I am still basking in the afterglow of our win in Portland but am coming back to earth thinking about tonight's game in Cleveland. In spite of Cleveland playing in San Antonio last night, 2 things spell trouble for us tonight. The Cavs play very good defense and used it to beat the Spurs. We don't do well against teams who play defense. Any display of defense from the other team usually sends us into disarray. Second, Lebron had a sub-par game last night (19 points) and may be looking to bounce back with a big one tonight. On the other hand, maybe we can use their fatigue from playing back to back against them by running and using our young legs (If Doc would only let them run). You can check out previews of the game here, here, here, and here. In the meantime, let's check out what is going on in the Celtics Nation Today.
Average total experience in full years of the most common Celtics [team stats] starting lineup lately: eight. Combined full years of experience of the two Celts unable to play at all on the trip: 19. Going 1-4 on the journey and leading for a grand total of 7 minutes, 11 seconds: Pierce-less.
He goes on to discuss the growing pains the Celtics are feeling playing in the absence of Paul Pierce. I see some improvement in several players. But Green should be getting more minutes with Pierce out. I still wonder constantly why Powe isn't playing. Are they hiding him for some reason? The kid has proved he can play and we desperately need what he brings and yet he sits on the bench. I don't get it.
In the Globe, Shira asks Perk and Wally to rate their recent road trip. Perk gives the trip a 6 because of the effort that the players put forth on it. Wally gives it a 4 because we only won 1 game. I guess having 5 more years of experience makes Wally a bit more cynical. Both players were sitting with their feet in buckets of ice which is the story of the Celtics this season that has been filled with injuries.
Hoopsworld has a good article on Big Al Jefferson and his recent emergence. A combination of being healthy and increased playing time have combined to bring out the Big Al that we all have been waiting for since Danny took him with the 15th pick. Let's hope he only continues to get better because it gives us the low post scorer we haven't had since Kevin McHale walked through those doors. In fact, some of Jefferson's moves are reminiscent to those employed by McHale.
Celtics Pride 24/7 goes through players who have been rumored to be available this year and how they may fit with the Celtics. I really don't want to give up on several of our young players and hope that if we do make a trade that it will be for a sure thing and that we don't give up any of our core players who will come back to haunt us. (please see Chauncey Billups-We got Kenny Anderson for him - 'nuff said)
Full Court Press has an article that lists the surprises and disappointments so far this season. This would be my list of surprises and disappointments as well, probably yours too. Surprises so far include Big Al, Gerald Green, Tony Allen and Leon Powe. Good to see I am not the only one wondering why Powe, in spite of some very strong play in very limited minutes isn't getting more playing time. The disappointments include Delonte, Wally, Telfair, and Doc. Delonte is a player and has tried to play through a variety of injuries. The back is worrisome because it bothered him in training camp and is now a problem again. Backs can be tricky. Wally has a history of being injury prone in his career and we haven't seen anything different since he came here. I think Telfair is a round peg once again being stuffed into a square hole. He is at his best in a running game and in spite of promises to run for 3 years in a row, Doc has slowed the team into a half court game once again. I came into the season wanting to give Doc the benefit of the doubt but I am now firmly convinced that this team will not get to the next level with him as a coach.
A win tonight would be huge for this team but I have my doubts that they can pull it out. With Doc insisting on starting 2 players who are obviously injured and playing 30+ minutes, it really handicaps us. Wally and West can't hit jumpers because they just don't have the legs to do so and because both are struggling to move on the court, their defense has been lax as well. Join us tonight on Celtics Green for the play by play . Q is back from his vacation and I am looking forward to his sage color commentary once again.