I wrote this up for Dimemag.com. Figured I'd share…:
No KG, no problem. At least for the first round. The Chicago Bulls are now facing a team with a chip on its shoulder, out to prove that it’s still pretty damn good even without Kevin Garnett. There’s no sneaking up on the Celtics now. Paul Pierce and Ray Allen will have the troops focused and hungry.
KG aside, the Celtics are fresh and relatively healthy. The schedule was extremely kind this month (three games in the past two weeks). Leon Powe is back to his bruising ways and ready to step into the starting lineup.
Chicago can shoot the ball, especially John Salmons, Ben Gordon and Kirk Hinrich. So the Celtics need to stay active on the perimeter. The return of Tony Allen who is one of their best wing defenders will definitely help.
Rajon Rondo (14 pts, 55% FG, 10-to-1 TO/assist ratio) has owned Derrick Rose (14 pts, 42% FG, 2-to-1 TO/assist ratio) in the three head-to-head matchups this season. Rose may get his points, but the Celtics have and will continue to prevent him from distributing the ball.
I will admit the Bulls have individual talent. But the Celtics are the better team on both sides of the ball. Not to mention, the best two players in this series are wearing green (R. Allen and Pierce).
Prediction: Celtics in 5
Here are some exerpts from the Bulls Blogger Andrew Wamboldt of DaBullz.com:
This fearsome duo (Gordon and Rose) should wreak havoc on the Celtics’ guards….
Without KG in the mix, the Bulls’ athletic young big men, Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah, will run rampant and should be enough to push the series in the Bulls’ direction.
Wreak havoc? Seems to fly in the face of my "Rondo has owned Rose" argument. And I'm sure Perk, Powe and Baby will have something in store for Noah and TT.
According to the Globe, Scal will miss the first two games of the playoffs but is expected to practice Tuesday and Wednesday and could play Thursday in Chicago
John's right (I don't often type those words together) – the media is running wild with the "KG is finished" stories. And some (you Michael Felger) are stirring up things by saying this is KG's decision not to play and insinuating the pain is something he could/should play through.
Unfortunately, I will not be able to join you all for a pre-game call-in show. And I'm also stuck with Max and Grande for the game. Prior to the release of the playoff schedule, I committed my afternoon to giving piano lessons to blind orphans.