On June 23rd, 2011, Brian Robb and I stood around a high top bar table in Tommy Doyle’s in Kendall Square. Before us lay one of the biggest mounds of buffalo chicken wings I had ever endeavor to make disappear. These 25 cent flappers- one of the few indulgences afforded to the participants of our [...]
There are a number of contextually-appropriate ways to craft this post. One would be to forgo words entirely, and represent Chris Wilcox’s entire season with a series of videos. That would involve one part of this: For every eight parts of this: Note the headline on that second clip. Someone was so amused/enraged by Wilcox’s [...]
Here’s a sweeping general statement involving super specific statistics that may or may not mean anything: In the 1423 minutes Rajon Rondo played this season, the Boston Celtics were outscored by 1.3 points per 100 possessions. When he sat (including all contests after he tore his ACL), Boston was better than their opponents by 1.8 [...]
Avery Bradley has been a standout defender for the past couple seasons…in the regular season anyway. Now he has a trophy to prove it. The NBA announced this afternoon that the third-year guard has been elected by coaches around the league to the second-team all-NBA defensive team for the first time in his career. Bradley [...]
The first domino to fall this offseason is Paul Pierce’s contract. Until Danny Ainge figures out what he’s doing there, little else matters. As we wait for this decision, we also must face the rest of the offseason, which means it is also rumor season. With that time of year, comes plenty of information floating [...]
In his third year in the league, in which promising players often make brash leaps from benchwarmer to starter, from starter to star, Avery Bradley took a big step back. But his regression might be deceptive. When he returned to the Celtics’ lineup on January the 2nd after two in-season months recovering from offseason shoulder [...]
Thumbnail: Give the Celtics this: they’re making the interminable stretch of the long season interesting. What should be a mid-week tuneup on the way to the playoffs is suddenly a key game for a Boston team that’s reeling after dropping three of four and slipping from the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Indiana’s won two straight games over the Knicks this week but prior to that Frank Vogel’s team had dropped eight of nine. Are they the cure for what ails the Green or another trap game? Only the leprechauns know.
There are intriguing stories with the two Boston point guards tonight:
Delonte’s Back! – For the third time this season, Delonte West returns to the Celtics lineup. West has given the Celtics only 8 games all season, and is less than 100%, by his own admission. But he’s back to stay (or so he claims) and with only 17 games left in the season, will quickly need to prove his value and find his place in the rotation, as a backup to Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen. What can he give the C’s with the lingering soreness in his (non-shooting) wrist? Does he immediately displace Carlos Arroyo in the rotation? Will another Jermaine O’Neal-style setback send the wrath of Celtics Nation his way? We should start to get some answers to those questions tonight.
Rondo’s Back? – Fear and loathing has emerged in the wake of Rondo’s recent subpar performances. He’s either hurt or tired or both or just slumping, depending on who you believe. To me, he looks worn down, although his low assist totals lately are as much as function of his teammates missing open shots as they are his reluctance to attack the basket. If West can go 30 minutes a few times over the next couple weeks and Arroyo can continue to hold his own, it might be time to get Rondo some judicious rest. Particularly in the first games of back-to-backs, which would bring him back fresh to trigger the offense on the flipsides.
WHAT THE PACERS DO WELL:
Like most fringe playoff teams that fired their coaches and tried to unload half their rosters at the trading deadline, they don’t do a lot well. In their 99-88 loss to the Celtics back in December, the Pacers scrapped their way to a virtual draw on the boards, and turned the Celtics over 18 times, which kept the game close until the fourth quarter. Both teams have undergone major changes since then, but that recipestill holds true for the Pacers They’re going to have to out-effort the Celtics tonight in order to win, with a special focus on making it tough for Boston to score.
That’s a distinct possibility given the Celtics struggles as of late. Here are Boston’s unimpressive offensive efficiency ratings over the last five games:
90.8, 97.8, 93.5, 109.6, 98.9
WHAT THE PACERS DO POORLY:
Score the ball and shoot the ball. So the message for the Celtics should be clear: establish the defense early, rebound Indiana misses and push the tempo to get the easy scores that have been so elusive lately.
PLAYERS WHO MAKE ME WORRY:
Hansbrough. The Pacers’ second-year forward is thriving under Vogel and is coming off a run of strong games:
He’s going to test Kevin Garnett, who looks vulnerable lately.
PLAYERS WHO DO NOT MAKE ME WORRY:
Granger. Who can get trigger happy, often after nights when he does this:
I’d like to see Doc Rivers stretch out Jeff Green on the defensive end and see how he does against Granger. It’d give Pierce another game with short minutes, and we could get a better look at the mysterious Mr. Green, who continues to both confound and tantalize.
But mostly confound.
WHAT WE WANT TO SEE FROM BOSTON TONIGHT:
It’s a long list:
Defensive intensity from the opening tip.
A strong performance from KG, who looks tired/hurt lately or is in a late-season slump.
A glimpse of what the three-guard rotation of Allen, West and Rondo could do in the playoffs.
A Nenad Krstic double-double.
Green to look engaged and assert himself for the entire game.