Friday, December 19, 2008

Final Celtics Thoughts - ESPNHD Edition

Two more items from the Hawks/Celtics game that should bear monitoring and review for the remainder of the season.

1. During ESPN's Ric Bucher's interview with Mike Woodson after the 3rd period, Bucher asked the question regarding what would Woodson do to help Joe Johnson get off in the 4th quarter. Woodson's response was "he might not get off, so we need other folks to step up". On one level that makes perfect sense...but here are the two troubling parts of that statement..

a) It's the coach's job to employ strategies that help your players. Whether that is putting him in the post, running screens, pick and rolls, running an inside/out game with Josh or Al, whatever - that's a better answer than - the other folks need to step up. Yes, we know that, but are you going to do anything to help with that step up process. Is it to run more? Is it to run the offense through Horford, etc? A better answer would give me more comfort that our team is actually being coached up on the offensive end.

b) Even if the answer was vague (intentionally or unintentionally), the result was simply the same 4th quarter 'let Joe Johnson run around until he can figure out how to get off a shot or make a play while everyone else sits around waiting to make a shot in the last 3 minutes of close games' offense - I've been watching for years now. [I added some words just for you, Coco].

2. The final note that Mark Jackson made with regards to the Celtics' bench play in the 4th quarter. They were not particularly effective, but when the play by play asked how long they can go without Pierce and Garnett - he made the point that this is when you have to build trust and confidence in your bench players. The bigger picture toward winning the championship is at stake and so without giving up the game - it is important to give those guys minutes and to let them know that they are expected to contribute to win games like this one.

Now, parlay that against Solo and Acie sitting on the bench for the entire game...it just sets up to be a self fulfilling prophecy if those guys aren't ready in a big game if we need them b/c they aren't PLAYING in the big games. The point being - you have to win, but if we don't assist the players with their confidence and their awareness during these types of games - how do you expect them to contribute in meaningful ways during future big games or during the playoffs?

Just thoughts....

Last note - In the understatement of the year, play by play announcer category, here's what was said after Joe missed the 2nd free throw at the end of the game.."Joe Johnson's miss may turn out to be a costly one". You don't say...is that the #1 NBA announcing team you sent to Atlanta? b/c it doesn't get more insightful and stellar than that. Seriously...

That said, let's get this win tonight vs. the Warriors

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