Archive for February, 2008

KG Effect Part II: Clutch Jumpers
February 29, 2008

The Celtics were in danger of blowing a 13 pt fourth quarter lead to the Bobcats until KG nailed two clutch jumpers in the final two minutes. Perk was huge – 19 pts, 9 reb, 4 blks. So was Rondo – 9 pts, 16 assts. I’d offer more in-depth analysis but I slept through most of this game. Hey that’s what happens when you’re 35 with a toddler. You’re freakin’ exhausted. Oh yeah, C’s won 108-100.

Box Score | Recap

The KG Effect: Better Sleep
February 29, 2008

The New York Times wanted to know what the real effect of Kevin Garnett was on these Boston Celtics.  To do that… they asked the coach, and the role players that were part of last year’s disaster.

The running theme in this piece… better sleep

Rajon Rondo: 

“Last year I was happy, too,” he says. “It was my first year in the N.B.A. We had cool teammates. But here’s the difference: This year, it’s less stressful. Losing 18 games in a row is very stressful. All you think about is how you can make this situation better or what else you can do. You lose so much more sleep. That’s the difference.”

Brian Scalabrine had an interesting quote about last year’s team:

 “I was not happy last year,” he says. “In society, they would say the way I felt was depressed. But in sports, it was just a situation where we had to turn things around. . . . The thing that really bothered me about last year’s team was the individualism during all the losses. Individual play was trumping the result of the game. If somebody went out and got 16 points in a loss, he would be like, ‘Hey, I got my 16.’ That was the culture of last year.”

And then Doc:

There are teams that have a huge advantage over us, and we can’t make that advantage up. We have to make it up in other ways. San Antonio, Detroit, Dallas — they’ve all been to the finals, and two of those teams have won it all. They’ve been in Game 7s and in team fights and in team controversies. We’ve haven’t been in any of that. We’ve been in nothing, and we can’t catch up to them in that regard. So chemistry kind of becomes everything for us. We never practice for the next day. We practice for the playoffs.”

Very interesting read.  Its clearly written for the more casual, non-Celtics fan… and there are a few, inconsequential errors in detail (like calling it the FleetCenter instead of the Garden)… but it’s a good read.  Doc even addresses the “McHale traded KG to Boston because he wants a job with the Celtics” conspiracy theory. (hat tip to TrueHoop for the link)

So… Who Loses Minutes?
February 29, 2008

I’m going to work on the assumption that Sam Cassell clears waivers and signs with the Celtics.  However… with this damn story… who the hell knows how it will end.

So the C’s will add PJ Brown and Sam Cassell… so the question becomes… who loses minutes?  Someone will have to.  Is it Eddie House?  Rajon Rondo?  Rajon is averaging 30 mpg…. should he be playing less?  Eddie House is playing less than 20.  Does this maybe cut Ray Allen’s minutes down a little? 

 How about in the front court?  Will Leon Powe get buried again… after making the most out of every opportunity he’s had?  Is Glen Davis getting buried?  Does it depend on matchup?

I think this is a great opportunity to dial back some of Allen’s minutes.  You can even cut some from Paul if you want… and maybe trot out a lineup of Rondo, Cassell and Posey for a short stretch.  KG can even catch a little break with a 6’11 PJ Brown taking some minutes.  Granted… Brown will play far fewer minutes than Sam… but its an option.

Here’s my only worry.  Doc Rivers has a problem with deep rotations.  Its an obvious weakness… and giving him 2 more options that deserve time…  I have a fear that we might some some weird rotations for a little while.

Herald:  Waiting for right time on Cassell  |  Baby, Powe a tough combo  |  Globe: Celtics will slowly work Brown into the mix  |  Cassell gets buyout  |  Celts diehards pass test of time  |  Souza:  Brown could be on the floor soon  |  Hard sell helps Celtics land Brown  |  Cleveland Plain Dealer:  Brown admires C’s D  |  Enterprise: Is Cassell bound for Boston  |  LA Times:  Cassell finally gets his buyout  |  ESPN:  Brent Barry goes back to Spurs  |  Ratliff to Pistons  | Vandeweghe to take over Knicks

Cassell Bought Out
February 28, 2008

sam cassell in a celtics uniformYou’ll have to excuse me… I was barfing all afternoon from the motion sickness caused by the wild swings in the Sam Cassell story.

Sam got his buyout… he has now been waived… now we sit and wait to see if he clears waivers:

“After weighing all of the options and after conversations with Sam we believe this is the best solution for this team,” general manager Elgin Baylor said in a statement. “We know and appreciate the many contributions Sam made during the last three years, and we wish him nothing but the best.”

Cassell has to clear waivers by midnight Eastern on Friday to be eligible to play for another team in the postseason.

You know… thinking back on it… that’s what I get for trusting a Timberwolves reporter.  Christ…. can anyone associated with that team do ANYTHING right?

King James Hates The Truth
February 28, 2008

How the hell did I not know that Paul Pierce and LeBron James are sworn enemies?

This is pretty clear: The Cavs don’t like the Celtics much and James always gets fired up playing against Paul Pierce. It goes back four years when the two had to be pulled off each other in the tunnel after a preseason game at Ohio State University after a more-than-contentious game in which Pierce spit at the Cleveland bench.

