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Thursday, March 13, 2008

A ride on the Green Bandwagon (Celtics chat)

The Green Bandwagon and I were able to exchange some questions about the state of our two clubs. You can view my answers to him here.

We are in for a real treat in this game.

CB Jack: The Celtics may become the first team to BUY a championship in one year. Will it be worth it 4 years down the road when the team could possibly be wallowing in mediocrity again?

James GBW: I don't even like to talk about a championship given how good the Pistons are and the out of this world talent of LeBron James. I'd hate to jinx anything. Still I'm not sure I agree with the premise that the Celtics bought a championship if they do in fact pull this off. They made two huge trades and signed some key role players. How is that different from the time the Jerry West gave Shaq 122 million dollars, traded for Kobe Bryant and then added Rick Fox and Robert Horry to build a winner? As far as the Celtics approaching mediocrity, that depends on the collective health of Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett who are signed through 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively. But that's a whole other conversation. I refuse to ever question those deals. They made the Celtics relevant and rescued the organization from a disastrous run. It was a gamble that Danny Ainge and company had to take.

CB Jack: What kind of urinals do they have in the…uh…TD Banknorth Garden? I ask because I picture one of those old school troughs where they angle down the urinal so 50 guys can pee at the same time and it all goes down one drain. Am I correct in my thinking?

James GBW: No the TD Banknorth Garden opened in the mid 90s so the urinals are more like what you would expect nowadays. However, if memory serves the old Boston Garden had the trough. 1991 was the last time I went there and I was young enough to be absolutely scarred. Once again I could be wrong but why would I make that up? And it fits in with everything you've ever heard about the old Boston Garden, which was absolutely decrepit by the time it was torn down.

CB Jack: Boston was the Belle of the Ball during the first part of the season. I couldn't go on the internet without a pop-up telling me to buy Viagra and jump on the Celtics bandwagon. They are the only team with 50 wins and yet, we don't hear much on them from a National perspective. What happened?

James GBW: I would point to several factors:
- In January the Celtics sputtered a bit and lost to the Wizards twice and the Bobcats once over a four game stretch. This scared some people off.
- Kevin Garnett got hurt and despite the Celtics going 7-2 during that stretch more people jumped off the bandwagon.
- Pau Gasol went to the Lakers, Shaq went to the Suns, Jason Kidd went to the Mavericks, the Cavs revamped LeBron's supporting cast and a flurry of other deadline deals took place as well. The Celtics made their big moves in the summer and were no longer the flavor of the month.
- Right after the All Star break the Celtics went 2-3 on a road trip losing to the Nuggets, Warriors and Suns in the process.
- I'd say the biggest issue is that Boston plays in the East. Even though the Celtics are 20-3 against the West the divide between the conferences in general is so wide that many people can't get over it. And that's fair. The crowds for those aforementioned Nuggets, Warriors and Suns losses brought a playoff atmosphere because every game out West matters. Golden State, which is currently the 8th seed, is 4.5 games behind the top seeded Lakers. But the Celtics and Pistons are legit regardless of their conference.
- Finally the regular season is really long. It was unrealistic for the Celtics to keep up the ridiculous pace they were on through December.

CB Jack: Everyone expected the big 3 to make big adjustments in their individual games in order to accommodate each other. From an outsider, they seem to be the same guys as they were prior to the trades. Is this the reason Boston is destroying the East?

James GBW: Looking at their stats it's startling how much their numbers have decreased across the board from last season. Ray Allen has gone from 26.4 ppg to 18.4 ppg, Paul Pierce has gone from 25 ppg to 20.2 ppg and KG's seen a dip from 22.4 ppg to 18.4. In fact the most telling stat may be that no Celtic is in the top 25 of minutes played and Garnett's minutes per game have dropped from 39.7 to 33.7. They realize they need each other, have not chased numbers and have really dedicated themselves to winning, which is especially noticeable on the defensive end. It is fortunate that they were all at the point in their careers that they could be on the same page, their positions are different and their games mesh so well. They're destroying the East because the big three bought in, Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins are better than many people realized and their defense is awesome.

CB Jack: If the Celtics could get CP3 or D-Will, who would you want and why?

James GBW: That's a tough question. I'm a huge fan of Williams. I picked him off the waiver wire of my fantasy league last season and drafted him in the third round this season. In both cases he exceeded my expectations. But back to real life where Williams crushes Paul whenever they play. I'd take Brewer, Kirilenko, Boozer and Okur over Peterson, West, Stojakovic and Chandler any time. And I can't fight the feeling that Williams will be an excellent point guard in the NBA and Paul will be one of the best ever. So I have to go with Paul.

CB Jack: If you had to create an All-Star team starting 5 using only the Jazz and Celts, who would you select at what position and why?

James GBW: Point Guard – Deron WilliamsShooting Guard – Ray Allen Small Forward – Kevin GarnettPower Forward – Carlos Boozer Center – Mehmet Okur Sixth Man – Paul Pierce Coach – Jerry Sloan

I love Rajon Rondo's game but consider Williams one of the best young point guards in the NBA. Not a tough choice. Ray Allen, despite his shooting struggles at times this season, is still dangerous. But I got into some trouble when it came to the 3 and the 4. Both Garnett and Boozer are really power forwards but have to be picked. And KG has admitted that he doesn't like the wear and tear that comes with playing center. So I cheated a bit, counting on KG's quickness and all around defensive prowess. Okur helps spread the floor with Allen, which is great given Boozer's low post skills and KG's mid range game. And Pierce gives the team instant offense off the bench. Finally, I actually had more trouble with the coach than one would think. Sloan is a much better coach, with the track record to prove it. It is astounding that his 2004 squad won 42 games. But this team is loaded and the players liking the coach would be half the battle. Doc Rivers definitely gains ground there. And if he could bring his assistants with him, defensive guru Tom Thibodeau in particular, it is even more interesting.

Thanks to James for dropping us a line.

My prediction: Jazz 92, Celtics 90 No hurt in dreaming.

2 comments:

UtesFan89 said...

The colors really don't work on google reader. :(

I'm worried about this game. Partially because it's the Celtics. Mostly, though, it's because the Jazz are on the road with a coach who's going to use bad rotations and all.

The Jazz need to shut down the Celtics bench, and hope to at least kind of contain 2 of the big 3...

C.B. Jack said...

Thanks for the tip Biased Fan.