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.

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