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Red's Army

Where Doubting The Celtics Happens

RedsArmyAdmin May 3, 2009 Uncategorized 24 Comments

Barkley bavetta
The math is simple:  No KG + Tight 7 game series with 7th seed = legions of doubters.  I don't blame people for doubting the Celtics.  The math seems pretty convincing.  Charles Barkley is the first person to step up and pick Orlando

"Boston has no shot at beating Orlando," said Barkley. "Without Kevin
Garnett, (the Celtics) struggled against the Bulls. I don't think they
have a chance and Orlando wins it in 6."

Here's the thing about the Magic:  They're not the Bulls. They're not the young, athletic, high-flying squad that the Bulls are.  The Bulls offense is created around the perimeter.   Orlando's offense has to run through the post.  That slows the game down, so the Magic won't run like Bulls did.  Orlando wants you to double Dwight Howard so he can kick it back out, and the ball can be worked around to the open three point shooter.  That's good for the Celtics.  This matchup favors Boston, where the Bulls obviously didn't.

Obviously, not having Garnett hurts.  But not having Leon Powe actually hurts more when it comes to Dwight Howard.  Kendrick Perkins will be guarding Dwight Howard.  If he's in foul trouble, then it's up to Big Baby.  Not having Leon takes another strong, albeit undersized, option out of it.  The reason the Celtics were so good against Orlando earlier this year was because they could single cover Dwight Howard and prevent the Magic's shooters from getting clean looks.  The C's will still single cover Dwight, but the question is… for how long? 

On offense, the Celtics have been able to get into the paint against Orlando, but then they get destroyed by Dwight coming over to block shots out of nowhere.  They're going to have to be aware of his presence, even when they don't see him.  They've got to know that if he's in the game and you're in the paint, he's a shark and you're a bleeding seal.  Even if you don't see him around, you know he's gonna show up soon, and it's gonna get ugly when he gets there.

So it's up to Dwight's guy to make himself available.  Everyone in the world knows that Dwight is coming from the help side to try for a massive block, so his man has to slide into a spot to get a pass.  Dwight will commit to the attempted block… he won't be able to recover in time if the pass can be made to someone in the paint.  Take advantage of his aggressiveness.  I don't think Orlando's going to make the right defensive rotations.  I think there are easy baskets to be had here.

A lot of analysts are going to make the mistake of oversimplifying this game by saying "If the Celtics had that much trouble with the 7th seed, imagine what the 3 seed is going to do."  That's lazy and it doesn't take into account the make up of any of the teams.  If you take a closer look, you'll see that the way these teams are built, the way they play their games, will make for a much different feel to this series as compared to the last series.  You won't see 120-118 games.  These teams are built for 95-89 games.  That's the type of basketball that favors the Celtics. 

Boston in 6.

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  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p01156f5d5d11970c Tim (FD)

    Orlando’s offense has to run through the post??????
    Orlando doesn’t go to Dwight Howard on the post as much as most people think.
    They are primarily a three-point shooting team.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p01156f5d5d11970c Tim (FD)

    And if we have to double Dwight, how does that favor the Celtics?
    That is just going to leave open 3-point looks for 4 very good 3-point shooters.
    Reddick, Alston, Lewis, and Turkoglu can all bury the three.
    Look, I really think the Celtics will beat the Bulls. But that is not the reason.
    The reason we will win is because the Magic have no true go to guy down the stretch in the fourth quarter. The Celts have two of those guys. I think a lot of the games will be close, and we will have the edge in the final minutes because of Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/redsarmy Red’s Army

    If we have to double dwight, then we’re in trouble. I said we can play Dwight straight up, which is why we have an advantage… unless Perk is in foul trouble.
    How often did Chicago dump the ball into the post? Never. Howard is going to get the ball on the blocks. They have to go to the post.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0115704263ce970b Papa Irish

    exactly what i think, under no circumstances can the celtics double Dwight in this series, orlando is too good at knocking down the open shot and howard’s post moves are not all that special, in the low block he is no where near as good as big al based purely on post moves, where you get into trouble with him is when you let him control the boards
    i think that it will be much tougher for howard to come out of nowhere on the C’s and keep blocking shots like he did, this is simply because the c’s get to gameplan for him
    how much time did the C’s spend going over gameplans for the midseason game against the magic, they certainly did not have time to go over their rotations and all the nuances of their defense, that stuff changes in the postseason
    and i believe in the “comeback only to lose game” it was right after a big win against lebron and the boys- thus letdown game

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p01156f5d5d11970c Tim (FD)

    Okay, at first glance it doesn’t read that way but I see what your saying.
    Still, this is a perimeter team, not a low-post team.

