Tag:Paul Pierce
Posted on: April 10, 2011 7:43 pm

Dwyane Wade breaks through Celtics funk

Dwyane Wade had some voodoo haunting him vs. Boston this season. He broke through that Sunday and helped the Heat finally topple the mighty Celtics
Posted by Matt Moore

The problems hadn't been isolated to any one area. It wasn't just shooting, or handle, aggression or defense. It had been systemic and hit had been downright spooky.  Shots would rattle 9/10ths of the way down, then pop out. His usual control on drives would be undermined by him dribbling the ball of his foot. Instead of snaking smooth kick-outs to shooters, he'd jump-pass wildly into the hands of the opponent. Instead of sprinting to run off a shooter, he'd watch as he calmly knocked down a three. 

Dwyane Wade was snakebit against the Celtics. 

In the first three games against Boston, Wade averaged 12 points per game on a combined 12 of 45 shooting. He shot 27 percent from the field across the three games, and 20 percent from the arc. He only grabbed 3.3 rebounds per contest, and dished just 4.3 assists while turning the ball over 6 times per game. A lot of it was the Celtics' notorious defense doing their thing. But part of the function was worse, it seemed that the Celtics were inside Wade's brainstem, filling him with frustration and self-doubt. 

On Sunday, Wade turned all that around in a 100-77 win over the Celtics. 

While LeBron James was the MVP of the day with 27 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds, Wade was a huge difference maker. Wade only scored 14, but had 5 rebounds and 8 assists, while cutting the turnover rate in half with only 3. He made what may have been the play of the game with a huge block in transition on Ray Allen. It epitomized the kind of effort the Heat finally gave against the Celtics which they had needed in all three of the previous contests. Wade closed hard on the perimeter kick-outs to Allen, bothering him just enough into a 4 of 9 shooting night. 

Wade is more than just his usual part of the Big 3 against Boston. He has the ability to create off the dribble, which is essential to disrupting Boston's spacing. 

He finished just 4 of 12 from the field, but was 6-6 from the line, and more importantly, was aggressive. That's the story against Boston, and it has to be should the Heat find themselves against the men in green in the second round. There cannot be hesitation or caution. There must be reckless abandon, and Wade worked in tandem with the Heat to create that attitude on Sunday. It was contagious, as Chris Bosh had one of his strongest games as a member of the Heat, finishing tough after fouls and making a huge block to cue another fast break opportunity for Miami. Wade and James failed to connect several times on alley-oops, but the message was clear. The Heat were not going to stop in this one, were going to continuously attack the Celtics, and with the new construction of the Celtics trying to figure itself out, and after a long regular season that has left the Celtics weary, they had no answer. 

Wade didn't dominate on Sunday, nor did he explode. He simply played effectively, got his teammates involved, and set the tone. 

Oh, yeah, and he finally got the win. 
Posted on: April 10, 2011 5:36 pm
Edited on: April 10, 2011 5:38 pm

LeBron James throws ball at Jermaine O'Neal video

Miami Heat forward LeBron James threw the basketball at Boston Celtics center Jermaine O'Neal after a flagrant foul. Posted by Ben Golliver.

On Sunday, the Miami Heat hosted the Boston Celtics in a must-win game with playoff implications. For once, they didn't completely wilt from the moment. 

With 4:19 left before the end of an intense first half, LeBron James took off with the ball in transition with his Heat leading, 39-32. As James looked to attack the basket from the left, Celtics center Jermaine O'Neal committed a pretty thuggish foul, body-checking the All-Star forward without making any sort of a basketball play. James kept his balance and, realizing that O'Neal was trying to send a message, decided to send a message of his own by throwing the basketball at O'Neal's back. 

The ball toss led to a little skirmish between the two teams, with plenty of jawing to go around. Once things settled down, O'Neal was assessed a Flagrant Foul 1 for his body-check, James was given a technical foul for his ball toss and Heat guard Dwyane Wade and Celtics forward Paul Pierce were each issued technical fouls for jawing.

Here's a look at the sequence.

