Counting down to the Celtics

What’s up, folks-

Not that it’s a long wait, but I am ready for the Boston game to get here, and I imagine the players are even more so. It was, obviously, all the talk in the locker room. I’ll give you some stuff from interviews and some links.

Al Horford comparing Boston with Cleveland and Orlando.

“That team, they’re just solid every night. I feel like Cleveland and Orlando can have their slippage like we’ve had, but for some reason, Boston, they have a good coach and veteran palyers and they’re just so consistent every night that you know what you’re going to get out of all of them.”

Joe Johnson on what it will take to beat the Celtics.

“I think we have to do what’s worked for us. We have to use our athletic ability. That’s got to be our strength, getting stops and getting out and getting easy fast-break points.”

Jamal Crawford on Boston:

“Their strength is their chemistry. They always cover for each other on defense. Always. It’s almost like playing against a college team in a zone. They’re always there to cover for each other. You never beat them just on one side. You have to move the ball to get clean, open looks.”

Jamal often has pretty interesting observations, I think. It’s obvious he watches a lot of basketball. Someone else – I don’t remember who – also mentioned what Crawford did about moving the ball and not going at Boston from just one side, which leads me to think it was talked about in practice. So, something to watch for.

Some links:

A Comcast New England story about Rasheed Wallace, which says that Mike Woodson tried to get him to sign with Atlanta this summer. Interesting if true.

A New York Post story about the Hawks-Nets game, which has two excellent lines.

Yi fed Courtney Lee for a layup in the third quarter to record only his fourth assist in 378 minutes this season. No truth to the rumor that “Yi” is short for “Yinka.”

The Nets were down 17 after the first quarter and the body language ranked somewhere between “My puppy ran away” and “No more whining, we’re going to the opera.” The Hawks never let the Nets get closer than 13 in the second half.

Lang Whitaker at Slam magazine sent me a link of Joe Smith’s rap about the Hawks, which is played before games. Thought you might want to give it a listen.

The Hawks marketing folks made some videos plugging upcoming games featuring Zaza Pachulia and Jamal Crawford in the “This is Sports Center” style. They’re on the Hawks’ web site.

Lastly, Steve Hummer was working on a Josh Smith story this week for Sunday’s paper. Steve is one of the best writers at the paper, in my opinion, so I am looking forward to reading it. I can assure you that it will have at least one pretty interesting detail about the Smith-Woodson relationship. Ya gotta read his story to find out, though.

482 comments Add your comment

doc

January 7th, 2010
9:01 pm

good stuff here ken, looking forward to seeing where this team is after the deflating losses last week.

will be there.

doc

January 7th, 2010
9:01 pm

yes it was a temptation.

Samuel

January 7th, 2010
9:07 pm

What I tell yall about Sheed and Woody. Maybe we can get him this offseason.

Clyde, You mighty quiet.

doc

January 7th, 2010
9:13 pm

samuel, i wondered on the other blog how long it would take to read something by him. mississippi close enough to texas to be pulling for them?

O'Brien

January 7th, 2010
10:00 pm

Thanks for the blog Ken.

The Hawks are playing at home, and there is no KG. I will be extremely disappointed if the Hawks lose this game.

JJ said we need to use our athletic ability, get stops, and get out on the fast break. I hope he sticks to it, because I dont want to see JJ and Bibby walking the ball up, even after a Celtics made FG.

And with no KG, I think we should make a concerted effort to get Josh the ball. Because if we can get a quick foul or 2 on Rasheed Wallace, we can get him out of the game, which would be HUGE for our ballclub.

doc

January 7th, 2010
10:10 pm

i hear a roll tide and fire woody coming soon.

Astro Joe

January 7th, 2010
10:24 pm

OB, I seem to remember that Josh has a very hard time with Rasheed, whose arms are about as long as the line at the Philip’s pretzel stand at half-time (shout out to doc). The Celtics have a wickedly good road record and learned how to play ((and win) without KG last season. I wouldn’t beat on either team hitting 95 points tomorrow.

Ken Strickland

January 7th, 2010
10:32 pm

ASTRO JOE-from previous blog. The 3 Eastern conference teams that are ahead of us have been far more consistent than we’ve been, but you have to be more interested in facts and reality than sarcasm for it to register.