  • DRJ

    I have this memory of Baby pushing Howard around in the post on D. Perk too. And Howard sucking as a result… like 11 points and 11 rebounds. I think we know how to handle Howard… don’t need KG for that, and no need to double him (which is a ticket to disaster).
    Chuck has pretty good b-ball sense, usually. But I think this will not be as tough a series for the Cs as the Bulls were. We’ll take them. Coming off a tough round 1 is not a bad thing as the media are writing… it’s a GOOD thing. Like last year.
    Here’s another prediction: the winner of the ECF will be champion this year.

  • WestCoastCelt

    This is spot on. Perk and BBD have the beef to body Howard. But Howard’s got more than just strength doesn’t he and that’s what makes him special. So, they have to limit him to turnarounds and hooks. He’s improved and some games will knock those down, too, but he’s no Jefferson down there. Better he gets those looks than flushes.
    The other big problem is BBD can’t get Perk’s back like KG can, meaning often when Perk rotates and contests shots, it leaves Perk’s man virtually free for offensive boards and put backs. Howard could have a field day in this situation if 1) the perimeter D allows a lot of penetration and 2) the Celts other big doesn’t get into the paint to box out and rebound. Howard gets a ton of his production in this garbage way. It’s as important to shut this down as it is to shut down his posting up.
    The Celts also can’t allow Howard a free pass on the defensive end. Yes, he’s the DPOY and Perk’s the 5th option on offense, but you can’t give Howard half the game off AND I think Perk’s low post game is better suited for Howard. The Bulls bigs, were tall and lanky and if Perk powered them, they would have flopped and he would have racked up fouls (not that they EVER called that on Shaq). Against Howard, however, he can bang without it looking like he’s running over 75 pound Noah.
    Both Perk and BBD have to convert their close in shots better, too.
    Without a second big for Orlando, BBD should have 5 offensive boards a game.
    I also agree that Lewis isn’t as money shooting contested shots as Gordon or even Turkoglu is, but it’s still going to be hard for BBD to handle responsibilities down low AND get out to contest Lewis. But, Lewis is less likely to drive than Turkoglu. He can’t post up and hit turnarouns fadeaways, though and has the height advantage over BBD. I think that’ll be one of the most interesting strategic back and forths of the series. Does BBD get out or does Lewis bomb away. If he gets out, will Lewis settle for contested shots or be determined to take it to the floor. If BBD can’t stop either, what does Doc do? Go small with TA? Use Mikki to get some length and contest Lewis. It’s a major matchup to watch for.
    Other specifics: Celts should be able to shut down Redick AND abuse him on offense. No one’s stopping Rondo on this team AND they don’t have Rose at the point to put up big numbers. I would think Orlando would put Turkoglu on BBD since BBD would abuse Lewis down low and because anyone besides BBD would abuse Turkoglu’s D. That leaves Lewis to guard Pierce and Redick to guard Ray. I’m sorry, that’s just wrong.
    Look, I think the Celts are the best team, but KG makes such a big difference particularly in guarding a player like Lewis while helping on a player like Howard that this is going to another good series. (Good meaning tight and entertaining, not good meaning easy Celts win.) Some of these games Howard is going to go off and some of them, the bombers are going get hot. The hope is it’s only say 2 games and not 4. That’s what it would take for Orlando to take the series, otherwise it Cavs/Celts.

  • Nora

    Correct me if I am wrong but didn’t the Celtics struggle last year in the 1st round as well? Wgat happened? I know that it is different with KG being out but still doubting the Celtics based on the 1st round based on that seem rather silly right now.

  • Jon

    Good call. I’m glad you mentioned that the Magic have no shot at guarding 4 of our 5 starters. BBD can abuse Lewis on the post and that would be a good idea to get him in foul trouble and off the court. Lewis can torch Davis too but if he has to work on D, he’s in trouble. With Courtney Lee (their defensive specialist) being injured the Magic are even more defenseless. The Celts need to just keep blowing by their guards and if they get blocked, so what. You have to keep going at them, throw some up fakes and hope for fouls or easy baskets. If they collapse, we have deadly 3 point shooters on our team too. I like our chances.

