Jason Terry blah blah blah and the Jet blah blah blah…
Okay you’ve heard all that…now down to brass tacks…
The Boston Celtics, like the Dallas Mavericks, are not-so-long-in-the-past NBA Champions and were even contenders last year, coming dangerously close to knocking off the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.
This season, not so much.
Hovering around .500 and struggling with rebounding issues (sound familiar?), the Celtics aren’t struggling according to the stats but the record shows they clearly are not themselves.
Perhaps while the departure of Ray Allen, replaced with solid talent including the Jet, Leandro Barbosa, Courtney Lee and others doesn’t look so bad on paper, it has had an effect that may take time to work out. It may also be that Father Time is finally sneaking up on the Celtics who have one of the older rosters in the NBA.
Of course, so do the Knicks. #oops
While Terry is down a bit averaging less than 12 points, the Celtics get balanced scoring from Paul Pierce (19), Kevin Garnett (16) and Rajon Rondo (13 points and 13 assists, leading the NBA).
The good news for the Mavericks of course is that while Boston is a middle of the pack team with all major parts intact, Dallas has done it without Dirk Nowitzki and for most of the last three games without Shawn Marion, who will be back for the game. During this last three-game winning streak, O. J. Mayo and Chris Kaman have been huge for Dallas and other players such as Brandan Wright have been resurgent as well. The inside game of the Mavs, while not being exploited enough this season, could present real problems for the Celtics if Kaman, Wright and Elton Brand push the envelope, which they most certainly should. That should keep KG busy.
A solid inside/outside performance on offense always bodes well and the Mavs would do well to push hard on the Celtics who are vulnerable in transition and under the glass. With apologies to the Jet, hopefully they will play good D on him as well.