From the Outside Looking In

As tough as it is for me to admit, I confess to watching the majority of the Celtics vs. Lakers game last night.  For those of you that regularly follow this blog, you know how I feel about the NBA.  Last night did little to dissuade my hatred for the brand of basketball that the NBA presents on a nightly basis, but I felt obligated to at least pay a moderate amount of attention to the game.  That being said, I certainly didn’t limit myself to one sporting event, that just wouldn’t be right (looking forward to seeing Strasburg vs. Heyward for the next 6-10 years)…

-Consider these statistics:

fg: 11-33, 3pt fg: 8-19, ft: 4-4, reb: 7 total, ast: 4, pts: 34

For those of you who haven’t figured it out yet, those are Ray Allen’s stats over the last two games.  Not great, but not overly terrible either.  Granted, all 11 fg’s, 8 3pt fg’s, and 32 of 34 points were scored on Sunday…but did you really expect a repeat performance?  We have all come to know and love Ray Allen, and know and love the fact that when he’s hot the man is unstoppable (see Sunday night).  But, we have also consequently come to know and…accept that when Ray is off his game it’s pretty damn ugly.  If you showed me that stat line above for Ray and told me over those two games the Celts would be 1-1, that would be just about what I have expected.  All Celtics’ fans should be thankful that Ray Allen won game two (with a moderate amount of assistance from Rondo), but it would be (or have been) very unrealistic for fans to expect him to continue that performance throughout the course of the series.

-I do have some real concern regarding Allen though.  Despite his dreadful performance for the first 40-44 minutes of game 3, I always expect Ray to hit at least one big three down the stretch…which never happened.  May this possibly be a sign that 34 year old legs on a jump shooter need more than one day off in between games to fully recover?

It was nice to see Kevin Garnett show up to the game.  I actually began to miss his consistent barrage of F bombs a bit.  But, despite Garnett’s improved performance offensively, I still wasn’t happy with his play.  Garnett ended the game with only 6 rebounds and 1 block (while only managing to get to the line 4 times).  In order for the Celtics to be successful, they need Garnett to impose his will underneath.  Perkins is trying to battle underneath, but he’s overmatched against two seven footers.  Garnett needs to stop doing his best Misty May-Treanor impression and start grabbing some boards.

-Rasheed Wallace has been the Celtics’ best post defender so far in this series…no wonder why they are down two games to one.

-As I said when I commented on Scotty’s 2010 NBA Finals Preview, If Pierce doesn’t get the best of Ron Artest, the Celtics would have a tough time winning this series.  So far it’s Artest 2 – Pierce 0, with 1 no decision (considering Artest was in foul trouble almost all of game 3).  Doc needs to find a way to get the catalyst going.  Whether is implementing screens for Pierce to run off of (similar to the offense run for Ray), or maybe going with a different lineup to create some match up issues, something needs to be done to get Pierce into this series.

-Glen “Big Baby” Davis essentially defines the term “leave it all on the court.”  On a nightly basis he is clearly hardest working Celtic on the court, diving after rebounds, flopping all over the place, taking elbows to the face, doing whatever it takes to try and grab a victory for his team.  Sadly, Baby’s inability to finish at the rim has really hurt Boston this series.  Countless time his size underneath has hindered his offensive performance by either his shots getting blocked or not being able to get his shot off at all.  He’s a great role player, but to rely on him to contribute consistently on offense is unrealistic, and has hurt the Celtics in this series.

-Tony Allen is doing a pretty good job playing tight defense on Kobe, but every time Allen touches the ball I cringe at the possibility of him committing a turnover or taking a stupid shot.

-When Nate Robinson enters the game, the offense falls apart completely.  The ball doesn’t rotate, players are not moving, and before you know it Robinson is throwing up a three pointer because there are three seconds left on the shot clock.  I know Rondo needs a breather on occasion, but the Celtics can’t afford to have periods of offensive stagnancy.  I wouldn’t mind seeing Nate get some time alongside Rondo and see what kind of spark that would give the offense (granted then you need to determine who is going to cover Kobe).

-Thank god Lamar Odom has yet to show up or this series would be over.

-Rondo has improved his game dramatically even from the beginning of the season.  He has recently shown the ability to consistently knock down the 15-18 foot jump shot.  He is getting to the hoop with relative ease, and while his ability to finish at the hoop is questionable at times, he has a knack of finding the open man in a crowded paint.  Sadly for Rajon, the open man has been unable to finish the play consistently throughout this entire series.  Too many times has Garnett and Perkins either missed bunnies or didn’t even attempt to take the shot at all and kick the ball out to the three point line.  What happened to the days when KG was stuffing the ball down Gasol’s throat after he slammed it through the rim?  What happened to the Perkins of March that kept the ball above his shoulders when he caught it?  Rajon has supplanted himself in the discussion as one of the top point guards in the game (although I’m still saying he’s maybe top 5), but he’s not yet good enough to carry this team through the Los Angeles Lakers on their way to an NBA Championship.  Rondo needs help, and I have yet to see where it is going to come from…

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One Response

  1. Still think the Celtics are fine because they havent played a complete game yet.

    Pierce needs to show up at some point, Allen and KG have and now its Pierce’s turn.

    They need to win the next two.

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