Monday, March 7, 2011

FIve W's in a Row Post Perkins Says Many Things

The smoke has cleared. The fans seem to be adjusting. The talking heads and so-called “experts” have piped down and the Boston Celtics are 5-0 since trading Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to OKC for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic. The Celtics also created three roster spots by trading reserve center Semih Erden and rookie forward Luke Harangoody to the Cavs for a future draft pick and dealing the injured Marquis Daniels to Sacramento for cash. This then allowed the Celtics to sign power forward Troy Murphy, swing man Sasha Pavlovic and newly available reserve point guard Carlos Arroyo, who was released by the Heat to make room for Mike Bibby. As was discussed immediately following the trade, the move had many angles both short term and down the line for the Celtics. But it appears that Danny Ainge, again, knew exactly what he was doing.

Thanks to a coaching staff lead by Doc Rivers both Green and Krstic have been meshing into the flow with the Celtics very nicely. Both have shown some ingredients to their games that many were not aware they possessed.  For example, Krstic runs the floor much better than many ever thought he could and he and KG are very much on the same page as far as their spacing goes in transition which is huge for Rajon Rondo with the ball and Ray Allen getting to the three point line uncovered without it.

Krstic also has a great sense of when to present himself as a target upon driblle penetration by Paul Pierce or Rondo and has been getting more comfortable being a target for the quick interior feeds that KG has become a master at in his time as a Celtic. 

Then there is Jeff Green.

With 21 points Friday night on 8-11 from the floor, and another 11 off the bench last night in Milwaukee, Green, who is seeing major minutes with the starters as Glen Davis is out, is fitting in like he has been running with the Big 4 for a few months. From beating his man down the floor and finishing, to presenting himself as a target around the rim, to filling the lane at the right time Jeff Green is and will continue to flourish as a Boston Celtic. Despite the injuries right now the versatility of this team has reached a new level with Green. Yes, he will play some four, with KG next to him at the five, when the Celtics want to go smaller and faster. But he is also getting some time at the three, with Pierce at the two. When Ray Allen needs a breather this is a very difficult matchup for the opposition as either Pierce or Green will have a smaller defender on him to take down to the block. Put KG and Glen Davis, or Murphy out there and there will be open shots for everyone when the double team happens, if not then Pierce or Green will get whatever they want within ten feet of the hoop.

While Perkins was beloved, and a symbol of the Celtic toughness and defense, he was a player with a ceiling as mentioned last week. Green right now, with this team, has no ceiling. As we watch the Bulls continue to improve, the Heat continue to flounder against top teams, Magic start to find themselves again and of course the new look Knicks, the Celtics are feeling quite good about Green presently and beyond.

While Murphy and Pavlovic are learning on the fly, Ainge was able to add some serious depth to a roster that has been experiencing injuries to its support pieces the entire season. Currently Delonte West, Glen Davis, Von Wafer and Shaquille O’Neal remain sidelined (I am not counting Jermaine O’Neal at this time as he has been out most of the season) Those are players that can and have played import roles on this team at one time or another all season. Both Coach Rivers and Ainge have been extremely intelligent and patient in dealing with the depth and injury issues this team has had.

What bothers the Coach is that so many ripped on the Celtics when they made this deal. Meanwhile, Kendrick Perkins remains sidelined with a strained MCL and Nate Robinson will be out for the remainder of the regular season. Yet not many have come forward and given Ainge the credit he deserves for making at the time an unpopular and gutsy move. Wouldn’t be nice if certain sports journalists or media members were judged on whether they are right or wrong? There are some I would very much like to go one on one with when it comes to the world of basketball. As I type this my heart begins to beat faster, competition does that to the Coach, and since March Madness is officially upon us, I am going to pace myself, 

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