Friday, May 2, 2008
The only guy that can lose it for the celtics
I gotta agree with Fabs that Doc really is a horrendous coach for letting Ray Allen get consistently burned by Joe Johnson in Game 4 and refusing to play Tony Allen in stretches (their best perimeter defender, yet most turnover-prone guy). However, I think Ian Thomsen and I disagree with Fabs about the whole lack of intensity issue. Now a few thoughts on some Celtics players after watching Game 5 from the balcony:
Although this may sound absurd, given how intense he is, I really think KG has to step his up aggresiveness, especially on the offensive end. Josh Smith (although a great shot-blocker) can't guard him in the post. So instead of settling for 15 footers (which he usually makes anyway), let's see him use his quickness to drive to the rim or use a couple quick post moves and his absurdly long arms to angle shots over his man. Maybe even get to the foul line for once? No one on the Hawks (or most other Eastern Conference teams for that matter) can guard him due to superior athletic ability.
His ability to spot up and shoot really mixes it up for the Cs and allows them to rest Rondo (whose quickness and slashing can scare defenders). The Hawks defenders appeared confusing at first when Cassell came into the game as they had been playing back on Rondo (due to his utter lack of shooting skills) and now were forced to really get out and defend the jump shot (of which Cassell made 6/8). However, Cassell really has lost a step in his old age and can barely defend the quicker Hawk guards. I saw him get burned back door 2 plays in row; by the time he realized his man was by him, he was about 5 steps too late to make a stop. He barely played 7 minutes in the 1st half and still came out of the locker room with ice bandages wrapped around his entire upper body. That's when you know you're getting old. Cassell's defensive liability may come back to haunt the Cs late in a big game down the road. Thus, Doc faces a decision: leave Cassell in at the end of games for his superior shooting (especially foul shooting) or play Rondo who can't hit the back side of a barn, yet whose slashing ability and defensive tenacity could be key in big games.
Pierce: I really liked the way he drove to the basket in Game 5 instead of settling for long jumpers. Although a great shooter, I'd like to see him drive more and use all of his 240 lbs to muscle the leaner Hawks players around the basket. Even backing a guy into the post and hitting on of his trademark turn-around Js should be easy. No one on the Hawks can guard him one on one and he's gotta take advantage of that.
Perkins/Powe: Powe is much better defensively and offensively for this team. It's not even close. Perkins can't stay in for more than 4 minutes at a time without looking completely exhausted (I'm not kidding). On top of that, he's one of the slower players I've ever seen and although a decent shot-blocker and dunker (when within 1 foot of the basket), he's got nothing on Powe. Powe plays tenacious defense and really works well around the rim, especially his little up and under reverse that he has been using.
Unfortunately for the Celtics, Doc is a horrendous coach and so he probably hasn't told them any of this. However, the Celtics veteran core are old enough that they've got to realize these things on their own and take control. Should the Celtics lose before the finals this year, Doc should (but probably won't) be on his way out of town. Epstein for Celtics coach 2008-2009?