Posted on: April 9, 2011 6:07 pm
Edited on: April 9, 2011 6:29 pm

Heat-Celtics IV: The curse of Rajon Rondo

Miami will have its hands full again with the Celtics on Sunday, but their biggest concern should be Rajon Rondo.
Posted by Matt Moore

Rajon Rondo created 53 assists against the Heat in three meetings this year. He dropped 17 dimes in the season opener, 16 in their first meeting in South Beach, and 10 the last time the two teams met. Of those 53, he created 3-point assists on seven of his 17 in the first game, six of his 16 in the second, and two of his 10 in the third meeting. Factor in the extra points created on 3-point attempts with the two-point field goals and his own 23 points in the three games, and you come up with 144. 

In three games against Miami, Rajon Rondo, by himself, has created 144 points against the Miami Heat, and that's before you factor in free throws created off his passes. 

Nearly 50 points of offense per game, attributable to one player. 

So yeah, the Heat may want to try and figure out some method of at least slowing him down when they face the Celtics on Sunday. 

The Heat entered the season knowing that they were going to be weak at the two positions not addressed in the formation of the Big 3, point guard and center. But while they haven't been exposed too heavily at the center position due to an absence in depth of elite players at the position, point guards have sliced and diced them, rendering what is on an average day a very good defense powerless as point guards create penetration and either finish at the rim or leave Heat defenders trying to sprint in two directions at once on the drive and kick. No one has hurt them more than Rondo. Not even Rose. 

Heat - Celtics IV
The problem is, a solution is not an easy thing to suss out. Sure, the Heat can try the Celtics' approach against elite wings, which is to shade both Rondo's man and the pick and roll defender towards Rondo, with a third defender helping from the weak side, to try and entice him to shoot. But the Celtics are so good at creating space thanks to veteran wisdom, it becomes too easy for Garnett to slip out for a pick and pop, Pierce to create room for a catch-and-shoot step-back, or Allen to pop a catch-and-shoot three. This is before you start to worry about the help defense eventually leaving Glen Davis or one of the O'Neals open underneath for a whip pass. 

Rondo's ability to see the floor, combined with his daring in regards to wanting to make that difficult pass most others would consider too difficult, makes him a nightmare for the Heat. At different times the Heat have elected to send LeBron James and Dwyane Wade to cover Rondo, only to find him exploit the switch to their man as Eddie House, James Jones, or Mike Miller try and cover someone much better than them. There's the problem of the Big 3. It was hard enough when it was just the three of them. With Rondo, the problem becomes nearly impossible to solve. 

But that's just the challenge they'll have to figure out. In reality, it's simply a matter of effort and intelligence. The Heat have to shade far enough to prevent Rondo from getting to the sensitive underbelly of the defense, while still keeping space to recover on jump-shooters, cutters, and bigs looking for the lob. Essentially, you have to cover the entire floor and cover it simultaneously.

The best way to approach it may be to force Rondo into transition. On the break he's prone to those same daring instincts, but without the sound structure that creates so many opportunities. An up and down game favors the Heat from an offensive standpoint, but more importantly, it goads Rondo into high-speed antics versus the controlled chaos he unleashes in the half-court. Neither is preferable. 

But after he's torched them for 144 points, it's certainly time to try something different. 
Posted on: April 8, 2011 10:10 am

Around the Web: Bulls-Celtics reaction

Posted by Matt Moore

A look at the reactions to the Bulls' win over the Celtics Thursday night...
But there is a reason the Celtics shot terribly. For one, Kurt Thomas, Joakim Noah, and even Omer "The Turkish Delight" Asik were beasts inside, and Luol Deng had a Pippen-esque defensive performance tonight. More than anything though it was just an unrelenting energy from Chicago. They played like we've come to expect the Celtics to play. They were active defensively, and unrelenting. They didn't take possessions off, and even when they screwed up a rotation or allowed penetration, they hustled like a man possessed to get back to rights. Even Kyle Korver..I'm not kidding.

That meant that the Celtics had no time for hand wringing on offense. That meant that if the Celtics had an open shot, they either took it without thinking, or it was taken away. That meant more often than not the Celtics put up a shot they didn't want to. It meant the Celtics got a taste of what its like to play a team that has gelled cohesively around the idea that they will win games with their defense and just bought into being the best they can on that end. Basically it meant the Celtics got a taste of what it has been like to play the Celtics for most of the past 4 seasons.
via CelticsBlog - For Boston Celtics Fans.