CELTICS-During their worst stretch of gms they were 3 and 7. They’ve lost 2 consecutive gms once and 3 consecutive gms once.

CAVALIERS-During their worst stretch of gms they lost 4 of 7. After starting the season with 2 consecutive losses, they’ve lost 2 consecutive losses only once since then.

MAGIC-Their worst stretch of gms was 2-6. They’ve lost 2 consecutive gms once and 3 consecutive gms once.

HAWKS-We’ve had 2 stretches where we were 2-6 and 2-8 respectively. We’ve lost 2 consecutive gms once and 4 consecutive gms once.

If Boston, Orlando or Cleveland lose gms, it’s because they played poorly, had injuries, or got outplayed by teams that were hot, not because they completely changed their style of play, like the Hawks have frequently done over the last 2+yrs.

ASTRO JOE-please read AHorford’s comments above concerning why Boston has remained so consistent. He says it’s because they have A GOOD COACH and veteran players. READ BETWEEN THE LINES, IF YOU CAN. Also, read Joe Johnson’s comments as well. He says we have to use our strengths and do what works for us, like use our athletic ability to get easy fast break pts. That sounds to me like a player admitting he knows what works best for the team, but it’s not something that’s done routinely, or consistently enough.

Big Ray

January 7th, 2010
11:00 pm

From the last blog ….

Y’all leave JeJe alone. Haven’t y’all had times when you were hypersensitive, hypocritical, didn’t want to talk normally with anybody without turning everything into an argument or insult, and took everything way too serious? Of course you have. Like, back when you were in junior high…..

:)

Big Ray

January 7th, 2010
11:01 pm

Doc ,

Yep. You hear the same sounds in the distance I did. I hear a Clyde coming….

richbrave

January 7th, 2010
11:03 pm

doc

January 7th, 2010
9:11 pm
whatever happened to gentlemanly discourse here?

Ah yes, reminds me of the time me and H.B. tied one on at 1:30 a.m. BTW where’s my fav ANDO anyway? Decided to devote exclusive time to that new and growing family? Couldn’t blame him if he did.

doc

January 7th, 2010
11:19 pm

i really like boston’s ball movement and player movement. have you watched rondo and allen work to get open around screens to get to a spot or the times they move the ball quickly several times to get the open shot while wearing down the defense. man they really work to get their offense going. though they have an extra special motor down low in garnett, their center isnt the second coming of bill russell or the chief for that matter on defense. he is a pretty ordinary center but a hard worker. they also get optimal substitutions from their coach who has coached up a second rounder in big baby, shels now and a late first rounder drafted, about the same number as teague, named rondo. he was a very raw player when he came out and very shaky in his second year as he grew up right before our eyes, literally, during the playoffs, when he won his first ring.

Big Ray

January 7th, 2010
11:31 pm

doc

January 7th, 2010
11:37 pm

did someone forget to tell alabama to come out for the second half? wow.

doc

January 7th, 2010
11:43 pm

great clip ray, shame folks cant be more appreciative of our guy who works so hard night after night.

Melvin

January 7th, 2010
11:46 pm

Clyde may be a little too neverous to blog at this time…..

Astro Joe

January 7th, 2010
11:49 pm

All-Star voting results were updated this evening.

http://www.nba.com/2010/news/01/07/allstar.release/index.html?ls=iref:nbahpt2

If you are one of the thousands of fans who voted for TMac or AI, please raise your hand.

Now take that same hand and turn off your PC and don’t ever return to this blog again.

Thank you and good night.

Astro Joe

January 7th, 2010
11:55 pm

Ray, in the NBA video that you linked above, they went straight from Kareem to Shaq. No mention of two of my all-time favorites, Moses and Olajuwon. WTF were they thinking? Good to see Horford get some love. But how did they leave off Moses or Hakeem in the lineage of legendary centers?

Melvin

January 7th, 2010
11:59 pm

Big Ray,

Just remember you was saved by 2 inches. 2 more inches (or 1-1/2 inch) and Horford would not have been a Hawk. Yep, you would have had a real 7ft center in Greg Oden or at least a dynamic SF Kevin Durant…

Melvin

January 8th, 2010
12:01 am

Doc,

I will see you tomorrow night. Thats if you can comeout and play in the snow…

doc

January 8th, 2010
12:01 am

ill be looking for you melvin. ill be there bro.

