Good afternoon, everyone! Thanks for dropping by for our weekly Celtics chat. I'm sure there's plenty of questions -- or at least angry opinions. Let's dive in...
When are the Celtics going to start playing as a team and look like competitors?
Maybe I'm just drinking the green Kool-Aid, but I simply can't get worked up about the struggles. I know this team has been insanely frustrating the past couple weeks, but I really feel like they're going to be fine in the postseason. I'm not saying that, if they continue to play like this, they'll get very far. But I think the addition of the O'Neals (at least Jermaine's impending return) will provide a little spark and a couple wins could help this team shake the funk. All that said, it'd be nice to see them start playing with consistency given that Miami is right on their heels for the No. 2 seed.
How the team is playin people might be a little worried. But all I have to say is rememeber last year. I'm done thinking bout the regular season i'm waiting for the Real Season
I agree with this to some degree. The one thing I'd caution is that, last year, it was a concerted effort to shut down the injured players and get them right for the postseason at the risk of regular-season losses. Is that happening this year? To some degree with the O'Neals. But Boston still has to get its Big Four back to playing at a level they can win games with the rest of the team on their back.
If the Celtics fall short this year and clearly miss Kendrick Perkins' inside muscle, do you think it will go down as one of the NBA's all-time trade blunders?
I'm sure some will view it that way. Trouble is we have no idea of knowing whether this same exact funk would have happened even with Perkins. I suspect the "I hate Danny Ainge" shirts will pick up in sales if C's fall short, but he did what he thought put his team in best position to win a title. Still a long time before someone hoists a trophy.
Once Shaq returns to the line up ( if he ever does ) do you see him being inserted automatically into the starting line up? Who would be the first center of the Bench? Jermaine with his inability to stay healthy and rust from not playing in a billion years? Kristic with his slump of so?
Doc has maintained that Shaq is the starter when healthy. As I've said from the preseason, I think this makes the most sense given the ability to maximize the 39-year-old. Get all you can out of those first six minutes of each half, and anything else is gravy. The starters mask his defensive deficiencies and he clearly aids the offense with defenders afraid to leave his body. As for the first center off the bench...
A healthy J.O. and a non-slumping Krstic gives Doc the ability to have more offensive- and defensive-minded units. Remember, too, that Shaq & J.O. simply can't eat up a lot of minutes, so there's going to be opportunities for Krstic and I really think he'll thrive with a second unit that can utilize him around the basket (or combine him with Baby to really stretch the floor).
i see the C's recent struggles as being mainly offense...they're settling for jumpers, taking too long to get into their sets (forced shots with a few seconds on the clock), and not pushing the ball up the floor. that tells me it's either tired legs or mental. Thoughts?
Absolutely. The Celtics have always struggled when the ball sticks, so a lack of ball movement, combined with the lack of shots made, it all adds up and gets in their heads. The discouraging thing is to see them have a blistering first nine minutes against Minnesota, rebuild some of that confidence, then fumble it all away. Tired legs, tired minds, whatever it is, this team needs to put together a few 48-minute efforts before year's end.
Which of the bottom playoff teams would the Celtics least want to play come first round?
I've maintained that it's Philly (though New York is certainly no picnic, particularly if they get out of their own funk). The 76ers have taken Boston to the wire three times and they'd make the Celtics work harder than they want in the first round. Again, I still see the top four seeds in the East winning in the first round, but you gotta watch that energy gauge with some brutal conference semifinal matchups looming (especially if Boston had to go on the road to Miami).
Don't you think Jeff Green needs more playing time ? It's time to rest Paul !
Good thing they didn't rest Paul in the fourth quarter last night. The captain put the team on his back and prevented maybe the most disheartening two-game losing streak in franchise history (well, ignoring Games 6 and 7 of the Finals last year, as that's apples and oranges). I'm all for additional rest for the Big Four, trouble is they have to be playing at a level that Doc can say, "OK, let's rest you, you're ready for the postseason." Neither the individual players or the team are anywhere close to that.
Any Shaq updates? Is he with the team right now? Even if he can't play, will he be with them on Thursday or Friday?
