Tag Archives: Doug Collins

Celtics Must Regain Toughness And Consistency

Courtney Lee’s aggressiveness has picked up on the offensive end over the past three games.

The Boston Celtics are nearly a quarter into their 2012-’13 regular season with a 10-8 record. Through seventeen games, the Celtics have battled inconsistency on both ends of the court.

This year the Celtics’ roster appeared to be deeper than in the past five years since they acquired Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to form the Big Three with Paul Pierce. With Allen leaving the Celtics for the Miami Heat in July, they replaced him with Jason Terry. Terry has performed fairly well other than allowing Milwaukee Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings to get by him for the go-ahead basket in the Celtics’ 91-88 loss to the Bucks on Saturday. Terry missed a couple of treys in the final minute.

The Celtics’ bench was supposed to be strong this year with players such as Jeff Green, Courtney Lee, Leandro Barbosa, and either Jared Sullinger or Brandon Bass. They lost Darko Milicic, who had an ailing mother overseas, for the season. Milicic was supposed to be an upgrade over Greg Stiemsma last year. Milicic’s height (7 feet) and interior defense were supposed to help the Celtics, but that never materialized. Instead, the Celtics have used undersized forwards such as Chris Wilcox and Sullinger in the frontcourt with rare cameos from Jason Collins.

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Ray Allen’s Effective Scoring is Helping Celtics’ Offense

Boston Celtics guard Ray Allen's outside shooting has allowed him to drive by defenders like Mike Miller of the Miami Heat.

Ray Allen looked old, hurt, and painful to watch throughout the series against the Philadelphia 76ers. Everybody, including the Boston Celtics coaches, did not know what they would get out of Allen coming into the series against the Miami Heat.

Allen has been battling bone spurs in his right ankle since March. He missed 15 of the last 19 games in the regular season and then he was unable to land on the court in the Celtics first two postseason contests against the Atlanta Hawks. Allen came back in Game 3 against the Hawks and he has played in the past 14 postseason games.

In the series against the Sixers, Allen was even being left open for shots beyond the arc. He shot 38% from the field and 27% on three-pointers. Allen has gone through shooting slumps before, but this was different because Allen is 37 years old and he is in the last year of his contract. He is fighting age, pain, and time.

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Celtics Need Improved Play From Bench

Celtics' reserve center Ryan Hollins fights for the ball against the Philadelphia 76ers' Lavoy Allen

The Boston Celtics are hobbling to Philadelphia after blowing an opportunity to take a commanding 2-0 series lead over the 76ers with their Game 2, 82-81 loss on Monday.

This has been a strange series where both squads feel they should be holding the edge despite the fact that the teams are even. The unusual statistic about the first two games is that Paul Pierce has made only five field goals on 20 shots combined in the initial contests. Sixers forward Andre Iguodala is keeping Pierce from controlling the pace of the action like Pierce did against the Atlanta Hawks in Games 2 and 4. While Iguodala is an above-average defender, Pierce’s knee continues to be a hindrance.

The Celtics can get by without Pierce putting the ball in the basket if the rest of the roster picks up his lack of scoring. This was not the case in Game 2 against the 76ers because the 76ers were trapping Kevin Garnett. Doug Collins and the 76ers coaching staff would rather leave Brandon Bass open to make Bass beat the 76ers. This strategy worked because he was forcing up shots. Bass actually took the most shots in Game 2 with 15 attempts. Even though he knocked down a couple of jumpers early, the ball clanged off the rim in the middle quarters. This helped make the Celtics a passive team on the offensive end in the second and third quarters when they scored one less point than in the opening 12 minutes.

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Celtics Should Have Their Hands Full With the 76ers

The Boston Celtics will need their lone healthy member of the Big Three, Kevin Garnett, against the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Boston Celtics will play another opponent with whom they share a rich history, the Philadelphia 76ers. This matchup goes back to the days of Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell in the 1960’s through the 1980s when Julius Erving and Larry Bird were the stars. The last time these two ancient rivals met in the postseason was 2002 when Allen Iverson was the star of the 76ers and the Celtics were in their first playoff appearance in seven years.

Both of these squads are defensive-minded led by head coaches who have been in the league for a long time. Doc Rivers and Doug Collins even took these jobs after stints as commentators for TNT.

The Celtics won Game 6 against the Atlanta Hawks by scoring just 83 points meanwhile the 76ers shot 40.7% in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the top-seeded Chicago Bulls.

These teams are built very differently. The Celtics are anchored by an aging core of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen while the 76ers are young and athletic just like the Hawks. These foes had different trajectories during the 2011-’12 season. The Sixers started 20-9 and were leading the Atlantic  Division for most of the season, but they struggled down the stretch. Meanwhile the Celtics limped to begin the year with a 15-17 record at the All-Star break, but they surged to a 24-10 finish and won the Atlantic Division.

The 76ers leading scorers are their point guards, Jrue Holliday and Lou Williams, who comes off the bench. Holliday averaged 18.2 points per game and he shot 41,9% from the field, including 40.9% from behind the three-point line against the Bulls. Williams, who shot poorly from the field, is a capable shooter despite what he showed against the Bulls. Andre Iguodala is one of the best defenders in the league from both an individual and team standpoint. The majority of Iguodala’s scoring comes in transition offf turnovers, but he has hurt the Celtics in the past late in games with his ability to knock down shots.

Even though the Sixers took two out of three games in the regular season, that will not matter what happens in these next couple of weeks. The Sixers crushed the Celtics 103-71 on March 7th and 99-86 on March 23rd. Meanwhile the Celtics annihilated this same team on Easter Sunday by 24 points. After that blowout, Collins warned everybody “not to blink on the Celtics.”

The Celtics must protect the ball against the 76ers. Rivers made a point in his postgame press conference on Thursday by saying, “We can’t turn the ball over.” The Sixers averaged 9.8 turnovers while forcing 14.3 in their first round series win over the Bulls. When the Sixers get out in transition, they are tough to defend because their guards are good at moving the ball and finishing at the basket. They are quick and they have length. The Celtics cannot afford to play like they did when Garnett was on the pine in the fourth quarter in Game 6 against the Hawks when the Celtics were coughing up the ball.

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