Five random facts and five random opinions on this Celtics team after the first month of the season...
Fact: Kevin Garnett has seven double-doubles so far this season. Last season, Kevin Garnett had his seventh double-double game on March 9th, his 50th game played of the season.
Opinion: KG is playing at a level we haven't seen since his 2007-08 season. This time, though, I think he has learned how to pace himself for the long haul of the season. Shaq's emergence as a legitimate threat in the paint offensively and the overall depth of the team takes some of the pressure off of Garnett. KG has been able to focus on locking down his man, hitting the boards, and talking that 16th Century trash that would make Bill Shakespeare blush.
Fact: Rajon Rondo has seven games with at least 15 assists so far this season. Last season, Rajon Rondo had his seventh game with at least 15 assists on March 26th, the 71st game of the season.
Opinion: With all of the early MVP talk surrounding Dirk and CP3 (and rightfully so at this point), Rondo has flown relatively under the radar considering that he is averaging over 14 dimes a game. I predict that when Rondo and Paul meet on New Year's Eve, Rondo will outplay Paul, and STILL get no MVP love. Also, he'll never come CLOSE to winning an MVP until he can knock down a jumper.
Fact: Delonte West is going to miss significant time for the Celtics this season.
Opinion: I think this is a larger blow to the ultimate goal than Celtics fans and media are making it out to be. Adding Delonte to an already talented, albeit inconsistent second unit elevated the Celtics depth to another level. West added an energy/hustle player, solid defender, veteran presence, and a versatile role player all wrapped up in one person. Losing that depth hurts the Celtics, but losing West mentally may hurt the player and the team even more. West should be healthy for the stretch run but if the injury ends up affecting him mentally, he may become unfocused and get himself into trouble. Even just sitting out 10 games had him coming to blows with his presumed replacement, Von Wafer.
Fact: With injuries to West and Rondo, Avery Bradley will finally get his opportunity to impact the team.
Opinion: Doc believes in him, so I do too. Rivers rarely lauds rookies, even if they are playing great (see Davis, Glen), so when Doc said that Avery Bradley "can play" it got my attention immediately. We've all heard that he can be a lock down defender, but he'll need to fit in offensively in order to find meaningful minutes with the team. Rookies have played so infrequently in the past few years that when they did get time, it was almost cringe-worthy how nervous and awkward they seemed, on offense especially. Hopefully Bradley can break that trend and at least not look like Omar Epps in "Love & Basketball" bad out there.
Fact: Glen Davis leads the NBA with 21 charges taken this season.
Opinion: Big Baby's prolific charge-taking pace has got me thinking, isn't there a reason players don't take that many charges? My guess is that when 280 lb. men are constantly taking shoulders to the chest and falling to the ground that sooner or later they get injured. Had to be said.
And some other things...
- This is probably my favorite play of the season...(Rondo's 'oop to Shaq against the Raptors). How much Shaq has left in the tank plus his willingness to be the enforcer has been the highlight of the season so far.
- Luke Harangody (or Scalangody as he's been named in this space) got some minutes against Atlanta in a blowout last week. I still don't see what Scal could do that this kid can't? Harangody is faster, can shoot like Scal, and rebounds better. Meanwhile, Harangody can't get off the bench and Scalabrine is playing huge minutes in the NBA Finals vs. the Lakers? Were Scal's brainwaves really that impressive?
- Antoine Walker seems to be clawing his way back into professional basketball. It's a sad story we've all heard, but I hope Antoine can pull himself out of financial trouble and turn his life around, and I even have a suggestion as to how he can do it. Write a book called, "How I blew 100 Million Dollars" that literally just chronicles how he blew every red cent of the money he earned playing basketball in chronological order. You telling me you wouldn't buy that book? That would be my toilet reading for the next 10 months.
Think I'm full of crap?..
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