Wednesday, December 22, 2004

It's getting hot in here

The Celtics played a pretty nice up tempo game with the Heat last
night. The first half was really exciting with the Celtics leading
the score 60-58 and breaking very nicely. There were good passes,
silly oops, and goofy grins. The players looked happy on the court,
even GP. It's a nice sign as it seems that this is a team that is
enjoying playing together. Except for maybe Pierce. He seems to be
in a weird place this year. Not sure.

The second half was a much, much different story. First LaFrentz left
the game due to some unknown injury. Then Ricky was fouled out on a
flagrant foul. I think he was making a play for the ball and was just
too aggressive, but I can understand why the Refs tossed him. I only
hope he's not suspended. After that play really bogged down. Pierce
kept trying to work a two man game with Al and it was really
ineffective. And inspite of Shaq being out, the Celtics could get
nothing done inside. Blount looked flustered and Al got a little
overwhelmed by Laettner's craftiness.

On the other side of things, nobody can contain D. Wade. What a
player. He makes everything look so effortless. His penetration is
killer and he lays the ball off at the right time and to the right
players. I don't really blame Tony Allen for getting killed by Wade
because for the most part he played him pretty well and forced him to
dish. The problem was the help defense. Blount in particular would
just stand still and look dazed as Wade drove into the lane and then
dished to Haslem whom Blount would invariably let roam towards the
rim. Blount needs to decide sooner to either step up, or cut off his
man's lane to the tin. I was impressed with Tony Allen still though.
His defense is great, and his offense isn't bad.

I was also impressed with Al Jefferson. He nearly notched a
double-double (14 points and 9 boards) in only 14 minutes of play.
Not bad numbers for a rook. He also showed a deft touch passing the
ball making two nice back door assists to Payton. I'm feeling really
good about this kid. He's starting to remind me of Zach Randolph.
Jefferson isn't the most atheletic guy, but knows how to spin and use
his hook to get off shots. Also, his touch is very soft. Once the
ball lands on the rim, it generally goes down.

So all that said it was nice that the C's competed on the road with
the top team in the East (albeit one without Shaq), I don't really
expect them to frequently beat the best teams in the league. I'm
encouraged that the team likes playing together and that Allen and
Jefferson are starting to become heavy contributors. Everything is
positive right now.

Friday, December 17, 2004

General notes of NBA concern

Umm, the Bulls have won 4 of their last 6 games. Don't want to say
anything, but if they keep that up they may not be in lottery land
this year.

Additionally, before the season began I thought the acquisition of
Eric Snow by the Cavaliers was a good move. I felt that his veteran
presence and solid, if unspectacular, point play would help Jeff
McInnis continue his development. Boy was I ever wrong. Snow is not
playing much and apparently is becoming a bitch about it. Last night
Paul Silas had to send him into the locker room after Snow said some
crap to Silas. I applaud Silas too. I think he's a good coach and
he's got the Cavs going in the right direction. And as long as LBJ
buys into his program, he can demand proper respect from his players.
But still, I'm a little surprised by Snow's actions. I have a feeling
Snow will be changing locales before the season is over.

And finally, the Lakers are doing better than I anticipated. Beating
the Kings on the road so convincingly was a nice win from this club.
It helps when everybody steps up. It seems only Kobe can bring it
consistently on this team. Last night everybody brought their A
games. And Kobe's double fisted reverse baseline cram over Mrs.
Christie? Oooooooooo.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The East is not the least

The Celtics seem to be getting off to a good start on this west coast
swing. They lost to the Blazers, but have just had consecutive wins
over Seattle and the Clippers. Last nights victory over the clips was
particularly sweet. They won it in double overtime and it went into
the first overtime when Tony Allen made a humungous block on Corey
Maggette. Really a nice play. And they managed to do all this with
Pierce on the bench having fouled out. Ricky Davis had a great game
too. This is the stuff that gets you hooked. Hopefully they can keep
it up. I'd still like to see Jefferson cutting his teeth on the floor
a little bit more, especially against a crafty post player like Brand.