HAWKSVILLE - With the Hawks’ point guard ranks thinning by the hour, it might be time for desperate measures with the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers invading Philips Arena for the weekend.
And desperate measures means a Speedy Claxton sighting – not necessarily in the game but at least in uniform for the first time in nearly two years.
Tony Parker’s shredding of the Hawks’ defense Wednesday night proved that a point guard that can guard another lightning quick point guard is definitely needed. And with Acie Law IV out with an ailing back, the Hawks have to go somewhere for relief.
Mario West saw spot duty and played well. And Flip Murray tried his hand at slowing Parker down but got into foul trouble and was needed more for his offense than anything else. Might Claxton, were he to actually suit up and possibly play, be the answer?
Hey, it can’t hurt anything. After all, the man is on the payroll. Claxton says he’s healthy. Why not give him a shot and see if he can give your team a spark?
Who knows, he might actually slow Rajon Rondo down for the first a second or two. It would be the first time that’s happened since the Hawks and Celtics locked horns in the playoffs last year. And it’s something the Hawks desperately need to be able to do if they have any chance of beating the Celtics tonight.
There’s no guarantee it happens. But it’s at least worth thinking about considering the Hawks’ depth issues at point guard right now.
KG + STARBURY = LOVE
The Celtics’ arrival also brings former Georgia Tech star Stephon Marbury back to town for the first time this year (he missed those trips with the Knicks due to his estranged relationship with the team before he was jettisoned and allowed to link up with the Celtics).
While some people love to take shots at Marbury for all the drama that has transpired the past couple of years, at least one of his former and now current teammates, is showing him major love.
Celtics superstar Kevin Garnett praised Marbury, per my main man Marc Spears of the Boston Globe.
“Steph’s leadership has been sort of questioned and damaged if y ou will. But once a leader, always a leader,” KG told Spears and other reporters in Boston. ” I’ve told a lot of the young guys that haven’t seen a lot of Steph, I thought we got a steal in grabbing him. His different relationships with different ball clubs is a thing of the past. If you look at some of the guys on this team, they haven’t always had the best reps. We deal with each other on how we deal with each other. He fits right in. Not only is he versatile, but people forget that Steph was one of the premier guards in this league for a while.
“Other than him not playing for a year, we all expect good things out of him. He expects a lot of big things out of himself. He works extremely hard. You just don’t be the (man) from a point guard standpoint all them years of being who you are, obviously the facts are there, but you just don’t become that. You get that through hard work, watching film. I know dude and what kind of drive he has inside. I think he is going to help us in the long run. He’s definitely different from what everyone sees and their perception of him. But you make your bed, you lay in it. I’m not trying to defend him, nothing like that. But he’s a different soul. It’s about repetition, getting it down and moving forward.”
Garnett is only expected to play limited minutes, something like the first seven to eight minutes of each half (per my man Stevie “Crickets” Bulpett of the Boston Herald).
That means the Hawks will almost certainly need to start both the first and third quarters with their big boy lineup of Zaza Pachulia, Al Horford and Josh Smith with Smith dealing with Paul Pierce at small forward.
It’s not even a gamble in my eyes. It’s a necessity. Garnett, even in small doses, is enough to warrant a tweak in the lineup. Besides, Pachulia’s played well in whatever role that’s been asked of him this season. And with his history with the KG, it might not be a bad idea to have him on the floor early to see if he can disrupt what the Celtics might have in store.
More importantly, those lineups add more sizzle to this rivalry (I don’t care what Rondo says, this is a rivalry to me if only because both teams despise each other). And with the weather as lousy as it is today, I’ll take sizzle anywhere I can get it.