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Takeaways from Celtics-Pistons

 

With only a few games remaining in the season, all these injuries are really starting to get in the way of establishing the rotation heading into the playoffs.

Kevin Garnett, whose team-high 23 points fueled the Celtics’ victory over the Pistons last night, commented after the game on the difficulty of trying to find that balance:

“I think trying to get the rotations done for at least who is going to be playing and the rhythm down for the guys and understanding who is going to be healthy. That’s the biggest dilemma here. We are dealing with the health issue here and I think sometimes is messing with the inconsistency of what we are doing. Obviously the team out there ands the guys out there on the court has to be accountable with what we are doing. At the same time teaching new guys new schemes, our schemes, and on top of that trying to understand the rotation and who is healthy. We are multi-tasking here.”

As many of the players recalled after the game, the team felt a spark with Shaquille O’Neal back in action last night. An added boost of energy that seemed to have been lacking in certain games over the last few weeks. Unfortunately, the C’s were hit with another “here we go again” moment following Shaq’s injury.

So now the question remains, assuming Shaq is ready to go for the playoffs, would it be worthwhile to work him back in the lineup for the last 2 or 3 games of the season? Or are we simply playing with fire here, and should Shaq not get out of bed until 10 minutes before Game 1?

***As we continue to evaluate Jeff Green, I’m starting to wonder if he will truly feel comfortable coming off the bench. He’s been a starter all his life, and maybe it’s just a challenge for him to find a rhythm without extended minutes. Doc Rivers had a fair amount to say about Green after last night’s game, citing a need for Green to improve his aggression and his rebounding:

“Yeah.  You know, I think he’s too nice.  He’s trying to please the other guys on the floor.  I’ve always thought playing with us is difficult when you’re new, because you’re playing with Paul (Pierce) and Ray (Allen) and Kevin (Garnett) and (Rajon) Rondo and you almost don’t think like you deserve to be an aggressive offensive player, or you should be.  And I think he does that way too much.  He had a couple today where he had clear drives and he still – you know, you see Ray and Paul there and, ‘I think I should throw it to them.’  And we’re trying to tell him we need him to be aggressive.  He’ll get it.  He’s getting better each game.  One of the things he has to improve on is rebounding.  He had zero the other night; he had four tonight.  He can be a better rebounder for us.”

***I don’t know if Glen Davis pays attention to what the media says, or if Doc simply had a word with him, but BBD definitely passed on some open jumpers that he typically NEVER hesitates to pull the trigger on. We like to criticize Davis when he takes it upon himself to shoot more than KG or Pierce. But last night, Davis played his role very well: 11 points, 5-9 shooting, 6 rebounds and 3 steals.

***There was a time when I was a little bit concerned about Delonte West having to backup both Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo. But I don’t have those concerns anymore. Finally healthy, it’s great to see that West is reaching his full potential at the most crucial point of the season.

***Jessica Camerato had a piece on CSNNE.com today that revealed Ray’s drop in production throughout the latter part of the season. In February, for example, Ray attempted 14.4 shots per game, with that number dropping to only 11.5 shots in March. I certainly think this is a direct consequence of incorporating all the new players into the offense, and is by no means a reflection on Ray’s individual play. Nevertheless, given the roller-coaster ride this Celtics team has been on over the past month, you would think they would rely on Ray’s consistency on a more regular basis.

  • Scott

    I say work him if you can – if he's ready to go, and is cleared, then he has to play. What i want to know is, do we need shaq for the first round? If we get Philly, who loves to run up and down the court all day, do we need Shaq to play big minutes for that series? The rotation seems pretty clear to me, it is just a matter of getting those guys some time to play with each other.
    Starters: rondo, ray, pierce, KG, O'Neal (does it matter which one?)
    Bench: west, baby, green, krstic, O'neal (does it matter which one?)

    I think with this team, Doc has the ability to go 10 deep, and not ruin chemistry… considering there is not a whole lot of it!