Energy is the most discussed element in regular season games between playoff contenders. The losing team will always cite a lack of energy, leading towards a "we play for the playoffs" angle in a "we just didn't have it tonight" manner, while the winning team will cite "being locked in." The start of this game very much looked like both teams were locked in. The Bulls were as relentless as described above, and that's their strongest defensive feature. They don't overreact to problems and they rarely let issues compound one another. Consistency has the value of gold in the NBA. And the Bulls have mountains of it. 
Listing other contributors starts with Luol Deng, overcoming early foul trouble to outscore his long-time rival Paul Pierce (seriously!) 23-15, Keith Bogans had two 3-pointers in his initial stint to help the hot start, Carlos Boozer had a brief spurt of dominance in the 2nd half against the C's backup bigs...but this offense was nearly all Derrick Rose tonight. He finished with 30 points on 16 shots, insanely efficient, and he still could (scarily) have been even better considering some of the 3-pointers he attempted. 8 assists, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, and the halftime highlight package from Mike Fratello focused on him setting a screen.

And yet, even considering all his brilliance (and placed alongside Rondo's opposite-of-brilliance, made to look even that much better), Rose still saw the Celtics hanging in close for much of the 3rd quarter. It was a game that felt better watching that the score indicated. But the Bulls have more than one star, and it was the defense that put the game out of reach. The Celtics couldn't run at all, matched their best playmakers (Pierce and the KG fadeaway) well, and looked completely stifled at points while they stared at a Davis 20 footer.
via Bulls take down Celtics with usual formula: Rose lights up, Defense shuts down - Blog a Bull.

Deng's contributions, not only Thursday night, but overall, lead you to understand how pivotal he is to the Bulls' success. The Bulls set the tone of this game early, going to Deng twice against Pierce while Rose remained off-ball. When the Celtics adjusted and started sending help, the Bulls switched gears and moved Rose into the focal point of the offense. But the start was enough to keep Deng involved which helped get his jumper wet later on. Deng's mid-range game is the equivalent of Lamar Odom's cuts to the basket. When he's making those types of plays, you throw up your hands and wonder what you can do against them. 

The reason the game felt better watching than the score indicated? Snail's pace. The game was plugged at an 85-possession pace. That's compared to the league-average 94-possessions pace.  Games at that pace make every make that much more effective and every miss that much more painful. And Glen Davis gave Celtics fans a lot of pain Thursday night. 
Can you imagine Rose behaving like Kobe or making statements like LeBron? Of course you can’t, because he hasn’t, and he wouldn’t (as far as we can tell three seasons into his career). Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to single out those two guys to bash them. Superstars have little patience for failure and tend to blast their coaches and teammates from time to time. Michael Jordan did it. He used to complain bitterly about Phil Jackson’s use of the triangle offense. He punched out both Will Perdue and Steve Kerr at practice. He called guys out to the press.

No, my point isn’t to punish LeBron, Kobe or MJ for how they express their competitive urges. I’m just trying to point out that Rose isn’t like anything we’ve ever seen. People have likened him to Allen Iverson, of all people, a man who refused to play on anybody’s terms but his own. Which is why that comparison is flawed to the point of senseless irresponsibility. While people are constructing statistical arguments that show Rose is a sort of Iverson 2.0, they should probably spend a little time watching him play, and following how he conducts himself.
via Statement Made: Bulls 97, Celtics 81 » By The Horns

You'll want to remember this later. Every star NBA player has this day. When everything is going right, and everyone loves him, and why can't others try and be a little more like him? Then eventually, things change, the media machine evolves, circumstances change, and the narrative shifts. Rose will have his own time of criticism not just from the media but from the fans. Or he'll become Michael Jordan. One or the other. Bulls fans will all say "No, you don't understand, Rose is different."  Because that's what everyone says at this special moment in time. That doesn't mean we shouldn't enjoy it. We should. Just keep it in your back pocket to look back on later. 
So Rondo requested a rare post-game meeting with Rivers likely to discuss matters. Rondo asked for the meeting and talked for a few minutes with Rivers in his office, perhaps to clear the air about play calling and Rondo's up-and-down performances.

After compiling 46 assists in the past four games, Rondo collected just six last night on 3-for-10 shooting. His counterpart, Derrick Rose, scorched the Celtics for 30 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds and 2 steals.

Rondo was visibly disappointed after the game.

