Possible sanctions loom against the San Antonio Spurs. Head Coach Greg Popovich sent Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, and Danny Green back to Texas to rest for their game against the Grizzlies, rather than play them in a national televised game against the Miami Heat. Commissioner David Stern apologized to fans and said that sanctions will be forthcoming.
Lebron didn’t seem too upset about them not playing, as the Heat only won 105-100 on a last minute 3-pointer by Ray Allen. I can understand why Pop would do this, as his team played 4 games in 5 nights, and they are an older team, much like the Celtics. It’s just weird to think about the fact that the Grizzlies are scaring the Spurs more than the Heat. But they are playing unbelievable basketball over in Memphis.
Although it is impossible to predict the NBA season already, I think it is safe to say that the team that Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers assembled this summer could be the best one that we have seen in at least 4 years, maybe even longer. Sure, we lost the best shooter the game has ever seen and KG and Pierce are that much older, but we brought in the perfect kind of players to fit into our system. Pierce averaged roughly the same PPG last season (19.4) as the year we won it in 2008 (19.6). Garnett’s numbers are significantly different and he is not feared by every player breaking through the lane anymore, but he is still a leader on this veteran team.
In 2008, Leon Powe and James Posey were arguably our best bench players, both averaging about 7.5 PPG. I am willing to bet that Jeff Green, Jason Terry and Courtney Lee will all average above 10, or close to it. And with their amount of energy, experience, and Lee’s outstanding defense, they will be one of the most feared guard groups in the league, especially once Bradley is back.
There is one other major difference between the then-and-now teams, and that is Rajon Rondo. He averaged 10.6 PPG, 5.1 APG, and 4.2 RPG in the 07-08 Season. Last year, he averaged 11.9 PPG, 11.7 APG, and 4.8 RPG. He has also developed into one of the best point guards in the league and a leader on a team that is mostly older than he.
Chris Wilcox is a solid bench player who was having a great season before getting injured. Jared Sullinger will play right away, and Brandon Bass will pick up right where he left off last season (12.5 PPG, 6.2 RPG). Not to mention Christmas, Joseph, Fab, Collins, and Smith who have all had great summer sessions and are prepared to fight for the last few spots. Plus we signed Darko Milicic who is 7’1. For those of you who don’t know him, he was selected #2 in the 2003 draft behind LeBron but ahead of Melo, Bosh, and Wade. Talk about a great pick up by the Pistons…
Although we have clearly re-fueled our roster, other teams have also gotten better. The Heat are obviously the team to beat, the Lakers had a huge summer trading for Howard and picking up Nash, and the Thunder are one year more experienced. The Spurs are always good and our division just got tougher with the new Brooklyn Nets. For anyone who thinks the Knicks are finally going to be good are mistaken. It should be an interesting season, as long as we can stay healthy for a change.
Here’s a video that sums up pretty much how every Celtics fan feels right now…
Last night could have been one the most heart breaking playoff losses for the C’s thus far. Just utterly painful. Falling short of the win in OT to the Heat. The only positive was Rondo’s incredible performance, nearing a triple double with 44 points, 8 rebounds, and 10 assists, but even that gets overshadowed by the loss. When asked about his performance, Rondo responded, “We lost, simple as that.” Exactly why as much as I want to talk more about Rondo’s night, I just can’t. One of the biggest problems the Celts had and have had was giving up second chances. There’s no way they win giving the Heat offensive boards like that. It’s just not going to happen. Regardless, the C’s better come out firing on Friday when the Heat come to the Garden for game 3, a must win for the Celtics. And Leibo…we’re missing your boy Avery…bad.