The Celtics are looking for revenge against the Cavs. They almost won in Cleveland and played very poorly for most of the game. They were out-rebounded by the Cavs and the only reason for this team being out-rebounded is if they don't put out the effort to get the rebounds. The Celtics are also a better rebounding team when Perk is in the game. Even if he doesn't grab the rebound himself, he is excellent at boxing out, thus allowing his teammates to get the rebounds.
LeBron is a game time decision as to whether he will play. The Cleveland game notes have Devin Brown starting and LeBron as a game time decision. According to the Cleveland papers he was going to practice yesterday. Unless he did something to re-injure the finger in practice, I expect him to start today. For the Celtics this is for revenge of one of their 2 losses in which they didn't play well. For the Cavs, it is about making a statement that they are the defending Eastern Conference champions and worthy of it. I expect to see a well rested LeBron on the court today. I am sure the Celtics would rather that he plays so that when they win there won't be any asterisks on the W.
I am puzzled by the Top 10 Plays on NBA TV. The Celtics rarely get picked in spite of some very nice plays in every game that make you say "wow". On Thursday night, the Celtics played the Knicks and there were plenty of great plays that could have been included in the top 10 of the night as they methodically dismantled the Knicks. Add to that there were only 3 games that night. You would think that the top 10 plays of the night would have had plenty of Celtics highlights. They had one highlight from the Celtics/Knicks game and that was Nate Robinson's desperation heaved that saved them from entering the record books for futility. No other Celtics highlights. Even now, the Celtics aren't getting respect.
Injuries are always a concern and so much has been made of KG sporting a knee brace in the last game. When asked about it, he had this to say:
"We are good. Me included in that we. Wins always make the body feel better."
Not very committal. Also interesting that he didn't make it personal, but included himself in the we. I am sure he didn't want to draw any attention to it, but it is a concern when you see your best player suddenly start sporting a bulky knee brace out of the blue.
James Posey was a very good signing for the Celtics. Reading the piece on him in the Globe today just reminded me of what he brings to this team. When we first signed him, I liked the part where Miami, Cleveland and New Jersey had all gone after him and made offers and he chose Boston. We improved our team while preventing our competition from improving theirs. The fact that he brings championship experience is also a plus. The fact that he stands at mid court and hugs every starter with words of encouragement to get them fired up before every game is unique and it is a great thing. Unity on a team between teammates is important and what better way to foster it.
Of the top 8 teams in the league right now, the Celtics have played only 2 of them, Cleveland and Orlando, and they have lost to both. The Celtics also haven't played their best basketball as yet. Ray Allen has struggled in most of the games and has yet to really find his stroke. KG and Pierce have both struggled at times and the Celtics are still trying to build chemistry. The Celtics have played some very good defense, but from time to time forget to play defense, like against both Cleveland and Orlando, and in the 4th quarter against the Heat. The Celtics are 13-2 but have only played the top 8 teams twice and lost to them both. When opposing teams play tough defense on the Celtics, it seems to rattle them. So, there are still plenty of questions for this team to answer.
Today should be a good game. They have the loss to avenge and this is one of the top teams they need to beat to start to answer some of those questions. I hope they are up for it.
I have Paul and Kevin in nba.com fantasy league and I really don't like their contribution right now. KG doesn't have double double? Argh, OK. He doesn't have one single stat column in double digits? 8 points? 9 rebounds? Ummm...who want's KG in a trade? We're to good to be true...