  • Uncle Leo

    It really isn’t lazy to say they will have much more trouble with the 3rd seed. The bulls barely made it into the playoffs while orlando was challenging the cavs for 1st at one point. It literally took miracle shots in more than a few games for the celts to win the series. Can you honestly say the bulls could take orlando to 7 games?
    The Celtics almost lost to the bulls because they’re a very depleted team at this point, plain and simple. The only reason this game is ending in 6 is because nelson is out, healthy orlando vs these celts would’ve been close to a sweep. But there really isn’t anything you can do against Howard, especially with perks shoulder hurting agian.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/redsarmy Red’s Army

    I think the Bulls could absolutely take Orlando to 7 games. Why wouldn’t they? They’d give Orlando many of the same problems.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0115704263ce970b Papa Irish

    chicago would have beat orlando, philly took orlando to six, they barely made the post season too
    two games before the season ended the celts beat the sixers without kg and ray ray; no way could they have won against chicago without ray
    rose vs alston – advantage chicago
    gordon vs lee – huge advantage chicago
    hedu vs salmons – slim advantage chicago- simply put salmonds can guard hedu better than hedu can guard salmons
    rashard vs tyrus thomas – advantage orlando
    noah vs superman – adv orlando
    bench – HUGE adv chicago
    so thats it the bulls would have won a series against orlando simple math really

  • WestCoastCelt

    Lazy?
    Saying if Nelson wasn’t hurt they’d sweep is lazy? What about if KG wasn’t hurt, or Powe? What then? If took a shit and fell overboard.
    Saying the Bulls barely made the playoffs, while true, is lazy. They barely made it at 41-41, but before the trade they were a 24-30 (a 36-win team) and after they were 17-11 (a 50-win team). So their record was .500, but by the time the playoffs started they could have been considered the clear 4 seed. On the other hand, the Celts finished with 62 wins, but without KG were more like a 53-win team. See how even 53 vs 50 is compared to the lazy comparison of 41 vs 62?
    The Celts needed miracle shots? Are you freaking serious? How about miracle shot after miracle shot by the Bulls? Yes, the Celts made some shots, too, but are you kidding with what the Bulls did? Game 7 showed what happened when those didn’t go in. The script was much more of what was expected in the series.
    Depletion is the “plain and simple” reason? How about the Bulls having 4 good to excellent perimeter players? How about them having two leapers as shot blockers and rebounders? How about a couple of missed FTs by Pierce and it would have been a sweep? How about the Celts bench didn’t produce anything for six games? I guess it was none of that, just that the Celts were depleted. That’s lazy.
    Can’t do anything against Howard? Again lazy since the Celts have before, even without KG.
    Think beyond “barely beat a 7 seed” and “Howard is unstoppable” and you’ll see tons of favorable matchups.
    1) Rondo. Big advantage on both O and D.
    2) Ray. Against Reddick? Please that’s just not fair.
    3) Pierce and Hedo? Closer, but still.
    4) Lewis vs BBD. Very contrasting players and interesting how it will play out. Both have BIG advantages in certain areas against each other.
    5) Perk/Howard. Clearly Howard’s supposed to have the BIG advantage here, but Perk’s got solid tools, especially defensively. Perk’s not getting credit here for what he’s done in the past against Howard.
    6) Bench. We all know the Celts bench is short due to the loss of KG and Powe. The Magic have the advantage in frontcourt depth, but in the backcourt, who do they have beyond Pietrus?
    So that’s clear Celts advantage at the 1, 2 and 3. Magic have the advantage at the 5. The 4 is where I think the series could be won or lost by either team. The bench is split, advantage Magic with their bigs, but advantage Celts in the backcourt.
    Don’t bother posting if you yourself are going to be so lazy in your “analysis” and summation of the factors in play.

  • Uncle Leo

    You people dont understand how match ups work, its not like these guys are playing 1v1 on each other the whole game. What matters is how one unit as a whole can play against another.
    This doesn’t merit a huge debate so here is the bottom line, orlando has the big advantage in getting both the easy baskets and the 3’s, plus they’re a much, much bigger team. Rondo is going to be seeing much less of the seams that he saw against the bulls. The only reason philly put up a fight is because they’re a huge and athletic team, got really lucky a few games, and then lost miserably vs orlando w/ no howard.
    Whatever. I don’t see whats the big deal about being a slight underdog in this series. What you’re supposed to say is the celtics are much more reslient and will never give up on a game, which we’ve seen orlando do a few times. So just relax.
    By the way, what I ment with the Nelson comment was that if he was healthy playing this *current* celts line up w/o powe and garnett, then betting on a sweep wouldn’t be a bad idea.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p01156f5d5d11970c Tim (FD)

