Here’s a look at Game 3 from the other side, plus some other non-enemy tidbits.
• At Cavs The Blog, John Krolik has a tidbit-fest you should go over and read. Two excerpts you might be interested in:
On the captain:
Paul Pierce, you cannot score against LeBron. You are old, slow, and extremely crafty. LeBron is young, freakishly fast, and also crafty. It’s not going to work out. Please keep trying, though.
I brought this up in my own notebook earlier today: Paul’s struggles from inside the arc (9-of-26 in this series) are not an accident. This is what happens when you face a defender has two inches and (at least) 25 pounds on you and is still quicker than you are. Add in the fact that Cleveland ranked near the top of the league in opponent shooting percentage at the rim, and you’re going to struggle scoring in isolation if you’re Paul Pierce.
The C’s have to get him the ball on the move so that Pierce can use space and momentum against James and attack the basket. Otherwise, he’s cooked against LBJ.
• And here’s Krolik on another key factor that killed any potential Boston momentum last night:
[Anthony Parker] and Delonte: 25 points on 9-11 shooting from the field. That’s huge. AP knocked down all three of his looks from deep, and Delonte couldn’t miss a pull-up jumper. I will say that I didn’t love the way Delonte was stopping the ball and settling for jumpers. Hard to argue with results, though.
West was huge on offense last night. He made jumpers that destroyed any Boston momentum in the 2nd, including two straight in the early 2nd to keep the Cleveland cushion at 18 and another later that increased it to 19. The C’s were trading baskets, and for a stretch, they were trading baskets with West.
That said, Krolik is right to note they were tough shots. I’ll live with West knocking down 20-footers off the bounce.
• Fear the Sword nails one adjustment that I thought was key—and overlooked by the announce team:
The choice was to put Anthony Parker on Rondo right from the beginning. The twist? Parker put full-court pressure on Rondo, slowing him down and forcing the Celtics into their offense later then they would like. That resulted in rushed shots, bad shots, and a ton of jumpshots.
Exactly right. I also think that sort of ball-pressure can have an intangible effect of psyching up your teammates and getting everyone to play harder and with more confidence.
• Doc Funk photos. Always fun.
• Nate Robinson may file a grievance against the C’s for benching him for two games late in the season and in the process costing Robinson $1 million (and saving the C’s another $1 million in luxury tax payments).
My gut reaction: Nate might want to file a grievance against himself for failing to learn adequate team defense.
In any case, here’s the Globe:
Robinson’s agent, Aaron Goodwin, facilitated the deal with the Celtics in hopes of getting his client that additional $1 million. Now his representatives are attempting to determine whether the $1 million the Celtics saved prevented them from exceeding the NBA luxury tax, which would cost the team $2 million for surpassing $71 million in player salaries.
If the Celtics’ salary cap at the end of the season is close to approaching the luxury tax, Robinson’s representatives could file a grievance with the league that could potentially force the Celtics to pay Robinson the bonus.
I’m a little bit confused. The luxury tax line this season is a shade under $70 million—$69,920,000, according to Larry Coon’s Salary Cap FAQ, the single best resource created by humans since, I dunno, food.
Unless I’m missing something, the C’s payroll is going to blow by that number regardless of whether they pay Robinson’s $1 million bonus. The C’s have about $85 million on their final 2010 payroll, according to ShamSports.
So if the Robinson team is basing its grievance case on the possibility that the C’s dodged the luxury tax by gipping Robinson out of his bonus, well, they’re going to lose.
• Jessica Camerato of WEEI attended C’s practice today, and she reports the team expressed support for its struggling captain.
“I’m not worried about P,” Kendrick Perkins said after practice on Saturday. “I’ve been around with P a long time. I’ve seen P have a few bad nights and come back and have a 35-point night. So you just never know with P. I know he’s capable of having big games and he always steps up in big games.”
And Perk again, this time bringing up an obvious contributor to Pierce’s struggles on offense:
“We all go through times where we struggle a little bit,” he said. “His intentions are good and he wants to win, but it’s just hard for him to have a big night on the offensive end when he’s guarding the most valuable player in the league. So we’ve just got to a great job of getting ball open, make sure we get him good shots, and just help him on defense. But he’s not a concern.”
I said it before the series: You could count on Pierce playing at least one or two subpar offensive games because of the energy he will use on defense. But you can also count on him putting up one of those 12-of-18 sort of games at some point. Right?