Friday, April 29, 2011
Practice: Focus on X-Factors
By Chris Forsberg
WALTHAM, Mass. -- Three things that stood out after media availability before the Boston Celtics practiced Friday afternoon at the Sports Authority Training Center at HealthPoint, where potential X-Factors were a hot topic:
BOSH IS THE KEY FOR MIAMI: Celtics coaches and players continue to stress that Chris Bosh could be the difference in this series. "LeBron and Wade are LeBron and Wade," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "They’re going to be great players before the series; they’ll be great players after it... But when Bosh plays great, then their team is great. He’s the key guy for them."
Added Kevin Garnett, who will be matched up with Bosh, "When Bosh plays really well, they blow teams out. It’s not even close."
C'S READY FOR MORE 'RONDO DEFENSE': Regardless of whether it's Mario Chalmers or Mike Bibby on the court at the start of games, Rivers expects the Heat to throw a little bit of everything at Rondo, including the typical sag-and-challenge defense. "A little bit both, Chalmers and Bibby, and we’ll see LeBron and Wade on Rondo," said Rivers. "I think they’ll go to the 'Rondo Defense' that we all labeled it, where they just help off him, slack off him. How we handle that will be key in this series."
Asked about the difference between Chalmers and Bibby, Rondo noted, "Chalmers is more of a steal guy, Bibby is more of -- not that Chalmers is not solid, just Chalmers is going to put pressure on you if you turn your back and play the passing lanes -- Bibby is more of a solid defender."
Regardless of the defense, maybe Garnett summed it up best, "We just need Shorty to be aggressive. Rondo’s a pain when he’s aggressive. When he’s stacking the stat line he’s a problem to deal with and we’re a problem to deal with."
WEST'S ANKLE STILL WEAK; NO MOTIVATION ISSUES: After being quiet for much of the first round, particularly amidst some struggles and the nagging ankle injury, Celtics guard Delonte West spoke at length with the media Friday and admitted he's still a bit hobbled. "I just realize [the ankle is] still not 100 percent. It's not hurting, but it's still weak. I still have to tape it up and my explosiveness is not there. I've been attacking the basket and the rim the way I'm accustomed to, but hopefully that's not going to be an issue this next series."
West did offer the line of the day when asked about motivation going into the next round.
"At this point, if you're not motivated you need to go home and get a Bud Light or something and let the good times roll," said West. "I think everyone's motivated. In this type of intense competition you try to find any edge you can get over your opponent, you take it. I wouldn't be surprised what type of motivation they're trying to use to get themselves ready."
The benches were a hot topic yet again with Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge pointing out that, while this series likely boils down to the seven All-Stars on the court, "getting a boost from the bench could be huge."