It’s a bullet point type of night, for which I profusely apologize.
- Two games against Dallas. Two times the Mavericks have out-executed Boston down the stretch. Even though that late-game alley oop from Rondo to Garnett would have been oh so purdy.
- Perk’s playing great. There’s no way in hell I thought he’d be this healthy, this fast. It’s before the All-Star break, and he’s already distanced himself (in my eyes, at least) as the clear-cut starter. I thought his injury would leave him slow and winded for a long time. Hell, I thought we might not see the real Perk at all this whole season. But he’s back and looks like the same old dude, except he can’t really jump like he used to. Then again, even Perk’s diminished vertical leap doesn’t really matter much — it’s not like Perk ever excelled because of his rise. If you can call it rise.
- Marquis Daniels yet again proved the “Marquis Daniels loves mismatches” theorem. I swear, if Jason Terry defended Daniels every night, Daniels would be an MVP candidate. Okay, that’s hyperbole. But still. When Daniels has an advantageous matchup (read: Kyle Korver or anyone at least two inches smaller than Daniels), he looks like a ten-time All-Star. And when he doesn’t, well, it’s often tough to determine whether he’s even on the court.
- Kevin Garnett is getting to the point where I’m not surprised by any on-court antics he partakes in. Hit an opposing player in the nuts? Smack an official’s hand off his arm, repeatedly? Eat a child in the first row? I’m honestly not surprised by anything he does. I was talking about this at dinner tonight: KG’s even more off the wall than ever. He should probably get suspended by the league for smacking a ref’s arm tonight. Not that KG’s smacks were at all vicious. But he was hitting a ref. A ref!
- I keep thinking back to Ray Allen’s three-pointer. The Celtics were ahead 97-96, with 51 seconds left in the game and 20 seconds left on the shot clock. Ray caught the ball on the wing, and instantly fired. Normally, I love that shot. He’s wide open, in rhythm, and, well, he’s Ray Allen. If that shot went in, it’s just another notch on Allen’s big-shot belt and the game would have been almost over. But with less than a minute remaining, don’t you try to take some time and get a better look? On the other hand, he’s Ray Allen open for three. Are there really better looks than that? As you can tell, I’m still confused about my thoughts on that play. All I know is it missed, and I think back to that shot as the one that I want back.
- The Dallas Mavericks are good. Damn good. Dirk Nowitzki’s just about the toughest player to guard in the entire NBA. Terry makes shots from anywhere. Jason Kidd, for whatever reason, still does his thing. Tyson Chandler’s been a monster. And they defend like hell. Few people talk about the Mavericks as a legitimate contender, partly because history tells us not to and partly because they start DeShawn Stevenson or Brian Cardinal at small forward. But it’s time. Dallas Mavericks, you’re contenders. It’s official, because I said so.
- Still, the Celtics let one get away tonight. They forgot their defensive structure and allowed a lot of easy looks. They stopped executing down the stretch and paid for it.
- And, oh yeah, Jermaine O’Neal underwent surgery on the left knee he wasn’t going to have surgery on. O’Neal’s knee, according to Danny Ainge, “didn’t respond like we had hoped.” Which is almost funny, because that means the Celtics actually thought O’Neal’s body would respond the right way. “This surgery was not something to fix him long-term,” said Ainge. Ahh. Terrific. In other news, the Celtics signed O’Neal to a two-year, $12 million contract this past summer.