Shaq did not fly to Minnesota with the team. He could always join them for the second leg of this four-game trek (San Antonio/Atlanta), but I'd be surprised if he went as anything more than a spectator. I really think that April 5 vs. 76ers is about as early as it's going to be for him. Why rush him at this point?
I don't think this will make the chat but WTF? Seriously, WTF? Does Doc have any answers here or what?
I think you speak for a large portion of Celtics observers. It's almost comedic at this point. Everyone's thinking there's no way they can lose to Charlotte, then they fumble away a 13-point lead. They got up 25 on Minnesota and they still find a way to make it a game. Hopefully the Celtics can look back it as a patch of turbulence, but it's most frustrating because there's no single reason to focus in on. It just seems to be a collection of little things (mental focus, slumps, injuries, complacency).
And I still think <a href="http://twitpic.com/4e3zrd" target="new">THIS</a> picture of Doc last night sums it up best.
Will i ever be reunited with the C's and contribute before the playoffs start?
Jermaine! The buzz is that you'll be in Indy tonight to rejoin the team (after working out for a while in Chicago, you're saving the team some cash with a short flight). The extremely optimistic suggest you could be back on the floor Thursday vs. San Antonio. The key is getting you back to the level you were playing at during those 10 games before the knee swelled up again. You have potential to be a real contributor as a defensive-minded presence with the second unit (or heck, maybe more if Shaq can't get right).
am i a better fit with the starters than an injured and beat up rajon rondo? plus i can add shooting and better defense.
Delonte! (got the whole band in the chat today). No, no, no, no, no. Let's remember that Nate Robinson had some respectable stats as a starter. The Big Three will make everyone look good. You're needed on the second unit. But go ahead and ease the load on Rondo for a few games while he gets right. Then get your own ankle right because the C's can't afford to lose you again in the postseason.
At what point should C's fans just give up and start hoping that the Bulls can beat the Lakers in the Finals to at least keep another banner out of Staples Center?
Debbie Downer, everybody! Here's how I look at it: Two months ago at the end of January, everyone was ready to bury the Lakers and the Celtics were the toast of the NBA after winning at Staples. Two months from now is the end of the conference finals. A LOT can change in two months. Just buckle up and enjoy the ride.
So with the C's on the skid, is Thursday's game against the Spurs a blessing? Will they have to get up for that team? Or is it going to be the latest in omens towards a 2nd round playoff exit?
Here's the one reason the C's should be motivated: While they won't have homecourt advantage against much of the top 5 in the West (including the Lakers), a win over San Antonio would ensure Boston gets homecourt over the Spurs. Who knows if it'll matter in June, but always good to have for a team that spent so much time talking about needing homecourt in the Finals.
Will I ever get substantial minutes as a Celtic, 19 minutes last night ? Against the Timberwolves, are you kidding me????? And i wasnt in foul trouble !
Hang in there, Jeff. Doc needs to give Pierce and Allen plenty of minutes to get them right. You, Delonte, and Baby will have all the minutes you can stomach as Boston's primary bench rotation in the playoffs.
Do you see J. O'neal being the dark-horse in our run? If he does indeed come back with no set backs, can we rely on him playing 20-30 minnutes a game and if so, would he than no be our starting Center??? - A diehard Celts fan in LA
It's funny, I've been floating that "J.O. as center?" theory for a few days. I actually don't think that can happen. Just might be asking too much and, unless the team is certain that knee won't flare, I don't know if it's worth the risk. And, honestly, if Shaq can get back, there's no need to experiment. But I think if you pencil in J.O. for say 12-15 minutes, that's Boston's best bet to maximize him, especially early in his return.
Yo Fozzy, so now that the honeymoon period is clearly over with Nenad (I was at the Grizzlies game and ugh), what should we be expecting from here on in?
I think the reduced expectations of being with the second unit is enough to help him shake some of the confidence issues. Imagine being thrust next to KG and having to hear the Big Three bark each time you're out of position. It's a tough situation. He's just not playing instinctively right now and is walking on eggshells. Let him get out there with the second unit and allow the natural instincts he played with when he first got traded take over and he'll thrive as a backup big.
