Gooooood afternoon everybody. Delaying tip off 5 minutes while we update the KG being fined news. Then we'll dive into your questions. Sit tight.
Alright, let's do this...
So, what are we to make of the Celtics this week?
The same thing we've made of them since after Christmas: An inconsistent team that shows flashes of championship potential at times, and other nights look baffling-ly out of sync. But I keep going back to what I've said all along: This team will ultimately be judged on what they do after April 14, so just enjoy this seesaw ride.
Isn't the smart move for the Celtics not to extend Pierce? How will this play out when Paul becomes elibgible for the extension this summer?
No, I think it benefits the team to extend him this season because it might actually free up little (and I stress little) cap room by stretching out the money. Plus it guarantees he ends his career in Boston and prevents anything from getting ugly after next season. Of course, the wild card is if Pierce opts out after this year and explores the market. But just can't see it happening. Hopefully they find a way to lock him up and then turn their attention to Kendrick Perkins.
Can we expect to see better play from Sheed the rest of the season or was the othe rnight just an aberration?
I think tonight will be a good sign. Let's see him put back-to-back good games together and the Garden will be screaming 'Sheeeeeeeeeed again on a regular basis. It's clear everyone WANTS to love him. But his play makes it very tough to love him at times. What I loved about the other night is that he had two fouls, two ugly turnovers and got booed twice before he even hit his first shot, but he hung in there instead of zoning out. That's a good sign.
Why doesn't Nate Robinson play more? He is the best bench player and he never seems to be in the game. Also, what free agents might the Celtics go after in the off season?
I think Nate has fallen in love with the 3-pointer a bit too much since arriving in Boston and he's become a bit one-dimensional. When that shot isn't falling, he's not producing much in the way of offense. Ever since hitting those 5 trifecats vs. Indy, he hasn't had a double-digit scoring game. He needs to find a way to create going to the basket and that will also free up others on the wing if defenses collapse. But he hasn't shown an ability to finish near the rim, so if I'm opposing teams, I roll out the red carpet to the lane until he does.
Why can't they play like a championship team every night or most nights?? Are they really to old to compete?
As much as we've made about the age, when you get to the playoffs, the games are so spaced out and the travel is so minimal, it really shouldn't matter how old they are. At that point it's going to be about finding a way to win the type of close game that slipped away the other night vs. OKC. That's more concerning to me right now, when it's Jeff Green nailing cold-blooded 3-pointers and Ray Allen missing twice at the other end. I just can't get a read on whether this team will have it in the playoffs or not. I'd like to think they will -- all those years of experience should help. But right now it's a bit baffling why they have it only in spurts (and only against poor competition).
This may sound crazy it seems like the most consistent player off the bench has been Shelden Williams. You know what he is going to bring every time he goes in and you cant say that about anyone else.
I get your point, but if you're suggesting more of Shelden, then, yes, you're crazy. He's a nice role player, but he's not going to take over a game like Wallace showed he can do the other night, and as frustrating as Glen Davis can be, he brings more to the table right now (even if he everything he brings to the table seems to be blocked by the other team at times). The good news is that not all teams have a guy like Shelden who can give you a little burst when nothing else works. He's good insurance at the end of the pine.
Born in LA, but not a Laker fan..I know the horror! But Doc said winning is good for a day or two, do you think winning this next lap will create enough momentum for them to succeed post-season?
A Whitney from LA? I'm totally assuming this is Whitney Port from The Hills. But, no, I don't think the schedule is favorable enough these next 8 games to really give the Celtics a chance to build momentum here. I think they're still going to trip up at times, but maybe they can work out a few kinks and then flip that proverbial switch in the postseason. At this point, I think we have to be resigned to the fact that the C's might very well end up with that No. 4 seed and let's just see what happens from there.
do u think the raptors could win a playoff series against anyone in the east this year?
Could they? Sure. It's not like they don't have talent (even if Turkoglu's been a huge disappointment). But they're going to have to face one of the Eastern Conference giants in the first round and I don't see any way they win a series.
What do you make of KG's comments?
You know, it's not like he said, "The officials were awful." I think he said it about as politely as you can -- maybe sans the F-bomb. I really think if he had just said, "I thought we were playing Michael Jordan the way..." then maybe it would have blown over. But the curse for emphasis probably drew more attention than it might have gotten otherwise and the league must've felt the need to do something. I'm sure he's not worried about losing the money.
Would you rather play the Bucks or the Heat in the first round?
