Boston Celtics Weekly Report Card
This article is a special feature from BSMW Full Court Press, one of the web’s finest Boston Celtics sites.
This week was first quarterly exam time for the Celts. The exam started out as a true test of toughness with a game against the playoff grizzled, crunch time battled, former champions – the Detroit Pistons. Then the Celts eased back into playing the underachieving Chicago Bulls while finishing off the week trying to avenge a 2 point loss against the up and coming Magic. Let’s see how the Celts fared with the grades just out from the professor….
Coach Doc Rivers: C (Tom Thibodeau: A++++)
Doc was tested in the Detroit game. He got a taste of what the playoffs will be like. Simple coaching adjustments can make or break a game. Flip Saunders went to Billups throughout the 4th quarter to take advantage of his size advantage over Rondo. Rivers’s counter move was to insert Tony Allen to cover Billups. Allen created a turnover on Detroit’s second to last possession seemingly leading to the Celts getting the last shot to win. Unfortunately, Allen was also on Billups on the last possession, biting on his upfake with 0.1 left on the game clock. Game over.
Otherwise, I didn’t mind the play that Doc called on the Celts last possession versus Detroit.
Option 1: Ray Allen was to inbound the ball to Garnett who in turn could post up his man or go back to Allen or Pierce.
Option 2: Allen inbounds to an open Pierce who takes his man for the winning shot.
We all know what happened. Is it Doc’s fault? Or the players (Allen and/or Pierce)?
Ultimately I think the blame falls on Doc for time management and the players’ decision making.
Overall, the Celtics’ defense was terrific all week. Props to Tom Thibodeau! And to my colleague Kevin Henkin for mentioning in his article that Tommy T. needs more accolades.
The Captain really struggled against Detroit. Tayshaun Prince is a tough matchup for anyone because he’s got freakishly long arms. Pierce shot 5-16 that night. Of course, the 16th shot was the most important, which he missed AND left 3.7 ticks on the clock. This was just enough time for Billups and the Pistons to upfake their way to a win. Pierce did have outstanding games against Chicago (22 points and 7 boards) and Orlando (24 points and 6 assists). The Chicago game impressed me the most. Luol Deng has consistently shut down Paul the last 2 years, but Pierce rose above and shot an efficient 6-11, including 4-6 on threes in the blowout win.
Garnett posted 26 and 12 vs. Detroit and 21 and 12 vs. Orlando. And, of course, stellar defense. As a plus, by blowing out Chicago, the Celtics only needed him for 25 minutes on Friday night. Limiting KG’s minutes will be important with four games in five nights on the left coast next week.
Look who’s ankles are feeling better…… to the tune of 39 minutes a game this week. Allen averaged over 21 points while shooting 55% from the field and 50% from downtown, which is just what we ordered from this all-star with the trade for him last summer. When it comes to playing time for Allen, see the KG comments above.
It was a big week for Rondo. He averaged 15 points, 6 assists, 5 boards and 3 steals while shooting 60% from the floor. He scored a career high 23 versus Orlando and even hit 2 threes! Now if only he could grow 3 inches. Doc removed him from the Detroit game in favor of the less vertically challenged T. Allen. Next time we may see Rondo in there…..
Perkins played well against Orlando, pulling down 12 boards. Otherwise it was business as usual, taking about 6 shots a game and playing good defense. There didn’t appear to be any ill affects from the toe injury from the week before.
Posey went scoreless in 2 of the 3 games. However, his defensive intensity makes up for any games he may be offensively challenged, which hasn’t been many times this year anyway. He’s always up for hitting a big 3 ball. Maybe Posey should have been inserted to guard Billups last Wednesday? Just a thought, considering Chauncey’s size.
House showed his non-traditional point guard skills (or lack thereof) against Detroit, especially with his difficulty in getting the ball over half court against Lindsey Hunter. He was also a defensive liability in that game. For all the good he has done off the bench this year, that game in particular revealed his weaknesses. I’m reasonably sure one of the available roster spots will be allocated to obtaining a true point.
Allen played a key role in deciding the Detroit game. H e played good D on Billups, causing a key turnover with only seconds left. However, he then got schooled on a Billups upfake that cost the Celts the game only seconds later. The good news was Allen’s performance in the next game against Chicago, where he had 2 jams and a balanced line of 12 points, 5 boards, 2 dimes and 3 steals in 23 minutes.
Not much of a factor this week. The starters played about 40 minutes a game in the Detroit and Orlando games limiting Big Baby’s minutes. He did play 18 non-eventful minutes in the Chicago game.
Two DNP’s and only 7 minutes of scrub time in the Chicago game. If the Celtics make any trades this year, his $3 million + salary will be useful.
Pollard racked up 7 fouls in 20 minutes of action this week. But somehow he did his job even though he scored 1 point and pulled down 1 board.
Side note: My partner on the “Give and Go” articles, Al Assner, loves Pollard. Pollard is Al’s binky just like Walter McCarty was to Tommy. I suggested Al grow long sideburns and wear a headband to work, just like Scotie P.
Leon saw 5 minutes in the 4th quarter of the Bulls game. He sharpened his elbows and got to the line 3 times for 4 points.
Wallace was cut this week so his contract would not be guaranteed. He might have a future in the NBA, but he was too raw to contribute to this team. The roster spot will prove to be more valuable come February.
Payton gets a B. As in “B” for begging to get back on the Celts. Travis Best get’s a "B-" for also begging, but not as loudly.