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Monday Practice Report: Doc Talks Rotation

 

Greeting from Waltham, where it’s time to break down the practice proceedings today. Luckily, for my sake, this won’t take too long since the team spent a brief 20 minutes on the floor before exiting in preparation for their afternoon departure to New York. Given their tough upcoming schedule (4 games in 5 nights, 3 coming on the road) it’s no surprise Doc went easy on the guys today, especially after yesterday’s big win.

Doc fielded some questions from reporters after the short session. Bench sparkplugs Tony Allen and Glen Davis also spoke with reporters briefly after their strong efforts yesterday, as they were officially declared to be in the playoff rotation by Doc, in the postgame. A few words, first from Doc.

On the “hatred” between the Cavs and C’s:

“I like the hatred, I think that’s good. These teams don’t like each other for some reason, I don’t ever think that’s a bad thing personally. I just don’t want to see that officiated, just line them up and let them play.

On Marquis Daniels and Nate Robinson’s role right now:

“Their role is to keep working everyday in practice. There’s a day and a time when we will need them. When someone gets in foul trouble or someone might not be playing well, same for goes for Shelden. Right now, they are out of the rotation but it doesn’t mean they won’t be back in it.”

This situation is really amazing, when you think about it. Who would have thought that Nate could have played himself out of the rotation so quickly? Or that Tony Allen would have beaten out Marquis Daniels for meaningful minutes by the end of this year?

I have to give Doc credit though for both moves, despite how unlikely both scenarios would have appeared, even a month ago. TA never really had a bad stretch of play, he was really bumped out of the rotation by default with the arrival of Michael Finley. The fact is he is the more consistent player right now, with better upside than Marquis on both sides of the ball. I was pining for him to get more minutes a couple weeks back. I generally don’t like to toot my own horn, but let’s flashback a couple weeks

Let’s get back to TA though. I don’t see him earning back Finley’s minutes, since well, he can’t shoot and Finley can. That’s not going to change. However, there is one guy’s minutes that I wonder if Allen will get a crack at getting some of, especially if he doesn’t step it up soon, and those are Marquis Daniels.

Is Tony Allen better than Marquis Daniels? I’m not saying that. However, Daniels has been consistently inconsistent right now. So what would I like to see? I wouldn’t mind TA getting a few of Daniels minutes in these games, especially if Quisy is looking passive early on in his outing.It’s a criticism that Doc has laid upon him recently.

In any case, I am just happy to see Doc give Tony a chance to work himself back into the rotation, and he answered the bell accordingly. Who knows who long it will last, but glad to see Allen come full circle this year, with this team.

As far as Nate goes, this team will need his offensive firepower at some point in the postseason. He wasn’t providing it recently, as was chronicled last week here at Celtics Hub, his struggles were glaring and defensive lapses were just as damaging.

So here’s hoping he returns with authority, when he’s given the chance, kind of like he did in New York, putting up 45 points against Atlanta in his first game back. Some version of that will help.

On Shelden Williams/Big Baby minute battle:

“I went back and forth honestly before yesterday’s game between Shelden and Baby, because Shelden has been playing so well, they are so close. It won’t take much to get either on or off the floor.”

Something to keep an eye on as the season unfolds, the battle between these to for minutes. Glen seemed to reassert himself yesterday with a strong performance in 14 minutes and remains confident in himself and his abilities going forward to help this team. Hell, he was so confident, he even referred to himself in the 3rd person.

“The confidence is coming. Sometimes I get down on myself, since I know I get play better, I know I can help the team more. I’m a very emotional player and get really down on myself sometimes. I really just need to go out there and play, play on feel. You listen to your teammates and coaches, but you just gotta go out there and be the player you are. That’s what I’ve been trying to do recently, it’s the Big Baby you’ve seen out there recently, being energetic, running the floor, everywhere, all over the floor.”

Preach on, Glen. That’s really the player this team needs right now. If he and TA can keep a level head and give this energy without the drawbacks.

Finally some words on TA from what’s been different this year, compared to last year, besides the injuries:

“More focused, and know what we need to be doing out there offensively and defensively. That’s really carried over for me. It’s been a long year for me, but there’s still a long way to go.”

It took a couple years, but TA has really figured it out, not pressing on offense, just taking the opportunities that are given to him.

  • Jay P

    Good stuff.

    I’ll admit I’ve been skeptical on TA for awhile, and after last year I was convinced he would never live up the potential we all expected from him.

    I’m happy to say I was wrong, and he really seems to be coming around. I love his energy, and it’s great to see for a guy who had so much potential but who’s career can best be described as a roller coaster.

    Baby/Shelden is such a toss up for me, they both play so hard, and both have their upsides. Shelden definitely finishes better inside, but Baby gets the edge of the boards, he has a way of positioning himself and using his body to clear space and get the board which is fun to watch (if only he could learn to do that finishing shots as well, instead of throwing those 3-12 up fakes that accomplish nothing.)

    But it’s good to hear Doc mentioned that “it wont take much to get either of them out” I think that goes for any of these guys. They won’t have much of a leash at all, the pressure will be on anytime their on the court. If their not bringing it one every single possession, you better believe someone else is gonna be in there real quick.

  • Perry

    Wow! We traded some decent young talent for Nate and now he’s riding the pine?

    We’ve come full circle my friends. Tony Allen — back up PG.

  • Jay P

    @ Perry

    I had that same thought… given that TA is essentially the back up PG now, does anyone lament losing Eddie?

