The news today is all about the suspensions handed down in the NY/Denver brawl and what it all means to the league. Doc and Pierce chime in on the subject in a Herald article. It was surprising to me that there was no penalty for the coaches. Karl was wrong pushing the score up with his starters at the end of a blowout and Isaiah was wrong for sending Collins in to commit a hard foul. Both coaches were wrong and should have been disciplined. I wonder if a player will think twice before following Isaiah's ill conceived orders to take down a player the next time. Both the Globe and the Herald had articles about the suspensions.
Mark Murphy has a piece on Telfair. He has been looking to pass first rather than shoot. That could have something to do with his shot not falling lately more than his desire to get his teammates involved. I agree with Nash that he has been playing more tentatively. He hasn't been taking it to the basket as much, even when he has a clear path to do so and in the past few games, he hasn't been able to finish when he does get to the hoop. But, he has been taking good care of the ball and we are winning so something is working.
The Globe Notebook and also Celtics.com report a couple of twists on the injury front. Kandi surprised everyone by making it through the whole practice yesterday. He is still feeling some pain but wants to play and hopes to be activated for Wednesday's game against the Warriors. Wally on the other hand will be out until after our west coast trip with a sprained ankle. Perk is still icing his sore foot but has reported progress and feels he will be ready some time on the West coast trip. Gomes hopes to practice today and feels he can play tomorrow night. The question will be, how well will all these players integrate into the team as they come back from injury.
We reported yesterday that ESPN Power Rankings have the Celtics at 18, which is up from 28 the previous week. Today, Pincus Power Picks came out on Hoopsworld and has us at #16 with this to say:
For the second time this season the Celtics make a major jump in the rankings. After losing all their centers to injury, Al Jefferson has suddenly arrived as a force in the middle. The Celtics have even started to play some defense, which hasn't happened in a few years. Considering how abysmal the Atlantic Division is this year, Boston has a very good shot at landing the four seed.
And while we are speaking about how abysmal the Atlantic division is, SI.com has an article that conjectures that it is an "embarrassment to the sports world." The Celtics are a combined 43-76 and the Celtics with a 10 and 13 record lead the division.
The Atlantic may finish this season as the worst division in the history of professional sports. They're already the worst in recent memory.
It is still early and with the Celtics and Nets both having to play through key injuries, either or both teams could take off on a long win streak and end up with a respectable record. I don't have much hope for the Knicks with Isaiah at the helm. It depends on how the Iverson sweepstakes end up to see what Philly will do but if they take too long, it may be too late to salvage their season. With Oden as the carrot dangling in front of them, that may just be the idea. Toronto has some intriguing pieces and if they come together, they may take off and go on a streak as well. So it is too early to pronounce the Atlantic as dead. 3 of the 5 teams are capable of making a run and of ending with a winning record.