Celtics face the Pacers tonight at home. They are coming in somewhat rested and with a "quality" practice under their belts but still hurting with West and Wally on the shelf for the practice. West may or may not play tonight and if he does play, can he be effective? Will he do more harm to himself by pushing himself to play? Same goes for Wally. First he had 1 sprained ankle. Then he had 2 sprained ankles. Now he has 2 sprained ankles and a swollen knee from compensating for his 2 sprained ankles. And it isn't like Wally is playing so great that Doc can't stand being without him. Doc should sit Wally and let him get healthy and play Green to give him the minutes he needs to grow. Same with West. Let the guy heal and play Rondo more. And while he is at it. PLAY POWE!! But this is Doc we are talking about and he will limit Wally to 35-40 minutes and will play Scal 30 minutes and will play West even if he has to drag himself onto the floor.
The Globe Notebook reports that West and Wally sat out practice. Doc will be surprised if West can go tonight and maybe not even Friday. But Wally should go with possibly limited minutes. We saw how Doc limits Wally's minutes. He played him into the ground last season when he was playing on a creaky knee. More on this can be found here. Also in this article, Perk conjectures that possibly their play at home has been suffering from the cold in the arena. Maybe Wyc could spring for some heat in the place. Pierce's progress should be getting re-evaluated some time this week.
The Herald Notebook chronicle's Green's problems getting used to the new/old ball. His 3's are on target but coming up short or long. He will spend one day after practice shooting 3's till he gets the feel right. The league really made a mistake going to the new ball without more feedback from the players. And then switching back mid year was an even bigger mistake in my opinion. Perk is still working on getting back in game shape after being out for 10 games. With practice at a premium and playing time limited, it has taken awhile but he is making progress.
Celtics.com reports that Tony is having success by taking the ball to the basket. He has benefitted the most from Pierce's absence. It may be because Doc hasn't given any of the other young players more playing time, though. Tony has been the only player (including the vets) that has been aggressive on both ends of the floor on a consistent basis. But as mentioned yesterday, Mike Fine wonders if this may get him traded rather than cement his place on the team. Scott Souza reports on the Celtics' quality practice after the extended period of travel and away games. With Pierce out, the Celtics are looking for leadership and Tony has stepped up to lead with his play and Delonte seems to be the vocal leader. I wouldn't count out Perk as a leader either as he has stepped up several times even when Pierce was in the lineup. My favorite time was in Perk's second year when he called out Pierce for his lackluster play. Speaking of Perk, it reports that the pain is still there in his foot but now it is manageable. He has been trying to play himself back into game shape with limited minutes and virtually no practices. I love Perk.
Blackathlete.net reports that in spite of the losses, there is a silver lining for the Celtics. I have been saying this all along also. We have seen steady growth from Al, Tony, and Gerald and in spite of the losses, they have produced some great numbers. When everyone gets healthy, we are going to be a deep and very good team. Many fans are impatient and want to win now, but I see some good things happening if we can be patient just a little longer. This next draft is deep with some very promising big men at the top. We have young players who are just starting to come into their own and will become stars if we keep this team together and don't make any desperation moves.
Playing at home isn't as comforting as it should be since we have struggled so far at home. The Pacers have been playing strong since O'Neal has challenged his teammates. They have won 2 in a row but they played last night. In spite of being listed as day to day with a sprained ankle, O'Neal played 30+ minutes last night. We can only hope they will come in tired and give us a chance to steal one at home. We will have to play a lot better than we did in Orlando to do so, though. Shooting 32% is just not going to get it done. Join us on Celtics Green for the play by play tonight.