    I agree strongly that individual match-ups dont determine the outcome of games.
    It’s how a team plays as a unit. But I still think the C’s play better as a unit, mainly because they have a much better point guard to direct the team and two guys they can rely on in the final minutes of a ball game.
    C’s in 6

  • baron

    Lol @ nba
    celtics underdogs? wow, we may just get to the ECF and beyond afterall

  • WestCoastCelt

    First off, I never use swagger/experience/resiliency BS as reasons for winning. Those things are overrated and using that crutch is laziest of all. Talent wins. Match-ups matter. Luck, of course factors in. Don’t get me started on refs. If I were to boil everything down to experience, that would be lazy. It would also be wrong since Pierce’s mettle should have mandated he make 2 FTs and the Celts would have swept. That didn’t happen, though, because again it’s overrated. He’s an 85% shooter. That means 15% of the time he misses. He went 6-7 that game. What do you know, 86%! Just happened that the one miss happened at a crucial time. It happens. 85% of the time, he’ll nail those FTs, those times he didn’t. Ray Allen missed TWELVE FTs ALL SEASON. He missed 3 in this series. What favors was experience doing the Celts then?
    Second, I am relaxed.
    Moving on, it’s not five individual 1v1s? I had no idea. I guess the concept of team defense has been lost on the Celts for the last two years. Remind me, did the Celts have the best team defense each of the last two years? Oh really? They did? Isn’t that interesting. Us Celts fans had no clue.
    If Orlando shuts down Rondo’s penetration, as you claim, it’s damn sure going to take more than Alston to do it and if you bring a second man to defend Rondo, he’s going to average 15 assists and that’s no exaggeration. When it comes to Rondo, it’s pick your poison at best for Orlando. I have doubts they’ll slow him down much and they’re certainly not shutting him down completely. He’s got ball-handling, driving, finishing, dishing, decision-making, defense and rebounding as PLUS skills (jump-shooting and FTs are his subpar skills). That means he can do more things well than Orlando can shut down. Take away one thing, he has the skills and IQ to beat you three other ways. He just went 25/10/10 against the Bulls in five games. Then he had two subpar offensive games. How did balance out the poor scoring over those two games? 30 assists against only four TOs, 14 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks. Forget about Rondo. The Magic aren’t stopping Rondo. He’s Road Runner, they’re Wile E. Coyote.
    Big advantage on easy baskets and 3s? Hmm. Again, have you met Rondo? He gets about 300% of his shots at the rim. And when he’s not finishing, he’s finding guys for lay-ins or open 3s. How about Ray Allen? Arguably the best shooter in NBA history. Eddie House? Pretty accomplished shooter himself. I’m not saying the Magic aren’t good in those areas, just that 1) layups and 3s aren’t the only determining factors and 2) the advantages aren’t so clearly in Orlando’s favor, if at all.
    Howard’s a beast inside. There’s no question, but the Celts have a beast, too. There’s even a site dedicated to him, http://www.perkisabeast.com. Seriously, there is. Plus, the Celts can drive in the half court and also get out and run. Easy 3s, easy layups, fouls.
    For the record, regarding Orlando’s supposed big advantage from deep, the Celts just shot 42% from 3 in the first round, while Orlando shot 35%. For the regular season, Boston shot 40%. That ranks FIRST, by the way. Orlando shot 38% (7th). The reason the Celts 3% is so high is because they don’t have to force 3s to win games. They can score in many ways and usually shoot 3s only when they come in the flow of the offense. (They also have Ray Allen and Eddie House, so that helps a tad. Scal’s not a bad %age shooter either. Pierce has improved his 3-point selection, thus having improved his %age.) Orlando on the other hand lives or dies by the 3, jacking it up constantly, so if they’re hot, yeah it’s a big problem for the C’s. If not, though, Orlando’s probably toast. Point is, 3s aren’t a BIG advantage for Orlando.
    Overall FG%? Boston 2nd, Orlando 17th (that’s with all of Howards’s dunks). Advantage Boston.
    Opponent FG%? Boston FIRST (with KG, the real DPOY, missing 25 games). Orlando 3rd. With KG out, I would give Orlando the advantage, but not a huge one.
    How about free throws? Turkoglu and Lewis are very good FT shooters, but it’s Howard that takes the lion’s share of FTs and we know that’s not his strength. The Celts have 95% Ray Allen and 85% Pierce (who can get to the line double digits in a game). BBD hits at a good clip and draws fouls rather well. Rondo and Perk both are suspect. Bottom line, Orlando was last in FT% this year. Even at 18th, that’s Boston’s advantage.
    My point isn’t that I necessarily feel you are wrong in labeling the Magic as favorites. And it’s a not “big deal” if in your mind that’s the case. Orlando’s a good team and a dangerous one. I just think your arguments leading to that conclusion were either lazy or wrong.
    If I listened to you, I would only be thinking about how lucky the Celts were to get by a lowly 7 seed and how supposedly dominant the Magic are both down low and behind the arc. I just didn’t feel like settling for such lazy thinking. Instead, I go deeper. I see the Celts/Bulls matchup on both a team and individual level was a lot closer than “2 vs 7.” I look at Boston/Orlando via matchups and I see more matchups favor the Celts. I look at it via phases (3s, layups, FTs, FG%, OppFG%, etc.) and again I see more phases that favor the Celts.
    Yeah, this is long … but it’s not lazy.
    So “here is the bottom line”: Celts in 6.

