First, the Good News. As of tonight's game, the Celtics no longer have to keep Delonte on the active list during his suspension. The rule is that in suspensions up to 5 games, the suspended player must remain on the active list but if the suspension goes over 5 games, then the player can be placed on the inactive list for the remainder of the suspension. So, tonight, if either Bradley or Shaq is healthy enough to play, the Celtics could have 12 available healthy players for the first time this season.
The ideal situation would be for Shaq to be healthy enough to dress and be able to play in an emergency if the Celtics run into foul trouble as they did in the last game with both Jermaine O'Neal and Big Baby fouling out. But, if neither Avery Bradley or Shaq is healthy enough to play, it might just be a moot point as the person that replaces Delonte on the active list won't be able to play either. But, even if Shaq isn't healthy enough to play tonight, he may be in one of the Celtics tough road trip coming up.
The Celtics are starting a very rough stretch as after the game tonight vs Chicago, they go on the road to face some pretty tough competition. They have a day off on Saturday and then had to Oklahoma City and face a young and athletic team with one of the best players in the league in Kevin Durant and a very good PG in Russell Westbrook. The next night they play the Mavericks, who are always tough but will be tougher in the second of back to back games after having to travel over night as well. They get 2 days off to regroup and then face the Heat, who haven't lost since the Celtics beat them on opening night and you know that they will be gunning for the Celtics to avenge that loss. Finally, they head to Memphis and play the Grizzlies before heading back home for some rest before a Wednesday game vs the Wizards at the Garden. Whew! I'm getting tired just writing about it! One thing I know for sure. Doc HAS to use the bench more. The starters can't play over 40 minutes and still have enough in the tank to win games at the end. And, if the Celtics want to win any of those games, the bench has to step up.
One of the Celtics strengths going into this season was believed to be their bench. A funny thing happened in the first 5 games of the season though... the bench has been largely ineffective. The injuries and Delonte's suspension have pretty much limited the bench's effectiveness. But unless Doc can get more out of the bench, the starters will be completely worn out by Christmas. Against the Bucks, a lineup of Erden, Baby, Daniels, Wafer and Nate came in with a 25-16 lead and very quickly turned that into just a one point lead at 32-31. Because the bench just isn't getting it done, the starters are logging way too many minutes. Rondo is averaging a league high 41.6 minutes per game. No wonder the poor guy has sore feet. In the Bucks game, Nate, Erden and Wafer got a combined 10 minutes playing time, while the trio of KG, Pierce and Ray logged 120 minutes in the second of back to back games. It might be better to lose a couple of these games while the bench is still working on their chemistry and getting healthy than to wear out the starters.
A Sherrod Blakely has a great article on CSNNE. In it, he discusses the rule that will allow the Celtics to have 12 players available. But he also talks about how on Thursday, a day they were scheduled to have off, the Celtics were in the practice facility working hard on their individual games. That is pretty exciting news. These guys are all very serious about winning. And that's very exciting.
Finally, my take on the KG/Charlie V controversy. First of all, trash talk happens all the time. Larry Bird was probably the king of trash talk and from what I've heard, he would stop at nothing to rattle a foe. KG is the same way. He's going to say some pretty rough stuff out there to get under guys' skins. That's the psychological side of the game. That's why it's called TRASH talk. That being said, the fact that Doc backed up what KG said, I believe it. Doc said he was yelling it right in front of him. KG was yelling at Charlie that he was a cancer and that every team he plays on loses. He's got a point there. Doc wouldn't lie about hearing what KG said. He would just stay out of it if KG was wrong and let him take his lumps.
With all that being said, it doesn't matter what KG said, Charlie is totally wrong for tweeting it and whining to the media and public like a little kid who was called a bad name. If you remember, Charlie was the player who was tweeting at half time of a game they were losing when he should have been preparing for the second half. If he was offended by what he thought KG said to him, he should have gone to him personally and cleared it up. But to tweet it and make a big issue of it, especially when he didn't even get what KG said right, was very much out of line. Of course he wouldn't say that KG called him a cancer. That may be too close to being true. But by saying that KG called him a cancer patient, he hoped to get some sympathy and make KG a villain. Sorry, Charlie, it didn't work because others heard what he actually said. It's Charlie who should apologize and not KG.