Friday, January 28, 2011

Girls talk sports: looking ahead to Celtics-Suns.

Here's the deal: The Suns are a totally beatable team. Duh... Because the Celtics can beat anyone, right? But on the back end of 2 games in 2 nights, a match up with the run and gun, high-scoring Suns could potentially be problematic. In order to win this game the Celtics must:

Control the pace: After last nights battle with Portland, and then having to get on a plane to go play in Phoenix the next night... The Celtics will not fare well if they play at the Suns' preferred pace. Instead, the Celtics need to establish the tempo, and stick to their guns all night.
REBOUND THE BALL: The Celtics were lucky to beat the Blazers, the way they were out-hustled and abused on the offensive glass. Phoenix is struggling right now, but they still have weapons a-plenty. They will capitalize where Portland did not, and that won't do. By the way, the Celtics rank dead last in the league in rebounds per game. Who's second to last? Phoenix.  
Attack Nash defensively: Poor Steve.... More on him later*. Anyways, Mr. Nash has never been known for his defense.  As he gets older, this becomes more and more true. I don't know how much gas Rondo has left in the paint for tonight, but whatever he's got, he needs to take it and bring it right at Nash.
Play defense: Isn't this bullet a shining example of my grasp on the game? I'm so good at doing analysis. But yes. The Celtics need to play defense. The Suns can put up a heap of points in a hurry, and they can do it from all over the floor. Lucky for the Celtics, when they pay attention, they're better equipped than any other team in the NBA to defend against all kinds of offense- particularly in the interior and beyond the arc, where the Suns like to cash in. For the Celtics, it just depends on how much gas is left in the tank. There are lots of people on Phoenix who could light up the scoreboard, but in singling out one person the Celtics should really seek to contain, I'm going to say Channing Frye. It's going to be a long night if he gets it going, especially from downtown... So the Celtics need to stay home on him. Also, Jared Dudley, because I gotta give it up for BC alum AND because he's often overlooked when people talk about this Phoenix team.

*A note on Steve Nash: he is undoubtedly one of the best point guards of my time, but the situation in Phoenix is quite simply no longer optimal for him... Or them. Phoenix was battling LA for the top spot in the Western Conference last year- this year? If the playoffs started today, they wouldn't make the cut. Amare Stoudemire jumped ship for the Knicks this summer, and more recently, the Suns shipped Turkoglu back to Orlando, giving them some more wiggle room. Many speculate that Nash will be the next piece to go, but Suns personnel insist that this is not true. The Suns need to rebuild- they can't honestly think that Josh Childress and Hakim Warrick (and I do love my Syracuse alum) combine to make an adequate replacement for Stoudemire.

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