Obviously, we learned last year that no one should count the Celtics out early. They were awful at the beginning of last season and still made it to game 7 against the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals. However, we barely beat the Wizards, and lost against the Bucks, two teams that we should beat night in and night out. Pierce is playing incredible, Rondo’s defense has gotten stronger, and KG is always reliable, even after a tough shooting game on Saturday.
The biggest thing to note is the way these new players are mending together. Doc said that he needs to find a way to mix and match the second unit better. He started doing this by putting Jared Sullinger into a starting role, in which he played great. You can tell that he is still young and needs to work, but he has to be ahead of where most rookies are at this point in their careers.
Personally, I am not worried about the C’s this season, and neither should you. We have so much depth and about 7 people that can put up double digits on any given night. Once they get going, they are going to be a tough team to stop. Next up is the Wizards again on Wednesday at home. Hopefully we have this game won before 28 seconds in the 4th quarter.
Jason Terry has been voted as the most likely sixth-man award winner for this NBA season. JET received 11 votes, while Jamal Crawford earned 8. Ray Allen even got 4 of his own. Even Jeff Green was voted for once, even after his rough first game back.
With reigning sixth-man award winner James Harden starting for the Houston Rockets now (scored 37 points and added 12 assists in his debut), the field is wide open. Jason Terry has already won it once before while with the Dallas Mavericks. Leandro Barbosa even won it when he was with the Suns, and if he plays like he did in the first game, he could be a big surprise. But I’ll give my vote to Jason Terry because if he can help get us over the Miami obstacle, he will be seen as one of the key factors since we lost to them the past two seasons.
As expected, both Lebron James and Dwayne Wade score in the high 20’s while Lebron recorded his first double-double of the season (26 points, 10 rebounds). One of the most painful things to watch was Ray Allen dropping 19 points on his former team. Ray played 2 more minutes than Lebron in this game, which no one expected would happen.
On the other side, KG struggled for 9 points, but was able to add 12 rebounds. Paul Pierce played amazing in the first half and ended with 23 points while Rondo added 20 points and 12 assists of his own. The biggest surprise was Leandro Barbosa dropping 16 in only 16 minutes while going 3-3 from 3 point range. The newest acquisition already showed that he deserves to be here.
The final preseason power rankings are out, and there have been more than a few big surprises in the past few days.
Reigning sixth-man award winner, James Harden, was traded to the Rockets to play alongside Jeremy Lin. The Thunder did not want to give him the max deal that he deserved. They instantly dropped from #3 to #5, before even playing a game.
The Lakers dropped one spot from #2 to #3 in light of their 0-8 preseason and an injury to Kobe Bryant. However, they still have Howard, Nash, Bryant, and Gasol together when they are all healthy again, and that looks to be a dangerous team.
Spurs jumped up to #2 this week, but this may be short lived since Manu’s back has been bothering him lately, and they are a year older. However, everyone should know better than to count out the Spurs.
The Celtics jumped from #6 to #4 after they realized that no one in the East can compete with the Heat but us. It goes without saying, injuries will play a key part in this season, with our team getting older. However, we got younger and quicker over the offseason, and are even more motivated this season after coming within 48 minutes of a championship birth.
Assuming the Heat are #1 on the power rankings, who do you think should be #2?
The season is finally here! If you’re like me, you probably completely ignored baseball, patiently waited for hockey and football to start (still waiting on one of those), and have been following the C’s offseason very closely. We are a completely different team than we were last year. There are only 3 players from our ’08 championship team left (Pierce, Rondo, KG). However, many believe that this is the most talented and deepest team that we have had in ages. We couldn’t keep up with the Heat in the 4th quarter of games last year in the playoffs, so we went out and got some fresh legs and defensive specialists. We have Jeff Green back who will help on Lebron and Bosh, and drafted Sullinger who looks to rebound on every play, something we have been lacking over the years.
I have always been a big Ray Allen fan. He is one of a million, a dying breed. There are few pure shooters like him remaining in the league. However, he is starting to gain enemies due to his apparent dislike of the Celtics Organization. While Doc and Rondo and company have remained quiet, Ray has continued to talk poorly of the organization which he won a championship with. After being talked to by Pat Riley and the Heat Front Office, Allen has begun to talk about the positive times that he remembers from Boston.
