Every once in a while, I link to a few articles from other writers around the internet. You know, I throw some dimes.
A fantastic write-up from Denver Stiffs about the similarities between the career trajectory of Paul Pierce and that of Carmelo Anthony. The list is actually pretty stunning. Both grew up in the public eye, had early offensive explosions, possess games that mature while their personalities have, never got past the conference finals (before Pierce became the Big Three), asked for a trade (or thought about leaving, like Melo), yada yada yada.
The piece ends with a line that I thought was great: “Memo to Melo: LeBron James doesn’t know the first thing about winning. Paul Pierce does, and that’s who you should be comparing yourself to.”
Melo says he’s all about winning, and nothing else. But at some point loyalty has to mean something, right? As Pierce can attest to, there’s nothing like winning a championship in the same city where you’ve failed many times.
Celtics Hub points out that Boston’s defense is now in sixth place in regards to defensive efficiency. They are also in 15th place (weak sauce) in opponent’s field goal percentage, and have declined in opponent’s field goal percentage every season since the Big Three was formed. Last season, the C’s gave up 45.1% shooting, a number that was inflated largely because the Celtics clearly didn’t give a damn during the final two-thirds of the season. This year, they are giving up 45.6% shooting, even worse.
So what gives? As well as the Celtics played offensively on the road trip, three of their four opponents on the trip shot at least 50%. Don’t expect that trend to continue. Doc Rivers admitted defensive slippage, saying that limited practice time during the road trip contributed to the poor defense. They’ve had some time to practice since the last game. Expect a better defensive effort tonight.
That doesn’t mean the C’s defense will ever be back to 2008 form. That might have been the best defense in NBA history. No exaggeration.
Jay from Red’s Army takes a look at a particular set the Celtics have utilized quite a few times this season. Rondo handles the ball on one side, and the other four players run to the other side of the court and stack. Usually, Kevin Garnett sets a ball screen for Rondo, then the other players in the stack break in different directions. Great analysis by Jay.
Miller appreciates the hard work it has taken for Ray to continue putting in work as a 35-year old.
“”I can speak for myself and a little bit for Ray, because he kind of follows the same pattern as I did, which I sort of emulated from Larry Bird,” Miller told CSNNE. “And that’s showing up three, three-and-a-half hours early for a game; putting the time and work in to become a great player. At the end of the day, people respect that. They see the fruits of our labor; guys that are knocking down tough shots or big shots, under pressure or duress.”
Some NBA stars told Miller that he had to develop other parts of his game, besides shooting.
“Getting tutored by the Lakers and Magic Johnson and Byron Scott and Michael Cooper,” Miller said, “they understood that I was a great shooter, but they kept telling me, ‘you’re going to have to work on other aspects of your game, especially when you go to the next level.’”
“They told me come playoff time, your favorite three moves are probably going to be taken away from you,” Miller continued. “You have to have counters, and I learned that at a very early age. And Ray is the same way. You can play him to come off screens and have two guys jump out, but he’s excellent in handling the ball in pick-and-roll situations. He can kill you if you go under [picks], or don’t show enough. He can knock down threes. It’s a lost art with a lot of things he does, because he’s so multi-dimensional.”
Got a tip? An article you think should be included? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on Twitter @CelticsTown.