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Tag:Delonte West
Posted on: April 30, 2011 6:05 pm
 

Playoff Fix: No room to breathe with Heat-Celtics

Posted by Royce Young



One Big Thing: Does anyone else get the sense that Game 1 is really, really important in this series? Either way, a tone is getting set. Either the Heat make a statement that things have changed and they're ready for the Celtics or Boston makes one saying it's more of the status quo.

Heck, package it in even tighter than that. The first six minutes of this game could say a whole lot about it. There's going to be a real mental aspect to this series and every little play is going to feel extremely large. I still haven't wrapped my head around this just being the Eastern Conference Semifinals yet.

The X-Factor: It's Rajon Rondo. There's absolutely no doubt about it. Miami has no one to guard him and with him getting his feel and command back against the Knicks, Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra likely haven't slept the last 72 hours. The good Rondo changes every little thing about this series. If he's keyed in, breaking down the Miami defense and distributing, it's hard to see how the Heat can guard Boston for 48 minutes.

The Adjustment: Would Spoelstra dare get creative with his matchups? Mario Chalmers was good in Game 5 for the Heat, but could we see a lot of Dwyane Wade on Rondo? Of course now you've got to account for Ray Allen, but I get the feeling Mike Bibby and Chalmers have a better chance chasing Allen off screens than they do slowing Rondo off the dribble.

The Sticking Point: The season series tilted 3-1 in Boston's favor with the one Miami win coming when Rondo was in his post-Perk funk and the Celtics slipping a bit as a team. Hard to really take too much from that. Except maybe that the Heat built some confidence. I mean, remember at All-Star Weekend when James Jones beat Ray Allen and Paul Pierce in the 3-point contest and said, "We finally beat you guys in something. " To that point, the Celtics were in their heads. Maybe just that simple regular season win has removed some of that doubt.

The Celtics conceded home court in this series with a poor finish. Not that Miami has a great advantage there (Fan Up, amirite?) but still, it's called "advantage" for a reason. Starting at home fresh off that win could be a big thing for the Heat. And with this first game, the first six minutes, heck the first possession being big, that could be the edge the Heat need to get started right.
Posted on: April 29, 2011 3:05 pm
Edited on: April 29, 2011 3:30 pm
 

Celtics-Heat: The X's and O's

How do the Heat and Celtics match up on both sides of the ball?
Posted by Matt Moore




It was inevitable, really. From the moment the Triad formed last summer, the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics have been eyeing one another. The dominant team in the East doesn't like any team acting like they're in the same league with the defending champs, much less a team that hadn't played a single game together saying they're going to win multiple NBA championships. A 3-1 advantage in the regular series gives Boston the mental edge, but the Heat took the lone meeting after the Celtics traded Perkins and destabilized their chemistry. 

Playoffs are hugely influenced by matchups. Here's a look at how various matchups land in favor of the Heat or the Celtics. 

PG: The Celtics of course have a natural, traditional point guard in Rajon Rondo, a pure point, while the Heat largely use Mike Bibby and Mario Chalmers the same way the Lakers use Derek Fisher. James and Wade spend a majority of the time at point. 
When the Celtics have the ball: We don't have to talk much about this, right? I mean, Rajon Rondo is Rondo and Mike Bibby and Mario Chalmers are not. Defensively, the Heat won't match up either of their point guards on Rondo. Either Wade or James will try to check him. It's a testament to Rondo's ability that neither is able to effectively handle him. Even against two of the faster players in the league, and two of the better defenders, Rondo simply outmaneuvers either one. James isn't fast enough and Wade struggles with Rondo's agility. Off the pick and roll, a hard trap isn't effective, thanks to how quickly Rondo can move the ball Garnett for the pick and pop or to the roll man. There's not a great solution outside of bringing help and hoping the perimeter shooters miss. You know, Ray Allen not being considerably reliable in terms of outside shooting, all-time 3-point shooting record holder that he is. 

