Just a week until the season starts. I'm getting very excited for this season to start. I watched the Heat/Bobcats game last night and came away with a couple of thoughts. First, either the refs are letting up a little on issuing techs or they have one standard for the Celtics and another for other teams. Second, the Heat's starting lineup will be tough, but they have to sit sometimes and when they do there is a huge drop off. The Celtics biggest advantage over this team is their bench. I am seeing the Heat starters having to play big minutes this season.
I saw a Mike D'Antoni quote about how he is not looking for a shooter but he is looking for a maker. That makes a lot of sense. Danny has a thing for shooters. He loves shooters. Some people have said that they feel that Wafer has the inside track because he is a shooter. On the other hand, I'd go with Lasme because he is a maker rather than a shooter. Cuts have to be made by Monday. The Celtics have one preseason game left and then they have a few days to pull it all together for the first game which is on Tuesday. We should know soon who gets that coveted 15th spot.
Avery Bradley's ankle problems take me back to those first years with Al Jefferson. He had problems coming back from an ankle sprain and had constant ankle problems. People were questioning him and his efforts because he struggled with his ankle and seemed to heal very slowly. It was leaked on one of the Celtics boards that the doctors had misdiagnosed Al's problems and that there were floating particles in the ankle. Next thing you know, they released that Al had had surgery. The announcement from the Celtics was that Al had minor arthroscopic surgery but nothing much was found. Big Al was the one who announced that they found chips in his ankle. Once they finally got the diagnosis correct and cleaned out the chips, Al was fine. No further ankle problems. I'm hoping that the case with Bradley isn't more of the same.
A few more thoughts on the injury front. Word out of practice is that Shaq and JO practiced fully. Marquis was held out of the scrimmages as a precaution for his sore shoulder, and Delonte and Avery are still sitting out. The Celtics have had a lot of little nagging injuries in the preseason. I can only hope that these have been the result of getting back to practice and going hard at each other when first getting back to organized basketball. Health is going to be the key for this team. If they can stay healthy, I really like their chances to win it all. But that is a big if. We have seen already Delonte, Marquis, Shaq, and JO missing time for injuries in the preseason. Can they shake that off and keep themselves on the floor for 82 games? Chances are the answer is no, but I'm hoping that they can at least stay healthy for much of the season.
Speaking of injury prone players, Tony Allen is still making headlines... kinda. Tony's new head coach said that he feels that Tony made a mistake leaving Boston. Danny stuck with Tony through all his injury plagued seasons. He stuck with Tony all the while his play was inconsistent and while he gave Celtics a heart attack every time he tried to dribble the ball. Then, he bolts because he feels overshadowed. As his new head coach says, it's better to play 15 minutes on a contender and maybe be a little overlooked than to play 15 minutes on a team that has no chance of winning it all. So, it looks as though Tony hasn't impressed his new coach much. Like Perk said, if it wasn't for the big 3 overshadowing him, no one would have even known his name.
While fans commented that the NBA players whine too much after what the players perceive as a ‘bad’ call, the League did what they have been doing all along – they protected the referee pool and deflected onto the players the task of not reacting to those very calls. True, players, as well as coaches, tend to whine. But, in many instances, those ‘whines’ are a legitimate reaction to calls that are arbitrary, just plain wrong, or worse, premeditated. Another rationale put forth by Johnson is that the player reactions need to be modified (through the use of additional technical fouls) so that upon televised replay, the players won’t always be perceived as complainers. The net effect of these rules will change the focus of the replay to looking at the player’s reaction, instead of the original play and subsequent bad call.
. It makes sense that after the horrible officiating in last year's playoffs, he would need some other way to mask his minions from being questioned. Overall, last season's playoffs were horrible from an officiating standpoint. Not just the Celtics games, but every game. There was a lot of outrage from fans of almost every team over bad calls, non calls and one sided officiating during last year's playoffs. So if the players can't react in the least to a bad call, then there won't be as much attention drawn to the number of bad calls in a game. Once again, David Stern is protecting the incompetence of his referees at the expense of the integrity of the game.
If anyone has CSNNE, just a heads up that on Monday night from 7:00 PM until 8:30 PM they are going to have a special Basketball Show. Gary Tanguay said it will be similar to their Baseball Show but for a better sport. Should be a fun way to ramp up for Tuesday's season opener.