All 5 of the Celtics starters are on the All Star Ballot. This is old hat for KG, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen as they have been on every ballot for years. But, this is the first time that both Perk and Rondo have been on the ballot. For years I have been writing in Perk's and Rondo's names on the ballot and now I get to vote for them on the ballot. You can vote at NBA.com starting Thursday so let's go Celtics fans and get behind all 5 players. Vote early and often and vote all GREEN!
Gary Payton has some sour grapes and I don't know why. Maybe it is because Payton got close to Delonte when he was mentoring him the year he was in Boston and he sees Rondo having taken Delonte's job. Maybe it is because Payton had to sell himself out cheap to championship contenders for years at the end of his career in order to finally get his ring and Rondo got his in just his second season in the league. Whatever his reasons, it cheapens him and really hurts his credibility as a sports analyst. Payton makes it sound like Rondo just lucked into a ring and had nothing to do with earning it. In a different segment, he said that Rondo doesn't belong on the All Star ballot. Very sad.
The Hawks surprised everyone in the playoffs by taking the Celtics to 7 games in the opening round. They are proving that their success in the playoffs wasn't a fluke. They are 6-0 coming into the Garden for tonight's game and they have won against some pretty lofty opponents. They beat the Hornets, Magic, Sixers, Raptors, Thunder and Bulls. The first 4 teams are contenders and the Hornets have been picked by some to win it all. So, it's not like they have been playing the bottom feeders. They are doing it with defense and hope to beat the Celtics at their own game. The Hawks are 2nd in the league in points allowed behind the Lakers who are also taking a page out of the Celtics book and winning with defense. The Celtics better take this team seriously because they are for real. And, they are looking for revenge when they come to the Garden for this game.
The slow starts for the Celtics are somewhat concerning but not something that will make me lose sleep. The starters, who should be hitting on all cylinders after playing together for a full season are for some reason struggling out of the gate. It may be because they didn't play much in the preseason. But for whatever reason, let's hope they figure it out because eventually digging themselves into a hole every game is going to come back to bite them.
Much has been made of KG's taunting of Jose Calderon. Lakers fans are jumping on the Raptors cause calling KG names and insisting that if it was any other player he would have been kicked out. But, KG is such a competitor he will do what it takes to win. If he sees that a player can be rattled he will do it. The Lakers fans who are calling KG names and putting him down for this would be singing another tune if their efforts to get KG had worked out and he was on their team. Sounds like sour grapes to me.
The Celtics bench last season was much maligned even into the Finals where many "experts" picked the Lakers to win because of their deeper bench. This season again, the bench has been questioned. With James Posey and PJ Brown gone, the bench is considered weak by many of the same "experts." But, in the Celtics' first 8 games we have seen the bench come in and make up the deficits that the starters have gotten into. This bench is very strong and will only get better as the season goes on.
Should be a good game tonight. Expect a defensive battle and a low scoring game. Hopefully the Celtics can end this win streak just as they did Houston's last season.