Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Girls talk sports: looking ahead to tonight's Celtics-Spurs battle.

The Spurs come in to the Garden tonight with a 29-5 record, good for the best record in the NBA. The Spurs have been good every season going back.... a long while- but what put them at the top this year? For starters, they're coached by an OG, and this is absolutely invaluable. I love teams with institutions for coaches- Boeheim at Syracuse, Sloan in Utah, etc- and Gregg Popovich is another shining example. His knowledge of every nook and cranny of the game is bananas and his X and O game is something serious. So, besides the fact that they're coached to a T, they're playing with a healthy roster for the first time in a while. Their core of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, have all been hampered by injuries in the past, and as all Celtics fans know, it's very important to keep your core healthy. The Spurs also boast a roster with great depth: DeJuan Blair was a favorite of mine during his years at Pitt. He's chubby and all, but don't let that fool you. That man is not only tough and determined, but he wreaks havoc on the boards. Also helping the Spurs along is Richard Jefferson, who appears to have at least halfway risen from the dead and is looking a little bit more like the player the Spurs hoped he would be when they dealt for him last season. Their bench is lead by a strong veteran in Antonio McDyess and features a strong rotation of Matt Bonner (red head alert), George Hill (hahahaha he was naked on the internet last year. Sorry- but if you're dumb enough to get caught up in that, I won't let you live it down. I just can't ), and first year NBA player Gary Neal (who's not shy about shooting). 

-So how do the Celtics win this game? I have a couple of ideas, and these are in no particular order- because it will take a complete game to beat the Spurs:

1) Limit the effectiveness of Richard Jefferson. Please, don't let this man start thinking he's Reggie Miller, shooting the lights out. He doesn't like to play physical, so Paul Pierce should have the upper hand in that arena.

2) Keep Duncan/Blair off the boards. Second hand points, when they're scored against you, suck! (Duh) The Spurs pulled down 37 team rebounds last night in a crappy loss to the Knicks. To put it in a little bit of perspective: The Spurs rank 8th in the league in rebounds per game, at 42.9. The Celtics rank 28th, at 39. So on a bad night, like the Spurs had last night, they still almost pulled down the Celtics average. Boo!

3) Run!!! And move the ball. The Celtics have to make the Spurs work on both ends of the floor. Popovich has deviated a little bit in his master working, and has put more of an emphasis on the offensive end this year, sometimes at the expense of the defense. That being said, the Celtics can't let the Spurs take any breaks, on either end of the floor.

4) The Boston Bench Mobb must show up. The Spurs have a good bench, but so do we. There are match ups that the Celtics second unit can exploit. I like how Jermaine O'Neal matches up against McDyess/Bonner. Nate Robinson is faster than most people on this planet, and I already know Tony Parker wants nothing to do with chasing him around. And Marquis...(When he shows up to play) I love how Marquis matches up with most anybody. He appears to be slow and deliberate, but blink and he's past you, on the way to the basket. He's bigger than Hill, and could match up with Jefferson, or even Ginobili, if need be. 

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