Both the Celtics and CelticsHub had up and down weeks. The Celtics went 3-and-1 this week getting big wins against the Orlando Magic and the Utah Jazz but lost a heart breaker the other night against the hapless Washington Wizards. The Celtics had their most dominant performance of the season against a good Jazz team and followed that up with possibly their worst quarter of the season against the Wizards. So it goes.
Meanwhile, Brian Robb and I met up with Hayes Davenport in the earlier part of the week in Los Angeles for an extensive business meeting. The highlight of said business meaning: witnessing Blake Griffin “going Nova”:
Some day the Celtics will have a young player as exciting as Blake Griffin. For now, I’ll take winning.
Aside from witnessing a historic day from a soon-to-be-Superstar, CelticsHub also had you covered this week on the following topics:
Does that make Nate Robinson a more valuable commodity than Rajon Rondo, even from the perspective of these rating stats? Noooooo. Nonono. No. Because Rondo boosts the C’s offensive rating by 10.83 points when he’s in the game. That’s the 13th-highest increase in the NBA (number 5, notably, is your captain Paul Pierce with a net increase of 14.72). Rondo is better than Nate and it ain’t close.
But, for whatever reason, the Celtics are playing better defense when Nate’s in the game. Better than pretty much anyone.
That is some dark magic, Hayes.
There’s still a couple four game road trips out West, as the C’s venture out there next week for their first true test. Yet, with all the other heavyweights beating up on each other in plenty of head-to-head matchups over the final month, and the C’s slowly but surely getting healthy you can’t help but be encouraged by Boston’s prospects in this department. Clearly, there’s still work to be done but the goal looks a lot more attainable than it did last week, as the C’s looked to have gotten over their post Christmas day slide with only minor effects.
I like it Brian.
Who Gets Squeezed Out – Assuming the C’s can get to the playoffs fully healthy, somebody’s gonna be on the outside of what will be a shortened playoff rotation. The bets here are Semih Erden, Luke Harangody, Nate Robinson, and maybe Von Wafer, who has made a case for himself with solid defense and an impressive off-the-dribble game.
Probably a safe bet given the impending return of Delonte West and Robinson’s poor play as of late. Still, I don’t expect Wafer to see much time when everyone is healthy.
I like the way Luke hugs his seat back like a baby koala bear here. The bit on him that follows is excellent: really captures the endless internal monologue he probably goes through as he tries, perhaps futilely, to fit in. It’s weird, and this is based on a very brief clip, but it seems like Doc might not be helping that much. “This is gonna sound crazy,” Doc says as he draws up a play in practice. “But I’m gonna give a lob to Luke. I don’t know if you can dunk, but you can lay it in.” I get that Doc hasn’t been crazy about Luke’s play at times, but he’s only hurting the team by going after him.
Did you know that Koala’s can be pretty fierce?
Which is where we bring up the Magic’s dissolution in the Eastern Conference Finals last year.
The series went six games but that’s deceptive as anyone who watched the games knows. The Celtics ran over the Magic before letting them back in, just a little bit. The C’s had Orlando turned inside out mentally, and really, you could see the Magic’s hangover from that loss the first two months of this season, which is why Smith went and rebuilt his team last month.
The new-look Magic have something to prove. Because for all his awesome-ness (and that is the right word), there are legitimate questions outside Florida about whether Dwight Howard, last seen giggling at Garnett as the Magic lost to the C’s on Monday night, can be the best player in a Celtics-Magic playoff series. Or overcome a Kobe Bryant-led Lakers.
Does Howard have the qualities Smith hopes his team will embody?
The answer is no Ryan. Instead he has sharp elbows.
For us and most Celtics fans Tommy is hilarious and always just and objective. He’s also hilariously incoherent at times. The Tommy Point is a weekly chronicling of these moments. For our first Tommy Point, Heinsohn takes offense (surprise!) to a foul call going against Paul Pierce. One that he characterizes as “spatchcock”:
The Celtics have a big week ahead of them so stay tuned to CelticsHub for more news, analysis and commentary.