On a scale of one to Chris Brown, how upset/mad/depressed/pissed-off/violent were you feeling after the Charlotte game? Terrible. Just terrible. There was one positive that came out of it though: timing. We got that game out of our system before we rolled into Boston. Imagine if we posted a performance like that against the C**tics? What would we be talking about…179-65? I may have jumped ship if I had to endure a game like that.
The C**tics are -10.5 favourites in this game (over/under of 204), which means we need to buckle down and expect a Bobcats level whooping. Never thought I would utter that – Bobcats level whooping, fml.
We checked in with Zach Lowe of CelticsHub.com, and asked him a few questions about his team:
Q. You guys had two close ones against the Knicks and Philly. What did those teams do to keep the game close?
The Knicks hung in because the Celtics missed a ton of open shots and Al Harrington hit some threes that ranged from mildly difficult to ridiculously difficult. It happens. That game didn’t worry me–the Knicks have played the Celtics fairly tough since KG arrived.
As for the Sixers, the Celtics appeared to take them lightly with Brand, Williams and Speights all out (and the C’s basically admitted to taking them lightly after the game). They also had a difficult time adjusting to the Sixers small line-up; slow rotations for the first three quarters allowed Philly (and your old pal Jason Kapono) to go off from three.
Bottom line: The C’s just aren’t attacking teams with the fury they showed last year. And I think that’s a good thing. They are experimenting with line-ups and strategy instead of going for the kill in November games.
Q. Are the Big 3 showing any signs of slowing down?
Two of them are. Pierce remains as solid as ever. He’s shooting 51 percent from the floor and playing lock down defense, particularly down the stretch of close games. His D against Andre Iguodala on Wednesday was a sight to behold.
As for Allen and KG, their stats are down across the board. Ray is shooting 29 percent from three and his PER has actually dipped below 15 for the first time since his rookie year. KG’s jumper has been off (41 percent so far) and his mobility is not what it was in 2008.
The shooting doesn’t worry me. Both guys will come around. They are vets. The team remains optimistic about KG working himself back into prime health. The jury’s out.
Q. Would you trade Kendrick Perkins for Andrea Bargnani?
No, but the “no” isn’t as emphatic as it would have been last year. In general, I think this Celtics nucleus functions best with a center who focuses mostly on protecting the rim and working his ass off on screen/roll defense. That obviously doesn’t describe Bargs. That said, as the C’s core players age, it would be nice to have someone take
more of the scoring load off of the Big Three. That was the idea with Sheed. Fifteen games in, Sheed’s shooting has been a disaster.
At this point, Bargs has convinced me he’s a legit offensive player. But the C’s defense would tumble if you replaced Perk with Bargs. So: No.
Q. Why is Garnett such a douche-bag?
No comment, though I’m on record (to the chagrin of some readers) as saying KG’s sideline antics during the ’09 playoffs were (at times) embarrassing. But he’s like Jordan in a way (and that is NOT a basketball ability comparison, so settle down, MJ’s the best, etc.): He’s a maniacal competitor, for better or worse. It serves his team well when he’s on the floor but may not serve him well in, you know, normal social situations.
The Raptors need to rebound from the Charlotte game, and I don’t mean they have to win, because they wont. What they have to do is give a full 48 minute effort. Rebounding and defensive rotations are going to be crucial, because the Raptors play the type of game where struggling opponents get good looks and can shoot themselves out of a funk.
The Point: Calderon/Jack had problems with Felton/Augustin on Wednesday, but Rondo poses a problem for everyone in the league. If Rondo is blowing by, or hitting half-assed contested jumpers, he is going to be trash talking our guys into crying. Me-thinks Rondo posts a triple-double tonight. IF Calderon is shooting the ball well and protecting the ball, and IF Jack attacks the paint and kicks out to an open shooter (or finds a forward rolling to the rim), the Raptors won’t fare too badly in this match-up, otherwise, it’s going to be bad.
The Edge: Boston
The Wings: The Raptors forwards surrendered 63pts and 18rebs against the Bobcats forwards on Wednesday. Jesus and The Truth (and a couple other guys) vs Turkoglu/DeRozan/Wright/Belinelli…not going to be good. I suspect Ray Allen will be getting some premium looks at the rim and shoot his way out of his early funk. Pierce will be Pierce, he has been a God-send for me in one of my fantasy leagues so far. This is going to be bad as well.
The Edge: Boston
The Forwards: This might be our best match-up considering how Bosh has bulked up and isn’t as easily bullied in the paint. Garnett has owned us the last couple of seasons, but Bosh will give him a surprise tonight, I believe. Bargnani has had a couple lackluster games in a row, but Perkins represents someone who he can abuse on the perimeter. I look forward to watching Amir (#FreeAmir) battle in the paint tonight, he is the kind of guy we need battling Garnett/Perkins in the paint on both ends of the floor.
The Edge: Even
The Raptors fought back from a 28-point halftime deficit but fell short, losing to the Celtics 115-107 in Boston. Chris Bosh did everything possible to make it respectable, finishing with a season-high 39 points and grabbing 16 boards.
Aside from Bosh, Toronto got 17 from Hedo Turkoglu and 11 off the bench from Jarrett Jack. The Raptors were out-rebounded 44-35, with Amir Johnson the only player other than Bosh to grab at least five boards.
Paul Pierce led Boston with 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting and Rajon Rondo had eight points, five boards and 12 assists. The Celtics had a big bench effort, with Eddie House (18), Marquis Daniels (12) and Sheldon Williams (11) all scoring in double digits.
I have to go with the SIM, the Raptors don’t match-up well, they aren’t playing with any sort of purpose, the game wont even be close. Hopefully we don’t wear ourselves out tonight and leave something in the tank for Sunday at home to the Suns. Happy Thanksgiving to the folks down south.