Sunday, May 18, 2008

We Made It

Relief. Before the playoffs started, anything less than a trip to the Conference Finals would have qualified as complete disaster, and at least now it can be said that was avoided. What else can we say? Well, the Celtics are pretty good at home. This game will probably be considered a modern classic, as you hardly ever see a mano-e-mano scoring duel in a seventh game. And this certainly was the most entertaining game of the series. Both teams actually scored despite good defense! That really can just be attributed to LeBron and Pierce being unstoppable, but it was fun. It's pretty overwhelming that already Boston has been in two seven game grinders, and at this point I am not ready to seriously think about Detroit yet. Let's give it a night. Enjoy this though - despite the Celtics often digging their own ditch in May, they managed to battle through it. We've been waiting for Detroit for months, and now the time is upon us.

A few things are presently worth adding about today's affair. First off, obviously, PP was great, and so was PJ Brown. No one else was particularly overwhelming, but KG, Rondo and Posey all acquitted themselves nicely. The same cannot be said about Ray Allen, who was atrocious, and continues to be a stick in the spoke. I no longer feel like we can expect him to be consistently good, and that is unsettling. And even though the C's won, Glenn coached another poor game - he was too cautious with Rondo in the fourth quarter, leading to turnovers from Pierce handling the ball and general misdirection from the offense. Luckily he ultimately had Paul to bail him out. But Glenn was shaky, which comes as no surprise. The whole Eddie House thing will probably be overblown - Eddie ended up with all of 4 points, so while he played decently, there's no need for a coronation. Ultimately Cassell still might be a better option. And finally the only reason it is remotely okay to only play Powe seven minutes is the fact that PJ Brown had his best game of the year. So if anything, I have less faith in Glenn - he is falling into his '06 habits of playing a guy too much just becuase that player had a good quarter two games ago. It's stupid and dangerous - it's almost always better to go with known quantities - but the Celtics have lived to tell the tale of it so far.

3 comments:

wharper said...

Count me as very surprised (and happily so) to see Eddie House emerge as a Big Heart/Big Energy guy during the 2nd quarter.

Also, I know I'm preaching to the choir when I start to talk about the dividends of Powe's contributions, but I'll do it anyway: In the first three minutes of the second quarter, the Cs got him two quick balls down below the hoop, getting fouled on both shot attempts - which led to the Cavs already being in the penalty by the 6 minute mark in the quarter.

Powe is the only player who consistently bangs down low and powers through the foul to get to the shot, it seems.

While Pierce was hands-down NBA-Jam on fire tonight (thankfully), over the years I have seen him too often careen out of control into the key without any plan to finish strong to the hoop - instead he just goes in assuming that he'll draw some contact and the refs will bail him out. When they do call the foul, great. When they don't call the foul (and they were right to wait so long at the beginning of the game before sending him to the line), Pierce just looks lost and usually turns the ball over. Garnett and Rondo's play near the basket remain as finesse/avoid-contact shots, while typically, and surprisingly, Perk doesn't get to the line all that often himself. Perk could do with trying to draw more contact.

I just see that the only sure way to stave off those dry spells that have plagued the Cs during the playoffs are to have a better-developed low post game that can be turned on when the jump shots aren't falling - at minimum, they'll hopefully get to the foul line and just score something. Those runs have been killer.

Detroit's a whole 'nother thing, though. Ultimately, it's a great time to be a Cs fan even despite the unexpected challenges in the playoffs - today when I saw the promo for the Lottery Draft, I remembered that this time last year, the fortunes of the Cs' pick was the only thing in the NBA that held any interest for me. Just incredible, the turnaround.

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