Is there any catching the Bulls or is the 1 seed out of reach?
Honestly? If Boston wins the final head-to-head matchup, thereby grabbing the tie-breaker in case of a tie, there's a tiny chance. But the Bulls are simply on another level right now and I'm not sure I see them taking the foot off the accelerator. Meanwhile, Boston's foot is glued to the brake and they simply need to worry about jockeying with Miami now.
Was there any talk about Pierce's end of game inbound last night? I haven't seen any chatter about it anywhere, but it seemed like blatant disrespect for the Timberwolves and maybe an embodiment of the Celtic's own internal frustrations.
Did Tolliver need to dunk in that situation? Did Pierce need to throw the ball at his feet? No on both accounts. I wouldn't put much more stock into it than that. It's not like Pierce did <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDKeaF7nPrI" target="new">THIS</a> ... incidentally, that's my favorite Ainge moment ever.
Pierce's 3 point slump...seems to coincide with Rondo's drop off in play. Agree?
That's actually a great point. I'll have to crunch the numbers, but there was a stat at the start of the season where like 75 percent of Pierce's 3-pointers came off Rondo's feeds and his shooting numbers were insanely different Rondo vs. other players assisting. I'll see if I can find that out and blog it later.
How bad do you think Rondo's injury really is?
I think it's nagging him. You could see him really shaking that right hand after jamming it in a late-first half reach in vs. Charlotte on Friday. But I'll say this: It was also a pretty good time to sit him down and give him a night to clear his head, so I wouldn't worry quite yet.
Fozzy, everyone says "As goes Rondo, so go the Celtics." Is that still true? Because it sure feels to me like I can't have an off game anymore. Where's my support?
No doubt that you're carrying this team at times, Paul. Heck, last night you had a horrible shooting night and still put the team on your back. But when Rondo is in Rondo mode, the entire stat sheet benefits and wins become a lot easier. Right now, everyone is struggling and part of that might be that Rondo isn't creating offense as easily. Maybe we're only seeing how true the "As goes Rondo..." statement really is.
Oh boy do I love my new team right now...
Even with the shorter rotations, is it too short? Jeff Green doesn't look like he's getting a lot of burn lately.
Is the Jeff Green fan club holding its monthly meeting here today? Half the questions have to be about getting Green more PT. Everyone calm down! Those minutes will go up once the Celtics don't have to play their starters 40 minutes just to beat a team like Minnesota.
Did the defense go with Thibs to Chicago? Is Frank an adequate replacement?
No, Lawrence Frank has been phenomenal in that role. I'm quite impressed by his preparation and how freely Doc leans on him (drawing up late-game defensive formations and such on the bench). Thibs is showing how great of a basketball mind he was, but the foundation remains here in Boston and, in fact, Boston's defense has been the least of their problems lately.
Do the Knicks have any chance at competing wit the C's in the first round?
Absolutely, particularly if it turns into a round full of bloodbaths like the last meeting at MSG. Again, that has potential to be a real fun series from a fan perspective, and I think the Celtics emerge, but not sure Boston wants to use up all those stitches and bandages just to get to the conference semis.
Nenad went from looking like an absolute steal to looking like he's checking over to Doc before he puts up a shot. What happened there?
Confidence. He came in and played off instinct. Now he's immersed in the playbook and trying to be in the right spots. Like most of these guys, it's between the ears. Just needs a game or two where everything clicks and he doesn't feel like he's got the team down his neck about a defensive rotation or a hesitation going up.
Is Shaq just resting up this whole time and keeping healthy so he can put in one last post season like the Shaq of old, ripping down back bords and dominating any other big man that steps in the paint? Please say yes...otherwise this team isnt gonna go that far with just Nenad in the middle.
I'd love to say yes, but players getting cortisone shots and wearing immobilizing boots are not "resting up." Shaq is trying desperately to get healthy and working hard to be in good shape. The foot just isn't cooperating. I still think he'll be a factor, regardless of health, but the more healthy he gets, the better he'll be in a long playoff push.
