If you read one thing today, make it John Hollinger’s take on last night’s game. Just go read it. I’m going to break out one short excerpt here, but Hollinger gets into several topics, and the whole thing is well, well, well worth your time.
Excerpt, on KG:
“He was off today, the answer is yes, but I think he’s OK [physically],” said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. “Some days you wake up and you just don’t have it.”
Left unanswered was the question of whether Garnett might find it. While the Celtics and Garnett continue to insist that everything will be fine, after what happened last year they have virtually no credibility in this department. Observers who saw Garnett laboring up and down the court a week after he supposedly had a clean bill of health should feel free to wonder if things are worse than the Celtics have acknowledged publicly — much as they were a year ago.
Of course, Lewis’s drive wouldn’t have succeeded except that no help defense came from behind Garnett, despite having ample time to do so. The closest defender, Wallace, inexplicably stayed next to Dwight Howard at the opposite block rather than rotating down to the baseline to stop Lewis’s drive.
1) I have no clue if KG is hurt. But I would not read a terribly huge amount into that last play. This was Garnett’s third game back from injury, and you’re going to be tired at the end of a tough game that happens to be your third game back from injury.
2) Hollinger is, sadly, right about the Celtics credibility when it comes to KG’s health. But I don’t blame the Celtics for this. It is not in their interest to disclose everything they know about KG’s health—especially when they are themselves uncertain about how his body will progress over time.
3) Hollinger is spot on about Rasheed Wallace’s help defense. During the live chat of Boston’s first game of the season, David Thorpe pointed out how slowly Sheed was rotating to provide weak side help. He said it would be something to watch all season.
He was right. I watch it every game. There is no way to generalize about Sheed’s help defense, except to say that it is inconsistent and that he is the worst help defender among Boston’s big guys. (Which really isn’t saying much—this team rotates like mad).
In big spots, it has to be better.
Oh, and for all the replay time spent playing the “What if Eddie House could get his damn feet off the three-point line?” game last night, no one ever plays this game: “What if Sheed would just shut his mouth and not draw technical fouls?” For some reason, people forget the techs during crunch time of close games, because they are not (like Eddie’s foot problems) basketball errors.
But they are costly.
Jeff Clark at CelticsBlog tweeted last night about the Sheed Rules, arguing that the refs would not have called a technical on most players for what Sheed did last night.
You know what? I don’t really care. I don’t. If there are Sheed Rules, guess what? He’s earned them, and he needs to adjust to them. He needs to understand that waving his arms and screaming “And One!” could get him a technical.
Update: As a commenter notes, Sheed had a technical rescinded earlier this season for a similar “And One!” outburst. You know what? I still don’t care. The point the opposing team earns on the technical free throw never gets rescinded, and you can’t expect refs, in the heat of the moment, to think to themselves, “I would like to call a technical here, but, wait, didn’t the league rescind one of Sheed’s techs for a similar outburst, therefore setting a precedent which I should follow?”
In any case, I expect some massive Celtic hysteria if Boston loses the next two games to Atlanta and LA. Get a win tonight, fellas.