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The Circus Comes to Town: Warriors Play Celtics Tonight


The whacky world of the Golden State Warriors comes to Boston tonight.

There is no greater calamity of a franchise than the Golden State Warriors right now. Not the Clippers. Not the Timberwolves. Not the New Jersey Nets. Well, maybe New York, but they’ve been that way for a while.

Don Nelson’s arbitrary ways with players and line ups led to a 29 win season last season. They are 3-7 at this moment and on a 2 game losing streak, as are the Celtics.

If you want to know what is wrong with the Celtics defense, just watch a replay of the Rockets defense against the Lakers last week-end. That was an energetic and cohesive defensive unit. They moved around the floor as one, especially in the painted area, cutting off and defending with great vigor almost everything the Lakers tried. Honestly, they were five men with a single mind.

For those who thought that Rick Adelman wasn’t a defensive coach, think again. He had that team of role players playing inspired defensive ball against the league champs as they upset them 101-91. They also played the Lakers tough in the previous post season with Yao Ming and Dikembe Mutombo out. I am impressed.

On the other hand, it is no coincidence that rookie Brandon Jennings 55 point Milwaukee rookie record explosion came against the Warriors. The Warriors have the worst defense in the league. Taking nothing away from the great young point guard, but he was poorly defensed at times. Jennings absolutely played a tremendous game and made the Warriors look silly.

Now that Stephen Jackson has gotten his wish and was traded to the Charlotte Bobcats, rumors are starting that Monte Ellis wishes for the same. Don Nelson has feuded privately and publicly with Ellis. The Warriors are reported to be starting to call around about Ellis.

They lost Michael Pietrus, then Baron Davis, then Matt Barnes. Derek Fisher was traded to Utah for a bag of shells. Nelson feuded with Al Harrington before Harrington forced a trade to New York, privately stating recently Nelson would have ruined his career.

Don Nelson has turned into L’Enfant Terrible and appears to continue to have the backing of Warriors ownership and GM Larry Riley, Don’s friend.

Not that everything is Don’s fault. This organization, from top to bottom, is making Donald Sterling’s Clippers look good.

They have a talented young big man in Anthony Randolph, who is languishing on the bench with inconsistent minutes while Mikki Moore starts. If they were in a pennant race, it might be understandable. But they are not a contending team, even before the Jackson trade.

Now talented scorer Kelenna Azubuike is out for the season with a knee injury.

The Warriors will welcome Raja Bell from the Bobcats, who will sit out as he gets surgery on his hand, and fellow ‘Cat Vladimir Radmanovic. Strangely, ‘Radman’ will probably welcome the trade. The Warriors style will allow him to play to his strength – shooting.

The Celtics will have had three days off again. They needed it to figure out what they are doing wrong.

For those in panic mode due to the 2-3 record over the last 5 games of the far too passive Celtic juggernaut, consider this….

The Celtics current 8-3 record (.727) projects out to a 60 win season (.731). That is about where I had them (63 or 64 wins) at the start of the year.

But I don’t want to minimize the recent poor play of the Celtics. They are not playing as hard, nor as smart as they can. There is something missing from this team’s chemistry and even game plans.

Rasheed Wallace must become more than a statue at the arc. The team must defend more cohesively and energetically, play the pick and roll better, close out the perimeter players quicker, get back against the fastbreak, and rebound a bit better at both ends of the court. Other than that… they are okay.

Rajon Rondo has been playing a somewhat curious game this season. The timing of when he shoots is inconsistent and he is shooting less outside shots at the moment. He continues to miss badly with his outside shot, can’t hit a free throw (25%) and rarely gets to the line this season (12 attempts in 10 games) . Too often, it seems he has to be prodded by Doc Rivers to step up his scoring and defensive effort.

Rondo’s rebounding is down as well. He is an active defender, especially with steals (leads the league), but his fundamental defense can be inconsistent. He still gets beat on the drive and reaches around to save the play with a wraparound knock away. His turnovers are down, and assists are up slightly at 8.7, and his field goal percentage is a solid 58%.

Paul Pierce may sit out tonight’s game with a sore ankle. If he does, Marquis Daniels will start in his place. Tony Allen will suit up in that case, but it is unsure whether he will be the back up or only play in an emergency.

After starting the season on fire from deep, the Celtics are shooting 4–27 from the three point line in their last two games combined.

The Celtics are ‘tryin’ to get the feeling again’. The Warriors might be the right team to do it against.

I’m out like Barry Manilow.

Thomas Halzack

One Response

  1. JB says:

    “I’m out like Barry Manilow.”

    Ah… now I understand. ;>)