Shaq: Hey Chris, we're coming back.....Jermaine: hehehe-did he buy it Shaq?......Shaq: Ha, they actually think we're healthy....Together:AHAHAHAHAHAH
This Kool-Aid is tasty! I'm telling you. Even if they gotta put these guys together with duct tape, they're going to at least try to be factors in April and beyond. J.O. is the most intriguing considering no one has even seen him in about two months.
nice glasses you geek!
Really, you pick on the glasses and not the hair in that photo?
I know reports are that JO will join the team today in Indiana, but is there any date on when he will begin to run full contact practice with the team and play a game?
Last update from Doc suggested they hope Jermaine can practice during Wednesday's offday in San Antonio and potentially play the next night. Like all timelines lately, I'd caution about getting too excited too soon. But even if he needs a little more time to get back in the flow of the team, they've been nothing but encouraged by J.O.'s progress.
This chat is flying by, let's try to lightning round to the finish line.
Should Green be playing some more crunch time minutes (or minutes total) than Baby? Baby's been brutal lately.
No, Baby's your best defensive option right now and he's logged the most time with the other starters this season.
noah better watch out when we play his team in the conference finals because i am in his head and he will play awful and be intiminated by my defense.
Let's wait til there's a Bulls-Celtics series before anyone gets in anyone's head.
Thanks for all those player and doc interviews on your you tube page.
Thanks for watching! Let us know what you want to see more/less of. I aim to please.
Do you think the celts still have a shot at catching us
Nope, enjoy that homecourt. Celtics hope they see you in mid-May.
i think you are off about having homecourt over the spurs...isn't it based on record, first and foremost?
Blah, you're right. Wasn't even thinking of that, I was thinking of tie-breakers. Yes. Either way, C's could benefit from beating a good team at this point.
from his comments I think this is KG's last year...can u confirm?
Wouldn't surprise me. But I think it's only his last year if he gets another ring.
What happened to Von Wafer? He was a spark off the bench
Rehabbing a right calf sprain; probably needs to get back on the floor before the end of the regular season if he wants to claw into postseason rotation.
is there a chance the celtics still sign rasheed wallace and is shaqs injury more serious then they let on
I sure do love my new team...
We get it, Scal.
What odds would you put on Shaq playing in all the C's playoff games?
All of them!? Yikes. Let's say a "majority" and there's strong confidence there.
Are you on Delonte West's payroll? I feel like all season long you've had him pegged as the savior, and now last night he puts up 8-5-3 and you give him a full front page article! What gives?
Don't underestimate how important it will be having a true second-unit ball-handler in the postseason. Did you see Rondo dragging himself up the court in Game 7 last year?
Doc said that the team started to get very selfish. Do you agree?
More on this in the blog later today, but yes. There's been some, "Oh woe is me" and Doc wants to see his players worrying more about the team's struggles than their own personal struggles.
Troy Murphy over Leon Powe? Really? Leon might be a gamble but at least he would shoot the ball when he jumps.
I think we can all agree Murphy had more potential. Who knew he'd look like he literally hadn't played basketball in two months.
Dropped 18 and 15 down last night, just saying...
Perk is no me....
Chris, I thought we were going to be more careful about the Jeff Green questions, he's good okay, don't let people think otherwise, or they will have my head!
Chris,Both the Lakers and the Heat were written off at different points during this season, the Lakers prior to the All Star break and the Heat during their 5 or 6 game losing streak. Both teams seem to be fine. Do you think the Celtics struggles are just a reflection of the roller coaster ride that is the NBAs regular season, (considering how well they have shot all season they are due for some low percentage games) or do you think there are now some major issues going into the Playoffs?
I always say, lay off the panic button until you truly need it. As always, the season is a roller coaster.
Did you almost make it through a whole chat without a Sheed question? some day Fozzy, some day you will make it!
Do I make the all-Defense team?
Absolutely! Is this a question? Welcome back to the All-Defense first team.
Alright, there's no way I can get through all these questions. You guys rock. Thanks for keeping it fun. Let's do it again next week.