He talks about all of his deteriorating relationships since he has taken his talents to South Beach, but at least acknowledges his time in Boston. He tells ESPN: “I’m always going to be a Celtic no matter what,” Allen said. “It’s always going to be in my veins. Once you live there and play for that team and win a championship, it doesn’t matter where you go. You’re always going to be a Boston Celtic.”
Personally, I am going to miss Ray, but at the same time, I think that we are a better team this season so it doesn’t bother me as much as it might bother other people. I do wish that he would stop putting former teammates and this organization down, but everyone should always remember him for his time in Boston and all those clutch moments, especially in the ’08 Finals.
The NBA has decided that Centers will no longer have a special spot in the All-Star game. Instead, the team will be made up of 3 frontcourt players, and two backcourt, rather than two forwards and a center. It comes as no surprise seeing as most teams don’t rely on a traditional center anymore like the old days.
Last week, we took a poll about who you guys think has been the biggest star of the pre-season for newcomers, and I included Jeff Green because he was injured last season. Jared Sullinger won with over 50% of the votes, and Jeff Green was tied for second with Courtney Lee and Jason Terry, all with roughly 12% of the votes. Everyone keeps going on about how good our team is going to be because of our depth but here are some reasons why each player will succeed in our system.
Jared Sullinger: Rookie that fell to us in the draft, should have been a high lottery pick if not for an injured back last season. Not too many rookies get minutes in our system, but Jared could be starting some nights. KG and Doc Rivers have both said that he has a very high basketball IQ and does not play like a rookie typically does. He has adapted to the Celtics’ system real quick, and is not timid out on the court. He rebounds consistently and shoots right when he gets the open look, rather than hesitate and up fake 15 times like a lot of smaller big men like himself. And good news for C’s fans: Garnett said he is “giving him the book, teaching him everything I know”.
The Celtics lost their fifth straight game against the Thunder 119-104. It was always going to be a struggle as the Celtics were missing Rondo (suspension), Jermaine O’Neal (Wrist), Chris Wilcox (Right Abductor), and Brandon Bass (Knee). This led to a shift in the lineup of Paul Pierce to the 4 position and Kevin Garnett to the 5. The Celtics started out well in their new lineup jumping out to a 22-12 lead in the first quarter. The Celtics could not hold the lead though, and once the second unit came onto the floor, the Thunder pounced and went on a 30-3 run. The Thunder continued the hot streak and put up the most points in a half all season (72). James Harden was constantly exposing the Celtics defense as he kept blowing by for easy layups.
Pierce actually had one of his better games of the season, by attacking the rim he got to the line 16 times, scored 23 points, and had 8 assists. Kevin Garnett in his first game back had 23 points on 8-11 shooting. Turnovers still hurt the Celtics as they committed 18 in the game. Doc ended up relying much more on his starters than he wanted to as his subs had a terrible night from the floor. Marquis Daniels was only on the court for five minutes but the Celtics were outscored by 17 during those five minutes.
The Celtics mercifully have the All-Star Break coming up this week and have a full week off until their next game against the Bucks.
Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo will be playing in the All-Star Game as reserves for the Eastern Squad.
Kevin Garnett came back after two games from missing due to personal reasons; Pavlovic was the only Celtics player who did not play due to Coaches decision; The Thunder had 50 points in the paint; James Harden was +23 while he was on the floor; The Celtics had 3 offensive rebounds, Kendrick Perkins had 5 on his own.
Avery Bradley Alert
Avery Bradley along with Paul Pierce was the only two players for the Celtics who had a positive +/- for the Celtics. Avery shot well again for a second consecutive game going 5-9 from the floor and 2-2 from the line. We also had two of my favorite Avery moments of the season. In the first half Avery got the ball off of a rebound, dribbled the full length of the court and posterized Kevin Durant. Later on in the game, it looked as if Russell Westbrook had a clear path to the bucket but was tapped by Bradley off the backboard and forced a jump ball. Avery had 5 assists and 3 blocks on the night along with his 12 points. In the games that Rondo has missed, Avery has shown Doc that he is a capable backup and definitely a player that the Celtics should be excited about in the future.
Here’s a link to the Avery bradley Dunk (must watch)