Sunday, February 21, 2010

West Coast Swing Complete: You Take What You Get

Celts-Nuggs box score

I have to admit... I've been pretty negative this month. I've been ripping Danny Ainge for not moving Ray Allen and getting above-average pieces in return (very possible for the Celts at the deadline), the recent poor play from the team (pre All-Star break), and even the deal Boston indeed did pull the trigger on at the deadline (to an extent -- I do like the Robinson part, not giving up Billy Walker).

But I can't help but give the team some credit after this road trip. They went out on the West Coast, finished 3-1, beat some quality teams (Los Angeles, Portland), and we even saw some steadily emerging spark from players that have dimmed down from their previous selves this season.

So we lose to the Nuggets, a top NBA squad, on the last game of the trip, by nine. So what? I'm not going to use Pierce as an excuse because I already established my intolerance of Laker fans screaming that they didn't have Kobe when we beat LA at Staples, despite their fans blasting us for complaining that we didn't have KG last year. But I can't help but mention that his thumb and ankle injuries were clearly evident today, as PP missed 3-4 free throws and went 2-10 from the field (whereas the Lakers had proven that they could beat teams like Boston without Bryant, defeating Portland, San Antonio, Utah all without their superstar guard before. At least we have proof of our team's absence having a statistical and visual impact, Los Angeles).

Ray Allen went 9-14 for the second straight game (third consecutive good shooting performance), scoring 25, and Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, and Marquis Daniels all had 15 points on excellent shooting nights. KG looks much more active, and we had more assists, steals, and blocks than Denver. Turnovers were at wash at 13, and Denver only had four more rebounds than us (37-41). We also held Carmelo Anthony, who before the game was averaging 29.3 points, to just 23 points.

So just relax... it's a nine-point loss, and we didn't play too bad. We could've played better D, as the first and fourth quarter spurts were inexcusable from Boston's defensive standpoint, but hey, considering the way we were playing pre-All-Star break, this is a start.

And as we all know, new beginnings are more valuable than anything to this Boston team.

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