Posted on: June 14, 2010 4:44 pm
I would first like to say that this years Finals is turning out to be much better then I thought. My hunch was that it would be a 5 game series one way or the other. In many ways these playoffs have let us down with all the short series and blowouts, but this series looks to have the makings of a classic. Now back to the topic I want to explore, Kevin Garnett and his growing effect on this series.
I am not a true fan of either team, so my thoughts should be viewed as unbias. I think the biggest reason the Celtics are up 3-2 in this series is due to the play of Kevin Garnett. This is coming from the guy that thought the Celtics should have traded Garnett last summer while he still had value. I would insert my foot into my mouth if there wasn't a crow in there.
As this series moves on Garnett is becoming more and more of a force on both ends and Gasol seems to be heading the other direction. Pau clearly looks overwhelmed out there. Garnett and the Celtics defense is taking it's toll on him and the Lakers cannot afford to not have Gasol be a factor. As we all saw last night, Kobe Bryant cannot do it all by himself. Even scoring nearly 40 points was not enough for a win because he had no help. It was like watching the Celtics play the Cavaliers all over again. Gasol needs to score 20 for this series to move to a 7th game. Odom and Artest have been disasters and the Lakers can count only so much on Fish.
So the answer for the Lakers is clearly better production from Gasol, but the problem is is that Garnett is playing like his 2008 self and his defense on Gasol has been stellar. The Celtics simply are too stubborn to budge from their man to man defense on Kobe and this is effecting the Lakers offense on a grand scale. By not using a help defender on Kobe the Celtics are able to play aggressive man to man defense and are not allowing the other Lakers clean looks or easy shots. The Lakers need to make some bigtime adjustments on offense. Odom has to become a factor again and Artest needs to be benched or something. His defense has been solid but his offense is killing the Lakers.
If you compare the stats of Gasol and Garnett you clearly see that Gasol is still the better of the two, but if you ask me Garnett is having the better series. I say this simply because Garnett is making Gasol not play to his normal level. Pau's FG% in this series is his lowest of the playoffs and that can be credited to Garnetts defense. The other thing that gives Garnett the edge in my book is that he is having an effect on the offensive end as well. He is averaging 15.6 points and 3.2 assists per game. When Garnett is hitting jumpers and scoring in the paint the Celtics become a new animal. One that is hard to kill. If Garnett continues to play the way he has been on Gasol and Gasol does not make adjustment then this series will be over in 6. I do expect the Lakers to come out strong in game 6 however and I see this series going to 7 in an epic battle between these two legendary teams. We can all only hoe for a OT game 7.
So do you agree with me that Garnett's play has been the major key to the Celtics series lead or are you thinking it is something else? One could point to the Celtics overall defense or the play of their bench, but I still contest that a healthy Garnett seems to be the achilles heel of the Lakers.
Posted on: May 24, 2010 5:33 pm
Dearest Celtic fans I am here with my bib on and ready to eat crow. I hear they taste a bit like chicken so that is a good thing. Over the past year and a half I have attacked the Celtics on many fronts and I am here to man up and admit I was wrong on all accounts. I am here to say I was wrong and that you guys were right.
I am talking to WCF, Logicman, Football, Crotchrocker, Nighthawk, and all the rest of you guys.
1. I stated in a blog that got featured by CBS last summer that the Celtics should trade Kevin Garnett while he had value and that the Celtics would never make it back to the Finals with KG being a major factor. I was trying to say they should sell high to a contender, but I was wrong. The Celtics not only have a good shot at making it to the Finals but I would call them them the favorite to win the Championship. I was dead wrong. Garnett is healthy and is picking the Magic apart. Without him the Celtics might not have reached the Eastern Conference Finals. Garnett owned Jamison and to me that was a huge factor in the Celtics winning that series.
2. I said in many a thread that Paul Pierce was finished and no longer a top 5 small forward. While he is no LeBron James or Kevin Durant he is still in the top 5 for sure. My bad.
3. I used the argument often used that the big three were simply too old and could not make another Finals push. Well they sure seem younger then the Magic. Ray Allen is playing like he is under 30 and so are KG and Pierce. Sure this team will not contend in 2 seasons with these 3 at the center, but right now they look very scary with their mix of talent and wisdom.
4. This one hurts the most. I mean I almost cannot say it, but here goes nothing. Rajon Rondo is better then Derrick Rose. Ouch! Dagger to my heart. Time will tell if Rose can catch up, but as it stands today Rondo is better. He is more well-rounded with his playmaking abilities and his defense. Rose is clearly the better scorer but Rondo has him everywhere else. The future should hold many great battles between these two and I hope Derrick improves just to make that battle even more epic. I have Rondo 3rd overall behind Deron Williams and Chris Paul, but he could very well become the best in the league next season when Rose too improves. man that was hard to say.
