Friday, November 26, 2004
No "I" in Team 
Doc was heard screaming at his players in the locker room that this is a team sport.

That just about wraps it up doesn't it? This is a talented group of players, perhaps the most talented we've had in a decade. We've got a hall of fame point guard, an all star borderline superstar, the most coveted free agent center from this off season, a great scorer off the bench, and a deep bench of players that all bring something to the table. But they have yet to gel as a team. Part of that has to fall to the coach.

We had so much time off in November. Couldn't they have bonded then? Shouldn't they have gone off on a cum-by-ya log cabin in the woods retreat for some team bonding exercises? Maybe they all could have gone to LA with Gary, let him take care of his wife, and let him show them around Hollywood (Al Jefferson would even be the designated driver, just to be safe). They were going stir crazy and came into the Wizards game flat. Now its going to be one game after another in December, and if things continue to head south, the downward spiral could rage out of control. Please don't start talking to me about the value of lottery picks. We have enough college and prep players. We need those players to mature and this team to gel.

As fans, we love ripping a scape goat. I've heard you all talk (with good reason), about Paul Pierce being selfish (right honey?), Blount being lazy (I doubt that - I think he's just limited in talent), and Doc using poor rotations (clearly he hasn't found a winning formula yet). However, it still seems to come down to team play.

The offensive system Doc is trying to implement is based on passing, moving without the ball, and using the high post as a way to attack the seems of the defense. It doesn't work when a player (ahem, Paul) waves off the screen, spins into traffic, and fades away a step inside the 3 point line. It doesn't work when the high post player settles for a jumper when an extra pass would provide a layup. It doesn't work when players don't move without the ball - and when they do, they don't get rewarded with a pass.

And what happened to the fast breaks? Please tell me this won't be the 5th consecutive season we have pledged to emphasize an up-tempo game, only to abandon it well before the 20 game mark. There's no excuse for that this year. We have the horses to keep running. We have the young legs to push the ball and finish on the break. We need some more rebounds and outlet passes, but still. It almost might be worth it to put Al Jefferson and Kendrick Perkins in at the same time just to grab boards and start the break.

What about team defense? Josh Davis? James Jones? Kyle Korver? The Cavs are in town tonight. Sounds like Ira Newble is poised to have a career game! How is the 3 point shot so wide open for every team? Has Paul decided to pull a McGrady and save his energy for scoring? We know that Gary is no longer the Glove, last year we were calling him "Mittens." Marcus can play D (when the refs aren't protecting AI like the boy in the bubble), but he doesn't really stay in the game that long. Tony Allen can D, but plays even less (which might change soon). But here again, it's not about the individuals, its about team play. Its also not about skill. Its about heart. Bottom line, if we don't have players that want to commit to defense, then they should not be Celtics for long. Same basic idea for rebounding as well. Our big men have to want the ball and go get it. Easy to say, hard to do, but that's what they are paid to do. Go do it or go home.

That's all I've got today. We'll see what happens with the Cavs tonight. I hope that "the spitting incident" doesn't spark a brawl, but given last week's events, I highly doubt it. On the other hand, James might take the extra motivation and turn it into a 50 point night. That is if Ira doesn't get us first.

# posted by Jeff @ 11/26/2004 09:23:00 AM - Message Board

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