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Celtics Weekly: The new "Big Baby" is Chris Paul

Posted on: December 13, 2008 12:22 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2008 12:28 pm
 

                                                         

After watching the Celtics win their 22nd game of the season last night against the New Orleans Hornets three things became very obvious to me:

1) Paul Pierce is at his best in big games. During the four games prior to Friday night Pierce was shooting a sub-par 33% from the field, connected on only 3 three pointers, and averaged over 3 turnovers per game. But then the Hornets came to town. Against a team that is the best the Celtics have faced all month, a team which was a pre-season favorite to go to the NBA championship from the Western Conference, and on national television Paul Pierce dropped 28 points (9-17 from the field hitting 2 from downtown) while also contributing 6 boards and 6 assists as well as only 2 turnovers. Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen are both future hall of famers, but when the game is on the line, I want the ball in the hands of Paul Pierce.

2) Chris Paul is still the same old cry baby. Last season when the Hornets visited Boston in late March they got whacked by the Celts 112-92. During the beginning of the fourth quarter Chris Paul walked around the court like he was lost. Byron Scott eventually sat him down and everyone watched as Paul sat quietly on the bench with a towel over his head and defeated look on him face. The same exact thing happened last night in the fourth. Paul started committing stupid fouls and throwing up prays down the stretch instead of acting like a leader. Could you ever see KG, Pierce, or Allen pulling something like that? Paul has a little work in front of him before he is able to lead his team to a title.

3) Rajon Rondo still has a ways to go. Rondo has no doubt played at an all-star calibur so far this season. Last night, playing arguably the best pointguard in the league in Chris Paul, Rondo struggled mightily. Rondo can afford to shoot poorly from time to time (4-12 last night), but when that happens he needs to revert to being a point, dishing balls out, playing tough D, and energizing his team. His 2 assist, 2 turnover, 1 steal performance last night wasn't getting the job done. While I have high hopes for Rondo, I think "Rondomania" may have swept Celtics nation a little prematurely. He has to learn how to be composed in big games if he is to reach elite PG status.

While last night was an big win for the C's, I'm not convinced they have it all over the Hornets. Yes, they did hold New Orleans to 35% shooting from the floor, but that was without center Tyson Chandler in the lineup. When Boston travels down South in February I think we'll all get a better idea of how these two squads will matchup come (dare I say it?) championship time.

Comments

Since: Sep 21, 2006
Posted on: December 14, 2008 2:59 am
 

Celtics Weekly: The new "Big Baby" is Chris Paul

Totally agree with your first paragraph, but I'm really not a big fan of O'Bryan.  Never really shown me anything to make me think he's a player.  Also the other guys you mention on the bottom of the bench most likely won't see any significant time this season, barring injury of course.  The Celtics aren't going to go much more then 9 deep during minutes that count.  Of course during blowouts you'll continue to see some of these other guys get some minutes.  



Since: Nov 19, 2008
Posted on: December 13, 2008 3:07 pm
 

Celtics Weekly: The new "Big Baby" is Chris Paul

Something else that continued to be apparent last night was that the Celtics bench this season has handled the departure of James Posey quite well. In fact, it has thrived. Consistency might be a problem as the bench brigade throws a stinker at you once every couple weeks but, after all, that is why they are bench players and the starters are always there to bail them out. Powe, Davis, House, and Allen all have improved significantly from last year's squad and they are able to split up Posey's past responsibilities among themselves.

I have been a little disappointed that O'Bryant hasn't been able to work himself into the rotation because, down the line, they will need some added length at the back-up center spot. Powe and Baby are only 6'8" amd 6'9" respectively, and its too much to ask for them to continue to guard 7-footers come playoff time.

 All this and three of the most athletically gifted players on the team are not contributing yet. Walker  (22 pts/game) and Giddens (20 pts/game, 7.5 rebounds/game)  are lighting up the D-League and Pruitt hasn't found time in the rotation yet. When the Celts integrate these gifted athletes into the rotation later this year or early next, watch out.



The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com