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.