, is another mystery.
Rivers may not be the Celtics’ long-term answer as coach. His substitution patterns, if you can find a pattern, continue to baffle. But look what he has to work with and you begin to understand why it seems like a game-by-game experiment.
But if the future of the team is Jefferson, Perkins, Green, Telfair, Gomes and Rajon Rondo, play them as much as possible because Celtics fans might be patient with them. They have no patience or desire to watch the Brian Scalabrines of the world.
Amen to that... Doc needs to play the kids. I have a feeling that the fans would be a lot more patient if we see Perk, Al, Powe, Rondo and Green out there playing good minutes instead of Pierce playing 45 minutes and leading the team (and possibly the league)in turnovers. Scal may do the little things and he really isn't as bad as he was last season, but I think a lot of the frustration with playing Scal comes from the fact that he isn't the future of this club. Play Powe. Play Al. Let Perk use up his 6 fouls instead of sitting him for the rest of the game with 4. Fans want to see our kids develop and they aren't going to with 10 minutes a game. Playing Pierce 45 minutes may win us a game but it isn't going to win us a championship. Playing Green some of those minutes just might. But we may have to change coaches before that message gets across.
The Herald reports that Doc has replaced Rondo with West in the PG rotation for now. Rondo has the ability to take over a game and change the pace with his energy and defense. He may not take jumpers, but he has a great knack for getting to the basket. If Doc truly wants to run, Rondo should remain in the PG rotation. It is good news that West is feeling healthy though, because he does good things when he is.
The Globe Notebook begins by discussing tonight's opponent. The Nets are on a 6 game losing streak and hopefully will wait until after tonight to get back on track. Allan Ray took the day off to welcome his first child and is anxiously awaiting to see if he will be on the team after Friday. If he is, the remainder of his contract will be guaranteed. Danny seems to like him a lot, but with the problems we are having with all of our centers being injured, it might be best to cut him and look for another center on a 10 day contract. Or, Doc could try to play Powe more. But that would be the smart thing to do and we are talking about Doc here.
Hoopsworld looks at the fact that in spite of having a 5-8 record, the Celtics are leading the Atlantic division. If the Celtics can get it together and play the way they are capable of, we might have a chance to make some noise since most of the teams in the Atlantic are struggling out of the gate as well.
Celtics Pride asks the question as to whether it is better to look for a veteran big man now or try to tank and go for Oden. I personally think it would be best to stick with the core of young players we have now and if we can get a veteran who could help without giving up our core, do that. I just don't see any way we will get Oden, even if we have the worst record this season. We have never had good luck with the lottery. Play the kids we have now and give them a chance to develop quicker. That is our best strategy. Playing them a few minutes here and there isn't getting the job done.
The Patriot Ledger reports that Scal is just looking for respect from his teammates. Scal hasn't been playing that poorly. He does set good screens. But the problem with Scal getting minutes is that when he does, Al and Powe aren't. Scal is good in the locker room. He works hard. He is a good teammate. But he isn't part of our future.
The Memphis Commercial Appeal quotes the Grizzlies' owner as saying that Gasol is definitely not available. He may be doing the same thing Ainge did when he strongly denied that he was going to trade Antoine just a couple weeks before he was traded the first time. Or, he may truly not be interested in trading him and Vescey is wrong once again.
With a little help from Shakespeare, CelticsStuff Live ponders the reasons for our come from behind win over the Bucks. Why were the Celtics able to come back?
We’ve all heard the phrase: “defense rules” and have always associated that element of play with championship teams. Oddly enough, most observers will credit pride and desire, not talent and inherent skill that actually cause the manifestation of the concept.
Also discussed is the difference the refs can make in a game.
Another element of the team’s defensive energy has to come from the zebras. When our young players, particularly the bigs; Perkins and Jefferson get two early fouls, you can concede the lane for the rest of the game. For better or worse, they know that they are being judged, not on their effort, so much as their ability to stay out of foul trouble.
When trying to determine if the Celtics can keep up this defensive pressure, as the season and their maturity as a team moves forward, the way the referees call the game is the big wild card.
The refs have been pretty inconsistent and infuriating at times. They have been given more authority and have been wielding it. Games don't seem to have much flow with all of the calls. Travelling, ticky tack fouls, etc have really disrupted the flow of games. They said that they were cutting out the arguing to make the game move along more quickly, but then they call all these ticky tack fouls that have the opposite effect. And, they aren't consistent. They give stars one treatment and others another. Also in many cases they don't call it evenly on both ends of the floor. Anyway, enough of that, join us on Celtics Green for tonight's play by play of the game with insight from Q and the rest of the Greeniacs.
I'm a bit worried about this game. Even though New Jersey is coming off of 5 or 6 straight losses (I lost count already), they are good enough to beat us wholeheartedly if we come out with no energy. And judging by what happened to us the last time we had a 4 day layoff in between games, we came out without the same fire and focus. This time, we were able to have better practices, but what goes on in the actual game is what counts.
I was very happy to see in the last game that Telfair took control of the game and dictated the action. This is what needs to happen. Not only Telfair, but Rajon too. Delonte, no, because he doesn't create like Sebastian and Rajon can--in his case, he needs to give up the ball quicker.