Boston Celtics Report Card Dec. 24-30
This article is a special feature from BSMW Full Court Press, one of the web’s finest Boston Celtics sites.
“The Celtics haven’t played anyone this year….They’ve enjoyed a cushy home schedule so far…Just wait until they get on the west coast…and finally….silence…..”
Well, the Celtics’ first west coast trip is officially on the books with an impressive four game sweep against the Kings, Sonics, Jazz and shorty-short throwback Lakers. The last two games were very chippy indeed, involving multiple technicals, throw-downs, bloody faces and even a ridiculously uncalled-for NFL tackle from Lousy Loser Lamar Odom. Seemingly unfazed, the Celtics completed the week with record pace 26-3 overall record. The following grades are handed out based on that week’s worth of work:
Coach Doc Rivers: A+
Rivers appears to be pressing all the right buttons these days. Most teams would be prone to sluggishness from playing four games in five nights after a long west coast flight. Unsurprisingly, it seemed like the Celts were indeed sluggish in the first half of the Kings, Sonics and Jazz games. Thankfully, Rivers appeared to unleash some constructively motivating halftime locker room speeches because his team turned it on in the second half of each of those four games.
Rivers raised a few eyebrows by slotting Tony Allen as the starting point guard when Rajon Rondo was declared out of the Lakers game with a bum hamstring. We’ve all seen T.A. play at the point for a couple minutes here and there but his handle is um…a little less than comforting at times. After all, this is the same guy that Tommy Heinsohn wanted to restrict to a two-dribble-and-pass-or-shoot rule last year. Well forget us doubters because boy did it work! Allen submitted an efficient 6 point and 4 assist performance while preserving Eddie House’s best role as a gunner off the bench. In short, nice call by the coach.
Paul Pierce: A (C- in 1st halves, A+ in second halves)
Pierce averaged 27.5 points, 6 rebounds and 5.5 assists on the west coast. He only shot 40% from the field but went 14-23 from deep waters and 36-40 from the line.
Pierce had a mediocre first half in the Seattle game and a brutal first half in the Utah game. However, he recovered to light it up in the second half of those two games scoring 26 and 24 respectively. In short, the captain scored points when the team needed them the most and continued to play above-average defense (See Artest, Crazy, Ron,). Pierce also earned his second Player of the Week award in three weeks.
Kevin Garnett: A-
Teams are starting to get frustrated with the Celtics’ intensity and championship-style defense. From this couch, it looked like Utah and L.A. were taking out those frustrations primarily on Garnett. The Big Ticket got thumped on the head and knocked down during the Utah game and was bloodied by an errant Bynum elbow in the Lakers game.
Other than band-aid above the eye boxer’s look, KG was his usual rock self. He fell shy by one rebound in the Utah game of submitting a double-double in all four games.
Ray Allen: B+
Allen shot a bit better on this trip (44%) than his season average (42%). However, as has been typical, his three bombs always seemed to detonate at the right time. He averaged 17 points and once again gave Kobe Bryant (who shot 6-25) fits on Sunday night.
Rajon Rondo: C
Rondo missed the Lakers game from an injured hamstring, which occurred during the Utah game. However, even before the injury, Rondo didn’t play as well as he had been playing, averaging 7 points, 5 assists and only shooting 28.5%. He also let old friend Delonte West light it up with 19 points and 8 assists. I have a feeling he’ll be up for the Detroit game on Saturday night, as he may have a score to settle with a certain Chauncey “You can’t guard me with all my big game performances” Billups.
Kendrick Perkins: B+
Big K did his job on the trip. He played good defense and averaged 8 boards in just over 22 minutes a game. Perkins did, however, earn two silly technical fouls on the trip, one of which was for his post-dunk murderous stare at Andrew Bynum and the Lakers.
James Posey: B
Jimmy James was his usual rock off the bench. Rivers said before the trip that he would rely on the bench a bit more during the four game haul and Posey was the big winner minutes-wise. He played an average of 28 minutes and averaged 8 points and 5 boards per game.
Eddie House B
The Microwave shot 7-17 from 3 point land. For the week, he averaged 9 points per game and had a +/- of +27, which is exactly what you want to see from one of your key bench players.
Tony Allen: A
Allen was everything you could ask for in a spot starter against the Lakers on Sunday night. He played good defense and had a line of 16-3-4 in 42 minutes. As mentioned above, his play also allowed the team to keep Eddie House in his customary role as “the spark off the bench”. After witnessing a few occasional jams from Allen over the last few weeks, we then saw him miss one against Utah. Stay tuned.
Glen “Big Baby” Davis: C
Big Baby got 2 DNP-CD’s this week but he did manage to play 11 minutes in the other two games. Excluding the Utah game, it seems like Davis has lost his role of the bench to Pollard, although the size of opposing bigs remains the primary driver behind Davis’s minutes.
Brian Scalabrine: C
Scalabrine played 10 inconsequential minutes this week. He did manage to get 4 boards and also chucked up 2 errant threes (Look out!).
Scot Pollard: C
Pollard saw more minutes this week that any other during this young season and his performance was uneven. He submitted a solid effort in Sacramento, netting 5 boards in 10 minutes. Unfortunately, he then laid a stinker in Seattle with the following line: 13 minutes, 0 points, 0 rebounds, 1 TO and 4 fouls. Utah was a DNP-CD and in L.A. he had 3 boards.
Leon Powe: Incomplete
Well, to be fair, Leon did get 47 seconds in the Lakers game…..
Gabe Pruitt: Incomplete
Did play 1 minute in the Lakers game. However, the long rookie point guard could see some significant minutes in the week ahead if Rondo continues to be bothered by his sore hammy.