Encouraging Signs

 (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

(AP Photo/Michael Perez)

As far as I’m concerned, there are 3 things about which we should be very encouraged after last night’s game.  (4 if you count me busting out proper grammar for the opening sentence.  Hooked on Phonics worked for me)

Tony Allen

He filled the stat sheet in 39 minutes. 18 points on 8 of 14 shooting, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals.  He looked in aggressive but in control.  He played with no hint of worry about his injured thumb.  He, in short, did everything we wanted Tony Allen to do all year.  As impressive as Paul Pierce was last night, I think the story of the game was Tony Allen playing as well as he did.  If THIS is the Tony Allen we’ll have for the playoffs, then the second unit is going to kill other teams.  Think about Stephon Marbury’s recent improvement, Eddie House’s deadly shooting and Big Baby’s marked improvement.  Now add last night’s Tony Allen to that mix.  That’s one hell of a second unit.  And we haven’t even talked about Leon Powe… whose return last night was also very encouraging.

The first round

Briefly piggy-backing on Chuck’s post-game analysis… I think it’s clear that the Celtics without Ray and KG are still probably a 6 seed in the playoffs.  And let me stop the people who will feel the urge to comment right there… I’m very well aware of the Hawks series last year.  But this year is much different.  The 76’ers are not the Hawks.  The Celtics are not last year’s Celtics.  The 76’ers were playing for something last night:  playoff position and to send a message.  They accomplished neither in front of their home crowd.

Kevin Garnett

I’m going to keep marching on as one of the few people around this town that isn’t developing an ulcer over KG’s knee. It’s not that I don’t understand why some people are worried, I’m just focusing on what Danny Ainge said yesterday.

“When Kevin plays is his decision,” Ainge said yesterday. “But I think Kevin (right knee) plays once the playoffs start. Ultimately, it’s just his decision. Could Kevin play right now?. Absolutely. But the question is whether it is in his best interests. I don’t think there’s anyone out there who feels he can’t play. It’s just a hot topic right now…

“Nothing is worse,” Ainge said. “It’s just a matter of identifying the best opportunity for his return. Every two or three days we have this discussion.

“It hasn’t taken a turn for the worse, but we want to give him the best chance once the playoffs start.”

I’m not sure how much of it is spin and how much of it is fact.  I think the Celtics are well aware that KG has only so many minutes left in that knee this year, so there’s no point in playing him more than they have to.

So with that, I full expect KG to be back on Saturday.  I expect him to start and play hard.  But I also expect him to sit after about 6 minutes… and maybe not come back until midway through the 2nd quarter (and only after sufficient warmup… maybe on the Brian Scalabrine memorial stationary bike on the sideline).  The C’s will probably look to pull KG from the game once they have a lead they feel can be sustained by the rest of the team.  I think they’ll use that same approach for the first round… maybe increasing his minutes a little in each game.  Then they’ll have him as fresh as possible for that assumed 2nd round matchup against Orlando… which is bad news for Orlando because that will allow the C’s to play Dwight Howard straight up again.  That’s been a winning formula for the C’s.

So kick back and relax everyone.  The season ends tonight.  The REAL season begins on Saturday.  And there’s plenty of encouraging news out there.

Herald:  Pierce deep sixes SixersWizards scouting report |  Globe: Pierce busy in win Wizards thumbnails | Brown Daily Herald:  Q&A with Bill Russell |  Comcast SportsNet:  Multi-tasking during the second halfLakers get 65th win

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11 Responses

  1. I’d rather KG come off the bench. Play him 14-24 MPGs for the rest of the playoffs. Then keep his ass there next year.

  2. het i know this is not C’s related but our favorite GM must be starvin, becuase ZEKE is at FIU. He is so dumb it takes Him 3 hours to watch 60 minutes

  3. Yeah, TA played about as good as ive seen him in 2 years last night, the one thing I notice when tony is in the game is that eddie doesnt get his normal shoots poorly…they just arent good together on the court, eddie is so much better when TA is out, coincidence? Im not sure.

    As far as KG, eh, im not optimistic about it, and at this point wouldnt be opposed to shutting him down for the playoffs (its clear its bad enough for that to be an option guys, cmon)

    also – some perspective…this teams wins tonight and its 62 for the season, only 4 games off last years pace, after all the injuries and adversity, thats as good or better then people predicted before the season thinking this team would be completly healthy…

  4. Did you steal my bit? K-a-t-t, I’m outta here.

  5. I understand what you’re saying Baron. It IS an incredible accomplishment after all we’ve been through this year. But…CLE and LAL have gotten considerably better from last year, so that leaves us effectively WAY behind from last year.
    I’m not worried about home court or record. I’m worried about how we tend to shrink whenever teams throw a stout defense at us. I’m worried about how nervous everyone on the team plays when calls don’t go our way, or teams get physical with us. I’m worried about how we seem unable to effectively deal with running teams. I’m worried about our constant turnovers.

    Even with KG playing I’m having a hard time seeing us raising Banner 18 this year. I REALLY hope I’m wrong.

  6. when does the playoff schedule get announced? any insider information on when the saturday game will be?

  7. The bench really seems to be coming along. Glad to see Powe play as his toughness will be needed. The second season gets extra physical.

    Also glad to see RA had a much needed rest for playing “elbow billiards”

    Time to pull the switch and play like they did at the start of the season

  8. No schedule announced yet… but since the Bruins are playing Montreal, the league is going to give the marquee matchup to Hockey Night In Canada. That’ll be in prime time.

    So that means the Celtics will have to be the first game on Saturday. Probably 12:30.

  9. […] from the other side – Sixers Celtics 17 Who’s afraid of the big bad Cavs? Red’s Army Encouraging signs Seriously, Philly sucks Celtics Circuit What we learned last night against the Sixers Metro Cs […]

  10. Doctor Hardwood- im not really saying I think the celtics are going to win it all, because it will indeed be a long shot folks, im just sharing my appreciation for another 60+ win season (with all the injuries and especially KG being out over 20 games) and the players that have improved and stepped up all year, and especially the truth…I am so proud of how hes CARRIED this team this season like the champion he is.

    I couldnt care less if the cavs and lakers both have better records, that was their main goal coming into the season for both teams- get homecourt over the boston celtics. and they both accomplished that – because they KNOW they need it to beat us…61/62 wins is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, as matter of fact its something to be proud of when youre the defending champions.
    Also, I dont really know what youre talking about as far the team shrinking against good teams with good defenses, theyre 2-2 against the cavs, 2-2 against the magic, and 0-2 against the lakers but had a lead in the final 3 minutes of both of those games against LA, 1-1 against the spurs, 1-1 against the rockets…I could go on and on. the only games they werent competive in this season were the 2 in cleveland, but quite frankly thats nothing different from last year, we get pounded there

    We execute down the stretch better in 4 games, or KG never gets injured, we’re talking about another 66+ win season, and we’re basically lucky to have as many wins as we do with all the adversity

  11. I hope our luck continues. We’ll need it.

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