I know, it's a pretty hackneyed title for the post. Whatever, you can't win 'em all, unless you're the Celtics, who so far are indeed winning 'em all. The wheels will fall off this perfect season sooner rather than later, but yesterday the C's took down the unspeakably terrible Minnesota Timberpuppies in front of 19,000 drunken British
I actually missed Saturday's game, so this was the first time I've watched the "new-look Celtics" (over/under on how many times that phrase will be used in the next month?) play. I was pretty excited, though this was diminished by the realization that Tommy hadn't made the trip to Europe and so the game would instead be called by Mike Gorman and Donny Marshall. Nothing against Donny, but my God am I excited to hear Tommy Heinsohn call games this year. He deserves this team more than any of us.
Anyways, it's hard to make a lot of solid judgments since it's just preseason, and I'm sure Glenn is still trying to piece together effective rotations (right? God, please tell me I'm right). As expected, the team looks very strong when KG, Allen and Pierce are on the floor together: even yesterday, when both KG and Pierce were having lackluster offensive games, their mere presence can have a catastrophic impact on opposing defenses. Ray Allen played great, and a good number of his 28 points were off open looks that were the result of the Wolves' D breaking down, just trying to keep track of 5 and 34. I don't believe there's a better spot-up shooter in the NBA than Ray Allen, and I don't see that changing anytime soon. And Tim wouldn't let me live it down if I didn't fail to mention that Rajon Rondo looked good. Not great, but definitely good; he seems like he's not trying to either do too much or too little with his new teammates, which is definitely a good sign. Christ this team is thin at the point, though. And I mean like, laughably, Keith Richards-circa-Exile on Main Street thin.
As for the rest... well, let's just say that "work in progress" doesn't really begin to suffice. By the second quarter we were seeing a lineup of Eddie House, TA, James Posey, Scal, and Esteban Batista, and they've got some work to do. Simply put, scoring is going to be a major issue with the C's reserves, so much so that you have to think that much of the team's "strategy" will rest on the hope of building big leads early in games and then praying the bench guys can hold them with solid defense. TA is certainly an explosive scorer at times but he'll always be inconsistent, and mostly thrives off being a sort of secondary offensive presence. Eddie House can shoot the lights out (I was reminded yesterday what an unbelievably quick release he has) but I'm not sure he can rely on getting a ton of open looks considering the guys he'll often be on the court with. I was pretty impressed with Esteban Batista, although his offensive game is virtually non-existent. He's a hustle guy who's by all accounts a great rebounder, and considering he's only 24 I'd like to see him make the team.
As for the Wolves, well, they're gonna be awful, as expected. It was kind of interesting watching half of last year's Celtics roster suit up for a team that's apparently built around Ricky "Get Buckets" Davis (I mean, seriously... wow), and Big Al had a few nice moves even though Randy Wittman inexplicably didn't start him. Gerald got some run and looked customarily terrible on defense, and Ryan Gomes and Tonz-o-Gunz Telfair made appearances as well. Theo Ratliff looked fantastic. though considering the last time he played a full NBA season was never, the Wolves shouldn't go retiring that jersey just yet. Corey Brewer looked thoroughly overmatched trying to guard Paul Pierce, but mark my words, he's a keeper. Mostly though, Wolves fans are soon gonna find themselves thinking an awful lot about this kid, if they're not already.
So I guess this has been the first actual (fake) game-related "state of the Celtics" post, the first of what will surely be an unnecessary amount over the next, what, eight months? Maybe that's being greedy. In the meantime, the C's have a week off before their next fake game, against the Knicks next Wednesday. Speaking of, David Stern said yesterday that he hasn't ruled out disciplining Isiah Thomas for that whole $11m sexual harassment misunderstanding, so stay tuned on that. Also, Jerry Buss says he's still open to the possibility of trading Kobe Bryant, which gives Tim some new fodder with which to further enrage Bulls fans. I find it pretty unlikely that he's going anywhere. Buss mentions maybe trading him in mid-season, before the trading deadline, which strikes me as wildly implausible. But I guess anything's possible with these assholes.