5. I do not like the players on the Celtics roster, but I respect their games. Pierce is a cry baby to me. Garnett a ego-fed trash talker. Sheed is just a ahole. Nate Robinson is a thug and Rondo not only looks like a tranny but he plays like a punk sometimes. With that being said they are a very balanced machine much in the mold of the 80's Celtics teams. They are hard-nosed and play great defense and that is something a Chicago fan can dig.
Is there any angle to me coming out and eating crow? Yes. I want the Celtics to crush the Lakers in the Finals for to reasons. 1. I want Phil Jackson back at the United Center and 2. I love Kobe's game but I do not want him winning any more rings. If he reaches 6 titles then Laker fans will argue he is better then Jordan and I cannot have that. So, Celtic fans I will be pulling for the Green Machine in the Finals and I was wrong in many ways about your team.
Posted on: October 30, 2009 11:18 am
OK, so the Bulls stunned me last night by not only beating the Spurs but by controlling the tempo of the game throughout the second half. Tim Duncan looked in prime form but the rest of the Spurs looked flat and rusty. I honestly felt like the Bulls could open the season really slow but last night gives me hope. Do I think the Bulls are contenders after knocking off a top 5 team? No. I am my own teams biggest critic in many ways and I think tonights game against the Celtics is the real test. So Bulls fans I ask that you "Hold Your Horses". There were three things I was looking for in this game before it started so did I see what I wanted to see? Let us take a look.
Posted on: July 2, 2009 10:09 pm
Well there have been a few big moves in the NBA over the last week and I am not so sure it is for the best of the NBA or not. The Cavaliers which were already in this last seasons eastern conference look to have locked up Shaq for next season and gave up basically nothing in return. Vince Carter is going to play for the Magic next season. The Spurs, who are still a good franchise but have battled injuries, have bolstered their lineup with the addition of Richard Jefferson. The Celtics look to be adding Rasheed Wallace and now there are talks of Ron Artest joining Kobe on the Lakers. Are all these moves good for the NBA? Let us take a look.
Magic- Dwight Howard, Vince Carter, Jameer Nelson, Rashard Lewis. You have to think that Turkoglu is going to go elsewhere for the money, but a guess he too could still be in the fold in Orlando. This team has all the parts needed to win a title with Howard anchoring this team. I think Carter might just be the player the magic needed in the Finals. A guy who can hit the clutch shots and draw defenders out. If they somehow manage to keep Turk as well then they are going to go back to the Finals.
Well as a Bulls fan, unless we trade for Chris Bosh or Amar'e this summer, I can hope for no more then maybe a trip to the second round of the playoffs next year and that is better then I can say for most other teams. So do you think that these new Mega-Teams will cause some fans to finally give up on their teams or are you just excited to see how all these move play out? I for one can not wait to watch these new teams, but to be honest part of me is a bit sad that my team is on the outside looking in.
Tags: Bulls, Cavaliers, Celtics, Chris Bosh, Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, Lakers, Lamar Odom, LeBron James, Magic, Manu Ginobili, Mo Williams, Pau Gasol, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Rashard Lewis, Rasheed Wallace, Ray Allen, Richard Jefferson, Ron Artest, Shaq, Spurs, Tim Duncan, Tony parker, Vince Carter
Posted on: May 25, 2009 2:39 pm
I understand that many will call me crazy for even thinking that the Celtics should trade Kevin Garnett, but there are plenty of reasons as to why it is the right move. I made mention of this idea back on one of the Bulls vs Celtics playoff threads and then again on another thread about Bostons future and I got mixed feedback. I have since taken a little time to research a bit more as to a few trade ideas and to also solidify my argument. So let us take a look at a few reasons as to why it makes sense for the Celtics to break up the big three.
Be honest with yourselves. What will it take for the Celtics to get back to the Finals and win another championship? It will take a few things happening that I feel is just a huge gamble for Boston. Kevin Garnett will have to return and be near 100%. Leon Powe will have to heal and continue to grow. Ray Allen will have to shoot consistently and stop aging. Celtics will have to resign Big Baby somehow to slowly take over for the fading KG. Paul Pierce will have to show up a little more in the playoffs. Rajon Rondo will have to pick up the slack by becoming a superstar.
Can all 6 of those things happen? I think not. If Garnett returns and plays well then the Celtics will make it to the second round of the playoffs again, but the east is fastly changing and the Celtic's core is getting very old. If Boston does not make moves this summer they could very well turn into the next version of the Pistons. An motley grouping of aging vets and mismatched parts that have little trade value. Think of what the Pistons could have done a few years ago if they were smart enough to break up their team. But instead they pressed on and slowly slipped out of contention. Sad.
