(Editor's note: My apologies for the lack of updates or recaps on Sunday and Monday. It was a holiday weekend. You understand, don't you? Don't you?)
I'm dying to give the Celtics all of the credit in the world. I really am. I just can't bring myself to do it.
It has nothing to do with what the Celtics have or haven't done over the last two nights. There have been some bright spots, which I'll get to later. They're getting better. You can see it.
But if there's one thing I've learned over the last two games while watching this team play the Wizards, it's this: The Wizards are terrible. Awful. Pathetic. Craptastic. They're so bad that I had to make up a word to describe how bad they are. They haven't played defense since they were known as the Bullets. They have a roster full of guys who have no problem launching shots from 30 feet. Andray Blatche might be the sorriest excuse for a captain in the history of professional sports. They're right up there with the Pistons, the only other team that Boston has beaten this season, as the worst team in the Eastern Conference and quite possibly the NBA.
But that's what professional sports is all about. The good teams need to beat up on the bottom-feeders before scratching and clawing at each other. The Celtics are taking advantage of their schedule after dealing with a brutal start to the season.
After the jump, other random thoughts from the home-and-home with Washington:
I know we're only six games in, but Greg Stiemsma is a legitimate shot-blocker. I won't go so far to say that he has the defensive capabilities and shot-blocking prowess of Bill Russell (unlike Tommy Heinsohn, who just figured out how to correctly pronounce Stiemsma's name last week), but the kid is a breath of fresh air for a Boston defense that looked old, slow and unable to strike fear in anyone over the first three games of the season. You can see his confidence growing with every minute he logs and he proved that he isn't afraid to take—and make—that little baseline jumper of his. His rebounding abilities still leave much to be desired. One might even say they're un-Russell-like. But there's plenty of time for him to work on that.
Ray Allen is ridiculous. It's not even funny. He missed more free throws tonight (3-5) than he did three-pointers (6-7) and is now shooting 57 percent from the field, including an insane 61 percent from beyond the arc this season. Mind you, the guy six months away from turning 37 years old. I have no words to describe how incredible he's been this late into his career. Utterly speechless.
Rajon Rondo hasn't shown any ill effects from the trade rumors that swirled around him during the shortened training camp. One night after putting up a triple-double, Rondo controlled the tempo of the game and looked primarily to get his teammates involved. He wasn't the "get to the hoop by any means possible" Rondo tonight, but more like the "weave my way through traffic in order to free up some shooters" Rondo. He controlled the speed of the game and helped five of his teammates hit double figures in scoring.
I'm starting to like the second unit. I said before the season started that I wasn't too fond of this team, particularly the bench. I didn't think they'd be able to hold their own against mediocre competition, nevermind the big boys of the league. But they've had some great moments already this season. Brandon Bass has made us all forget about Big Baby. Keyon Dooling has turned into everything we wanted Delonte West to be last season. I've already talked about Bill Russ...I mean Stiemsma. I think Chris Wilcox will have his moments as well once he gets fully integrated into the system. I'm starting to see the light.
The Wizards are terrible.
Kevin Garnett, one day after his breakout 24-point, 9-rebound performance, looked like a guy who couldn't handle the tail-end of a back-to-back. His aggressiveness wasn't there. He put in 10 points, grabbed six boards and he looked to be the facilitator as he racked up six assists, but I'm thinking he took on the facilitator role because he knew he didn't have the legs tonight to do it himself. The only other time that the Celtics had to play the second game of a back-to-back this year, KG had eight points, seven boards and four dimes. With a ton of back-to-backs this season, be prepared for a ton of up-and-downs with Garnett.
The schedule remains light as the Nets visit the Garden on Wednesday, another cupcake that the Celtics should take care of. Enjoy the schedule now because they'll be paying for it in March and April.
Ray Allen is in the final year of his deal. Then again, it has been well documented that just about everyone on the Celtics roster is in the final year of their deals. Allen will turn 37 years old this summer and while most superstars his age would have started to fizzle out three or four years ago, Ray has continued to build his case as the greatest shooter the sport has ever...
After each game, we'll be taking stock in each players... and maybe coach's... performance. If we like what we see, we're buyin'. If we don't, we're sellin'. Or maybe we'll just hold onto our stock until we see more next game
Rajon Rondo: He's here so much I'm going to make him part of the template. The triple-double in game 1...
The sun sets every evening, but only occasionally are the clouds splayed perfectly across the night sky to draw an array of yellow, orange and blue pastels and catch your attention so beautifully that a higher power suddenly seems like a greater possibility. Not one to watch sunsets routinely, I occasionally glance at the sky in the evening at the right time and wonder why I don’t...
I imagine Rashard Lewis wakes up each morning, admires his grizzly goatee in the mirror, thanks God (or Otis Smith) for his $118 million contract and then spends 45 minutes throwing darts at a board adorned with photos of Nick Young, Andray Blatche and Jordan Crawford. It took just 18 seconds for Young to launch his first step-back, contested jump shot of the night. Blatche continued...
There may be no one in the NBA more familiar or complimentary of Kevin Garnett than Wizards coach Flip Saunders, who coached Garnett in his first 10 seasons and watched him drop 24 points with nine rebounds Sunday night in Washington.
One of the staple offensive sets that the Celtics run is called "Floppy." We covered it quite extensively last season, but essentially the main play is to set a back screen (or two, or ten) on the baseline for Ray to curl or "flop" around and get open for a jumper. But it also has several options on it as well, including a new wrinkle this season that I'...
WASHINGTON - On one play last night, Celtics center Jermaine O’Neal tried to dunk lefthanded on the Wizards’ JaVale McGee after a behind-the-back dish from Rajon Rondo. Perhaps it was the criticism he received after scoring just 8 points in the first three games, but O’Neal has been an aggressive and productive scorer the past two games.
The Wizards (0-4) are still the NBA’s only winless team as they conclude a home-and-home, back-to-back series against the Boston Celtics. John Wall played his best game of the season (19 points, eight assists and seven rebounds), but fellow Kentucky alum Rajon Rondo was much better, finishing with a triple-double (18 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds) as the Wizards lost 94-86...
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