"Think we need to play with a better sense of urgency," he said before his meeting with Rivers. “It better be a wakeup call, if not, we won’t make it far. We’re a completely different team (than last year). It’s not the same team. We’re not going to be able to turn it on like we did year. I don’t know what we’re waiting on but these types of games we have to find a way to win. It’s a roller-caster and right now we went back down today."
via Rondo, Rivers meet after Celtics loss -Celtics blog - Boston Globe basketball news.

It was bizarre to see Rondo steering through the lanes, then unable to find anyone for the kickout or dump-off and missing layups. In the continuing "taste of their own medicine" theme, Rondo was probably the one who found out what it's like on the other sideline the most. Watching a brilliant young point guard school him time and time again. And there's no real way to spin it. Rondo just got beat. It was a team effort, the help defense should have been better, and Ray Allen and Paul Pierce could have kicked it up a notch trying to get free. But this one falls on Rondo, not for lack of effort, but because them's the breaks of the game. We haven't seen the Rondo of early season for months. We're assuming we'll see him in the playoffs. Assuming.
"This meant a lot because you're going against a team you could see in the playoffs," Rose said. "You don't want those teams to have confidence. We were aggressive. There were some plays guys were about to fight. That's the way it's going to be. We're a tough team. We grind wins out."

About the only downer came when Joakim Noah grabbed just six rebounds in just 23 minutes and iced his swollen right ankle afterward. He didn't play the final 15:19. That meant extended minutes for Thomas, who got yanked down by Glen Davis early in the fourth and hovered over the fallen Celtic in a WWE moment.
via Chicago Bulls: Chicago Bulls romp over Boston Celtics 97-81 in playoff atmosphere - chicagotribune.com.

Deng also got into KG's ear after a box-out. He was chirping in Garnett's face, and Garnett just walked away. Thomas stood over Davis and the Celtics didn't retaliate. They helped Davis up and separated the two, but didn't shove or become aggressive. 

Whoever these Celtics are, they're nothing like what we've seen. 

Posted on: April 7, 2011 2:19 pm
Edited on: April 12, 2011 4:20 pm

Road to the Finals: Boston Celtics

Posted by Royce Young

If I were writing this piece a month and half ago, things might be a bit more optimistic. If I were writing this piece a month and a half ago, I think I'd likely be skipping all talk about the first and second rounds and going straight to possible Eastern and even NBA Finals opponents.

But a lot happened over the past 45 days or so. A lot happened that drastically changed the outlook of the 2010-11 season for the Boston Celtics.

You know the story. Danny Ainge decided to trade ubuntu cornerstone and family member Kendrick Perkins away for Jeff Green and a balding 27-year-old. The team was now relying on Shaquille O'Neal's 39-year-old body to heal up and be ready for the grind of the playoffs. The team was banking on Green -- a notoriously inconsistent player -- to consistently provide a scoring punch off the bench and stabilize things on the wing. The team was trying to keep an eye toward the future while still focusing on the now.

Except the now might've been badly damaged.

Since the Perkins trade, the Celtics are 13-9. They're giving up more points per possession, scoring less and losing to teams they almost always handle. Now my personality is anti-panic, so I'm definitely not doing anything of the sort for Boston. But let's face the music here: The team is much different without Perkins. Differently in personality, different in personnel, different in ability. Boston is really missing not just that one-on-one post defender they had in Perk, but what his attitude and intensity brought as well. 

Road To The Finals
I really agree with Bill Simmons, who knows that team better than anyone. They really believed in their group. They believed in the fact nobody had ever beat them when they were at full strength. They walked with a serious swagger, they believed in each other. I'm not exactly sure what message was sent to the team when Ainge traded Perkins, but I don't think it was a positive one. You can spin that deal any way you want -- it was for the future, the Celtics needed a wing, it helps the bench -- the players didn't respond well to it. And the actual team is the most important factor in all of this.

As it stands going into tonight's matchup with the Bulls, Boston sits second in the East, tied with the Heat and three back of the Bulls. Gone is the possibility of the top seed and it'll be a tussle to place second too. The Celtics are headed for an opening round series with either Philadelphia or New York. Fifty days ago, Boston looks superior in every way against both those teams. Now, things look a bit more iffy.

But here's where we pump the brakes.

The Celtics are, in fact, still 54-23. (Know what they were last year when they stormed to The Finals? 50-32 and fourth in the East.) They Celtics are, in fact, still good. They still have Ray Allen. They still have Kevin Garnett, They still have Paul Pierce. They still have Rajon Rondo. Maybe they're missing a big, mean-looking piece in the middle, but it can be overcome.