  • WestCoastCelt

    BTW, no idea why SVG goes with Redick over Pietrus and against Ray, he may have no choice but to start Pietrus and bring Redick in against Marbury and House instead. That seems like the MUCH smarter play to me, but we’ll see what SVG decides to do. Ray may abuse Redick so bad, he’ll force Pietrus in the game. If they go with Pietrus, the matchup at the 2 still favors Boston, but it won’t be nearly the vast chasm it would have been with Redick.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0115704263ce970b Papa Irish

    how does one team get to theoretically have their injured player get back and not the other team
    and thats overlooking the fact that if there was a chance for either one of them to play it would clearly be garnett not nelson

  • Paul

    I’ll bet Kenny Smith picked the Celtics, though. He’s been one of the few in the national media who haven’t overrated Orlando, due to their one dimensional offense and reliance on the three. It’s not like Chuck watches basketball anymore anyways…

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0115704263ce970b Papa Irish

    I think the biggest favor that chicago did for us was the impact that noah and tyrus had beginning the series
    remember in the early in the series how they seemed to block/contest every shot? yea well it turns out our guys didnt like that and by the end of the series perk and big baby were learning how to pump fake and go up strong or find the open man, pierce and allen were creating contact rather than shying away from it, and rondo was finding whoever’s man came over for the easy bucket
    [if you dont think that will help us going up against a shot blocker like howard than your crazy
    because here is the thing about shot blockers they rely more on intimidation than anything else, and when you arent afraid of them you cant work there overzealous shot blocking attempts against them; just as the C’s were forced to learn against noah and thomas in the first round

  • WestCoastCelt

    I’m sort of on board with this, but not fully, since being professional basketball players they should have learned this long before now, not just in this last series. But, yes, it was obnoxious seeing all those blocks and the Celts need to do much better than that.
    That being said, for all of Perk’s improvements, he’s still not the guy you can make a quick pass to, who catches cleanly and flushes quick before anyone gets there. His hands are better, but still not great. He has learned not to ALWAYS crouch, delay, try to dunk. He often now keeps the ball up high and puts it right back in off the glass. But, quick pass, quick catch, quick flush? No. KG does that. Gasol does that. Even Noah was doing it this series.
    BBD and Powe both have better hands, better feel right around the basket and considerable strength, but neither of them typically made that play either (yes, Powe slams in traffic more the BBD). If the Celts get penetration and Howard rotates, it’ll be very important to capitalize instead of getting swatted. That other guy has to make himself available for a pass. That’s an important part of this and I think it will be easier against Orlando. The Bulls had two bigs, one to contest, one to then cover the big left open, leaving no opportunity to pass for an easy lay-in. With Orlando, it’s just Howard and the next guy is Lewis. Both Perk and BBD should be able to get any down low position they want then and make themselves a target. They have to catch and finish quickly. If Howard can both rotate to contest AND cut off passing lanes at the same time, yeah then where do you go? Hope you can find an open shooter. But if Perk and BBD make room when Howard vacates, those opportunities MUST be capitalized on. Then if you make him pay for aggressively shot blocking, then maybe his shot blocking won’t be so aggressive anymore.

  • Atomic Man

    Hey WestCoast Celt- Can you write anymore boring crap, jesus christ dude, who the hell wants to read all your rediculous bull crap. Get over yourself dude.
    The damn Celtics got lucky Saturday night. The Bulls basically handed them that game. The Bulls had so many opportunities and could not capitolize on them, we shot ourselves in the foot.
    LUCKY BASTARDS

  • CB

    Cs in 7, despite what the national media thinks. They’ve got too much heart and too much wily, veteran talent to go out in the 2nd round. They’ll make adjustments and figure out a way to contain Howard.