The Captain Comes through
Sunday afternoon games against bad teams always scare me. There is a tendency for veteran teams like the Celtics to slack off and not bring their A game. As it turns out, this is exactly what happened. Luckily Boston was bailed out by Mr. Reliable, Paul Pierce. His 33 points and clutch shots were the only reason the Celtics won this game.
Let's call it how it is shall we. The Celtics only have one true superstar on this team and that is the Captain. No one else can consistently dominate a game and create his own shot. Garnett is still a great player, but he isn't a dominant one anymore. Ray Allen is just a great role player at this point in his career. Rondo can create his own shot, but his inconsistent jump shot and horrendous free throw shooting is keeping him from the point guard elite.
The slow start for the Celtics has overshadowed Pierce's outstanding season. He's in the best shape of his life, and his shooting percentage is as high as it has ever been. I remember last year there was a point where I questioned whether Pierce or Ray was the best guy to get the last shot. I think the answer is obvious now. With Garnett having a horrendous shooting day and the Celtics playing lackluster perimeter defense Pierce saved the day.
This was the first time I'd seen the Knicks play this year and boy are they just plain unlikable. All they need is Stephen Jackson and they could be the most unlikable team of all time. From Eddy Curry to Al Harrington to Nate Robinson, it's just a god awful cast of characters. I feel really bad for David Lee. He is so out of place on that team. A guy that does the dirty work and isn't selfish doesn't belong in New York. With that said, when you have that many offensive minded players on one team and don't close out on shooters you can find yourself in a close game.
For the second straight game the Celtics missed open looks. For reasons I don't understand, Marquis Daniels continues to not get enough playing time. At least they put in Scalabrine who is actually playing better than Rasheed this year. Sheldon Williams played only 9 minutes in the game. Another player that is not getting enough playing time this year. I love Doc, but what is it with Boston area coaches and time management? It's not like there is a huge drop off from Ray Allen to Marquis or from Rasheed to Sheldon Williams. In fact, for my money Sheldon might make the Celtics better.
Boston should win games against teams like the Knicks by 20, but then again this is still the NBA and that just doesn't happen. Every team has to squeeze out wins like this and the Celtics showed resilience keeping their composure and pulling out a victory. Big props to KG for staying confident and hitting the game winner. He may not be the player he used to be, but there are still only a handful of players I'd rather have on my team. Hopefully the Celtics can allow us to enjoy our Thanksgiving eve with a blowout victory on Wednesday.