Boston at Denver
10:30 pm EST
Boston: 105.1 points/100 possessions (13th)
Denver: 109.7 points/100 possessions (1st)*
Boston: 97.5 points allowed/100 possessions (2nd)
Denver: 107.2 points allowed/100 possessions (23rd)*
View from opposing bench: Roundball Mining Company
Needless to say, we’re going to scrap the regular format for tonight’s preview. The Nuggets are a completely new team and you can basically throw all their stats from this season out the window. Tonight marks the true beginning of the post-Melo era for Denver, as the 4 newly acquired former-New Yorkers get set to make their debut.
But enough about the Knuggets. We have enough on our hands already…
WHAT TO LOOK FOR TONIGHT?
Body language. I’m sure the Celtic players are devastated by this. Particularly Rajon Rondo, who was very close with Kendrick Perkins. I really just wouldn’t want to be in that locker room today…just a sad place to be. Perkins was supposed to be out tonight anyway, but I wonder what kind of effect today’s events will have on their play against the Nuggets. Fortunately, this is a veteran team and they will stay focused on the task at hand. Kevin Garnett won’t allow them to lose that mental concentration. Even with only 9 players dressed tonight, I really expect the Celtics’ to come out motivated and determined. I just don’t know if they can survive with KG, BBD and Chris Johnson up front. Speaking of which…
DOES BIG BABY HAVE IT IN HIM?
Even for a BBD critic like myself, I can’t ignore the fact that a tiny part of the Perkins trade probably had to do with Davis’ superb play this season. As confused as I am by the trade, Danny Ainge obviously knows that he has a year-and-a-half window left with the Big 3. And he wouldn’t have made this deal if he didn’t have confidence in Perkins’ replacement(s). Perhaps Troy Murphy is already packing his bags for Boston. But ultimately, BBD is going to be the guy that Doc Rivers wants on offense at the end of a close game. Davis has proven he deserves to be on the offensive side of the ball in these situations. Now the question is, does he have what it takes to be a strong enough defensive player to help the Celtics close out games?
SOMETHING ON THE NUGGETS:
I honestly feel a little sorry for Raymond Felton. I think he got the worst of the whole Melo deal. In the midst of a career year (17 -9), living in New York, dishing out assists to Amare left and right. Things were finally coming together for him. It’s not often that you see an NBA player battle for 5 years before finally blossoming into a border-line All-Star in his sixth season. And Felton most certainly elevated his game to a new level this season. But who knows? Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe his inflated numbers are a direct by-product of the D’Antoni Effect and the fact that Amar’e played out of his mind for the first 3 months of the season. On this Nuggets team though, he suddenly becomes “the guy”, or at least “the co-guy.” And my hunch is that he keeps it up. Starting with tonight.
However, I think Danilo Gallinari completely folds under the pressure tonight. Just think Celtics fans, it could be worse. The future of your franchise could rest in that guy’s hands.
Prediction: Nuggets 101, Celtics 94. Just get me to the post-game news conference so I can get some answers.