Friday, January 14, 2011

Girls talk sports: Looking forward to Celtics-Bobcats

The Bobcats come in to the Garden riding a 4 game win streak, their longest of the season. Michael Jordan fired Larry Brown in December,  and the Bobcats have shown some improvement since. They started the season 19-9, but have compiled a 6-2 record since Jordan inserted Paul Silas in the slot as interim head coach. In 2008, Larry Brown insisted that MJ draft D.J. Augustin over Brook Lopez, a questionable move at best. MJ may have done away with Larry Brown, but the Bobcats have made due with the pieces that they currently have, and D.J. Augustin has remained as the point guard of the team. Since Paul Silas took over at the reigns, Augustin has excelled. He is averaging nearly 20 points a game while shooting 50 percent from the field. When Augustin scores at least 15 points, the Bobcats have an 11-6 record. Augustin has also taken better care of the ball since Brown left, as he has significantly cut down the rate at which he turns the ball over. The Bobcats roster also boasts two of my favorite non-Celtic offensive players, in Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson. These two can get it going from all over the floor, and they can pile the points on in a hurry.

How do the Celtics beat the Bobcats? As always, controlling the pace is important. The Celtics never want to get in to a game where they're running up and down the court, playing at the other teams pace. It's important for the Celtics to get settled in offensively, make the extra pass, and get all of their pieces involved. Defensively, they want to be able to get settled in to their sets, so that they don't get caught in transition. The Bobcats have several serviceable rebounders in Tyrus Thomas, Gerald Wallace and Boris Diaw. Together, that front line has come together to allow the fewest amount of defensive rebounds in the NBA. That being said, it's very important for the Celtics to clamp down on the rebounding, because it's been one of their glaring weak points this season.

In other news, Jermaine O'Neal might need surgery, and KG is a no-go for tonight, although his return is near. Also, Avery Bradley is on his way to the D-League. Are the Celtics preparing to make a move? With the possibility of in-season surgery looking more and more like it will become an inevitability for JO, and the move of Bradley to the D-League, freeing up a spot on the roster, it's a possibility... But who ever knows with this team? They play their cards very close to their chest, so we can never really know.

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