Last night I witnessed the Cavaliers take on the anointed ones in a 109-104 overtime victory. The game had a real playoff feel to it, with players trading barbs and the crowd going wild. There was much to praise, like Drew Gooden sticking jumper after jumper in Kevin Garnett's face. LeBron making Paul Pierce look bad. Ray Allen missing two free throws after a HORRIBLE bailout call when he dribbled off his leg. Sasha Pavlovic draining a game-tying three in the corner to force overtime. Our three best players outplaying their three best players was particularly satisfying.
The loss was just the second for Boston, but it won't be the last.
Make no mistake; they are a good team. A very good team. They are not a great team. We all know their strengths. The media have been pointing them out as much as they have the Cavs' weaknesses. But the Celtics have weaknesses of their own.
The bench. In a word, it's crap. James Posey makes a positive impact, but after that it's pretty much a junk heap. Scalabrine, Pollard, House and the walking armoire Glen Davis do not make for an impressive second unit. As I recall, Scot Pollard couldn't crack our rotation.
Their center. Kendrick Perkins has got to be the luckiest player in the NBA. With Garnett drawing double teams all over the place, Perkins gets more bunny shots under the basket than maybe anyone else in the NBA. It's no coincidence that his shooting percentage is up 10 points from his career average. After all, it's tough to miss a wide open dunk. Still, the fact that big Z left Perkins wide open time after time is a testament to the center's lack of skill.
Their point guard. The more Rajon Rondo shoots the ball, the less chance the Celtics have of winning. He's quick and talented but he can't shoot from the floor or the stripe. Still, if he gets better, watch out.
I've always loved Kevin Garnett's game, and I don't envision him being abused by Drew Gooden too often, but didn't he go to that kind of slow developing, poor man's version of the dream shake a little too often. He's long enough to get his shot off from anywhere, but that move looks extremely guardable to me. And it earned him traveling violation at least once.
To me, the Celt's 11-2 start is misleading. Glancing over their November schedule, the competition has been mediocre at best. Look for an early playoff exit. If they do make the finals, they will be murdered by San Antonio. Collectively their big three has won absolutely nothing.
I love hating the Celtics. Always have. I'll be waiting your response, Kiwi Bird.
MEMO TO THE NBA!
Tonight the Cavs play the Pistons in Detroit. Detroit did not play yesterday, so expect a 20 point blowout in the Pistons' favor and lots of perimeter bricks from the Cavs. This will be the fifth back to back for the Cavs in the young season. On each occasion, the other team did not play the previous night. Over the past several years the NBA has instituted changes in the rules in an effort to improve the entertainment quality of the game. Does anyone really think that defensive three second violations make that much of a difference? Who watches basketball for free throw shooting.
Hey, NBA, if you're serious about improving your product, then ELIMINATE BACK TO BACK GAMES! A fatigued team makes for some seriously bad basketball. And who the hell wants to watch a leg-weary, flat-footed team play a rested team on the road in an unavoidable 20 point blowout? NOBODY.
Figure it out.