Tonight's game was a glimpse of what the future will be for this team. I know that we were playing against a Hawks team missing Joe Johnson, but they had won 4 in a row. And I also know that at least for now, this team is going to be maddeningly inconsistent. But the glimpses we get of the way they can play is enough to get any Celtics fan excited.
Perk showed tonight (and in the last game) that he can be a force in the middle when he is healthy. He is still playing in pain but is gaining some conditioning and learning to play with the pain and is producing. I still say when this kid is healthy and gets the minutes he is going to take a leap, just as Al has. Last night he had 12 points on 4-5 shooting and 12 rebounds along with 1 assist and 1 block. At one point took a pass near mid court and drove to the basket drawing a foul on Pachulia. He powered in for several dunks and fought for every rebound. I love the chemistry between Perk and Al. After the game Dickerson was interviewing Perk and Al came in and joked that Perk got the rebounds because he was on the floor. But there may be something to that as they play off each other very well.
Leon Powe also had a great game scoring 8 points and pulling down 4 rebounds in 18 minutes. He also had 4 fouls which is a key stat since after the Bulls game, Doc got on Leon for not being aggressive enough. The Green Room reported on it like this:
Celtics coach Doc Rivers chewed into rookie Leon Powe for not playing aggressively during the Chicago game Tuesday night. “I didn’t like that,” said Rivers. “I think Leon is a physical player. And you can’t be physical with zero fouls.” Rivers joked that the team was worried Powe would come out and tackle the first Hawk he saw tonight. Thankfully for Atlanta, that didn’t happen. “That’s the theory because he does exactly what you say,” said Rivers. “We were laughing about that on the plane because one of my coaches said ‘Man Leon’s going to kill someone tomorrow night.’ We were going to make sure that didn’t happen. But he has to use what he has. He has a gift of being physical.”
I love Powe as a player and love the fact that they say that he does exacly what you say. He is tough, coachable, a hard worker and gives 110% every minute on the court. You have to love what he brings to the team and I believe that he is going to be a great player. He works too hard not to.
Al once again impressed with 23 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 assist and 2 steals in just 3 quarters of play. He and Perk play very well off of each other and they are showing that chemistry on the court. I believe that Al and Perk are our front court of the future. Scal played 23 minutes and scored 2 points with 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 1 block. I still would rather see Powe get more minutes than Scal. Scal is what he is but Powe is going to continue to get better.
Doc started Rondo and West in the back court again and I really like this lineup. West plays very well off Rondo and having 2 defensive playmakers in the starting lineup creates match up problems. Rondo was the catalyst in last night's win, notching his first double double with 13 points (5-8 from the field), 10 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals. Rondo is our PG of the future as well as the present. This kid just has such amazing court sense and is showing enough offense now to keep the defenses honest. And he is just going to get better. West had a great game with 10 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal and 1 block. Just as Perk and Al play well off of each other, West and Rondo do as well.
Green again struggled with his shot going 3-9 from the field with 7 points, 2 rebounds, and 1 steal. He seems to be over thinking and trying to create rather than shooting off the catch. He passed up several open 3's trying to drive with mixed results. He needs to get back to shooting off the catch and not think about it so much and he will be fine. Allan Ray came off the bench to hit some big shots in the Celtics run finishing with 10 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist. Telfair played most of the last quarter finishing with 7 points, 1 assist and 1 steal.
We are seeing some good things from these kids. They are taking big steps in their development but are still inconsistent but as they gain experience and develop chemistry from playing together, the ups are going to come more and more often and the downs are going to be fewer and fewer. A good win for this team, but more importantly, another big step toward our future.