Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Few Spare Tidbits

On Friday night, the Celtics blew out the Indiana Pacers, avenging themselves after suffering an embarassing loss to the athletic and energetic Memphis Grizzles. Here's the talk from around the Celtics' blogosphere, and more thoughts revolving around the state of the Boston Celtics during this time of the season:

The Boston Herald reports:
Rivers said he’d consider holding his veterans, both of whom are on the mend from injuries, out of games so they’re able to log practice time down the stretch.
"We have to have them playing at their peak (when the playoffs start). Whatever we have to do that, we have to do it," Rivers said before the C’s 122-103 win against the Pacers last night. "If that means working them more in practices and maybe them missing games - whatever it takes, that’s what we have to do and that’s what we’re going to do."

Garnett and Pierce didn’t exactly welcome the idea with open arms.
That's a very interesting take by Doc. Rivers may feel that if they can just hang on to a top four seed and come into the playoffs fresh, competitive, edgy, and with a new look at their goal, Boston can be a much better team, which is an understandable theory.

I said yesterday that the Celtics were saying hello to goodbye (of the championship window) if they couldn't prove to us that they still had that fire that characterizes champions. We all know they have the talent, and even most of the intangibles. So it's not entirely implausible here to think that if we go in with a fourth seed that we can't make a run at the championship. ]In addition, third seed or fourth seed aside, I still think we have enough to get past the first round.

It's a matter of getting past Cleveland though, and if we do, either Orlando or Atlanta (two teams we're 1-7 against during the regular season), that Doc is planning around for. But again, maybe rest is what's in our way of a new life. But I can't help but saying that we need to drive this team into the ground mentally to get them in condition for the big games, the must-win quarters, and the excruciatingly critical play sequences. Sure, fans aren't always able to recognize that their teams may be dog-tired. But it sure seems to me that with the relaxed style of play we've been going about with every night, we should be well-rested.

On the other hand of that argument, you have to keep your players happy. And like the article mentions, I seriously doubt Pierce or Garnett is willing to cap off the regular season and show up to games in suits because it might give them some extra recovery time. They're vets. They know how to battle through injuries. They know the bangs and bruises of a regular season and they understand that the real contenders are those who lead by example. In this case, how are Pierce and Garnett going to show their team the true mold of a contender if the validity of their playoff position is still up in the air and they're voluntarily sitting out? Which leads us to this:

From the Celtics' Twitter:
Pierce and KG say the team had a "heart to heart" and open dialogue this morning. Say that loss to Memphis and boos at home stuck with team.
Via CelticsBlog

(Disclosure -- this was reported yesterday morning before last night's annihilation of the Pacers.) That's a great thing to hear. I don't care if I've been hearing reports of the team recognizing that they all need to sit down and really discuss their objectives all season -- it's about time that it's been taken care of (or at least begun) and that we have evidence that's it's started to work (once again, the annihilation of the Pacers last night). Keep it up, boys.

CelticsBlog has an interesting piece about Glen Davis, preaching something that has kept me a fan of "The Eleventh Hour" since the beginning:
Fortunately, ever since that incident in Detroit on January 20, the artist formerly knows as "Big Baby" has cut out the superfluous junk that has plagued both his game and his reputation, and has seemed to re-focus his everlasting energy strictly on the basketball court. And that energy has in fact highlighted his play of late. He certainly hasn't been a perfect player, but the various flaws that have hindered his game, have so far, for the most part, been overshadowed by the relentless effort he's putting forth these days.

Obviously "hustle" stats are not kept in NBA game logs, but if you've watched this team of late, you'd be hard pressed to argue that the energy isn't there from Davis, which must be a welcome relief for Doc Rivers, because in these troubled times, effort has sometimes been harder to find than Carmen San Diego.
Red's Army reflects on the brilliant performance put on by the blazing hot Nate Robinson during Friday night's Pacers' game. They argue, can this hot streak stay on track? And will Nate make the dire mistake of living and dying by the three from this point on?
Nate is 16-27 from long range in March... a blistering 59.3%. 
It's an impossible pace... and a dangerous one at that.  Nate has fallen in love with the 3. 

At some point, that long-range stroke is going to go cold... which is going to put a serious strain on the second unit.  And it was the second unit last night that made Gino possible. 

All I'm saying is we've got to be realistic about what Nate brings us in the future.  What we see now is not what we're going to get.  No one sustains 59% shooting from 3. 

So the question is... will Nate adjust and get back to attacking when he knows the 3 stroke has gone cold... or will he become a mini-Sheed who continues to shoot from deep without regard for reality?

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