In this edition of the Four-Point Play, I will discuss what I think will happen in the next two games, Doc Rivers losing Coach of the Year, a certain user of this site (Shotgun), and I’ll answer a user question from the mailbag.
1. The Celtics and Hawks are tied at two games apiece. Game 5 is Wednesday in Boston and Game 6 is Friday in Atlanta.
- I truly think that the Celtics need to win Game 5 and 6 to win this series. If this goes to seven games, I don’t know if I have a lot of confidence in the Celtics moving forward. For now, the Hawks have the momentum and will attempt to steal one game in Boston.
- My prediction? Well I originally said I could see Celtics winning in 5. I still see the Celtics winning this series, and I think they’ll close it out in 6. They have way too much riding on this to just bow out in the first round to the No. 8 seed. These Celtics are no Dallas Mavericks…and Doc Rivers certainly isn’t Avery Johnson (recently fired).
2. Byron Scott was named NBA’s Coach of the Year for guiding the Charlotte Hornets to the second-best record in the West at 56-26. The team had a 17-game improvement from the year before.
- Here’s why Scott won: the drastic improvement in the tough Western Conference, the fact that he’s coaching in New Orleans after all the Hurricane Katrina problems, and that Doc Rivers received too much talent in the offseason, thus making Doc not deserving of the award.
- Here’s why Doc should’ve won: an unbelievable 42-game improvement from the year before, the NBA’s best record, the dominating defense. I don’t think Doc should be punished for having a revamped roster. You could say that NO had their roster revamped as Tyson Chandler, David West, Chris Paul, and especially Peja Stojakovic all returned from injuries last year to playing almost full seasons this year.
3. This is where I apologize. The other day, I called out “Shotgun” for his ridiculous argument on his blog that the Hawks would be the reason the Celtics would not win the title. I said his arguments were ludicrous…but it turns out they were partially right.
- So, Shotgun, I give you the utmost respect for basically calling Game 4. The Hawks won as you said they might, and you also said that the young Hawks would cause a fight with the Celtics involving Sam Cassell. Well, the fight actually happened between Zaza Pachulia and Kevin Garnett, but Sam Cassell was involved as well.
- You also said it would cause suspensions…but the NBA remembered what happened in last year’s absurd Suns-Spurs series. So, as a result, no suspensions or fines were laid out against Kendrick Perkins or Marvin Williams for stepping off the bench during the scuffle.
- Still, I owe credit where it’s due. There you go, Shotgun. I still think you’re Zaza Pachulia. That’s the only way you’d know.
4. One of our readers recently sent us a message regarding this Celtics-Hawks series and the coaching decisions made my Doc Rivers. Here’s what Ken had to say:
“As someone who watched every Celtics game this year, I am totally confused as to why Doc Rivers has completely changed the philosophy of the Celtics for the playoffs. In winning all those games, the Celts played attack basketball; now they’re walking the ball up the court against the Hawks. They used Eddie House as second string point guard all year, and House made himself into what the Celts wanted: an attack guard, as well as being a terrific outside shooter. House has for some reason been replaced by half-court specialist Sam Cassell, and has spent so much time on the bench that he may ever find his shooting touch again. What’s worse, defensive specialist Tony Allen has barely played five meaningful minutes in the first four games of the playoffs, and was relegated to the bench while Joe Johnson ran amuck in the fourth quarter of game four. Why wasn’t Allen out there trying to shut down Johnson when, clearly, nobody else could? What is coach Rivers trying to do? The entire team is out of sync now that their basic style of play is being tossed in the trash in favor of a mediocre half-court offense. It’s insane. Would somebody please explain what is going on here?!?”
- Ken makes a ton of great points, and I can tell he’s frustrated just like most of us. I really believe that Doc is settling to one playoff rotation and won’t change it at all. Tony Allen, James Posey, or Paul Pierce should’ve been on Joe Johnson in the fourth quarter. That was Doc’s mistake keeping Ray Allen on him.
- I think the Celtics will be fine as long as they stick to their guns: look for the high-percentage shot down low, then layer out. If you have an open-look from three, take it. In Game 4, the Celtics were settling too much with a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter. They need to put the game away with Pierce slashing toward the hoop and drawing fouls. That’s the only way they’ll hold a lead against this team. They are hot-shooting right now, but also a bit aggressive. The way to counter aggressiveness is to force them to foul you or get a wide-open look. Unless of course Shotgun is right and the Celtics are now scared to drive in the paint. We will surely see!!!
Tags: Byron Scott, Celtics, Doc Rivers, Four-Point Play, Zaza Pachulia