Posting up with a few Celtics notes while looking forward to tonight’s Boston-Brooklyn showdown that this time includes Rajon Rondo …
It’s an easy angle to suggest the Celtics miss Ray Allen, who has had his share of big moments and big makes in Miami already. But Jason Terry has done a fine job replacing him as the guy who you remember you have when you’re down six with two minutes left. The narrative isn’t as appealing, but the truth is, the Celtics miss Avery Bradley much more. His relentless defense is an element that can’t and hasn’t been replaced. Remember, the Celtics rocketed and found their identity when KG moved to the 5 and he Bradley was inserted into the lineup in place of Allen last year.
Once Bradley returns, the depth and relative redundancy has me convinced the Celtics are set up for a trade. If I understand the rules correctly, free-agent acquisitions such as Jason Terry and Courtney Lee can’t be traded until December 15 or at the three-month mark after he signed, whichever is later, while a Bird rights player such as Jeff Green can’t be moved until January 15. So there will probably be nothing brewing anytime soon — for instance, there’s no one on the roster they can or would trade right now that would bring, say, Marcin Gortat from the Suns. But with Bradley, Terry, Lee, and Leandro Barbosa all eventually worthy of minutes at 2-guard, and Danny Ainge’s creativity and utter lack of sentimentality suggesting he’d pull the trigger on any deal that would help, I bet he acquires a useful big man in time for the playoff push.
The irony of accusing Rajon Rondo of being selfish for striving for an assist record is just such a perfect encapsulation of the nonsense he has to put up with around here. Was it a little curious that he came back into the already-settled Pistons game to record a 10th assist and keep his streak alive? I guess. But Doc knew it mattered to his player, and he did a smart thing, building goodwill by allowing him to keep it going. It’s probably because of the proliferation of sports talk — on the radio and television — but we spend way too much time around here worrying about what could happen instead of enjoying what did happen. I hope Rondo, at 37 games of double-digit assists and counting, blows away Magic Johnson’s record of 46. And I almost hope he has to come back into another game to keep it going, just to annoy those who can’t appreciate a good thing and don’t want the rest of us to, either.
I’m getting as much of a kick as anyone out of the Rasheed Wallace comeback/redemption/R-rated comedy tour. At his Pistons peak he was a truly brilliant all-around player, and while he could be a real [ad-lib your unprintable of choice here] during his his Jail Blazers youth, he was also a bit misunderstood. Celtics president Rich Gotham once told me that Rasheed was one of the most down-to-earth, introspective players the Celtics have had, remembering a conversation they had on a flight about the modern self-defeating foolishness of having a posse. I remember his season here well, though the recollection of him shooting 28.3 percent on 290 attempted had faded until I was looking at his basketball-reference page. That’s a lot of bricks. Stat don’t lie.
One more item tangentially related to ‘Sheed: Someone should write a book on the 39-win 1995-96 Washington Bullets, Wallace’s rookie year. His teammates included Juwon Howard, Chris Webber, Gheorghe Muresan, Mark and Brent Price, Tim Legler, Kevin Pritchard, Michael Curry, and Ladell Eackles. Eclectic doesn’t begin to describe it.
I love the camaraderie and chemistry between Tommy Heinsohn and Brian Scalabrine on the nights Scal sits in for a while on Comcast SportsNet New England’s game telecasts. There’s a mutual respect there among two people who understand the game on a deep level and have the ability to articulate it succinctly and with good humor. And I don’t want to say Mike Gorman gets out of the way when Tommy and Scal are bantering, because Mike Gorman is never in the way. But it’s noticeable and admirable that he just lets the conversation flow organically between the two analysts with only occasional interjection, because a lot of play by play voices less accomplished than Gorman wouldn’t allow it.
Random Dave Cowens Highlight Reel Interlude. Why? Because he’ll flatten you like he did Mike Newlin if you don’t watch, that’s why.
Have to admit, I’m a little surprised how much frustration there seems to be with this team 14 games into this season. Isn’t this kind of what we expected at this point, with Doc monitoring KG’s minutes, no Bradley, Jeff Green (who, for all of his inconsistency gets way too much grief) and Chris Wilcox returning from heart surgery, and several new players trying to find their roles, particularly on the defensive end? They’ll be fine. If any team north of Foxborough deserves your faith that they’ll get it figured out over the course of the season, it is this one.
As for today’s Completely Random Basketball Card:
I … I can pretty much assure you it will never be more random than Kevin Pittsnogle. Even if I do someday find the elusive Conner Henry or Nate Driggers.