  • kricky

    Delonte has been great. I always knew he could be the glue guy off the bench. Imagine if we had him all season? Maybe we wouldn't be in the spot we are now.

    What to do with Shaq? Does anyone know? THe offense seemed to flow better with him out there. He is definitely a presence and the opposing team pays a lot of attention to him.

    But I personally don't think he looked that great. Not a lot of lift in his legs and those shots he made were not ones that usually go in for him.

    We will need the Shaq from the beginning of the year (remember those alley-oops from Rondo) if we are going to make a real run.

  • Cos

    Regarding Ray Allen:

    Im not sure if I mentioned this when the perkins trade went down but its something I've considered and worried a bit over as soon as perk was dealt. Perk always set great picks and screens for Ray and we all know how important screens are for ray getting open looks. Since the trade, it just seems like he's not getting those same open looks, or getting solid screens.

    Don't take this as a referendum on the Perkins trade, just something Im noticing with the looks ray gets. Maybe his got a bit of tired legs, im not sure. But screens are going to be key for Ray to get back on track.

    • CG12

      Ray issues have nothing to do with the Perkins trade. He did most of his scorching shooting this year with Perkins out rehabbing his knee. It is very odd to me that many observers point to the Perkins trade as a turning point in the Cs play, as if Perk were playing all year. Perk played only 12 games with the Cs this year and the team went 8-4, which is a worse winning percentage than the team has for the year as a whole. Perk did not play at all during the 14-game winning streak. I loved Perk as much as anybody, but his absence has nothing to do with the team's recent slump in form.

      • Scott

        CG12 is right… i think the only thing that the perkins trade affected was chemistry, and the mood of the team. we are great with shaq, and i think we looked good last night. every time the pistons went on a run, we countered, then they countered, and we got the last laugh.

        I think you are dead on, and i am looking for continuous improvement from this team. I think they are fine, and everyone should fear them. The more people downplay how good this team is, the bigger a sleeper they become, and the more they want it. Every time people discount the C's, they come back and rip peoples heads off. Watch out Chicago… we win that game, and EVERYBODY will shut up.

        Go C's

  • cos

    On green, one thing I noticed in last nights game is how pierce went all out running the floor and got great looks (and passes) from rondo. I missed the first quarter and a half but I didn't see green run the floor all out or as strong as paul did. Outside of the West to Green ally-oop, for someone touted as a great athlete, green doesn't use it all that often.

    He could easily get 3-4 easy looks if he just bolted down the floor once the board was secured.

    • fanman

      pierce picked that up from green, who has in fact made that burst up the floor his most notable contribution. rondo has thrown at least two home run passes his way on that move, and tommy notes it frequently when he clears defenders to enable someone else to be wide open on the break. i suppose he could do it more often, but doc and everybody else seems ready to hit him up to get more rebounds, which will limit how easily he can sprint out to the front of the pack. he does need to be aggressive. i think we need 10-15 pts from him, from long distance AND at the rim, and 5 boards to beat good teams. he has to produce.

  • john schaffer

    i wish the oh so longing people abotu perk would just get over him, hes not that great offense or besides getting in foul trouble , he wasnt that great i mean hell 6 rebounds a game?? we will be good with kristic and both oneills back and healthy

  • kricky

    Did Shaq look kind of chunky to you guys? I thought he was supposed to have lost some weight.

    • Dropstep

      they said Shaq lost 15 pounds or something. I doubt that would be noticeable on him even if he did lose the weight. lol in any case, he didn't look any chunkier than back in Feb. to me.

  • skeeds

    More important than the drop in Ray's shot count, was the kind of shots he took. Less off of screens, more off the dribble or contested. I think Ray was affected by not having a good pick setter. krstic, as a jump-shooting big on principle, couldn't do what Perk, or Shaq could, and wondered in all the "wrong" spots on the court. Shaq isn't an excellent pick setter, offcourse, but we know Ray just needs something solid to brush his defender off of.

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