Friday , Nov , 30 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Will the Heat Test the Celtics Again?

Last time they met, Boston squeaked out a win at home. This time, they meet in Miami. Of all the important questions, perhaps the biggest one is whether the Big 3’s drive for a title includes skipping the South Beach nightlife. I know they were in New York last night but most of the guys left early and their D-Leaguers almost blew that lead. Was the fact that Rondo intentionally took a shot clock violation at the end of the game an act or mercy or a slap in the face? Or both?

In more ways than one, this game is a good test for Boston. 

Dwayne Wade is back. Will Boston be able to maintain its high level of defense?

Shaq is having a bit of a mini-revival. Will Kevin Garnett’s game be hampered by Shaq and Alonzo Mourning tag-teaming him?

Ricky Davis had a good game against his old team the last time around. While watching the local feed, Davis connected on a nice alley-oop and I heard Tommy Heinson say, “For years, that was the only thing we had to cheer about in here, and there he goes again.” After getting benched, will Davis bring the same intensity? More? Can Boston handle him?

Will Pat Riley actually suit up?

Are the Celtics more like a college team or a pro team?

Doc Rivers is supposed to be good at culling and developing young. The question this season is how well would he handle his Big Three. So far, they’re playing like a young, hungry college team. They play big-time minutes (except for last night) and they’re playing with a high level of ferocity. They’re giving a performance that could only be inspired by the likes of Coach K.

They question really is whether this is good thing or a bad thing.

Why it could be good:

1.                  After years in the cellar, it is desperately needed.

2.                  It shows these guys are focused.

3.                  It has served as a wake-up to the league, the team and their fans.

4.                  It is fun to watch and, from all accounts, the players are having a blast.

5.                  It allows the team to work together at a high level in preparation for the playoffs.

Why it could be bad:

1.                  The playoffs don’t start until April.

2.                  These guys aren’t spring chickens anymore, and each has had injury difficulties in the past (not major and nothing unexpected, but it’s there).

3.                  No one in the league is going to take them for granted, and, given the media love and national attention, they now have a target on their backs.

4.                  Is the bench developing adequately in case there is an injury?

We just cannot know yet. Tonight should provide a little insight, though.