The Celtics grind-ed their way through a difficult week, with two bad losses (at Charlotte and vs. LA Lakers) and a BIG rebound win Sunday versus Miami. The win gives the Celtics a half game lead over Miami for best record in the east and clinches the season series in favor of the Good Guys. The team is banged up with injuries and their depth is depleted at this time. However, they do have their top 6 players available and they have been riding them hard. We now enter a nice point in the schedule where the C’s have just one game this week (should be a lay-up) vs. New Jersey and then the All-Star Break. This team could use the break. As always, we rank each Celtic w/ a heavy emphasis on the past weeks’ performance (Last week’s ranking in parenthesis):
1. Rajon Rondo (2): After his triple double versus Miami, where he also played great defense on LeBron, Celtics head Coach Doc Rovers said, “Rondo just willed us the game.”
2. Ray Allen (1): All he did this week was break the NBA’s All Time record for 3-pointers made (he now has 2,564 and counting…) and continue a tremendously consistent season, with games of 25, 20 and a bit of a slip up w/ 13 vs. Miami.
3. Kevin Garnett (4): Got outplayed by Gasol in Lakers game, and usually that’s the key matchup in any Caltics/Lakers game. Rebounded nicely w/ 19 points, a few of them in key spots versus Miami.
4. Paul Pierce (3): Pierce has been the team’s MVP thus far. But he needs the All-Star break more than anyone on the team. He’s played in every game this year, and he is lacking burst. If the bench wasn’t so thin, I’d want to see Doc sit Pierce vs. NJ Wednesday, so he’d get like 9 days off.
5. Kendrick Perkins (6): Perk is completely back from injury. Solid week culminated in great game vs. Miami where he had 15 points, 6 rebounds, a team-high +11 (Celtics scored 11 more than heat when he was on court) and he anchored the defense in a great team defensive game.
6. Big Baby (5): Despite this hilarious miss on a lay-up (or was it a dunk attempt?), Baby continues to hit clutch shots, play solid defense, and just be one of the best bench players in the league.
7. Von Wafer (10): In the absence of Marquis Daniels, Wafer has given the Celtics some quality minutes in stretches. He hit some big shots versus the Lakers and Heat, but he also looked lost at times.
8. Nate Robinson (7): Nate banged up his knee against LA, and played a few meaningless minuets versus the Heat before re-aggravating the knee.
That’s it people! Nobody else is healthy right now! Well, except Luke Harangody, but he still doesn’t see any playing time. Supposedly on Wednesday we’ll see Delonte West back. Assuming Delonte returns to form, he should be able to help run the offense when Rondo rests. That’s been a big problem this year. Nate is just not equipped to do it. Additionally, Shaq and Semih Erdin should be back after the break (though i wouldn’t mind them shutting Shaq down for a bit longer). It sounds like Marquis could be back in a month or so. Who knows when Jermaine O’Neal will be back, or how effective he’ll be when he returns? Based on all this, it couldn’t hurt Danny Ainge to scour the trade/free agent market for a back up small forward, and maybe another big man (Sheed?).
What do you think about the Player Rankings and/or any moves Danny Ainge should be looking to make to improve this team?