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Preview: Game Six: Not so fast…

 

Boston Globe

Boston Globe

I predicted the Celtics to beat Orlando in six games. I also predicted Marcin Gortat would be having his coming out party on Boston’s thin front line. I have to say, one out of two ain’t bad and I’m not predicting any Top Ten Plays, Double-Doubles, or even major PT from the Polish Project.

Despite Orlando’s seemingly inability to hold a lead and fighting in the locker room, I am not completely confident of a win tonight. The stars have been aligned for the C’s these playoffs-pulling out a gutsy seven game series with Chicago and making two comebacks against the Magic- but you don’t have to ask Ray Allen if stars mean anything in the playoffs.

The playoffs are about strong play all around, fighting for every inch your opponent gives you, and never giving up. Orlando has shown it can give up (Game 2, hope in their coach’s ability to coach) but that still doesn’t guarantee anything.

The Celtics have leaned on their less heralded players to come through in the clutch and play what has essentially been outside their collective comfort zones. That said, the Celtics can’t rely on Glen Davis to score 20 points a game. It’d be nice if he did, but it’s not fair to him to expect it. If the Celtics are going to win tonight, they’ll need to stay out of foul trouble, get to the line, and, as Zach pointed out, make Alston shoot.

Along with making Alston shoot, I’d go as far to say, “add Howard to that list.” Dwight Howard says he wants to ball with the game on the line and I say give it to him. Without trying to wake a sleeping giant, I don’t think Howard can be counted on when the game isn’t on the line, let alone in the waning minutes trying to keep a lead or stage a comeback. Kendrick Perkins has played stellar defense on Howard this series en route to making his defensive prowess nationally known. Celtics fans knew Perk was a big body that could chest people up and block shots, but now the country is well aware of his ability should he stay out of foul trouble. Howard also lacks actual post moves, does not shoot well from the line, does not pass out of double-teams well, and the bank shot experiment has not gone the way of Tim Duncan.

Despite all these short-comings, Howard is correct in saying he is a dominant player. Just dominant defensively and athletically. If the Celtics make him prove that he can beat us with Perk staying out of foul trouble, than this maybe the moment he ascends into offensive dominance and adds that to his resume. Personally, I just don’t see that happening. At least not tonight, at least not while Stan the Man’s calling the shots.

Prediction: Celtics’ Win.

  • http://loscy.wordpress.com Jon Tookem

    Dwight hasn’t played well when under the spotlight or with lots of pressure. Tonight, in Game 6 in Orlando, he will be in the spotlight and under plenty of pressure. The dude has potentially set himself up for disaster– what if he gets 20 touches, the offense runs strictly through him, and the Magic fail?

    Everyone keeps saying, “Just wait for him to develop… He’s got loads of potential.” That might be true, but he’s got a lot of work before becoming the dominant player he claims he already is. Drop step? Not there. Hook? Not there. Baby hook? Not there. Ability to face up to players? Not there. Ability to handle the ball on the post? Not there. Little jumper from 7 feet out? Not there. Any low post moves period? Not there. I hope SVGundy plans to change it up tonight. Why not? You’re going to lose this series anyway, so you might as well give Not-so-Superman a chance to win the game for the team. There is nothing to lose, but everything to gain: you either win Game 6 or you get him to shut up and start working on his game. We’ve seen what the Magic are all about, and what they bring to the table. Unfortunately for them, they are playing at their ceiling: this is the best they can do. But the problem is they can’t sustain leads, they don’t have a coach that understands how to change the tempo of a game, and they don’t have a player that can close out a game. You can’t beat a team as good as the Celts w/o those 3 things.

  • Jack Sprat

    I agree with how you measure up the Magic's flaws on paper, but having been only been able to beat this team by a cunthair the last two games, I'm feeling far from confident.

    What do you guys think about playing Ray Allen as many minutes in game 6 –if he's off to the same rocky start? I'm not saying keep him on the bench when the game's close in the 4th quarter or anything, but for a lot of the game, if Ray still hasn't gotten his shot back, I think I'd rather see House or (I can't believe I'm saying this) Marbury get some more playing time and see how they do.

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    I play Ray his usual 40 minutes. His size and ability to create in the foul line area make him a more consistent threat than someone like House. I live and die with a guy like Ray.

  • Jason

    It was nice for Marbury to show up for half a quarter out of 12 games, but seriously you'd prefer him to Ray even if Ray is struggling?

    Zach eluded to it and people don't give Ray enough credit for being more than just a spot up shooter, say like Reggie Miller. He's not a Ginobili slasher, but he can get to the rim (and he finishes well to boot) when it's there. He can come off screens and be a multiple threat: shoot, drive, assist. He's not a point guard, but he has a very reliable handle and he makes good decisions. He doesn't have to be the guy he was in Seattle, and he's learned only to force shots when necessary, like end of shot clock and clutch times. He can also pull up anywhere, 20 feet, foul line, inside the foul line, ANYWHERE when penetration is cut off and hit a J or leaner and he's near automatic when for most everyone else, it's a very difficult shot.

    This is all a way of saying I agree with Zach; I live and die with Ray any day. Love Eddie, but when a guy can stay with him like the Magic have, he's almost completely neutralized, he doesn't curl to the elbow and get a good shot off. He doesn't get to the rim. He usually (and smartly) just gets it back to the PG to try another play. And I definitely appreciate when Marbury contributes, too. But c'mon! Ray's head and shoulders above those two. He's the man. You dance with the one that brought ya. He's earned that right and that trust many times over.

  • Jack Sprat

    I'm not trying to measure up Ray Allen as a player against the other two, just their performances as of late (which I realize, even considering House's breakout game and Marbury's…breakout half-quarter, is a bit absurd). Of course Ray is a much more complete player for all the reasons you listed, all the same I'm getting tired of watching him struggle for so much of the game. But you guys are right. Maybe rotating the point guards more would help, but if it didn't, it'd look like a jackass move.

    Live together, die alone…or something.

  • Pingback: celtics afterthoughts: never give up | inane musings

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