Everyone dislikes a loss, especially one to the Lakers. I understand the disappointment in Celtics nation, but for me I actually feel better about this team than I did prior to the game. The Lakers are the favorite right now to win the title and we went toe to toe with them for 48 minutes, without a healthy KG or Pierce and without Marquis Daniels. If just one of these three things happens, we're all talking about how the C's are back: Kobe misses that shot, Pierce is not called for the Byron Russell push, or Ray's shot at the buzzer goes in. I mean regular season wins over the Lakers are a nice temporary bragging right, but don't we really brag about our 17 titles to their 10 (Los Angeles, you can't claim the other 5 my superficial friends)?
Bright spots about this game were Rondo's continued excellence, Tony Allen's MJ impersonation in the first half (shout out to Three Toe) and the fact that KG continues to play (Very recently we were all worried he wouldn't return). Our team looks anemic when Rondo is on the bench, but Marquis's return is near, so that will help that cause. Eddie House hit some big shots which is a good sign and Doc actually managed the vets minutes well, which is a great sign. I love how everyone complains that he keeps playing the Big 3 too many minutes, but where's the credit for Doc when he goes the conservative route in a January game? I'm sure he could of played the Big 3 more and maybe we win this midseason game, but its a marathon not a sprint to quote Terry Francona and any other coach that sees the big picture.
There were some troubling signs too. Rasheed Wallace while showing some more effort, statistically was putrid again with 3 points, 1 rebound and 1 technical. After he hit his one three, raise your hand if you didn't see the brick that would come immediately afterwards. His season offensive rebounds to technicals ratio now stands at 15:7 a record that will probably never be broken. Did I mention he's 7 ft tall yet in this article? Another tough game for Ray Allen who finished with 7 points on 2-10 shooting and 0 assists. Add in the fact that Whistling Phil can put Fisher on Ray and throw Kobe on Rondo and you can see why I was so excited about the possibility of adding a young explosive star like Monta Ellis. I mean I like Ray, but as Marc Spears said you do that trade in a heartbeat. It would be like the Celtics offering Rondo for Raja Bell's expiring. You think the Warriors pause on that?
The thing is even with Ray and 'Sheed looking old and struggling, KG and Pierce playing their way back from injuries, and Doc being the current best option for backup point guard minutes until Marquis returns (or Danny trades for a real backup), even with all of that, we went the distance with a completely healthy Lakers team. Reminds me of the original Rocky movie. Now you remind me who wins in the sequel (and by sequel I mean the 2010 NBA Finals, not another regular season game against them in February)?
(Note: CelticsLife's budget could not afford a higher resolution Rocky pic. Sorry.)