Last night was another slug out....By the way, did Lou Williams borrow his older brother's sport coat last night on the Philly bench? This clearly is a work in progress.
It is interesting thought that when the Celtics had the benefit of extendedd practice time, a la breaking training camp, they play better. In the beginning of the season, they looked like a juggernaut, but really how long could that last? They were chucking threes and making them. For the last, half dozen or so games, they have not been nearly as proficient.
Take the percentages out of it and think timeliness. That is really the best way to win with a three. Look no further than the Jim O'Brien years. Those teams fought hard mind you. They barely ever had no show nights during those years. However, they had no true offensive flow. It was a variety of iso plays and a ton of threes...maybe more. They lived by them, and ultimately died by them, along with an overall lack of talent. The O'B teams were offense by volume. Shoot as many threes as possible...hope enough go in. Clearly not the solution. This team is another matter. They have mutliple options, but for periods they have fallen in love with the three. They have the cabaility of having a solid, aggressive take it to the basket game, which could (and should) be supported by the deep ball.
Take stock of the options for a moment. Ray Allen has looked like Jesus Shuttlesworth at times. I think he's had more dunks in the first 15 games than he had all of last year, or so it seems. He keeps himself in fantastic shape and still has the ability to choose his spots. He should continue to do so. Look no further than last night's 1 for 6 from three. Although his role is to spot up in the drive and kick nature of this team's offense, he need s to find a way to mix in the aggressive drive to the hoop. His game has evolved from the heady final season in Seattle, where he was a mid 20's scorer, but that doesn't mean he shouldn't push the ball at the rim reagularly. He is an exceptional foul shooter and appears to have some pop in his game this season (except that lay-up last night of the E House feed...).
Rondo has been up and down at times. He has put some brilliant double doubles out there this season. Without question, he is the drive shaft of this team's car. His numbers often end up good, but the troubling thing is the stretches of time during a game where he doesn't force the issue more. Last night, it wasn't until the fourth quarter that he flexed his muscles and will on the game. He was simply brilliant in that quarter. Now I don't wish to go Felger here and complain about a win, but if they are going to get to Number 18, they need to find a sense of purpose earlierr in the game. Rondo is the gut to do that. Rondo is one of the most unique NBA players that I've seen in nearly 30 years of watching the league. He is like Plasticman out there with an Einsteinian feel for the game. Although some may cringe, his game has familiar overtones of Magic. He can rebound and go. He dictates where players need to be, and generally is pass first (although not nearly as creative, yet effective). That being said, I would like to see a more consistent push in the first and third quaters. At home the first is the time to set the tone, and the third is the time to put the thing away. Rondo has the ability to dictate every facet of the game out there, and should. Despite the fact that three first ballot Hall-of Famers are often flanking him on the court. They look for him after every defensive rebound, and off he goes to set the team. He has the ability to control the games entirely without scoring, which is truly unique.
KG...well I say give hime a pass. If Rondo is the drive shaft, then KG is the motor. The defense begins and ends with him. I look at his situation as something Brady-esque. Over the last few weeks, there is speculation about the pop missing from KG's game. The latest version of Grey's Anatomy says the knee is fine. Now, it's the shins. I'm no doctor, nether are most of you. So, let's just let the thing develop. Like Brady, and others, he should and will (most likely) come around. In the meantime, I'll take him every night over not having him. Look no further than Sunday. There he is 3 for lots, but then in an instant, he's 4 for lots plus one, with a game winner. Be positive for a minute, and take it. It's better than 3 for lots plus one and a loss to the lowly "Which Basket Are We Shooting At Knicks" (Note to file, it's a good bet than Mike D'Antoni: A. Never saw that in Italy and B. Wishes Steve Nash hadn't reisigned with Phoenix and was available in 2010.. after all he's not planning on having Chris Duhon pass Lebron the ball is he?). Back to reality, the moral of the story is let KG chest pound himself back to the mountain top, and enjoy the finger rolls (I think I've seen more from him this year than any player since either Dr.J or Iceman) until the dinks return.
Pierce...well let's keep it simple here, MVP. Look it, I'm not wearing my green glasses herre this morning. He is the most effective player on this team this year. He had a grat block in the fourth last night, scored in a variety of ways, and generally imposed his will all night. That has been the pattern this year. Now I know all about Kobe and LeBron. I am a fan too. Anyone with League Pass can give you an update on thos guys, and they deserve it. I'd even throw in Carmelo Anthony as an early candidate. Sorry Hawks, I am impressed, but I can't bring myself to believe it yet. So, no go for Joe Johnson...best player on best team be damned. With all that out there, I have watched Pierce for his whole carrier, and this is his best yet. He remade himself, when KG arrived, and clearly has figured it out over the last few years. Hehas always been a top shelf scorer. He has every move a scorer could hope for. The three, the stop-and-go herky jerky mid range drive and pull-up, the jab and step back (see last night), the drive and dunk, etc and so on. Tom Heinsohn once called him the best offensive Celtic ever. I being the Bird-era fan that I am though this to be heresy. However, the more games that pass, I am now starting to accept at least a tie. The kid truly has it all and should be considered at a minimum a top five player thus far in the year. If the Celtics finish the year as the best team, and his play continues, I say why not?
Perk...Just keep Perkolating. He is doing it. He was on 72% FG tear going into last night. Just rebound kid.
The bench has lots to offer. Let's just put it this way. There is a minimum of three players on the Green Team that could and would start on most clubs. Back to the three ball here. It's this simple balance the show a little more. Sheed for every three take two two's. E House don't change. The three is your game. Come off screens too, just keep playing. Marquis, you are a pleasant addition. You are smart and talented. It will all be fine off the bench. Forget last night's Philly outscoring Boston's bench anomaly. They shoot cuckoo off the bench. It was a classic example of playing up to competition.
Here's the bottom line. This is the most talented team in the League on most nights. They need to balance a little more, lose the Calipari drive and kick offense, mix in some lay-ups, and in the interest of completeness (even though I never mentioned it) Rebound the BALL! Buckle-up people it's long year. Think of it like this: one Patriots game is is like 10 Red Sox games or 5 Celtics games. That being said if we're all panicking over 4th and 2, then we shouldn't panick until we drop 5 straight, adn that's never going to happen!
Be respectful and keep it clean. Thanks.