In by far the most entertaining of these April games, the Celtics just beat the Hawks behind a quintessential fourth quarter by Sam Cassell. As the C's starters rested, and the Hawks stayed with their stars, Sam put on a clinic that he long ago patented. First he found angles on the floor to get his mid-range game going, and then when he heated up he just started draining long range jumpers. Then there was considerable amounts of the testicle dance. It was brazen, artful, wise - and it was what we were all hoping for when Sam arrived. The fact that it suddenly showed up a week before the playoffs is great, although honestly I don't know exactly how it will be handled.
Like I recently mentioned, Sam has hardly been incorporated into the flow of things. And when you see a performance like tonight, one cannot help but want to see more of him. The problem is that we have no idea how his strong play translates with the Triumvirate on the court in a big setting - because it really hasn't happened yet, if you perhaps exclude the San Antonio game. As many scribes have asked: do you really want a 38 year old Cassell taking shots at the end of the game as opposed to KG, Paul or Ray? I'm not sure - but my first inclination is to say no, that everything has been smoothed out over the course of the year, and it is too late in the season to dramatically change things with Sam. I think this is also probably what Glenn is thinking, and in extension why he has often stayed with TA and House, although Cassell is still the better player. But at the same time, we do have to remember that the player in question is Sam Cassell, one of the savvier and most clutch pros in recent NBA history.
What tonight's performance again does is obviously raise the question of who deserves the minutes more: Cassell, TA, or House? All three are vastly different. Cassell is the smartest and most dynamic, still fully capable of taking over games. TA can be brilliant defensively and also sometimes provides an offensive spark. House meanwhile is a steady pro who is maybe the best shooter on the team. Whether Glenn rotates these three based on matchups or decides on a fixed order is one of the more intriguing issues as the playoffs approach.