Clearly the answer here is C) The Bobcats. But since that's looking more and more unlikely every day, I guess I'd say the Heat (who the C's have dominated this year). Doc's made a good point that you don't want to face a team where the best player on the court is likely on the other team (Wade) because he can take over a series, but my gut says Boston beats Miami easier than they would Milwaukee.
Was 23-5 start a delusion? did they suddenly get old after that?
If you ask Doc, he'll point out that all the injuries started after that point and that's why the C's have been so inconsistent since then. I'm not sure there's any other explanation that makes sense. I think we see players falling back into their roles and that's when Boston is most successful. But this team certainly needs to get more out of guys like Rasheed and Marquis, who were performing well at the start of the year, and lately have been somewhat invisible. As much as the minutes trim for the bench in the postseason, it's imperative that Boston's reserves be able to at least maintain leads (or limit deficits) when starters aren't on the floor.
Daniels, Finley or TA--who plays in the playoffs? Will it depend on matchups or will Doc just pick his guy and stick with him through thick and thin?
Finley undoubtedly plays. Doc loves what he's brought to this team, particularly in the absence of any sort of consistent scorer off the bench. I think Marquis will see minutes, particularly if there's a matchup he can exploit in the post (like, say, against Orlando's JJ Redick). TA still has value as a defensive stopper. I think he gets burn if it's a situation like the Celtics play the Heat, where he could help defend Wade. So even as the rotation shrinks, each of those guys has the potential to play a key, yet limited, role.
Why is Marquis struggling? Is it still the thumb? He was the most promising player off the bench and now out of the rotation
I really think he's never fully recovered from the thumb injury and his confidence has been similarly bruised as he's struggled. I think he needs a big game or two to really break out and the Celtics MUST do a better job of making sure he gets the chance to do that. But the other night you could just tell from his body language how frustrated he was, particularly as he got called for fouls against Durant. Just one of those situations where it seems like nothing can go right for a player.
Tony Allen is better than Marquis Daniels and Michael Finley. Am I the only one who realizes this?
I'll say this, when given the opportunity given Marquis' struggles, TA has made the most of it. But not sure he should be playing over Daniels unless Marquis absolutely can't turn the corner on these struggles. Again, he does hold a value as a potential defender, but not sure he can consistently help the second-team offense.
I have a feeling that the Celtics are just scared right now, that they don't have the power to make it past. At the start after beating the Cavs they had the power, the will to start strong. But now after numerous injuries they don't believe in themselves to make it far.
Roberto! Why so glum? I know the last two losses have been a bummer, but maybe we need to embrace the fact that this team will be a bit of a sleeper in the postseason. Does anyone have any real expectations for them? Most pundits think they'll struggle to get past Milwaukee and few give them a chance against Cleveland. So just enjoy this seesaw ride until April 14, then let's see what this team can do.
Is Rondo still underrated? I know he gets a lot of love, but the guys is about to break Cousy's record for god's sake.
When a guy breaks two single-season Celtics records in a week, it's hard to say he's flying under the radar, right? Sure, last week he topped Rick Fox -- but Fox broke a Bird record. And now Rondo is set to pass Cousy in what Cousy did best -- distribute the ball. That's gotta be good for something. I think he's only underrated because we all know he's still capable of elevating his game even more, which is almost ludicrous to say. But if he develops a consistent jumper, he'll be an All-Star for 14 more seasons.
Is the upcoming game against the Cavs the biggest game of the season? A win can do wonders for their confidence, but a loss just adds more doubt.
No, I'll side with Doc here. We wrote about it last night in the blog (see: <a href="http://espn.go.com/blog/boston/celtics/post/_/id/4673105/closing-statements" target="new">Closing Statements</a>). I'm just not sure a win or a loss matters right now. If they win, it probably means more to fans. I'm not sure it's going to change whether the Celtics believe in themselves, but, hey, every little bit helps. Win or lose -- an injury would be more damning. Boston simply needs to use these next 8 games to position themselves as strongly as possible for the postseason in terms of playing at a high level.
Do you see this Celts team winning the NBA Championship with the number 4 seed? I think this will be a disapointment if this team can't jump up to the 3 seed and stay there.
I'll put it this way. If you use the "current standings" version of our awesome new <a href="http://espn.go.com/nba/playoffs/predictions" target="new">Playoff Predictor</a>, it's a LOT -- and I mean, a LOT -- harder to get the Celtics deep into the playoffs than if you do "custom" and shuffle them up to the No. 3 seed against the Heat. I really think it behooves this team to get the No. 3 seed, but I'm just not sure they're playing consistent enough to get it.