    JR and Walker don’t bother me, there’s too much depth at that position, they weren’t going to get a chance in Boston anyway.

    But I certainly wouldn’t mind having Eddie around right now for so quick spot up scoring off the bench.

    It’ll be interesting to see if Doc uses Nate at all in an Eddie House type role, after all their career shooting numbers are pretty similar, and if TA is running the point it might make it easier to create shots for Nate is you play him as a 2… something to ponder at least.

  • Sami

    Still this all goes back to the fact that we still really don’t have a back up point guard. TA can handle the ball but he isn’t a point either… Nate like Eddie is better when someone sets up shots for him… Quis when he’s playing right can handle the ball too. However like I said we still don’t actually have a back up point guard for Rondo and at this point i guess it doesn’t matter really because come playoff time Rondo is going to be playing more minutes than he is now.

    The good thing right now I guess is that we have the flexiiblity to be able put in people to play say if someone isn’t playing well or is in foul trouble.

  • Perry

    @Jay P

    Yes, I agree that Walker and Giddens’ playing time would amount to nothing and the future is now.

    It’s funny because Eddie had that chemistry going with Quis until he banged up his thumb. From that point on Eddie could never get back on track.

    Maybe Nate can play off TA, but I get nervous when TA becomes a facilitator. Either Rondo, Ray or Pierce would have to be called on to help handle the ball.

    Once the post season arrives minutes tend to be less of factor because of the TV timeouts, and layoffs. So it looks like Doc is ready to use one starter and a combination of Sheed/Davis/TA/ Finley off the bench. But it wouldn’t surprise me to see a Sam/Eddie situation surface at the point or the wing spot.

  • Jay P

    True, all this talk about the bench rotations is kinda moot.

    We win based on the starters, obviously. The Bench can do nothing more than keep the ship afloat, and hopefully add a little energy spark when the starts lull.

  • cmoney

    “Shelden definitely finishes better inside, but Baby gets the edge of the boards”

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=willish02&y1=2010&p2=davisgl01&y2=2010

    The key stats to look at are in the advanced section: ORB%, DRB%, and TRB% (offensive, defensive, and total rebounding percentage).

    Shelden is a much better rebounder. It’s not really close. Especially when you consider that Baby’s edge in offensive rebounding largely comes from gathering the shots he has blocked (which is happening at a rather historic rate for a power forward this year: nearly 25% of his inside shot attempts, according to 82games.com).

    I am glad that Doc finally came around on Tony, though. He’s our best wing defender and with the way Quisy is playing this year, he’s not really any worse on offense.

  • I love Green

    So Joe Johnson is out for atleast the next two games for the Hawks and the games are at Charlotte and at Detroit. So they’ll most likely go 1-1, and if we go 2-0 against the Knicks and Raptors (which we should) we’ll be tied with them. I see us going undefeated or losing one more game this season, and the Hawks losing 1 or 2 games depending on Joe Johnson’s health.

    We gotta get that 3 seed!

  • Cptn Bubbles

    Noticed that the 2 final teams in the NCAA tourney tonight where both Defensive Juggernauts and huge on rebounding & foul shooting. I don’t think that was a fluke.

    Every guy I’ve ever seen play has had horrible shooting nights. Nights where, as a responsible fan, you let out a shriek of pain with a resounding groan each time his icy fingers touch the rock in an offensive gesture.

    There is a shot for redemption, a place where these woeful, frigid men can still be a hero & actually win the game…… Unlike someone’s shot, Defense can be played consistently. Moving your feet is not a magical skill. Keeping your hands up & pressuring the ball is not a supernatural talent. Taking a charge requires no dexterity of the hands. Blocking out requires no excessive height or jumping ability (ask the shorties from Houston). Talking on Defense requires no magna cum laude or phD in linguistics.

    Defense is where you can be the most consistent. It is the place where you can still dominate a game even though you could be having the worst night of your career shooting. Defense is where you can make the other side feel your pain helping them to miss all their shots as well. If you are 0-10, you are gonna feel a whole lot better if your defense is making the other guy go 1-8.

    We are greedy fans & want everything, BUT what do we want most Cs?

    STOPS, STOPS, & JUST A FEW MORE STOPS.

    RELENTLESS D

  • Ray Leighton

    I think Doc’s statement was particularly interesting, not just because he clearly has TA in the rotation, but because he mentioned just four guys. I realize that nine is a normal playoff rotation, but I still think that Doc is missing the point. Does he have to use nine because everyone else does?

    TA has had some of his best minutes with the starters and he needs to be the guy who comes in and harasses Lebron, or Vince Carter, or Joe Johnson; TA needs to be the guy that guarantees that Rondo will have someone to run with in transition. I love the pressure that TA and Rondo can apply on defense — it probably costs the other team a few extra seconds every trip up the floor, which is a few less seconds for the other team to get off a good shot. We need a second rotation AND we need TA to come in periodically, be a defensive spark, and give Paul or Ray a rest.

    The other concern with this is who is going to be the starter coming in with the second unit? With TA out there, you can bet that Ray or Rondo will be bringing the ball up the floor a lot. Even with a lot of rest days thrown in there, can we afford to add extra minutes to Paul or Ray or Rajon? All of them, even Rajon, have shown that they are not at top form when they are playing 40 minutes.

  • Rav

    Good post Bubbles. But a team as a whole still needs offense. Our D is fine, but with 3 (albeit past-their-prime) future HOFers and one of the best passing point guards in the league, one would expect our offense to be much better than league average.

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