The knock on the Celtics so far is that they haven't played the West's best teams yet. Tonight they get first crack at one of them as the Mavs come to town. I have a feeling that KG will play in this one even though Celtics.com game notes has Scal in the starting lineup and it will more than likely be a game time decision. With a healthy KG against Dirk, and the Celtics playing the kind of defense they found once again down in Miami, the Celtics have a very good chance to win this. Rondo has to keep up his aggressiveness, even with KG and Ray back. In my opinion, that is one of the keys and the other is to get back to aggressive defense. When they play that kind of defense, the offense feeds off it. When they back off on defense then their offense is off as well. It all has to start with defense.
Look at this clip on ESPN. at about the 31 second mark, there is a pass from Rondo to Powe. Absolutely one of the best passes I have ever seen from a point guard. It is like a side armed bullet bounce pass. incredible. And Powe wasn't too bad on the catch and bucket either.
Speaking of Leon Powe, NBA TV had a nice interview with him that you can see here. I love this kid. He works so hard and is a nice kid on top of it. The Herald has a story about him today as well and how can you not like a kid who hands out hand written thank you notes to the coaches and team personnel after his rookie season. It is very evident that Powe should be getting minutes over Scal. If Doc is trying to showcase Scal, then playing him is the worst possible thing to do. I mean 22 minutes with 1 point and 1 rebound is not going to get anyone's attention. If he is playing him because he thinks he gives us more than Powe, or even Big Baby, then Doc is just not a very smart coach. Scal is going to make a great coach someday. He has the basketball IQ but just doesn't have the skills to match.
It looks like Stoudamire is going to sign with the Spurs. The Mavs are trying to make a deal for Kidd. The other top teams are working on deals to make them better. The Spurs have to do something as they are really not playing well of late. But, you can never count them out. They have a way of pulling it all together when it counts. The Celtics still need a PG and rumors have it that Danny is still trying to get Cassell. If the Celtics can get Cassell, it would be the final piece to take this team to the championship. He is a savvy veteran PG who could give us a very quality 10-20 minutes a night behind Rondo along with giving Rondo some good mentoring. Celtics Blog points out that it will come down to what Cassell wants more, a ring or money. I say at this point in his career, go for the ring.
There are several threads wanting Delonte back in Boston because he has been put on the back burner in Seattle. We can't trade for him because the league prohibits a trade for a player that you have traded away in the same season. But, if the Sonics were to waive him or cut him, then the Celtics could pick him up. He could also give us 10-20 minutes behind Rondo. He knows the system, is a good kid, and would fit right in with the team.
Tonight's game is on TNT. We had Sunday's game on ABC and Tuesday's game on NBA-TV. All three games this week have been on national TV. Is there any more evidence that the Celtics are back? In one week, we have more national TV exposure than we had almost all of last year. Yesterday, in the top ten plays of the day for 1/29 on NBA TV, Wally Szczerbiak had the number 2 play of the night as he drove hard to the baseline for a huge one handed dunk. I was amazed to see him moving that well. He still has some play in him. I thought Wally was a classy guy and am glad to see him come back from the injuries to play that well. I still remember him coming to the game directly from the physical after the trade and begging to play.
Tonight's game could be a good one if KG plays. If not, Scal doesn't have a chance to contain Dirk and we would be in for a long night. The only other option might be a rusty Pollard, but Powe and Baby don't have the height to stop Dirk although they would try their best to do so. Perk doesn't have the mobility to stop him. That being said, if KG isn't 100%, he should sit. If everyone else comes out with the fire and aggressiveness on both ends of the floor that they had against Miami, let Dirk go off and contain everyone else and we could get a win regardless.