1) Big Baby
An NBA record was set Saturday night: Never before have so many people simultaneously pointed at their TVs and screamed the word, "Baby!"
Taking a page from the Kendrick Perkins We-Shall-Not-Be-Moved school of defense, Glen Davis stymied Rasheed Wallace on one end of the floor while decimating the Pistons on the offensive side. With seven all stars sharing the court it was rookie Davis who stole the evening. His fast feet (also known as baby steps), superb hands and great use of bulk stunned the Pistons.
Time and again Paul Pierce drove the lane and dished to the rookie. Detroit, not believing what they were seeing, made no adjustments, continuing to over-cover the big three while leaving Glen Davis free to position himself under the basket.
The beautiful thing is: let the Pistons adjust. Next time the teams play they'll pay full attention to Big Baby, and when they do Garnett or Pierce or Allen will be left in single coverage.
Now it's Detroit that's uncertain.
Which leads to this: I'm getting weary of hearing about how the Celtics haven't played the Suns, Mavs or Spurs. The Celtics are playing basketball on a level seen once every hoops epoch. The Spurs are a four time champion. They've earned the respect of being considered the ultimate test— but the Mavs and Suns? Those two franchises have as many rings as the Bobcats.
IMSO (In my swaggerly opinion) the Celtics are the best team in basketball. It's Dallas and Phoenix that have to prove themselves against Boston, NOT the other way around.
Around the nation and the world, followers of other teams have become increasingly bitter. They jealously claim Ainge was "handed" this team, or that the Celtics have had an easy schedule (see above), or blindly say that it won't last.
I have a word for this: Grenvy. It's what you get when you blend "Green" and "Envy." So next time you read someone sourly discounting the jaw-dropping resurgence of basketball's preeminent franchise, you don't have to respond. They're just grenvious.
4) Consider this:
I don't think there have been more than two games all year where all three of the trio grande have had great shooting nights on the same evening. Part of the reason is that Ray Allen still hasn't gotten his shot locked down yet, which is not to say Ray hasn't contributed to every win he's played in. (The Celtics beat Toronto and Milwaukee with one Allen tied behind their back.) Ray's defense has been FAR better than advertised. His savvy positioning on the court has played havoc with the opposition. They cannot lay off him.
I think his out of sync shooting is largely caused by the off-season surgery. When your ankles feel different it takes some time to adjust. That will happen— probably sooner rather than later. You can see how near he is to getting the stroke back. He's very close. It's just a matter of time.
Regardless, Ray Allen was a great throw-in in the Glen Davis trade.
5) Allen part deux
Tony Allen is coming around too. He's really been contributing recently.
The funny thing about Tony is he scares the hell out of fans of BOTH teams every time he has the ball. He's constantly swaying and jerking back and forth. You just can't predict whose heart he's going to break with his next movement. He's like that even in postgame interviews— swaying back and forth while answering questions. I keep reflexively reaching out toward the television to catch him.
Anyway, Tony Allen is the big wild card. If he keeps growing like this, he makes life a grenvious hell for other teams.
6) Why this will continue
The reason the record is no illusion is because it's based on defense. Offense comes and goes, but the D has been rock solid every game not played in Salt Lake City.
I'm not saying I expect the Celtics to maintain this other-worldly pace of winning. That would be close to impossible. But I expect their high level of energy and defense to continue. That should be enough to raise a tall crop of Ws by harvest time in April.
7) Open roster spots
We know the following:
*There are two open roster spots
*Brandon Wallace was let go because he couldn't help now.
*Though he's showed promise, Gabe Pruitt doesn't seem to be in the plans for this year.
*The Celtics could use a nifty back up point guard.
*Most importantly, there are plenty of disgruntled vets and cheap owners out there. The best combo that comes to mind is Donald Sterling and Sam Cassell. Sam is a buddy of Garnett, a good guy to have on any team, and wants out of the not-evil LA franchise.
Wouldn't it be nice if Reggie Lewis' old Baltimore protege ended up here?
Talk about doing no wrong... Every guy Danny Ainge brought in this off-season has contributed on a level ranging from pleasant surprise to league MVP. Pruitt, Davis, Pollard, House, Posey, Allen, Garnett. Not a dud in the bunch.
Notice how the fomenting grenvy across America is so often vented at the greatest basketball broadcaster in the land? Thanks to League Pass, I never read comments on a Celtic game from opposing fans that don't include some anti-Tommy raving.
Don't these nice folks realize that the broadcasts are meant for us, and that they're just eavesdropping?
9) Speaking of which
It's great for all the Celtics broadcasters and long-time beat writers to get to cover this team after so many down years. Their lives must be more pleasant now. Of course in wishing the local press well I do not necessarily include every columnist from the Boston Globe, the last of whom finally acknowledged the true prominence of this team only after the recent west coast sweep.
Their opinions on Danny Ainge the last few years speak for themselves. Sometimes smart people can be so dumb.
10) Changing times
All this winning has led to steady Celtics talk during the heart of the Patriots run for undefeated immortality. You'd think there would be a green blackout until after the Uberbowl. But no. The Celtics are back, the buzz keeps building, and the new era has only just begun.