Must have happened the weekend Jessica Alba kidnapped me and held me as a sex slave in her NY apartment. Or could have been the time Maria Menounos took me to Bermuda. Or maybe it happened around the time my wife was pregnant with my son and I was forced at gunpoint to attend the “Up Close with the Birth Canal” seminar.

Cassell Alert Level: Unlikely
February 28, 2008

This thing went from inevitable to unlikely really fast:

Sam Cassell told our L.A. Correspondent Robby Sikka that he wasn’t likely to receive a buyout of his contract with the L.A. Clippers before the March 1 deadline to get on a playoff roster.

Cassell had expressed interest in being bought out so that he could chase a championship with a team like the Boston Celtics or Dallas Mavericks, but it now appears less likely that Clippers owner Donald Sterling will oblige.

This guy just happened to bumped into Sam Cassell at a cell phone store…  and Sam says the buyout is “very unlikely” and that he’s probably ending his season in a Clippers uniform. 

Now On Barstool
February 28, 2008

Its entirely possible that we will have added a couple of guys who are a combined 76 years old by the end of the week.  But dammit… PJ Brown can help us:

For some reason… Kendrick Perkins has forgotten how to rebound.  Maybe his shoulder is worse than he’s letting on… to which I say… sit down.  The 8 points, 1 rebound you gave us last night didn’t really help much.  For God’s sake… you got out-rebounded by Eddie House. 

Congrats to KG for his 11,000th rebound.  Perk, by the way, is on pace to grab his 11,000th rebound in his 32nd year in the league right now.  KG’s ab strain is looking to be a lot better.  I know some people were tossing around the “KG is more hurt than we know” comments…. but the bottom line is he was out for a month and was working his way back into the rotation against some tough competition.  He’s looking a lot better now… and he was throwing passes and hitting jumpers like that ab wasn’t bugging him at all.   That’s good news for those of us who did unspeakable things at the I-93 truck stop in North Andover to get balcony seats to next week’s Piston’s game.  That herpes simplex 12 better be worth it.

Passing Fancy
February 28, 2008

kevin garnett is a good passerKG is getting closer to 100%.  I think that was made clear after last night.  What we saw out west was him shaking off a lot of rust.  Looking back at it… those first two losses may have been wins if we had last night’s Garnett out there.

And maybe the most underrated aspect of Garnett’s game is his passing.  That, more than anything else, is what was missing on the west coast swing. 

This sequence from last night’s game illustrates how important Garnett’s passing is to this team.  And you can tell when KG is passing well… because Perk and Rondo’s numbers get better.  Perkins, obviously, because everyone is focused on Garnett.  Rondo, because Garnett is so good at outletting the ball, that Rondo can take off and get the ball way ahead of anyone else.  There aren’t many guys as good as Garnett when it comes to ripping down a board, turning, and firing the outlet pass.   Now that his strained ab seem to be closer to 100%, it looks like he can do all of these things with greater ease. 

Herald:  Returns look good for Celts  |  Postseason March is on  |  Knock on wood, Allen’s been superb  |  Title drive draws in Brown  |  Stern resists law talk  |  Globe:  King of this court  |  Cavs star has been a royal pain  |  Brown in town to add depth  |  Camerato:  Celtics fend off Lebron  |  Cleveland Plain Dealer:  Q & A with Danny Ainge  |  Anticipation high for ex-Celtics 

And… here’s the sequel to the Zach Randolph embarrassment.  I imagine the conversation went like this:

Randolph: “Did you see me?  Man… I was ALL OVER YouTube.”
Jamal Crawford:  “Man… that was nothin’… I could get on there too.  And I’ll bet I look like an even bigger ass”
Randolph:  “You don’t mean…”
Crawford: “Yep… the patented off-the-backboard, douchebag missed dunk”

These are Zeke’s Knicks for you.  Forget firing him… I’m shocked David Stern hasn’t put a hit out on him yet.

Beat Down
February 27, 2008

The Cavaliers did absolutely nothing tonight to disprove my belief that they are worse off because of that trade. Ben Wallace (6 pts, 6 reb, -17) played like a corpse. Wally Szczerbiak (12 pts on 3-13 FG) may finally be healthy but he still runs like he’s wearing cement shoes. Delonte West had 20 points, but he was a non-factor in this one. Let’s credit the Celtics defense for this 92-87 victory. It really wasn’t that close, as the C’s stopped playing in the final 3 minutes. King James managed 26 pts, but he shot 7-24. Not to mention he scared the hell out of everyone in Ohio after spraining his ankle in the 2nd quarter. On the Celtics side, KG (18 pts, 11 reb, 4 stl) and Ray Allen (22 pts, 7-10 FG) were the offensive stars. Leon Powe continues to impress (13 pts, 3 reb in 13 minutes). Paul Pierce (12 pts, 4-14 FG, 6 TO) played like crap, but we didn’t need him.

Box Score | Recap

Welcome P.J. Brown
February 27, 2008

The Celtics added 38-year-old P.J. Brown to the team today, in a move nobody really saw coming. When asked by the afternoon goons on WEEI whether new reports the Celts were interested in Brown were true, Danny Ainge flat out said, “We’re signing him…” No word yet on when Brown will join the team.