Rough Day Tuesday was a rough day for me. It started at 3 am when I was abruptly awakened by my cat peeling out across my face. I now have some pretty deep gashes across my face. Thankfully I didn't need stitches but will probably have a scar or two. Then, I was doing the links in the morning and my computer crashed. I have had ongoing problems with this computer and it is very frustrating. Thankfully I got it back and it was must a heat issue and not the motherboard. I feel very lost without my computer. At least my Celtics beat the Clippers. I really needed that after the day I had. Celtics North and South The Timberwolves now have 6 players on their team that are former Celtics (Jefferson, Gomes, Telfair, Green, Ratliff and Walker). The Miami Heat now have 3 players who are former Celtics on their team (Blount, Davis, and Banks). It was 4 before they waived Luke Jackson. What else do these two teams have in common? They have the worst two records in the league. It has to be a coincidence, doesn't it?
Trade Front Heating Up With the steal - er, trade - of Gasol to LA, the trade gates are open. The trade of Shaq to Phoenix is surprising. First, he has been in a steep decline over the past 4 seasons. He has been averaging fewer points and rebounds each season and has been missing more games each season and he is set to make $20 million each year through 2010. The Suns have the best record in the west and were pretty much clicking on all cylinders and now they change the whole dynamic of the team. Will Shaq be able to run like the Suns do? It seems that either the Suns are going to have to slow their game down a bit to fit with Shaq's game or the league has to approve roller skates for centers over 300 pounds. I just don't see him being a good fit for the team. On the other hand, the Heat got a very good player in Shawn Marion. He will make them better. Banks was a throw in, I am sure. The Heat now has to depend on Mark Blount as their center. How long will it be until he gets dissatisfied there and stops trying as has been his MO other places. It seems to me that Phoenix is making a mistake. They are depending on two older and often injured and fragile players in Shaq and Grant Hill and have given up a very good player and defender in Shawn Marion. We missed playing the new look Lakers, but will catch the new look Suns twice and have one more game with the Heat.
Bench Notes The Celtics bench has been much maligned this season. As this season has gone on, we have seen some very good play from the second unit. Doc usually has one of the three stars on the floor at all times but in the Clippers game, the unit of Eddie House, Tony Allen, James Posey, Leon Powe and Big Baby were in the game for the whole 4th quarter and played very well. I really like that unit and hope that Doc saw how successful they were and puts them out there again. That unit played well together and they didn't need Pierce, Ray or KG out there with them. If Doc would play this unit more often, then the stars can get more rest. Leon Powe is playing very well. He brings toughness and rebounding inside as well as an offensive touch around the basket. I really hope Doc doesn't forget about him once KG comes back. On the other hand, I could do without seeing quite as much Scal. KG's injury could be a blessing in disguise as the bench has made a big leap in his absence. Aggressive Rondo Rondo has also made a big leap recently and has been very aggressive lately. It is like he has taken his game to another level. He has also been hitting his jumpers. We are seeing Rondo's confidence growing game by game. I have no doubt that he is going to be one of the top PGs in the league before long. He reminds me of a weeble. He is constantly getting knocked down but he always pops back up. Wednesday night, he had cotten up his nose to stop it bleeding. He got flattened by Sam Cassell. But he gets back up and goes right back at it. It appeared that he went into the Clippers' locker room at the half. I can seel Rondo going to Cassell at the half and telling him that there was no offense taken. If you missed Cassell's flagrant foul on Rondo, here it is.
Speaking of Cassell. Yesterday, there were stories all over about Cassell wanting a buyout and wanting to play in Boston. The Globe had a big article on how Cassell has his agent working on the buyout and that is the only way he can get to Boston and he is willing to give up money to come to Boston. Now today, there is an article on AHN that says that he isn't looking for a buyout and doesn't want to come to the Celtics. I just can't imagine Marc Spears getting it all so wrong and completely mis-quoting Sam that much. Something is up for the story to have changed so drastically overnight. Marc Spears stands by his article and says that he has the whole interview on tape. Maybe Cassell was just getting flack from his team and is trying to be a good teammate. Yesterday, it seemed like a buyout was only a matter of time. Today, who knows.
KG in Minny KG traveled with the team to Minnesota but is not expected to play. I imagine it will be a very emotional night for him even if he doesn't play. The game is on ESPN and Sunday's game against the Spurs is on ABC. We have had more national TV games this season already then we had in the last 3 years. The Wolves will be up for this game and hopefully the Celtics will be up to win it for KG. The Wolves felt they should have won the game in Boston and will be looking for revenge. They have a lot of talent on that team but with youth comes inconsistency. Look out for them in a couple of years if McHale is patient. Tonight, though, I expect them to be on their game and will give the KG-less Celtics a run for their money.
Dunk Contest I know that it is a marketing thing, but I don't like the fan voting for the dunk contest. It will end up being a popularity contest like the All Star voting and the best dunker might not win. With Gerald Green's delicate ego, if he comes up with the best dunks and then doesn't win because Dwight Howard or Rudy Gay is more popular with the fans, then it may take a toll on him that he won't get over. I still think that Green has potential. One day it may just click and his head is going to catch up with his athleticism and talent and he will be quite a player. He may have the best dunk but I don't see him winning a popularity contest right now. On the other hand, I thought Dwight Howard was robbed last season. He should have been in the finals and then who knows, he may have been the champion. We didn't get to see his best dunks.
Gomes' Future Ryan Gomes will be a free agent after this season. There is an article on Canis Hoopus that questions what Gomes will cost the Wolves to try to resign. I wonder if the Celtics might go after him and try to bring him back to Boston. With his whole family in this area, I would think that if the Celtics make an offer he would consider it. He would be a good pickup and I would love to have him back in Boston. But then again, he has more opportunity in Minnesota where he would likely remain a starter and in Boston he would be coming off the bench. Lots of speculation, but worth thinking about. Flu Epidemic There have been players all over the league who have been out with the flu. On the Celtics Scal, House and Ray Allen and Paul Pierce have had bouts with it. The Clippers had 2 players recovering from it when they played in Boston. Last night Tracy McGrady came to the game after spending the day in the hospital getting fluids. You would think that teams would require their players to get a flu shot. Very simple thing. I know I used to get the flu almost every year until I started getting flu shots and haven't gotten it since. With these guys playing during flu season, I would think that this is something that teams would think of. But then, I have never seen as many players out with the flu as there have been this season. With all the players having the flu this season, maybe they will make it a requirement next season.