Here’s the Celtics Four-Point Play to appear every Wednesday on Sports of Boston. This is where I will compile four (4) small and related Celtics facts and offer my own spin on a variety of Celtics news stories. The general format will be a short blurb about the story first, then my reaction tabbed underneath it.
1. The NBA Trade Deadline is fast approaching (Thursday, 3 p.m. EST) and all the NBA talk is surrounding the New Jersey Nets and Vince Carter. The Celtics should be quiet as the deadline comes and goes.
- I touched on this in a previous article, but I will add more here. The proposed deal that has life is a 3-way deal: Vince Carter to the Knicks, Eddy Curry to the Heat, Jason Williams and Ricky Davis (both expiring contracts) to the Nets. The deal would be great for the Nets. It seemed they were stuck without cap flexibility, then all of a sudden cut ties with Jason Kidd (finally) and Vince Carter. That would be quite an accomplishment.
- The Celtics should be quiet. Danny Ainge said: “I like our team. We’re all set. Nothing is happening for us.” While true, he really can’t do trades because he has zero tradeable assets. This team was built from the get-go for great things in the next few years. Other than adding a veteran from the waiver wire, the Celtics’ hot stove should be ice cold.
2. This one isn’t really Celtics-related, but a big deal because tonight, Shaquille O’Neal will look to prove me right in his first game with the Phoenix Suns. Better yet, it’s against old friend Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers.
- Very, very interesting. You all know how I feel about the Shaq trade, that it could be a positive move for the Suns (and it better be). The Suns will still have their hands full against all of the West powers including Dallas, San Antonio, New Orleans, and the Lakers.
- Shaq vs. Kobe adds a dynamic we have never seen before. They’ve never been in the same conference on opposing teams, so their battle down the stretch to the playoffs will be fun to watch. It all starts in tonight’s game.
3. Kevin Garnett returned Tuesday night against the Denver Nuggets and posted modest totals of 4 points and 8 rebounds.
- KG played a good amount in crunch time toward the end, including a thunderous dunk from a Paul Pierce miss, but it was not enough as the Nuggets, especially Alen Iverson, were too good at shooting. Even Marcus Camby (yes the defensive stud) hit an open three. His shot had dagger written all over it.
- As for Garnett, I’d rather him continue to slowly come back from his injury rather than play like his normal self and reinjure it. Yes, even if that means the Celtics go 2-3 on this West coast trip. A healthy KG will beat the West when it matters most: the NBA Finals.
4. In Wednesday night’s matchup, the Celtics will face the Golden State Warriors on the second night of a back-to-back. That could lead to less time for Garnett while he nurses his injury and more strain on Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo.
- The Celtics will need all the speed they can get. This team likes to run, and run a lot. They run even more than the Phoenix Suns led by the dynamic Baron Davis. Davis, Stephen Jackson, Al Harrington, and co. are built to run. Chris Webber is slow but he’s an amazing passer so he’s partly fit for this offense too.
- The Warriors are a much different team than when the Celtics first faced them at the beginning of the season (a 105-82 win on Nov. 21). I remarked then how the Warriors were reeling at 3-6. Well now they are 32-21, and are fighting for their playoff lives. The Western Conference remarkably has 9 teams with 30 or more wins already. That’s just amazing. The Warriors will have to run their way to the playoffs where they’ll probably just tire out (though last year’s Warriors-Mavs series was amazing).
- I’m not that confident about the Celtics’ chances tonight, but it should be a hard-fought game. If I was betting on the game without looking at the spread, I’d take the Warriors and their home-court advantage by a couple points. Remember though, the Celtics usually play very angry after a loss, so we will see.
Tags: Celtics, Four-Point Play, Golden State Warriors, Kevin Garnett, NBA Trade Deadline, Shaquille O'Neal, Vince Carter