Over the last couple weeks, the Celtics have become as accustomed to bad news as Ben Wallace is to bricking free throws. I would tell you the list of maladies that have overcome the C’s recently, but I’m sure you already know them.
Tonight, health will finally return to the Celtics… well, kind of.
If you want to look at it in a glass half empty type of way, it goes something like this: Three important Celtics are still injured or sick. Eddie House will still sit this game out, with flu-like symptoms and a fever to go along with it; his return could come as soon as Friday in Atlanta. Kevin Garnett will again take a seat, with a bruised thigh, or a hyperextended knee, or whatever the Celtics are calling it today; his return, which the Celtics keep moving back, remains as unknown as the whereabouts of the lost city of Atlantis. Marquis Daniels remains out after thumb surgery to repair torn ligaments; he will be re-evaluated by doctors on January 8.
If you’re a glass half full kind of guy, though, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo will be back in the starting lineup. Pierce returns from his sudden and confounding bout with an infection, Rondo from a strained hamstring that seemed to severely limit his movement during his last game, against Phoenix. Both claim to be feeling well, and both should lead the charge tonight against the Miami Heat.
It’s a good thing they’re back, too. With Dwyane Wade leading the charge, the Heat are capable of beating any team in the league, and should offer a lot more resistance — at least on the defensive end — than the Raptors did the other night. If the Celts are going to win this game, without Garnett and with a host of players presumably operating at less than 100%, they’ll have to put together another team-wide effort complete with solid execution.
We can only hope tonight marks the start of Boston’s return to health. Over the past few weeks, the Celtics have been adversely affected by infections, bruises, strains, torn ligaments, hamstrings, knees, toes, the flu, and — in Doc’s case for missing practice — “personal matters.”
Isn’t it time a little bit of luck swings Boston’s way?
Three things to look for during tonight’s game:
- Dwyane Wade – I don’t really need to explain this one, but I will anway. Wade is a beast. He’s a monster. He’s more or less unstoppable. He’s averaging 26.4 points, 6.2 assists and 5.0 rebounds, and it’s being considered a down year. Any time you can average that line, you’re awesome. When you can average that on a down year, you’re Dwyane Wade.
- How will Pierce and Rondo look? – Hopefully, well. Pierce said he still has some swelling, so I’m a little worried about that. Rondo should be okay; he looked decent — though clearly at least a little limited in his movement – against Phoenix, and has had a full week to recuperate from his injury.
- Is Joel Anthony really going to start for Miami? – If Jermaine O’Neal sits out tonight’s game (and it looks likely), Joel Anthony will probably make the start. And if he does, the Heat won’t be playing 4-on-5 when they have the ball… they’ll be playing more like 3-on-5; Anthony is so bad with the ball in his hands that he counts negatively.