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The Celtics have two big home games coming up, and will be looking to knock off Kobe’s Lakers on Thursday and LeBron’s Heat on Sunday despite coming off last night’s sloppy loss against the Charlotte Bobcats. The Celtics are once again swamped with injuries, having recently lost Marquis Daniels to a bruised spinal cord, yet have managed to keep floating atop the Eastern Conference. They will be looking to pull further ahead of Miami in the standings over their next few games, but in order for that to happen, there needs to be a resurgence from Boston’s talented second unit. The Celtics’ bench has the potential to be the best in the NBA when healthy, but they have been inconsistent this year, largely due to erratic shot selection from the second unit’s top scorers, Nate Robinson and Big Baby Davis. This issue persisted last night as Charlotte edged out Boston, while each of the four members of Boston’s bench who played scored just one basket each, and all failed to log a positive plus/minus rating. The Celtics urgently need some of their injured players to return to action, including Daniels, Shaq, Delonte West, and Semih Erden. However, in the meantime, the guys who are playing need to step up and play as well as they are capable of, and expose the Lakers’ and Heat’s second units as inferior benches.




Kobe and LeBron will get their points as they almost always do. However, the Celtics thrive against offenses that revolve around a single scorer, as they have been able to consistently defeat teams that run a “feed the ball to our MVP” offense. The battles that we will see between Boston’s starting five against Miami and LA’s will be exciting, action packed, and fun to watch, but the ultimate outcome of the game will be riding heavily upon the performance of the second units. Hopefully Erden or Shaq will be ready to go, as the Celtics will be at a great size disadvantage if Perkins is their only true center for these games. Nate and Big Baby also need to demonstrate smarter shot selection than they did last night, while still bringing the energy they are known for that can so easily spark the Celtics to a critical run which often turns the game around in their favor. Davis relies too much on his improved jump shot, and went 1-5 from the field last night with only one of the five attempts coming from inside the paint. Big Baby is great at using his massive size to get himself to the hoop for easy buckets and trips to the foul line, and should exploit the soft big men he will come across over these next two games.

Backing up The Truth without Marquis won’t be easy for the next month or two, but Von Wafer has had some big games for the C’s and rookie Luke Harangody is a great presence in the court thanks to his hustle and tendency to box out and do all the little things right. The second unit will definitely feel the impact of losing their ball handling small forward, but hopefully Wafer and Harangody will be able to complement the starting wingmen of Paul Pierce and Ray Allen by playing tough defense, knocking down threes, and helping stretch out opposing defenses. Ray only put up two three point attempts last night, and made both of them, so look for him to both tie and break Reggie Miller’s record on Thursday night against LA in front of thousands of cheering Celtics’ fans at the Garden. It’s going to be a moment, as well as a game, that you won’t want to miss.

Jon Jacobson 2/08/2011 12:48:00 PM Edit
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4 Responses so far.

  1. .chuckT. says:

    (WHY did you put 'LeBrons Heat' at the beginning!?) i hate when ppl write that. Wade has been there for 8yrs and James has been there for a few months and its his team already?..ANYWAY..

    Im expecting big things coming for Wafer and Luke in these next weeks/months before the Playoffs begin. We all know Baby and Nate will put in their work as usual with the 2nd unit.
    And i really see Rondos and Rays minutes being higher than average in these next two games (that is, if we DONT blow out LA AND Miami - that'd be great to see.lol) Its very possible to. The C's just have to outplay the Lakers and Heat, and play together - both offensively and defensively.

  2. Luke Harangody is the one that deserves to get put in. Glen at the 3 is a joke because he can't stretch the floor. Luke can actually hang outside with the threat of a 3 point shot, or the actual making of a 3 point shot.

    Nate, Wafer, Harangody, Davis, Erden that backup lineup is the best one possible right now... oh god...

    The thing that really sucks is that TA could be on this team instead of Von Wafer, he has the same role in Memphis that he'd have here... i wish he did go out looking for more spotlight.

  3. The Celtics usually come to play in big games, and their next two, which are home games that they will be rested for, should be no different.

    And chuckT, I agree with you about Wade, but the reason I said "LeBron's team" is because that is what LeBron will turn a team into... HIS team. The Heat will win their share of regular season games, but when it comes down to crunch time in the playoffs I would not be surprised to see LeBron completely take over the offensive load as if they're last year's Cavaliers, while Wade, Bosh, and the rest of the team looks on in horror.

  4. Phil says:

    Chuck - Re: "Lebron's Heat" - take a look at this box score and tell decide who's team that is. I loved this box score because it made me feel great about beating both the Heat and Magic in the playoffs.

    http://www.cbssports.com/nba/gametracker/recap/NBA_20110203_MIA@ORL

    As for Wafer - I actually really like watching this kid. I may be wrong but I'm almost positive the last couple times he got a lot of minutes he played great and with a lot of confidence. I like TA too but he wanted out of Boston to get his own spotlight and that probably had a lot to do with Danny letting him get his payday elsewhere. Can't worry about that.

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