When the Heat have the ball: On offense, when the Heat go to Wade or James running point, Rondo will attack whoever crosses the timeline with the ball in most instances. Rondo can get backed down by James in the post, but that's something LeBron seldom does. Likewise, Wade can cross him over, but then you're looking at a pull-up jumper which you live with. It's not that Rondo's a better player than James or Wade, those guys will get theirs (unless Wade's nightmares against Boston continue) but Rondo's physical versatility allows him to guard the other well enough to guide them into the teeth of the Celtics' help defense. 

Wings: Going traditional "SG and SF" designations are largely useless here. It's true that Wade is listed at guard and James at forward, but in reality, both operate on the perimeter and handle the ball, while not operating in traditional roles. James is too on-ball to be considered a true small forward, and Wade's versatility causes the same problems. So instead we'll look at it from the perspective of wings.

When the Celtics have the ball: The hardest part about guarding the Celtics is their consistency in running their offense. They'e not going to blow you away with new sets. But they run what they run to such precision that it's near impossible to stop them. The biggest problem is chasing Ray Allen through screens. Allen will usally cut baseline to baseline through closing screens. The result is Allen getting open for 3-pointers while the defender is still trying to recover from brutal off-ball screens by Glen Davis and KG, and the announcers saying "How can you leave Ray Allen wide open?!" as if the thought of defending the greatest pure shooter (limited to non-ball-handlers who just shoot 3-pointers, please leave your MJ/Kobe debates at home, kids) never crossed their mind. Wade will be assigned to try and get through, but his body isn't built for the wear and tear. Mario Chalmers might be a better cover here, as Bibby isn't tall enough to defend in the first place and would get murdered on the screens. Chalmers needs to study tape of what J.J. Redick has done to get through those screens and he can't afford to lose Allen, even on broken plays or rebounds. If you take your eyes off Allen for a second, that's three points. 

Pierce is considerably easier to guard from a strategic standpoing; he's coming right at you. The problem with Pierce is he just knows his moves so well. James has historically done a pretty good job on Pierce. But when James goes out, there's absolutely no one to guard Pierce. James Jones can't hang with him on the drive or the step back. Mike Miller may do a decent job, but again, that elbow jumper's tough and when he throws in the pump-fake, that's going to be trouble. Pierce is also very adept at finding the trailer 3-pointer, and when the defense collapses off Rondo, Pierce is open.  It's the basic Celtics problem. Pierce is a great offensive player on his own. When he's used off-ball, it becomes even harder to stop him. James and he nearly cancel each other out at both ends. 

When the Heat have the ball: When the ball rotates to whichever one is working off-ball, Allen will take Wade, with the requisite help coming weak-side.  Pierce will take James. Help will be quick on the drive in both instances, and since neither has figured out how to move off-ball outside of transition, the defense will focus on the ball-handler. The roll man's defender on the pick and roll will show hard, with the other low-post defender rolling to cut off the lane. If the ball-handler cuts back, a third defender will be there. Essentially, the Celtics are well prepared for whatever attack the Heat have shown. There will be times when the Heat get open looks off of their athletic ability to get past the defense for the drive and kick, usually a jump-pass. When those occur, the Heat have to knock them down. You can't waste open shots against the Celtics. 

Down Low:

When the Celtics have the ball: Kevin Garnett normally isn't a threat in the post. He doesn't have the muscle left to deal with the contact against most power forwards. Except Chris Bosh. He can pretty much do whatever he wants there. Bosh has to hold on his own, because the Heat can't afford to double in the post with the other weapons on the floor for Boston. The best option might be to give Joel Anthony a run on Garnett and risk the inevitable fouls. Anthony will struggle with Garnett at the elbow, but you've got to live with it somewhere. 

