True Hoops

True Hoops

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

You Have to Have Faith

The "Truth" will set you free.
Well here it is: Paul Pierce is no Tim Tebow. 
He's been doing this for years.

Question: After losing game 1 of their first round series against Atlanta and coming into game 2 without Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo, how any of us thought the Celtics were sure to fall into a 0-2 hole and finally fall into playoff oblivion shortly after? 

Another question: Now with home court against the Hawks and Derrick Rose out of the playoffs due to injury, how many of us think the Celtics can make a run to the conference Finals???

Talk about resurrection.
Is it me or has Boston done this sort of thing once or twice before?

More on pierce.
After being held to 12 points on 5-19 shooting (2-3 from the line) and 4 rebounds in a game 1 loss, Pierce came back with 36 points on 12-26 shooting (11-13 from the line) and 14 rebounds in game 2. And with Boston trailing heading into the 4th quarter last night, Pierce came through and dropped 13 points in the final period. 

Beyond Pierce.
Something has to be said about how this team just gets things done regardless of the circumstance. We all keep trying to write them off, saying they're "too old," "too injured," or "don't have enough depth." But no matter who is or isn't in the lineup, how old or novice their personnel on the floor is, collectively they find a way to win.

How much of this has to do with swag?  Look and that Tebow pose - on the opposing team's floor! It's in some way reminiscent of "the wink" Paul Pierce gave to a national audience after going up 2-0 on Orlando in the Eastern conference Finals a couple of years ago and saying they were going to sweep the Magic (they didn't, but they still made it to the Finals). What breeds such confidence? More importantly, does it enable them not to panic and simple turn on a switch to perform when needed?

Surely they have a core group that enables them to withstand fluctuations on the periphery. And this group has been together long enough to the point where they can substitute various parts into their system and still operate smoothly. 

How much of it has to do with the coaching? I would say a lot.

How about after losing Shaq and Jermaine O'Neal this year, Doc Rivers moved Garnett to the 5? Why not? The league is playing smaller and faster now anyway right?

Or how about, with Ray Allen down towards the end of the regular season, he starts Avery Bradley (listed at 6'2", 180 ibs) at the 2? Why not? You still surround him with Rondo at the 1 and Pierce at the 3.

Or how about with Rondo (league leader in assists) out last night, he starts Bradley at the 1? Why not? How does he respond? 14 points. 

Why not.

It seems you can do just about anything to this group and they'll still find a way to remain relevant. It certainly will be interesting to see how the rest of this series goes for Boston. 
And then the next one. 
And then the next one after that.

Any chance some of this can rub off on Melo and the Knicks?


Speaking of Avery Bradley. You may remember this play from a month ago:

It was enough to get him a couple of votes for defensive player of the year.
No seriously, see for yourself here.

Many of you may wonder where this guy came from.
He is a 22 year old second year player out of Texas. Although he was selected 19th in the draft, he only played in 31 regular season games last year, averaging 5 minutes per game. He didn't play at all in last year's playoffs.

This year, Avery played in 64/66 of Boston's regular season games and has been starting over the last month or so - mostly at the 2 position, but last night at the 1.

What changed in a year? 

I actually had a chance to talk with Avery after their win against the Heat last week. Did you know that during the Lockout, Avery was playing in Israel? Considering that is where I worked out for several professional teams, I jumped at the chance to ask him about his experiences playing there, the differences in style of play, and more importantly how playing there helped him prepare for this season.

Take a listen:

You got to love this kid's enthusiasm, willingness to learn, and appreciation for his experiences in other cultures. Certainly these are very important attributes to have for personal development, both on and off the court. And they certainly are paying dividends for both himself and the Celtics this year.

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