The time is now for Boston to bypass this fate. If KG can recover and pass a physical then they should move him while he still have some value. In a year or less he could be worth as much as Rasheed Wallace. Scary. Yes it would be a cruel thing to do to KG after he gave Boston a championship, but basketball is a business not a retirement home. Kevin Garnett could recover and have 1 or 2 good seasons left but that is a big risk to take. I think moving him now is the best option. Rajon Rondo is clearly the future of this team as Paul Pierce will himself slowly start to fade in the next 3 or 4 years. He has a lot of miles on him and to me Rondo looks to be the most well rounded talent on the Celtics right now.
Many have been saying the Celtics should move Ray Allen but he has only one year left on his contract that expires in the summer of 2010. Having 18 million dollars in cap space next summer might be enough to grab a superstar free agent if the Celtics aready have the right players on board. I say hold onto Ray. Here are a few ideas for the Celtics.
1) I understand that the Raptors are in the same division as the Celtics, but both can gain somthing by making a deal. The Raptors have to understand by now that Chris Bosh is most likely bolting after next season and they need to start listening to offers now. I want my Bulls to make an offer to be honest. I think if the Celtics offered Garnett and thier 1st round pick they could land Bosh and Jason Kapono. Bosh is not as good as KG was in his prime but Bosh is younger and Kapono gives the celtics another three point threat which they could really use. Toronto gets a superstar in KG and a pick. All of these trade ideas work on the ESPN trade machine just so you know. Different combinations of picks could be used to even out this trade but I think if they can move past the idea of both being in the same division that this is a solid moves on both ends. Raptors will either want another superstar for Bosh or young talent and picks. Few other teams can offer a player like Garnett to the Raptors so they might swallow his huge contract to just fill some seats at home.
2) OK, I understand that Zach Randolph is a nightmare in the locker room but the Celtics could try to move him during the season or a third team could be involved. I think Camby is a solid replacement for KG. They are both old and Camby is not what he used to be but both ZR and Marcus' contracts expire before KG's contract. In the end this trade really just gives the Celtics a little more flexability and I am sure the Clippers would throw a future draft pick on the table. Clippers love to make bad trades so maybe the Celtics could pull a John Paxson and land two future 1st rounders. The Clippers really want to move Zach. I understand that this is not a sexy trade and it would certainly have the Celtics taking a step back, but if they can land a 1st round pick or two from the Clippers then it is a no brainer to me. The Clippers are always in the lottery and often hold a top 5 pick.
3) Now I like this idea. Peja Stojakovic's contract is hard to swallow for what he offers but it is one season shorter then KGs. David West on the other hand is a solid young power foward. The Hornet could bite if the Celtics ate another contract and offered a 1st and 2nd round pick. The Hornets might not want to give up a young star like west for an aging one like Garnett, but they might also want to make it look like they are trying to build a contender to keep Chris Paul happy. I seem to remember the Mavericks trading away a budding star in Devin Harris for Jason Kidd. You just never really know what a team will do. But If the Celtics can bring home a player like David West then I think they would remain contenders. I also think that boston can stand to let go of a couple of picks. Rondo, Pierce, and West could be a deadly trio.
4) Speaking of the Mavericks what about a trade for Josh Howard and Erick Dampier. I think that this could be a nice even trade as is. Howard has a few injuries to ovrecome and a fondness for herbs and Dampier is also getting older but is still a solid player in the paint. Plus Howard's contract ends next summer to give the Celtics some extra cap space and Erick's ends the next summer. Mavericks could be scary with Garnett and Dirk on the floor together. If Jason Kidd can muster a bit more out of his HOF career then the mavericks could contend with this move. Howard would look nice running the floor with Rondo and if the Celtics lose Big Baby then Dampier could be a short term fix. I think with this move the Celtics would free up enough money for the summer of 2010 to go after perhaps Amar'e, Bosh(if he is not already traded), or Wade.
5) This trade is all about freeing up a bit of money. Celtics would save 5 million right off the bat with the differences in contracts and Matt Harpring's contract ends next summer and Kirilenko's is a year shorter then KGs. AK47 could play the 3 or 4 and be a solid replacement for KGs defense. I am not saying he is as good but he is a very good defender. With freed up cap space the Celtics would have money to add a superstar and maybe resign Big Baby this summer. A 2010/2011 lineup of Rajon Rando, Dwyane Wade, Paul Pierce, AK47, and Big Baby would be a great team to watch and a very good defensive team. Maybe a big instead of Wade might more sense. For the Jazz they get KG to replace Boozer who is sure to leave this summer.
Well, I hope you enjoyed the read. Please understand that these trade ideas can be tinkered with a bit by adding smaller pieces or draft picks to even thing out. I can already see all the negative replies about a couple of these trade ideas. What I really want to hear from other posters is 1) is moving KG in and of itself just a bad idea? and 2) what other trade ideas can you come up with?
