I miss one day online because of a hard drive crash and it seems like I have been out of touch forever. First, some thoughts and then on to last night's game.
First, it surprised me that the Celtics released Batista. Doc had been talking about keeping players for need and it seems to me that back up center is a need. This tells me a few things. One, they expect Pollard to be healthy this season in spite of already missing all of the preseason so far. Second, they expect Powe and Big Baby to be able to play some back up center. So far in the preseason, when Perk goes out, Powe has come in at center and he has done a decent job of it. Third, they may have their eyes on another veteran they expect to be available in their price range. Guess we will just have to wait and see.
A little Blurb on Twin Cities.com leads us to believe that all is not rosy in Celticland.
Word in Boston is that the Celtics' Ray Allen was taken aback by some uncouth language used by Kevin Garnett during a practice, and he let the former Timberwolves star know about it.
I really hope that there aren't petty arguments starting to pop up because hard feelings off the court could lead to problems on the court. It is something to watch, anyway.
Now on to the good stuff. In spite of it just being a preseason game, last night was very exciting! For one thing, we beat the Knicks. I really dislike the Knicks. It was funny, reading the Knicks boards, the comments went from "The Celtics are over rated. We did just as much to improve our team." and "Forget Boston's Big 3, they have to face New York's Big 3 of Curry, Zeebo and Q!" to "Oh my, this isn't how I wanted the game to go" and "Have we ever had a 40 point loss before? We stink." It was pretty fun to read the progression.
As for the Celtics, they were great from start to finish. The starting lineup is showing more chemistry with every game and becoming more efficient. The bench is also beginning to show cohesion, but they still need work. The most exciting thing to watch is the ball movement. The touch passes by KG, the drive and kick by Rondo and Pierce. The easy dunks by Perk on great feeds to him in the post. It is a thing of beauty. The Celtics had 27 assists on 40 baskets which shows that they are finding the open man with regularity.
The Celtics shot 56% from the field and 70% from 3, which shows that they are taking open 3's and not forcing them. The one area of concern so far is free throw shooting. As a team we shot 53.7%. This has to be improved as many times games can be won or lost on free throws. The Celtics out rebounded the Knicks 44-43 and that is good considering the Knicks front line of Curry and Randolph.
As far as individual performances KG, Pierce and RA impressed as expected. Pierce finished with 22 points on 7-8 shooting to go with 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks, and 1 steal and was awarded the Tommy Award for his efforts. Ray Allen finished with 14 points (6-8), 2 rebounds, and 1 assist. Ray is so smooth, whether he is driving to the basket or pulling up for a jumper. KG didn't have a great shooting night, 6-15 for 13 points, but he did leave his mark everywhere else with 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 blocked shots. The biggest thing about KG is his intensity. Even with a 30 point lead, he was on the side lines yelling out to his teammates on the floor and was as intense as if it was a playoff game. How can you not play hard with a guy like KG encouraging and tutoring from the bench. And, it isn't just talk. When he was on the floor, he dove for loose balls and played like it was game 7 in the finals. At one point, there was a scare when he came down on Richardson's foot and turned his ankle, limping up court. But, after a time out, he was right back out on the court playing just as hard. We haven't seen this type of intensity and sacrifice in games for a long, long time.
Rondo did a great job running the offense again and kept the tempo up and that was an advantage for the Celtics. He finished with 5 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals. This kid is so quick on both ends of the floor. And he is just going to get better. Eddie House did a good job off the bench as the back up PG. He played 15 minutes and finished with 5 points, 1 rebound and 3 assists. Pruitt was impressive running the point in the 4th quarter. He still has trouble with pressure but otherwise looked good. He played 17 minutes and finished with 13 points, 1 rebound, 4 assists and 1 steal. With a little more experience, he is going to be very good.
Perk got into early foul trouble and played only 20 minutes. Once again he got easy dunks on great feeds inside from KG, Pierce and Rondo. He finished with 4 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 2 steals and 1 block. Hopefully he can figure out how to limit the fouls. Powe backed him up at center and did a very good job. In 11 minutes he scored 8 points, pulled down 7 rebounds and also had 1 steal and 1 block. Big Baby had some good minutes as well with 6 points, 1 rebound, and 2 assists in 15 minutes of play. Scal had a very good game with 5 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 block in 19 minutes. He played some very good defense as well. Posey played only 10 minutes and finished with 2 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist.
As for the 3 players left on the bubble, Wallace played 9 minutes and finished with a quiet 3 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 block. Manuel finished with 2 points and 1 rebound in 8 minutes and Jones had 2 points and 2 rebounds in 9 minutes. Of the 3, I expect Wallace to stick with the team and the other 2 to be cut in the near future. Tony Allen sat out the game along with Pollard due to an eye injury from practice the day before.
The best thing about the Celtics being at home was hearing Tommy call the game. The fans of the opposing teams hate Tommy because he is such a homer, but that is why I love him so much. The quote of the night was when House hit a 3 and Tommy just gushed.
"You gotta love Eddie House! He's not a cottage, he's a house!"
And of course, Tommy was quick to point out that the officials missed quite a few calls. Once again, there is much to be excited about in Boston these days!!