Clyde

January 8th, 2010
12:13 am

ANOTHER BAMA CHAMPIONSHIP. WHEN WILL THE HAWKS WIN ONE?

ROLL TIDE!!!!!!!!

Brad

January 8th, 2010
12:20 am

Man, Ken, you’re killing it! Great job

doc

January 8th, 2010
12:29 am

clyde what is better a national championship or a trip to rio?

Clyde

January 8th, 2010
1:21 am

doc

January 8th, 2010
1:25 am

you passed clyde on the trick question.

O'Brien

January 8th, 2010
7:53 am

I remember how horrible Rondo’s jump shots were when he first came into the league. And although he’s still not very consistent with his offense, he does so many other things well. However, playing for bad Celtics teams, and with a coach like Rivers, Rondo was able to learn on the job, and he is now one of the best PG’s in the East.

If Rondo played for Woody (especially early on), he would get a lot of bench time, because he is unable to hit the consistent jumper. And jump shots are all Woody knows.

AJ,

Besides his long arms, another big issue with Rasheed is that he will pull Josh away from the basket. So our centers will have to work very hard tonight to get those rebounds.

I hope Josh does not get caught up playing Rasheed/trying to be Rasheed. Wallace will whine to the refs, and he will shoot jumpers, which are the 2 things we DONT want Josh to do. Josh also needs to be careful not to pick up cheap fouls. And Joe Smith should get some valuable PT tonight.

kwooden1

January 8th, 2010
8:14 am

Congratulations Clyde!

nunna yo bizznezz

January 8th, 2010
8:33 am

rondo would not be in the NBA if he were to have come here..chris paul would be on the bench or with another team..derron williams would be on his way out if he was not already out of here..

has anyone even gave the thought that,maybe,billy knight new something by not drafting a PG when he was GM here??

maybe he knew that PG’s come here to die(not literally) if they played under woody..

juat a thought..

Daniel

January 8th, 2010
8:52 am

Ray- That 11:00pm post is hilarious

vava74

January 8th, 2010
9:04 am

Clyde,

Congrats for your beloved Tide’s championship.

You annoy the hell out of me with your insightful and invaluable contributions to the blog (”roll tide” and “fire woody”), however, when compliment is due, it is due. :-)

Astro Joe

January 8th, 2010
9:13 am

If Rondo had arrived when wqe were losing 50+ games (like he did for Boston) he would have played… just like Josh, Chill, Marvin and Salim. Go back and check the stats, Salim played a consistenrt 20 minutes during his rookie year. Most coaches play the best players on the team…. it’s up to the players to improve their place on the depth chart.

vava74

January 8th, 2010
9:15 am

Astro,

The NBA is all about “selling soap” or “canned soup”, independently of its intrinsic quality: the most important factor is “brand recognition”.

Mikan, Wilt, Russel and Kareem are brand names which have a widespread acceptance as “the 5 nba legends which you need to invoke when talking about mythical Centers in the history of the game”

Shaq is still present and a still a marquee soap brand although is game is reduced to almost nothing (like Collins proved).

Also, did you notice that in one of the moves shown in the clip he commits a charging foul and gets away with it? I think that put in perspective at least 25% of Shaq’s greatness.

On the contrary, Mo and Hakeem are trapped in a limbo which is “a not so distant past, not worth of mythical status”.

Mo also suffers from the fact that although effective, was very poorly wrapped brand of soap (he hardly spoke, was not a popular dude, etc…)

And were you the one which detected Duncan’s absence from one recent list of present or recent past greatest players??

When, Duncan is – although fading slowly – one of the best soaps in the NBA history, however, his “wrapping” was never very attractive…

vava74

January 8th, 2010
9:17 am

there is a series of typos but I think the message is there

doc

January 8th, 2010
9:19 am

vava, just meet clyde in rio and both your impression and fun titer might go up. i think tiger would have done better if he had followed clyde’s rule, love em there and leave em there.

