Tag:Boston Celtics
Posted on: December 6, 2008 2:03 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2008 12:21 am
 

Celtics Weekly: Getting lax after big leads

When the Trail Blazers came to Boston Friday night they were supposed to give the Celtics a game. Portland was "faster" and "more athletic" which would lead to a bunch of transition points and easy baskets. The team that was ranked 4th in CBS's NBA power rankings didn't give the C's any sort of trouble. In fact, it was Boston that took advantage of what seemed to be a very lethargic Blazer defense to outscore Portland on the fast break and beat them at their own game.

It has become rather redundant to praise Boston for their continued success, but since they are playing so well it is difficult (and honestly rather tedious) to find something that the Celtics have done poorly recently. But I have done it! The last two games the Celts have had large leads in the third quarter (over 20) and have managed to somewhat waste them away. Yes, the lead last night never dropped below 11 after the half, but there was a point where the Celtics bench went on a cold streak which resulted in a 16-3 Portland run.

So my one criticism of the Celtics is perhaps they should work on their closing skills. Putting the nail in the coffin. Twisting the daggar. Telling the other team to start warming up the bus.

When the bench has entered the last few games, their body language tells me that they think they are the mop up crew. They are given such large leads that they don't play strong defense, march down the court, and take the first mediocre shot they find. The fact that they lose leads impacts the team because it forces the starters to play unnecissary minutes that they could be resting. Rivers has said time and again that keeping the five core guys fresh plays a major role in the success the Celts will be able to have down the stretch and with Pierce and Allen being forced to play 37 minutes last night, the bench isn't getting the job done.

The Celtics biggest challenger, Cleveland, has been able to sit LeBron James for the entire fourth quarter in 5 of their last 7 games in order to keep him rested. The last things you want to see is King James at 100% in a seven game series where Paul Pierce is tired due to over playing him.

I know the playoffs are far in the distance, and the Celtics at 19-2 are far from in trouble, but like I said, I'm just grasping at straws here, If they continue to play the way they are Boston will be fine, if maybe just a little more worn down.

Posted on: November 19, 2008 4:41 pm
 

Celtics Weekly: Gettin the W minus the Big Ticket

After suffering the loss of Kevin Garnett due to a ridiculous suspention, the Celtics were forced to play host to the New York Knicks Tuesday night without their All-star power forward. Despite almost blowing a 14 point fourth quarter lead, the C's were able to escape with a 110-101 victory over the now 6-5 Knicks.

Keys to Victory:

Equal distribution of contributions: The five players on the Celtics who played the most minutes last night (all 28+ mins) were Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Leon Powe, Ray Allen, and Kendrick Perkins. All five took between 9 and 14 shots, 4 of the 5 had 14-16 points (Pierce, who had 22, was inside that domain until he handled all of the C's possesions late in the game and got to the line 7 times in the last 2 mins), and with the team's leading rebounder out of the game, 4 of the 5 grabbed 7 or 8 boards (the exception being Allen). When one of your big guns goes down, everyone else has to fill in the missing pieces, and that's exactly what Boston was able to do last night.

Size does Matter: The Knicks are currently missed the four tallest guys on their roster: Jared Jeffries (6-11), Eddie Curry (6-11), Danilo Gallinari (6-10), and Jerome James (7-1). This meant that last night Zack Randolph (6-8), a natural power forward, was forced to start at center and match-up against 7 foot Kendrick Perkins. Not only that, but the bench players who entered to man-up on Boston's big boy were David Lee and Malik Rose, both of whom are incredibly undersized, and they got absolutely toasted. The Knicks might as well have put Nate Robinson on Kendrik the way Perk was backing their "centers" down into the paint for easy layins. In the first half Powe was able to do much of the same (although he is only 6-8 himself).

Common Criticism:

The Celtics' defense suffered without Garnett: This statement is only somewhat true. While the 101 points allowed to New York was 12 points higher than their season average of 89.7 points per game allowed, that is also 4 points less than the Knicks PPG average of 105.2. So while you obviously want to see KG in the lineup every night, it is good to see that the C's can still function both offensively and defensively against a winning team (Knicks were 6-4 entering the game) without a key member of the big three.

 
 
 
 
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