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Why The Celtics Love The 1st Round: Rest

 

I can’t help but be overly optimistic about the Celtics chances to head into Miami this weekend and at worse, split with this Heat squad. With the extended two day layoffs in between both games 1 and 2, along with games 2 and 3, it’s difficult to cdomprehend just how rested the Celtics will be. Honestly though, the C’s freshness goes even further back down Round 1.

Consider this. If we flash back to the end of the regular season, the C’s starters (minus Rondo) have only played four games (KG just two!) in those past two weeks, before entering tonight’s game. Just for fun, let’s take a look at those minute breakdown in those contests.

Player @Mil @CHI GM1 GM2
Pierce    36       33        35     30
Allen     33        36       30     33
Perk      18         26       24      26
KG         out      28       33      out

Given the old legs and lingering injuries slowing down this crew, those numbers almost leave me jumping for joy. When you combine those figures, with these minute numbers from the last two months, things get even more exciting

Month Allen  PP    KG     Perk
March 31.3     30.4  28.8   25.9
April    32.9     33.6  29.8    26.3

Now, I don’t want to make a mountain out of a molehill here. Limited minutes obviously, doesn’t guartantee wins in the playoffs. However, it definitely can’t hurt. Need I remind you to take a look down memory lane last year. First let’s take a look at the minute breakdowns for Pierce and Ray Allen in the ladder months of the year in 2009:

Month:         PP   Allen
April 09     34.2   37
March 09  39.5  36.1
Feb 09          41.4 37.0

Yuck. Those figures ended up getting the Celtics the 2 seed they heavily sought after, but also a first round battle with the Bulls that left this squad running on fumes heading into Round 2. The Green fought valiantly for six games, and had the home court in their corner for game 7. Yet, they had nothing left and were simply blown out of the building by Orlando.

Make no mistake, Doc Rivers and company learned from this situation. Yes, the lack of KG (and Leon Powe) obviously was the biggest factor in that loss, but it became clear that Doc had ran his guys into the ground, and had them peaking a bit earlier than it was ultimately needed.

This year, things have changed. The C’s eased on the gas for much of the final two months, much to the chagrin of fans like myself. Now though, it’s time to push it into overdrive and Doc Rivers, much to his credit, has setup the chips perfectly to make it happen for this round and beyond.

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    rest is very important for this team. i think pierce especially.

    Cs should take this is in 4 or 5…..and hopefully the bulls will push the cavs to 6 or 7 games.

  • Jason

    KG’s extra rested and probably chomping at the bit, too. I’m really hoping/expecting him to be so unable to contain himself that the entire team is so amped too up by his example. If so, the Heat will have no chance and the Cs won’t have failed where the Cavs and Fakers did last night.

  • Jason

    I just want to reiterate how much I think KG will benefit from what has happened over the last couple of weeks.

    First, it was revealed it would take a full year for his knee’s health to return (if it would) and we are getting closer to that every day now. And there have been signs of him (his knee really) turning that last corner recently. Very encouraging. Game 1 especially he looked SIGNIFICANTLY better. He was very active. Jumping higher, jumping *quicker* and he had that second hop immediately after the first jump, which is very crucial and I hadn’t seen all season. Like I said, it seems he rounding (or has rounded) that corner.

    Add to that he’s played only two games in two weeks, getting not just extra rest, but extra *healing* which is so hard to really get when playing and practicing constantly throughout a season, and it’s really not hard to think that just at the right time, that KG is back. The KG we’ve been stressing about all year might finally be healed.

    Imagine what this must have been like for him. All his years he was healthy he could outsky almost anyone and defend 3 people on one half of the court and still recover to protect the rim. He could get his shot off against anyone, no fear of being blocked. Then his body hamstrings him and he’s not superman anymore, game after game, month after month, he can no longer do what he once could. If the knee is now right again, imagine what he must be thinking, how completely pumped he must be to go back out and do KG things again. He could almost literally explode on the court with a year’s worth of frustration built up and his powers restored. If he’s back, the 2008 D is back, in fact better if you consider Rondo and Perk are better (*especially* if Rondo’s going to play D like he has these two games), plus TA’s contributing.

    This is how important having the real KG back is. And I have to say I’ve been seeing the signs from him recently and really hope/expect there is more.

  • Sami

    Letting off the gas was irritating but overall it was a good thing for this team. Look at what we’re seeing from them now. Let’s just hope our foot stays on the gas now. We get this series over as quickly as we can and are well rested and ready to do battle agianst the Cav’s

  • Joel W

    In the past two years, the person who has really benefited from extra days of rest is Ray, which makes sense since his legs are a huge part of his game. His 3 point percentages are significantly higher in games where he had at least one day off. You’ll be shocked to hear that Sheed was also a much better when the Celtics got 2+ days of rest this year (as in he shot 37% from 3 and 48% from the field).

    PP was actually worse with more rest, and this has been consistent for the last few years. KG has been actually pretty much the same regardless of days off.

  • Ray Leighton

    @Jason — yes, I am so with you on this — a healthy KG doing all of the things that KG does, and he finally is looking like he can sky again. I imagine that the better KG’s jump looks, the more the rest of the league is starting to feel uncomfortable.

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