Daniel

January 8th, 2010
9:20 am

vava- Hakeem and Duncan’s star will rise with the passing of time. Also, David Robinson has become a forgotten man. (What a great player and person)

doc

January 8th, 2010
9:44 am

vava i didnt think i would ever see the type of overlooks that shaq got on his way to the basket until the coming of lebron. he does it much worse in that he has a full head of seam and essentially lowers his shoulder to get through sometimes. he is champagne now in branding, not soup.

vava74

January 8th, 2010
10:18 am

doc,

thank you for the suggestion, however, with regard to women, I am stocked (a soulmate and a tiny offshoot).

also, although I love Rio, I’m not into that type of tourism :-) so when I go there I “concentrate” on other types of available “distractions”!!

jean

January 8th, 2010
10:27 am

teague jump shot is terrible when he is on the court team can double of of him……and he is out of control half the time only time he shows something is in garabge time

vava74

January 8th, 2010
10:41 am

Teague needs to play more, although we may need him to keep playing reduced minutes in most games.

His jump shot issues are linked to lack of confidence more than anything else and confidence is only gained with more burn in meaningful minutes.

GeeMack

January 8th, 2010
10:41 am

Hawks fans

If all of the top teams are healthy come playoff time, can the Hawks win it all this year?

My gut tells me we could get to the eastern conference finals with the right seeding. I still this we are 1 player away from a championship.

Fundamentals

January 8th, 2010
10:42 am

The clips on NBA centers were decent, but I can’t see missing out on footage on Robinson, Duncan, Olajuwan, Mourning, Motumbo, etc. At least a mention or clip would’ve made me feel a little better.

[...] 01-07-2010 Celtics Locker     Rajon Rondo keeps improving for the Boston Celtics AJC     Counting down to the Celtics Hawks shed no tears for Garnett’s absence Slam Online     What to Do With Arenas and [...]

rms

January 8th, 2010
10:53 am

Hawks gonna lose cause they are ESPN tonite. They tend to lay eggs when on the national spotlight. However in defense of the hometeam they seem to always get up for the Celtics though. If they lose one would have to wonder if some tweaking to the roster needs to be made to get pas just making the playoffs to going deep in the playoffs and possibly contending.

Samuel

January 8th, 2010
10:53 am

Congrats Clyde

Roll Tide
Roll SEC

I really hate that KG won’t be playing tonight. It won’t give us a true indication of the team we will be playing in the playoffs. We need to get this win.

I agree that Teague should have gotten minutes in a couple of games during our losing streak but how can a guy who has shot the ball 110 times and made 39 scream for more time. Obviously, he’s missing like that in practice.

Big Ray

January 8th, 2010
11:18 am

Clyde ,

Congrats on the ‘Bama win. The Hawks will have a shot at winning a championship as soon as they start playing college ball. I vote for bringing Mario West back and making him the free safety and halfback at the same time.

Astro Joe ,

I agree. You know how the NBA does stuff, though. All jacked up….

jhan

January 8th, 2010
11:22 am

Congrats Clyde – great win by the Tide!

Looking forward to a good game tonight. Go Hawks!

Big Ray

January 8th, 2010
11:34 am

Samuel ,

I agree that shooting 35% isn’t something that screams “play me more.” However, if that’s the indicator of whether a guy should be playing more or not, then a lot of first year point guards should have stayed glued firmly to the bench like Teague, who is getting a whopping 10 minutes per game.

Some point guards who couldn’t shoot worth a hoot their first year (shooting in the 30 percentil), but still managed more than 10 minutes per game:

Mo Williams, Jason Kidd, Raymond Felton, Kirk Hinrich, Chauncey Billups….

To me, there is another statistic that stands out more about Teague: 2.1 assists per game, versus 0.7 turnovers per game. The kid may not be a shooting machine, but he is taking care of the ball.

O’brien ,

If Rajon Rondo had come here, he would have been the second coming of Royal Ivey. In other words, good enough to get 10+ minutes per game to play defense and pass the ball to somebody else the very minute he receives it, but not allowed to do much else.

JeJe

January 8th, 2010
11:48 am

KG being out tonight won’t be much of a factor for Boston. We don’t beat teams with injured players down. We lost to MIAMI WITHOUT Jermaine O’Neal

and Big Ray, your lameass sarcasm gets old. But if that’s what gets you off, so bet it

JeJe

January 8th, 2010
11:50 am

Horford says Boston has been consistent all year. LOL, they lost to 2 awful teams in a row.