The Celtics have yet another tough test on Sunday when the first-place Miami Heat come to town. Everyone knows that it is Ray Allen’s first game back in Boston since leaving, but we have a lot more on our plate than that. The Heat are in first place in the East once again. However, we always play them tough, and as of last game, they are the worst rebounding team in the NBA, we are second to last. I know it’s not much, but they need to cling onto anything that they can to beat this team.
It’s not Ray Ray that we have to worry about, as he is only averaging 11.4 points in 25.5 minutes per game, both significantly lower than the rest of his career. It’s another guy, named LeBron James, that is having a quiet but huge season. He is averaging 26.4 PPG (.7 lower than last season) but has raised his Assists per game up to 7.1 (from 6.2) and 8.1 Rebounds per game (7.9 last season). Below is a quick preview of how the teams match up. Who do you think comes out on top?
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.
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 have been my favorite sports team since I can remember. Yes, the B’s, Pat’s, and Sox are obviously right up there, too. But I have always seen the Green and White above all. I love their history, from Red Auerbach and Bill Russell, to the original big 3 (Bird, Parish, Mchale), to the new big 3 and everything in between. That being said, I do not remember the last time that I was this excited for the Celtics season to start. With the Pat’s barely sneaking by, the NHL in a lockout, and the Sox not playing last season (I’m pretending that’s what happened), I cannot wait.
In my opinion, this is the most talented team that we have had since the Bird era. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that we are as deep as the Russell team (Pictured Below) that had 9 future Hall of Famers on their roster in the 1962-63 season. Needless-to-say, they won a championship that season. That was their 5th in a row, eventually setting the record with 8 in a row. But we are solid.Continue reading →
Surprise, surprise, the Heat won. As if anyone gave the Celts a chance in the first place. I may sound like a broken record with this, but again I feel good about the team. Not often are you going to hear that about a team starting off the season 0-2. With 3 minutes left to play the Celtics had Miami within three points. What killed them for the second game in a row was the slow start. They found themselves digging out of a hole once again. I mean a 39 point second quarter is inexcusable. It just can’t happen. The defense needs to step it up. They can’t give up 69 points in a half, even if it is to Lebron and the Heat. Excuse me, especially if it’s Lebron and the Heat. Rondo wasn’t exactly as outstanding as on Christmas Day but he quietly put up 22 points and continues to be the glue that’s going to hold this team together. With that said, Ray’s going to do Ray. Give him the ball with .05 seconds and an inch of space and watch what he does with it. But that stuff is a given. What the Celts need is a bench that can keep them in games. Brandon Bass continued to show what he can do tonight and even Keyon Dooling showed some veteran fire late in the game with 13 points off the bench. If it wasn’t for Miami’s rookie point guard Norris Cole and his miracle shooting down the stretch, the game could’ve went either way. Throw Mickael Pietrus into the mix and return the Truth, C’s win this game for sure. Again, it’s hard to sit here with an 0-2 team and be happy, but you can’t be too worried. Anyways, things can only go up from here, right?
The way the NBA’s salary structure works today has already lead to star free agents teaming up with each other to form their super-teams. The way I look at it is the NBA is to blame for it. The NBA needed to change this in the new collective bargaining agreement and they did not. I’m sure the players association would have been for what I am about to propose.
I am all for a salary cap, but the league should not be telling teams how to spend their allotment of cap space. There are max contracts allowed in the NBA. When LeBron James was a free agent last summer notice most of the talk was not about money, it was all about where LeBron wanted to play. A team like the Cavaliers did not have a realistic opportunity to sign LBJ. They couldn’t offer more money than any other team. The only reason LeBron would have stayed in Cleveland would have been because he was faithful to his hometown fans. We all know how important that was to him. Why would LeBron rather play for a team that can’t offer a supporting cast over a team like the Heat that had Bosh and D-Wade when money isn’t even a factor? He won’t. No one will.
The NBA players have essentially realized that they can dictate where they want to play and it continues to put their present teams in dreadful situations. Chris Paul didn’t want to go to Boston during recent trade rumors, but what if the Celtics were able to offer CP3 a $30 million per year deal? I’m not saying I would want to do that as a Celtics fan, but I’m sure the extra millions would have made him reconsider. I’m sure the Cavs would have offered LBJ anything he wanted to stay in Cleveland. Losing out on the LeBron sweepstakes ruined their franchise for the near future. Yes, as a free agent the players could still choose where they wanted to play, but assembling super-teams would come at a cost to the players. If the Cav’s were to have offered LBJ $30 million per year, and the Heat only had the cap space for $20 million, it may have changed the situation. Instead we are going to continue to have 5-8 teams in the league with a legitimate title shot, while leaving the remaining teams completely hopeless.