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Pierce out for 2 weeks: What does it mean for the C’s?

 

Well news just broke in the last hour that The Captain will be missing the next 2 weeks after undergoing arthroscopic irrigation on his right knee to clean an infection. I have to give a hat tip to my buddy Corey for alerting me with a text to get my Pierce report ready upon reading the news.

First let’s take a look at the “good news” from the injury report. Two weeks is not a long amount of time and by all accounts, the Celtics organization is putting on a front that this procedure is really no big deal to recover from. Do I believe them when they say this? I’m not sure, but for now I will take them at their word. Maybe Zach can interview the knee doctor again to get the inside scoop on this procedure.

There’s also a bit of bad news to go along with this injury, outside of any long term ramifications this injury might have for Paul, and that is simply bad timing. Right now, the Celtics are easily entering their toughest stretch of schedule this year.

Let’s take a look at how their next 8 games shake out over the next 2 and a half weeks.

@ Orlando
@ LA Clippers
@ Golden State
@ Phoenix
Toronto
@ Miami
@ Atlanta
@ Toronto

Woof. That’s a challenging slate right there, even if the team was one hundred percent healthy. Without The Captain, and 3 of the team’s key contributors overall, if you include Marquis and Big Baby who by all recent reports is out until the New Year, the team’s stellar depth is now suddenly tested.

That’s without mentioning any lingering problems KG is having with his right thigh bruise that kept him sidelined last night. Reports have that being a strategic rest more than anything else, and it’s pivotal for that to be the case for the C’s, if they want to stay atop the East these next couple weeks.

Red flags should have started to go up earlier today in all honesty, once Bill Walker was recalled from the NBDL, since the team really had no need for him right now unless there was an injury. Now we know that to be the case.

So without Pierce and Marquis, the C’s 3 spot begins to look extremely thin. A couple questions for Celtics fans to chew on about the situation, including who replaces Paul in the starting lineup, after the jump.

1) Who starts?

Doc will have a couple options here. Initially, I’d say a lot of it would depend on matchups, but my early favorite out of the gate is Tony Allen. His height will be a problem as he would be an extremely undersized 3 or force Ray to guard one, but his defense and positive offensive contributions thus far this year could make him worthy of the call. Even if he doesn’t get the start, you can can count on TA being the guy who sees the biggest spike in regular minutes off the bench.

Brian Scalabrine could also be a dark house contender to start at the 3 hole. Unlike TA, he would be an oversized 3, which could work against some teams but also leave him in no man’s land when having to match up with athletic swingmen.

Doc has shown in the past he likes to turn to Scal to fill in for injured players in the starting lineup since he can shoot from the outside, plays steady and knows his limitations. Doc knows what he will be getting out of him. However starting Scal at the 3 might put the team at too much of a disadvantage defensively against certain athletic squads.

Overall, Doc’s lineup could depend on the opponent, but I’d put TA at a slight favorite to get the nod. Don’t count on Scal though.

Who else get Paul’s minutes? And how does this effect the rest of the rotation?

Well we know Bill Walker was brought up but I don’t think he is a shoe in for 10-15 minutes a game. One thing for certain is that Shelden Williams will likely no longer be nailed to the bench, as with Scal having to take some minutes at the 3, Shelden will see regular time at the 4 most nights these next 2 weeks.

With TA and Scal likely clocking in at 20-25 minutes a game, perhaps a bit more depending on who starts, its possible we could see a Lester Hudson or J.R. Giddens sighting for an extended look say 10-15 minutes or so these next few weeks. Walker is a natural 3 so he seems to be the logical fit, but Lester and J.R. have been with the team here all year so its likely Doc may be more comfortable with giving J.R. minutes at the 2/3 right now paired with Scal/TA rather than throw Bill Walker in the fire right away.

Eddie House will likely see a slight uptick in his minutes as well as more point duties than usual with the team being forced to rely a lot on TA in this spot.

All in all, there are a lot of questions here created by Pierce’s absence with few clear answers. If you like watching young players though (Brendan Jackson is likely drooling at the possibilities) be sure to stay tuned into the C’s these next 2 weeks. We should get a stronger glimpse into where exactly all these young guys place on Doc’s depth chart.

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

    Here’s my top notch analysis: Crap.

  • Jay P.

    Excellent analysis Zach.

    I’d just like to add my two cents: This sucks.

  • mike c

    I was at the game last night and IMHO we looked profoundly suck-tacular in the first half without KG. Yes, it was partly because the Pacers had a hot opening streak with their 3′s, and yes, we turned it around in the late 3rd and 4th (at least partially because Perk and Pierce both made up for lackluster first-half showings with strong performances after the break).

    But I wonder how this will affect Doc’s plans to bring KG back. Did he (Doc) originally intend to rest him (KG) multiple games, I wonder? And will he now feel pressured to return KG to the lineup sooner that he would have without PP going out?

  • Tom

    My other question is, will KG play this weekend?

    I agree that TA/Scal would grab most of the minutes. House will probably benefit a lot as the Celtics will try to go small under certain matchups. I love the idea of Rondo with House against traditional teams with smaller guards (Minn.).

    I wonder if they ever talked about sticking Big Baby/KG at the 3 under worse case scenrio.

    I am going to say Giddens/Walker will both do less than 10 minutes a game without Pierce. Hudson will be even less.

    Of course we can have a Leon Powe story again (I think he played 2 years ago when someone got hurt). I seriously doubt it….

  • Savi

    Is KG okay?! Is he playing on friday? I know they said it was minor but any injury to him worries the crap out of me

  • Ryan S.

    Christmas Day; where bad gifts, in-laws, meaningless college football, and more minutes for Tony Allen happens

  • matthew

    That’s just great. Where the hell’s the luck of the damn leprechaun?? What’s next? Rayray twists an ankle on Orlando?? Blast! Just once this season I’d like to see all the celts players healthy and playing – even for just a week. Tis gonna be a sad, sad Christmas…

  • http://facebook.com James

    Celtics are in a load of trouble without piece…our only official 3 is bill walker (who i really wanna c get alot of minutes). Tony allen will b starting (vomits everywhere), hopefully we can stay competitive nd win half of these games. I have to state again, i really wanna c walker play, he’s big and athletic and can be a big spark if he can just find some minutes and get a rhythm, he cant b much worse than ta can he?

  • http://celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    Remember: It’s June that matters.

  • Idaho

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I am going to the Phoenix game. I am recovering though, I guess it will be nice to watch the future of the Celtics or at least for now, but damn, the timing!

    Anybody have any advice on getting the most out of an NBA game? Going early to catch some pre-game shooting drills, etc.

  • Mitch

    why cant this crap happen to the lakers. the devils team

  • Brendan Jackson

    I’ve already secured my bib.

  • Kevin

    Why not slide Sheed into the #3? He would certainly be a mismatch for opposing teams having KG, Sheed, and Perkins on that front line with Ray and Rondo on backcourt.

  • Tom

    Z can blow past Sheed at this point. If anything, might have to experiment KG or Big baby at 3

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

    Sheed cannot even guard power forwards right now let alone 3s.

  • Corey

    I am not sure what the real big deal is with this. They’re up big in the division and have already proven they can compete on the road this year. Pierce and KG missing time allows more players to step in and get real minutes against good teams. Come June they will have more guys used to rotating and playing different positions, allowing them to be a more cohesive defensive unit. If they can keep the game close in Orlando without Pierce, there will be nothing to worry about come playoff time.

  • http://theclippersnation.com/ clippersnation

    Great analizing skill. Thanks for the option you made.

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