When the Heat have the ball: Bosh has played pretty aggressively in the playoffs and through the last month of the season. But against Garnett, it's just not a good matchup for him. Glen Davis is a better matchup for him, where Bosh's length will allow him to go to the mid-range. Off the pick and pop, Bosh has to have a quick trigger and good aim. Bosh has to completely change this dynamic for the Heat to win. 

Centers: The Heat have aging centers with diminished skills and a poorly coordinated young player with questionable decision making on offense. The Celtics have aging centers with diminished skills and a poorly coordinated young player with questionable decision making on offense. It's a wash. 

These matchups look like they favor Boston for a reason. But that's dependent on the Triad not being able to counter Boston's defense. If LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh are able to put in performances worthy of their reputations, the Heat can overwhelm Boston, especially without Perkins. From a strategic standpoint, the Heat are clearly the underdogs, but their whole approach has been to overcome with talent. They'll need to do the same to get to the Conference Finals. 
Posted on: February 15, 2011 1:30 am
Edited on: February 15, 2011 4:35 pm
 

Report: Celtics G Delonte West tweaks wrist again

Boston Celtics guard Delonte West is set to return from wrist surgery on Wednesday. Posted by Ben Golliver. delonte-west-wrist

Update (4:34 PM): Delonte West went through practice on Tuesday, as expected, but ESPNBoston.com reports that he "tweaked" his wrist and that Celtics coach Doc Rivers told reports that West would undergo additional X-rays. West's expected return tomorrow night is obviously in doubt.
-----------------------------
Back in November, Boston Celtics reserve guard Delonte West fractured his right wrist, an injury that required surgery and sidelined him for more than two months.

ESPNBoston.com reports that West will return to game action on Wednesday, when the Celtics face the New Jersey Nets
West participated in the entire Celtics practice session on Monday, and, barring any residual soreness after Tuesday's session, he will be in the lineup on Wednesday, said coach Doc Rivers.
"Delonte's going to play," said Rivers. "The only thing is, obviously, if [Tuesday] he goes through the practice and it gets sore, and then we'll pull him. Because, if it's to a point where it's not right, I'm not going to play him."
The timing couldn't be better for the Celtics, as they just lost wing Marquis Daniels to a bruised spine that has him sidelined for at least a month. That injury left the Celtics playing essentially a seven-man rotation during Sunday's showdown match-up with the Miami Heat. The Celtics still won, of course, but starters Ray Allen and Paul Pierce were forced to play 43 minutes and 40 minutes, respectively.

West's return will help shore up the team's backcourt depth, giving Rivers a veteran option to supplement the undersized Nate Robinson and the streaky Von Wafer.

West made just five appearances for Boston prior to suffering his wrist injury, averaging 6.8 points, 1.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 17.6 minutes. For his career, West has posted averages of 10.0 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 28.2 minutes per game.
Posted on: January 12, 2011 9:54 am
Edited on: January 12, 2011 10:22 am
 

Shootaround 1.12.11: Anthony keeps denying

Is Avery the man? Did Amar'e tamper? Has Nash had enough? We ask these questions and more in today's Shootaround. 
Posted by Matt Moore
  • Is Avery Johnson the man for the job in New Jersey? One of the biggest concerns has to be the regression of Brook Lopez. Mono or no mono, Lopez has taken a huge step back under Johnson, and as he's the cornerstone of the franchise, that's a giant red flag. Johnson was a solid pick for a playoff team, but he's not shown he has the ability to develop a young roster like one the Nets have. 
  • Amar'e Stoudemire may have contacted Melo by text to try and clear him off  accepting the Nets' offer. If so that's at least dancing with tampering, and if it keeps up, the commissioner's office is going to step in, no matter, or perhaps due to how off-hands his office was with the Miami ordeal. 
  • Carmelo Anthony and Rip Hamilton teach you English. 
Posted on: January 4, 2011 8:05 am
Edited on: January 4, 2011 8:08 am
 

