This past week has sure been a busy one. The Celtics have certainly hit their stride again after a case of early-January blues. Now in possession of the longest current winning streak at 9 games, and the second best overall record, the C’s have reasserted themselves as the team to beat. Last Thursday we played a tremendous statement game against the Orlando Magic, at Orlando. We kept arguably the leagues most dominant center to a paltry 11 points. The defensive philosophy of holding Howard in check, and making the other starters work hard to score was a successful antidote. Assuming of course their bench wouldn’t show up, and after just a 10 point effort, it was evident they were nowhere to be found. As good as they are, there’s no substitute for scoring when there’s no substitutes who can score, and that is Orlando’s achilles heel. The C’s won 90-80, en route to a showdown against one of the supposed premiere western conference talents, the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.
Ah the Mavs, on paper they have some serious talent, a Hall of Fame point guard in Jason Kidd, arguably the best 6th man in the game Jason Terry and an elite do-it-all power forward Dirk Nowitzki. Their record may not show it but, they will as always make the first round of the playoffs, but then per their norm, make
Soft like puddin'
an early exit from the dance so Dirk can get drunk and play video games. But there’s a common theme here in regards to the big German, every year he is one of the leagues premier regular-season scorers, but you never get the sense that the team is a legitimate threat for Finals contention. Like everything, there’s a reason, in a word, he’s soft. Where I come from when a guy has all that talent and height, but folds when another great talent stands in his way, people call him “big for nothing”. The guy’s got moves for days and can shoot with the leagues best, but as the face of the franchise, it disgusts me that he’s got no real toughness when it counts (the playoffs). That said the Celtics and KG made an example of him yet again to the tune of 124-100. Who was the leading scorer for the Mavs this night; you guessed it, Jason Terry (27 points), the veteran who plays like he’s still in his mid twenties, aka this teams saving grace. Although we won handily (up 74-47 at halftime) a very unpleasant thing happened, Boston beloved power forward and favorite red-headed son, suffered the first of two concussions in the span of three days (once against Dallas and once in practice), taking him out of the lineup for about a week (Scalspals don’t kill yourselves).
At the beginning of the season, there was speculation as to how Boston would replace James Posey and the intangibles he brought to the hardwood every night. I and probably everyone else assumed that there was no real replacement for him, and we would need to just make due without him. But then a funny thing happened, Perkins injures his shoulder and Scalabrine gets inserted into the lineup as a starter and vuala, a guy who makes things happen on the court a la Posey. His defensive savvy and ability to stretch defenses with the three ball, makes him a legitimate threat, along with his size in the same way Posey frustrated other teams off the bench, he’s even got the attitude to match. He’s the last piece to the championship puzzle weather you realize it or not, the guy who everyone wants to succeed, but didn’t realistically think would, has now definitively left his mark on the team, and I guarantee will now be a much more intricate part of the lineup upon his return.
Who raised you?!
Wednesday, with Scal’s watching from the sidelines the C’s faced off against the Sacramento Kings. While the Celtics hadn’t played since Sunday, the Kings were fresh off a loss from Cleveland the night before. It couldn’t be more evident which team was sharper at the start of the game as the Kings opened up an early 10 point lead, shooting 9 for 10 from the field. Actually for the first quarter and a half the Kings were on top largely due to the Celtics being a step slow on both ends of the court. Early referee trouble severely hampered the starters production, specifically Pierce and Perkins, stumbling the offense until the second team all-stars got us back into the game. On a not-so-small side note, the refereeing this season in the NBA has been the most inconsistent, unprofessional and game changing bunch of shenanigans I’ve ever seen. It’s absolutely atrocious, I guess the Tim Donaghy scandal and the successive probe into NBA refs, was enough for them to band together and completely f*$% the league over with poorly officiated games and phantom calls. You know someone (Donaghy) somewhere is laughing their ass off every night and making a bunch of money. Yea I said it! Apologies for the tangent but I’ve held my tongue as long as I could about this, enough is enough, if this continues into the playoffs, it may just be a long disappointing summer.
But I digress, midway through the second quarter the bench was mounting a comeback, and “Towny” Tommy Heinsohn was leading the charge from the sidelines with a headset on. There is nobody more entertaining when the Celts are doing really good or really bad. Among other ridiculous things that were said, we were privy to the new nick names for Glen Davis and Eddie House; Glen
Exhibit A: The Smoking Gun
“Big Adolescent” Davis whose apparently growing up right before our eyes, and Eddie “Mansion” which actually has a nice ring to it. Once the Celtics got their motors running there was no looking back. The lead finally swung in our favor early in the second, and that’s when Eddie “Mansion” went off. It’s no secret he’s been on fire lately trying to set a new personal best for himself in 3-point shooting, but he certainly outdid himself on this night scorching the nets for 8 out of 9 attempts and ending with a game high 28 points. Even Tony Allen, who had been sidelined because of an ankle injury showed up and almost had a double double with 10 points and 8 boards.
All seems to be right in the world, we’ve got a new president who isn’t the butt of every joke, and the C’s just took back the best record in the league (38-9) with Cleveland’s loss to Orlando last night. But the real test and arguably biggest game of the regular season will come next week when we have our much vaunted rematch against the evil LA Lakers. In the meantime entertain yourselves with the next few games: Tonight 7pm @ Detroit, Sunday 12pm at home vs. Minnesota and Tuesday 7pm @ Philadelphia. Or just watch reruns of the last Presidency, either way it’ll be good fun.