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10 things while waiting for guys to heal
1) Orlando Game
If I’m Orlando (though I rarely find myself morphing into metro areas)
I’m not feeling too good about that win. Up a gazillion to a team down
two starters and three more rotation players who is also blending in
two new guys, the Magic barely escaped. Do you believe in magic? I do
not. A healthy Celtics team will buzzsaw Orlando.
Let’s take an inventory:
Tony Allen: Out for the entire regular season.
Scalabrine: Out until April.
Big Baby: He was on crutches yesterday and is listed day to day.
Garnett: Good news from Marc Spears in the Globe: Kevin Garnett could
return as soon as Sunday in Milwaukee.
Rondo: More good news from Marc Spears: Rondo could return as soon as
Wednesday at Miami.
You know how so many people have been saying Rajon Rondo is the most
important player on the Celtics? And you know how the heathen
worshippers of false franchises snickered at that statement? Well,
yesterday showed just how critical he is.
Without Rondo the Celtics were lost on both ends. Only when they
shifted to “Ray in Seattle” mode did the Celtics mount their comeback.
But “Ray in Seattle” mode, and for that matter “Paul alone” mode will
only get you so far. For the Celtics to optimize their mojo on both
ends they absolutely NEED Rondo. He pushes the tempo and stymies his
opposite number. Without him the Celtics depend on individual play and
are much less effective.
If you’re hard on Marbury purely for bad play you’re making a mistake.
He’s struggling on the floor; that’s not a worry. He’ll get his legs
and game back.
The worry about Stephon Marbury was his attitude not his talent,
remember? Also recall how long it took PJ Brown to contribute last
season? Stephon Marbury is on the right path.
Due to the fickle nature of chance the Celtics have been forced to
play Ray n’ Paul extended minutes. This can’t go on for too much
longer. The team has got to think Health First. If it costs a spot in
the standings so be it.
The fact that Ray n’ Paul have played long minutes in early March does
not matter. It’s what they do over the next five weeks that will
impact the playoffs. They have to get a little more rest. The return
of tall guy and fast guy will help, but in the meantime I haven’t seen
anything from Bill Walker that says he shouldn’t play.
Remember how brutal the early schedule was with so many games packed
into such a short period of time? Unfortunately the Celtics have a
week like that coming up just when they need it least. They play 5
games in 7 days starting Sunday against the Milwaukee Bucks and ending
the following Saturday versus the Memphis Gasol-Donaters.
After that it’s calm seas for the rest of the regular season.
7) When They Have Everybody
You know the line, “Can’t anybody here play this game?” With luck the
Celtics will have to answer the opposite question: When everyone
returns who sits? You have 5 big men, 3 little guys, 3 wings, and Scal
whatever he is; all who have earned minutes. That’s 12. No team plays
12 in the playoffs.
One guy who will play is Leon Powe. Man has he been effective.
9) Pierce Now Third
As you know Paul Pierce has moved into third position on the all time
Celtics scoring list behind only John Havlicek and Larry Bird. This is
an extraordinary accomplishment. Generally stars who play on as many
bad teams as Pierce did, don’t stick around. They move on. That’s a
shame because playing with one team your entire career has a special
lustre. (Nothing was sadder than seeing Robert Parish as a Bull or
Walt Frazier as a Cavalier.)
Congrats to Paul Pierce! May he someday retire a Celtic!
10) Dirty Celtics?
There were vile allegations of “dirty play” by the Celtics after Big
Baby’s gentle handling of Varejao in the Cleveland game. This is SO
terribly untrue. Varejao went right at Baby’s forearm, viciously
attacking with his head. There is nothing uglier than an aggressive
headbutt. Glen Davis to his credit remained calm. He took the hit and
did not retaliate even though his forearm could have been severely