Shootaround 1.4.11: Confident Kendrick Perkins

Kendrick Perkins pretty much guarantees a Boston Celtics title, Michael Jordan visits David Letterman almost 20 years ago, Kevin Love sets some more rebounding records, Allen Iverson has his paper straight and Delonte West will remain on the shelf for longer than he had hoped. Posted by Ben Golliver.  shootaround
  • Celtics center Kendrick Perkins tells Yahoo! Sports that Boston would have beaten the Los Angeles Lakers in last year's NBA Finals had he not injured his knee. He also says no one can touch the Celtics in a series this year. “In seven games I don’t think we can be beat by any team,” he said. “Too deep. Too much experience. Too many hard-working guys. Too many guys that have a chip on their shoulder.”
  • Washington Wizards forward Andray Blatche, who was involved in a nightclub fight with teammate JaVale McGee in December that led to some talk of him being traded, admitted to the Washington Post that the rumors are affecting his play. "That bothers me some," Blatche said. "But that's the name of the game. I just gotta keep trucking along with it."
  • Boston Celtics guard Delonte West was super ambitious in his hope to return to the court quickly after injuring his wrist earlier this season, but Celtics President Danny Ainge says West's return isn't expected until near the All-Star break in February, according to ESPNBoston.com.
  • Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus with an interesting note: "History suggests that the best teams should have already separated themselves from the pack. Over the six seasons since the NBA realigned for the 2004-05 campaign, 83.3 percent of the teams that led their division as of New Year's Day have gone on to win at least a share of the division title. Via Basketball-Reference.com, all six eventual division champions were on top on Jan. 1, 2010." 
Posted on: December 16, 2010 4:06 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:38 pm
 

Ainge: Rajon Rondo out 'couple weeks' with ankle

Boston Celtics president Danny Ainge reports that guard Rajon Rondo will miss time with an ankle injury. Posted by Ben Golliver

Boston Celtics president Danny Ainge told Boston radio station WEEI on Thursday that Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo will miss "a couple of weeks" with a left ankle injury.  Rondo sprained his ankle while driving to the hoop during the early fourth quarter of Wednesday's game against the New York Knicks and briefly left the court with the assistance of teammates and training staff members.  He later reappeared during the game, but was clearly favoring the ankle and not moving smoothly. Here's video of the play, courtesy of NBAfufu on YouTube. And here's a snapshot of Rondo rolling his ankle on the play. You can clearly see it's a severe roll. rajon-rondo-ankle Image courtesy of @Jose3030 (as always). Prior to Ainge's declaration, Rondo told reporters on Thursday morning that he would attempt to play Thursday night, as the Celtics host the Atlanta Hawks. ESPNBoston.com quotes Rondo acknowledging pain but expecting to play.
"It hurts, but all ankle sprains hurt," said Rondo, who has also battled a sore left hamstring, which recently sidelined him for five games, and plantar fasciitis. "I expect to play. I think I'm going to do [X-rays Thursday] morning and see how I feel. Get through the night and hope it doesn't swell up."
Rondo has averaged 11.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, a league-leading 13.8 assists, and 2.3 steals in 38.5 minutes per game so far this season.   The Celtics have the best record in the Eastern Conference, at 20-4. With guard Delonte West already out with a wrist injury, the Celtics will have to lean more heavily on backup point guard Nate Robinson.
Posted on: November 24, 2010 9:02 pm
 

Delonte West breaks wrist - what's Boston to do?

Posted by Royce Young

After a big spill Wednesday against the Nets, Celtics guard Delonte West suffered a fairly significant right wrist injury. Significant meaning it's broken.

Ouch, Celtics.

After making a driving layup with a couple minutes left in the first half, West went immediately down and clutched at his right wrist. Boston's trainer checked him for an extended time and West walked off the court holding his wrist close to his body. After getting X-rayed, it was discovered West broke the wrist. Typically, that's something that'll keep West out for months and depending on the break or if surgery is needed, longer.