They defend. They score in crunch time. They're playoff tested. These guys know how to win. They know what it takes. Nobody has quite the same motivation as the Celtics, because nobody else suffered a painful Game 7 defeat in The Finals last June. Doc Rivers talked about how the team has that same excitement for the game and each other that it had in training camp in 2007 when they went on to win it all. This team is still very, very good.

Keep in mind, Perkins had only played in 11 games with Boston this season. The Celtics have experienced most of their success this season without him. But again, that's just without him on the floor. People tend to underestimate things like chemistry. Though Perk might not have been playing, the rest of the team knew he was coming soon, and really just in time for when they really needed him.

Is this Boston group a true Finals contender? Of course. Absolutely they are. The Celtics could trade Ray Allen and Paul Pierce and they'd still have Miami's number just because they're in the Heat's head completely. But no longer can this group take things for granted. They aren't going to cruise past the 76ers or Knicks. And despite having the Heat by the tail, they aren't going to just skip past them either.

Then it's about the Bulls. Doc Rivers and Ainge can tell themselves that getting Shaq back will be an answer in matching up inside with Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer. That might be true. But things are different now for the Celtics. They've lost a little something. An edge, a mentality, a swagger -- whatever. And they may have lost their chance at it all this year too.
Posted on: April 5, 2011 4:00 pm

Philly's best approach versus Boston? Run

Posted by Royce Young

The Celtics have slipped quite a bit in the last couple weeks. They've gone from the top of the East to now the three-seed.

And come April 16 when the playoffs start, they may really regret that.

There are a number of things for them to be a bit anxious about, most notably the health of Shaquille O'Neal, but setting themselves up for a first-round matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers is surely worrying Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge.

They lock up again tonight, but so far this season, while the Celtics are 2-1 against the pesky Sixers, the three games have been decided by a total of just eight points.

Why do the Celtics have such issue with the young 76ers? To me, it's simple: The Sixers can play any game the Celtics want.

What makes the Sixers so dangerous is that they're absolutely capable of beating the Celtics at their own game. Philadelphia can slow it down and play 48 minutes of grind-it-out basketball. The Sixers can put the weight on their defense to get stops. They can beat the Celtics in a 85-83 game.

However, I can't see the Sixers beat the Celtics four times at their own game. Once, yeah. Twice? Maybe. Three times is pushing it.

Philadelphia will have to make a tactical adjustment against Boston to really press last season's Eastern champs. The 76ers have the ability to speed up the older Celtics. Much in the same way Oklahoma City really pushed the Lakers by using their athleticism, versatility and speed, the Sixers need to make the old men in green move.

The Sixers are much more athletic than the Celtics with players like Jrue Holiday, Thaddeus Young and Andre Iguodala. And they've got to utilize that in order to push Boston. Like I said, Philadelphia is capable of playing the Celtics game, but the best approach for the Sixers if they truly want to challenge Boston it to make the Celtics adjust to them.

Philly doesn't play especially fast at a pace of 91.2, but that doesn't mean they can't go up tempo a bit. Finding easy baskets in the halfcourt against Boston isn't easy, so utilizing Young's versatility, Iguodala's freakish transition ability and a playmaker like Holiday is key.

What's really turned things around for the Sixers after an atrocious 3-13 start is a renewed committment to defense, but also coach Doug Collins trust of his younger guys. Collins knew Holiday had the ability to be a very good starting point guard, so he put the ball in his hands and let him go. He convinced Iguodala to settle into more of a role rather than playing the star. He started getting some production out of the awesome talents of Young. And Elton Brand has really rediscovered himself as a quality power forward.

(One thing that must be mentioned: The Sixers aren't going anywhere without Lou Williams. He provides such a punch off the bench and really gives Philly quite the second unit. He said he hopes to be ready for the playoffs and he better be if the 76ers have any dreams of actually pushing the Celtics.)

Across the board, the Sixers have the ability to match up with Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo. Where they have struggled and will continue in the future against Boston is finding points. That's why playing a bit quicker and looking to move the ball up the floor rather than setting up in the halfcourt could help. Playing small with Brand at center, Young at power forward, Iguodala at the 3 and with Holiday and marksman Jodie Meeks really gives the Celtics a difficult matchup, especially if they want to play Shaq.