Posted on: March 21, 2009 12:07 pm
The Bulls now hold the 8th seed in the eastern playoffs, and while they could very likely still lose that seeding and slip out of the playoffs all together, one has to wonder if they really want to move up to the 7th seed. The Bulls have a very light schedule the rest of the way. They face one real strong team tonight in the Lakers and then things become much easier the rest of the way. My real point here is that the Bulls could very well pass the Pistons or 76ers for that matter and move into the 7th spot in the playoffs. The problem there is that they would then be faced with the Celtics or Magic in the first round and while I do not see the Bulls getting out of the first round, I do think their best shot is against the top rated Cavaliers.
The Bulls just match up better with the Cavaliers and I can see the Bulls stretching a seven game series to a sixth or seventh games. The Bulls have a pretty balanced team right now with Brad Miller down low giving the Bulls some size and skill for the first time in a long time. Tyrus Thomas is starting to show signs that he can be a force in the paint on both ends but more so on defense were his ability to get above the rim and block shots is at the highest level in the league. He is starting to remind me of Tyson Chandler a bit on defense, but with the ability to hit the outside jumper. Thomas is coming into his own and his future is bright.
LeBron James can not really be stopped by anyone so the Bulls would have to rely on a team effort to try and slow him down a bit. The one thing the Bulls can do is make it hard for hm to score in the paint. Thomas, Joakim Noah, and Miller offer a nice combination of size, skill, defense, and athleticism. Most of all Brad Miller matched up well against clevelands bigs and I think if Tyrus continues to grow that the Cavs might have trouble defending against him. I am not saying that Tyrus is a 20 and 10 player against the Cavaliers, I am only saying that I think he matches up well against them. Anderson Varejao is about the only guy I can see slowing him down. Joe Smith is a bit to slow to hinder him, but Smith is a savvy vet so I could be wrong there.
I think Cleveland might have a bit of an edge with Mo Williams facing Derrick Rose. Rose has shown that he struggles against larger point guards like Rajon Rondo and Williams. If Rose can rise to the occasion then the Bulls have a shot every night. The Bulls have an overall edge with guards due to their strong depth with Rose, Kirk Hinrich, and Ben Gordon. That is a strong rotation with option to score, playmake, and play defense. I really like how the Bulls matchup here. While the power forward and center positions almost seem to be a wash, I think the Bulls have an edge in the guard catagory.
Then we come to the small forward position were the Bulls have a nice all around player in John Salmons who can do a bit of everything and the often injured Luol Deng. If Heathly Deng can be a nice player to have on the floor but Salmons is the better defender and just seems to fit better with Vinny's gameplan and more importantly he seems to complement Derrick Rose much better then Luol Deng. Deng had a nice string of strong games before hurting his leg last month, but Salmons needs to be the starter here for the Bulls.
While John Salmons is nice he is in no way in the same category as LeBron James. James is just better in every way. James is just a machine set on kill mode. So by default the Cavaliers get a huge edge here and in my mind the ability to move on to the second round. I think if the Bulls play hard the series could be stretched but it would take an effort not yet seen by the Bulls for this to happen. On the other hand, I do not see the Cavs sweeping the Bulls. The Bulls will have at least one night were all their jump shooters are hitting and this will most likely happen in the United Center. If Gordon, Salmons, and Rose are hitting their shots then really nobody can stop them.
The real question is if the Bulls can score inside as well as outside. If Miller can find his shot and in turn spread the floor then Tyrus and Noah might be able to make noise down low. I still think that Vinny needs to run the high screen and roll with Miller and Rose much more. Miller is an outstanding passer for a bigman and can shoot the seventeen foot jumper. Derrick can shoot, pass, or drive. I see the high screen and roll with these two as a powerful weapon not truly utilized. This would spread the floor and allow Tyrus and Salmons to slash to the rim for feeds from Rose. I would just like to see this happen more often. Gordon could sit on the three point line for an open shot and to keep the floor spread and the the forwards could cut to the rim. Seems like a simple gameplan that could win a lot of games.
The real reason however that I want the Bulls to hold ont the 8th seed and not move up is I think they could very well get swept by either the Magic or the Celtics. We have no answer for Dwight Howard at all and Kevin Garnett seems to charm Tyrus Thomas everytime they matchup. Rondo is not a great matchup for Rose at all and Paul Pierce and Ray Allen demand more defense then the Bulls can offer up. The Magic and the Celtics both are to balanced and have to much depth for the Bulls. The Bulls too are more balanced now and have depth but are to inconsistant.
Bottomline, if the Bulls are to have any hope of making it to the second round, which is unlikely at best, it will be through the Cavaliers and not the Celtics or Magic. So listen up Bulls! Keep playing well but lets not go on a 5+ game winning streak.