The C's don't have a single guy in the top 40 for total points scored. That's not good.
True, but I bet if you go back to the 2007-08 season it wasn't very different. This team has always spread out the scoring in recent years. It would be nice if Pierce could be a 25-point guy in the playoffs, but as long as the Celtics get their 95-100 points per game, it really doesn't matter. Ultimately, it comes down to whether their defense can get back to limiting teams to low numbers.
The playoffs in the first round of the west are going to be a crazy ride,but do you see anything crazy happening in the east. I think the Cavs, Magic, Celts, and Hawks all moving on.
Agreed. The West is absolutely stacked and I pity the team that ultimately emerges from that end. They're going to be WIPED coming out of a bracket where teams like San Antonio and Oklahoma City are 6-7 seeds. Yikes. I do think the Bucks have upset potential at the 5 seed, but, beyond that, I don't think any other low-seed team can steal a seven-game series in the East.
Will Kevin Durant overtake Kobe as the second best player in the league next year?
If he keeps getting calls like... Wait a tick. I don't have $25,000 to spare. Next question.
Have you ever seen a team look as Dr. Jekyl/Mr. Hyde as this Celtics team? Some times they look like the best team in the league, but nearly every game, they have a stretch where they look 1,000 years old.
Can't say I remember a team as up and down as this. Either we're going to get to the postseason and they'll go on a run and we'll think, "Geez, they were just saving it all along." Or they'll get bounced quickly and we'll think, "Yup, they just weren't that good." At least we'll FINALLY get an answer.
What's your honest assessment of the mid-season trade of House, Walker and Giddens for Robinson and whatever that other kid's name is?
Still love it. As bad as Nate has played recently, it's not like the Celtics miss any of those other guys. Poor House has been knicked up (pun full intended), while Walker and Giddens simply weren't going to play here. Nate has the potential to be more valuable than House had shown this season. Whether he ultimately is or not, I still do that trade.
Lightning round to wrap up, then I'm heading back outside before tonight's game and I suggest you all do the same.
I love the Celtics, hate the knicks. My friend Jason is a knicks fan. He keeps bragging about how they are going to get LeBron. If they do what can the celtics do to stay atop the division and compete with him.
Don't see it happening. If I'm LeBron the only thing that sways me to leave is warm weather.
Do you think the Celtics will get rid of the big 3 after this year? Age is certainly becoming a factor, these guys cant keep up with young teams. Do they rebuild around Rondo, or give it another year of KG, Ray Ray, and The Truth?
Barring an utter embarrassing postseason, the Big Three are back at least for one more run.
Do you think it is fair that people call Paul a "drama queen"?
It's hard to argue that he often hits the floor like he's been shot sometimes. But, you know, considering all the hits he's taken in this league, I gotta think he truly does feel like a football player at times. That said, I do LOVE when Lakers fans joked about the "magic wheelchair." It is kinda funny.
If we do run into the Cavs in the playoffs who covers LeBron down the stretch of games?
Probably Pierce, right? Wasn't that how it worked out late during the 2007-08 season. I remember Paul sitting there watching the championship DVD at the release party and just shaking his head when they showed clips of him on LeBron. Pierce just kept saying, "He's a beast."
Leaving aside what could happen, based on what you've seen of this team this year (and of course factoring in their history), what is your realistic prediction of what will happen this postseason? I just want you on the record.
Man, I'd love to hedge my bets and be like, "Well, if they get the 3 seed and cruise then they can go to the Eastern Conference Finals..." But my gut tells me we see a 2008-09 repeat and they get bounced in a grueling second-round series. Hope I'm wrong.
Do you think Nate is too concerned with trying to be a playmaker. He seems hesitant at times.
Absolutely. Just needs to get back to playing instinctive ball.
Who will play a bigger role in the playoffs, Marquis or Finley?
It has to be Marquis in order for this team to be successful. Finley will be a nice role guy, but he can't drastically affect how far this team goes.
It's nice that the Laker fans have at least one fond memory from that series.
If we played Cav's in 2nd round in 07-08 why is everyone afraid to play them again in the 2nd round this year?
Antawn Jamison, Shaquille O'Neal, Mo Williams.
And with that, we're off to soak up some sun. Enjoy the game tonight. Let's see if this team gets back on track and gets a bit of momentum before Sunday's visit from LeBron and Co.
Thanks to everyone for dropping by. Appreciate all the questions. Same time, same place next week.