The Sixers could eliminate Shaq (though he might be eliminated because of a bum heel already) just by using their versatility. The Sixers kind of hold the cards in the matchups. But they can't beat Boston in a series playing in the halfcourt.

I get the feeling the Sixers have Boston's full attention and it would probably be in the Celtics best interest to go ahead and move up to the two-seed and avoid the young 76ers altogether.
Posted on: March 28, 2011 11:30 pm

Celtics lose again, now tied with Miami for 2nd

Pacers out-execute Celtics down the stretch in key game for playoff positioning. No, you're not reading that wrong. 
Posted by Matt Moore

There can be no insinuation of a lack of effort here. This wasn't about boredom or age, or coasting. The Celtics genuinely gave a tough effort against the Pacers Monday night, but Indiana walked away with the win for one simple reason: execution. The Celtics played with energy but also played out of rhythm wildly, throwing away needless turnovers and missing key shots in a 107-100 loss to the Pacers. 

The result? The Celtics are now tied with the Miami Heat for the second overall seed in the East. They lost no ground to Chicago after the Bulls' loss to the Sixers, but Miami is now in surprisingly good position to close out the season and nab homecourt advantage in a possible 2-3 matchup. Oh, and the Lakers are now up on the Celtics by 2 games. Not that that's likely to come into play later. 

It was an up and down performance for the Celtics. In the opening minutes, they poured it on the Pacers, dropping 33 points in the opening frame. But the Pacers pushed back hard and wound up with a halftime lead after nearly getting doubled up in the second quarter. Then in the third, you know where this is going, right? The Celtics put on the effort, play great defense, land huge threes, and retake the lead. 

And then the fourth. Oh, goodness, the fourth. 

Most surprising in the 15-point quarter were the turnovers, created by and finished off of by Darren Collison. Collison was worked over for three quarters of this game, then all of a sudden Rajon Rondo got worked over by Collison. Collison flipped in-between screens, nailed pull-up Js, hit floaters, and generally dissected the Celtics. But the biggest factor in this game was what should concern the Celtics, and that was Roy Hibbert. Hibbert landed 26 points. This on a Celtics team that prides itself on the ability to shut down the opposing team's big men. Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is not going to help the questions about how much this team misses Kendrick Perkins

The Celtics had their chances to win the game, but missed key shots from both Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. Just typing that felt weird. 

Meanwhile, the Pacers got a big win as they continue to cling to the eighth spot in the East over the surging Bobcats by a game. The Pacers have little room for error, but you have to feel like this is the kind of momentum swing game that can help a team push to the finish line. They simply out-executed the reigning Eastern Conference champs. Everyone in the picture is playing for something. Monday night the Pacers and Celtics both played like it, but for once, it was the Celtics coming up short. The good news for Boston? 

It looks increasingly unlikely they'll be seeing the Pacers again this year. 
Posted on: February 19, 2011 7:24 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2011 7:39 pm

Three-Point Contest: You better bet on Ray

Gotta go with Ray. 
Posted by Matt Moore

The three-point contest is fairly underrated.  If you're a real fan of the game, the jumpshot is about as pure as it gets (well, okay, maybe the set-shot is as pure as it gets, but that's lame). Granted, it's a bunch of dudes taking an organized shootaround with a colored ball at the end of each rack, but still. Every time you get to see Ray Allen shoot, it's an art.  Or ice cream.  Or something. 

Here are the tonight's odds for the three-point contest, courtesy of Bodog.com and Sports Radio Interviews.

Odds to win the 2011 NBA All Star Foot Locker 3 Point Contest
Ray Allen (BOS): 2/1
Paul Pierce (BOS): 3/1
Kevin Durant (OKC): 4/1
Dorell Wright (GSW): 9/2
Daniel Gibson (CLE): 5/1
James Jones (MIA): 11/2

Paul Pierce has been pretty up-front with the fact that he thinks the champ should be the favorite. But Allen is the sure-fire absolute best shooter in the game. Durant's not a bad choice here, being the reigning and current scoring champ and all. 

We'll continue to be baffled by the absence of Anthony Morrow in these contests, maybe next year the league will rectify its mistake. Until then? We're keeping our money on Jesus. If we had money. Which we don't. Because we're bloggers. 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com