This past week was an up-and-down one for the Good Guys. After completing a successful road trip w/ a win against Sacramento, the Celtics lost to the red-hot Dallas Mavericks (Doc had warned us that the first game back from a road trip is always a tough game). Then in another big nationally televised game, they took it to the rival Orlando Magic but followed up that effort with an all-to-typical lacjluster effort in losing to the Charlotte Bobcats on the 2nd night of a back-to-back. All-in-all though, can’t complain. The Celtics seem to always bring it against top-tier teams, and they won’t have to play any back-to-backs in the playoffs. Plus, this time of year is all about staying healthy (though getting that #1 seed and avoiding having to play Miami AND Chicago is looking like a very desirable goal). On to this week’s Player Power Rankings (with last week’s ranking in parenthesis):
1. Ray Allen (4): Is Ray the team’s best player? No. But he has been very clutch and very consistent. Oh and he is about to break Reggie Miller’s all-time NBA three-point record, so let’s give him a little love this week in the rankings, shall we?
2. Rajon Rondo (2): Followed up a lackluster few games in Portland and Phoenix last week and returned to true form this week, doing everything his team needed him to do. He copped double-digit assists in every game except Orlando, but he dropped 27 points in that game.
3. Paul Pierce (1): He is still the team’s MVP to this point, but he was invisible at times throughout last week and looks like he’s getting those heavy legs right about now, after playing every game this season to this point.
4. Kevin Garnett (2): He has continued with consistent play on both ends, but dude is going crazy w/ his antics lately, hittin Channing Frye in the nuts, pushing little guys, pushing refs. Love KG, but dude needs to chill a bit. Or does he?
5. Big Baby (5): Just remains consistent and reliable. Notice how many big shots he hits in the middle of the fourth quarter, or when the offense has gone stagnant, or when some of the Big 4 are on the bench.
6. Kendrick Perkins (6): Could be #5 in rankings, as he has come back to form quickly and seamlessly. Had double-digit rebounds 3 games in a row vs. Sac, Dal, and Orl. One thing though, after all these years, he STILL brings the ball down low too much after an offensive rebound. Keep it high and utilize your height Perk!
7. Nate Robinson (7): This is the problem w/ al the injuries the Celtics have had. Nate is #7 in these rankings. Not a good thing. He did have a strong game vs. Sacramento, w/ 5 steals and actually closing the game out in crunch time over Rondo.
Marquis Daniels suffered a scary injury versus Orlando, when he bruised his spinal cord after a collision with Gilbert Arenas. He appears to be on the road to full recovery, but don’t plan on him being back on the court anytime soon. If you are on twitter, please send some Celtics Nation love directly to Marquis at twitter.com/Marquis_Daniels. From a basketball perspective, the Celtics will miss Quis’ versatility and the depth he provides. Plus, it will mean Pierce will continue to have to play heavy minutes, when Doc would probably like to rest him some more
8. Semih Erden (10): Well at least he’s been healthy. Sort of.
9. Shaq (9): Hasn’t played the last 3 games. When the Celtics signed him, I said they should shut him down the entire month of February, so I can’t complain.
10. Von Wafer (11): He’s going to have to step up and play some positive minutes in Marquis’ absence.
11. Luke Harangody (12): Ditto.