If you have a good memory, this is the same wrist West broke two years ago in a similar fashion. A shame for a guy that was finally getting his season started. West just can't seem to catch a break (pun sort of intended).

This could be a significant blow to the Celtics as Rajon Rondo is dealing with a few different things. Rondo missed his third straight game Wednesday sitting out with a sore left hamstring. But Rondo is also battling plantar fasciitis in his right foot. So with the Celtics' point guard situation having some issues, it's possible that they could be looking to bring in some added help, tweeted Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

Right now, Nate Robinson and rookie Avery Bradley are the only healthy options for Boston at point guard so it's very likely someone will get brought in. The once very deep Celtic bench just got a bit thinner. And depending on Rondo's health, the Celtics' season could be taking a turn as well.
Posted on: November 1, 2010 7:59 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:20 pm
 

Shootaround 11.01.10: Kobe is healthy, got it?

Kobe Bryant says his knee is healthy, questions in Houston after a slow start, two young point guards shine on Saturday, and former all star Maurice Lucas passes away. Links from around the NBA. Posted by Ben Golliver
  • Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant says his knee is 100% healthy, but he's a little testy about it. Writes Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com: "Bryant told a FOX Sports West reporter during an interview shown on the Staples Center video board that he is all the way back from offseason surgery to his right knee and didn't want to be asked about it again. Bryant was later asked if his statement was accurate by reporters in the locker room and he stood by it. 'Yes, so leave me the hell alone about my [expletive] knee,' Bryant said."
  • Last week, Boson Celtics guards Delonte West and Von Wafer got into a scrap after practice. In a video posted on Boston.com, West attempts to downplay the incident. "It's not that serious. We've moved past that, you know. We're competitive guys being competitive. Hopefully, it's for the benefit of the team. There's nothing wrong with healthy competition and pushing each other to get better. But things went a little too far."
  • Washington Wizards rookie point guard went off huge against the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday. Despite the loss, CJ Hempfield of BulletsForever.com liked what he saw. "John Wall had stretches during the 3rd quarter in which he looked unstoppable. Not only was he blowing past people on 1-man breaks but he also began to blow by defenders in the half court as well as hit a jumpers. He began to show flashes of what he might become in the future and the prospects are awesome."
  • In other electric point guard news, Brandon Jennings of the Milwaukee Bucks, one of the finalists for last year's Rookie of the Year award, notched his first career triple double on Saturday. Alex Boeder of BrewHoop.com was suitably impressed. "Jennings pitched a near perfect offensive game, getting all Chris Paul on the Bobcats to the tune of 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists on 6-8 from the field, 3-3 on threes, and 6-8 from the line. He bursted with channeled enthusiasm for the game of basketball tonight, looking like the most excited guy in pregame introductions, and then directing an offense that owes him a thank you card signed by all. As a game manager, this was about as good as a 21 year-old can get."
  • Rob Mahoney takes a look at some Miami Heat numbers for the New York Times. " At first glance, turnovers would appear to be one of Miami’s most glaring flaws. James and Wade combined for an abysmal 14 turnovers against Boston on Tuesday, and James followed that sloppy performance with another nine turnovers of his own against Philadelphia. Something to note, though: Miami has been turning the ball over more often than it should, but it won the turnover battle in both games. Miami posted a lower turnover rate than both of its first two opponents (the Heat had a -3.3 turnover rate differential against the Celtics and a -3.2 differential against the 76ers), suggesting that while turnovers are a problem, they’re not necessarily the problem."
  • We noted last night that former NBA all star power forward Maurice Lucas passed away Sunday at age 58. His New York Times obituary. "Lucas was a rugged defender and an outstanding rebounder, capable of a sturdy pick and a timely basket on offense. Possessing a glare that presumably intimidated many an opposing player, he became the prototype power forward when he emerged as a star for the Trail Blazers in the late 1970s."
 
 
 
 
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