By Paul M. Banks
In Bill Simmons’ 700 word epic “the book of basketball,” he ranks three current Boston Celtics amongst the top 75 individual players of all-time: #63 Ray Allen, #54 Paul pierce and #22 Kevin Garnett. These three future hall of famers have 28 combined All-Star appearances in their NBA careers.
I was quite impressed that the ESPN Sports Guy was able to keep his Boston homering to a minimum in his very entertaining, informative and even-handed descriptions of Boston’s big three. I half-expected him to rank all of three in the top 50.
Wherever their place in the long term basketball pantheon may be, this star-studded trio, the “Boston Three Party,” will determine if the #4 seeded Celtics can get past #5 seeded Miami. For KG’s comments on the playoff go here.
What makes the NBA playoffs a hundred times more interesting than the regular season is that players actually care about playing defense during the postseason. Sometimes. Are the Celtics where they need to be at that end of the floor?
“The sense of urgency has to be there. Hopefully we learned from this (a double digit loss at Chicago, their ’09 first round playoff opponent) and we’re going to come across some elite scorers in these playoffs. We have to learn from these types of games that when a guy gets going, we have to get the ball at the end,” Pierce said.
So will people sleep on Boston because they’re “just” a #4 seed? They did beat Miami in all three of their regular season meetings.
“We’re definitely a team that’s been battle tested. A lot of experience out there, and we know how to win once the playoffs start,” Pierce stated.
Down the stretch, a lot of teams rest their starters and main contributors in order to keep them fresh for the playoffs. However, Boston coach Doc Rivers knows not to rest Ray Allen, the man who truly should have been ’08 Finals MVP.
“He’s a creature of habit, taking away minutes actually hurts him,” Rivers said of Ray.
So what about the trend that’s been KILLING the Celtics lately; by that I mean the best player on the opposing team hurting them? The Heat’s Dwanye Wade is certainly as dangerous as anyone in the league.
“He’s capable of putting up big numbers, and he’s going to have that capability because he’s going to have the ball in his hands a lot of times, so we got to make him work when he’s on defense,” Allen said.