Tag Archives: Doc Rivers

The Celtics endgame

The Celtics are hanging onto the 8 seed for dear life. Last night, they got a big win over the Cavaliers (who are ninth) and managed to tie up the Knicks for the 7 seed. In Boston, most people realize that this group is done. I’m reminded of the Pistons in ’08-09; here’s the IMDB:

Endgame (2012)
PG-13 (66 games and 1 playoff round) – Sports Action

In 2008-2009, the Detroit Pistons are coming off six straight Eastern Conference finals appearances. However, their core players — Chauncey Billups, Richard “Rip” Hamilton, and Rasheed Wallace — are aging, Continue reading

The Old Three and the condensed schedule

Lately, I’ve been arguing that older teams should rest their “more experienced” players as much as possible during the condensed season, especially in the fourth quarter of games that are out of hand. Regular readers might be shaking their heads at me after the Celtics’ games against the Cavaliers this week. In the first one, they gave up an 11 point lead in the last 4:24 of the game (they scored zero points). In the second, they nearly blew an 18 point lead in the fourth quarter.

However, I think these games are just more evidence that the Celtics should rest the Old Three in the fourth quarter with large leads (or deficits). Not only will it help in future games, but it might actually help in the current game. The Celtics have a strong bench, and the Old Three are, well, old and tired. They are prone to blowing fourth quarter leads with long scoring droughts. Whether early or late, Doc Rivers needs to find time to rest his horses, or they will be burned out by March.

Edit: I actually wrote this yesterday before the Celtics thumped the Craptors. In that game, they led by 28 points entering the fourth quarter, the starters all rested, and they ended up winning by 34. Progress, I say!

The Celtics take on Howard and win

It was a renaissance in Boston last night. Garnett was draining 20 footers, Paul Pierce was driving and kicking and hitting shots, and Jermaine O’Neal was putting the clamps on Dwight Howard. Everybody hustled. The defensive intensity never lapsed all game. To steal a line from NBA TV studio man Brent Barry, the Celtics’ “Jurassic Five” went prehistoric on the Magic and held them to a franchise-low 56 points. It was their first win over a team with a winning record, by 31 points no less.

Recently, I’ve discussed the efficacy of the hack-a-Howard strategy (or as Celtics TV mainstay Tommy Heinsohn puts it, the old “hack the Shaq”). The short answer is that Howard shoots too well from the line (59% almost every year, though lower so far this year) for a pure hack-a-Howard to be effective for most teams. However, hacking Howard only when he has the ball in good position Continue reading