Boston Gameday Musings
When will Ray Allen show up?
by Tzvi Twersky
I am convinced that tonight’s game is a do-or-die game for the Celtics. If they go up 3-2, even if they lose Game 6 in Orlando, then at least Game 7 will be back in Boston. And, last year—and in the first round this year—they didn’t seem to flinch at that scenario, winning two Game 7’s in Boston. If they lose tonight, however, they would have to win back-to-back Playoff games, something that they’ve only done once this postseason, and struggled to do last year when one of them was a road game.
Here are some of the key factors that’ll be in play tonight:
– Brian Scalabrine was not feeling well this morning and missed the Celtics shootaround. If he can’t go tonight, the Celtics will be missing three big men—Kevin Garnett, Leon Powe are also out—and will be severely shorthanded at the 4 and 5 spots. This would be a story against any team, but against Dwight Howard—and with Kendrick Perkins also having a bum shoulder—the Celts better hope that Glen Davis and little-used Mikki Moore bring their best.
– The Celtics kept us in the closet towards the end of the year as to the severity of KG’s injury. I have a feeling that they still are. He is not playing tonight, and it’s not plausible to expect him to play in Game 6. But, if there is a Game 7, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him in uniform on the bench—even if just for the energy it would bring to the arena. It’s tough to tell, though. Doc is doing his best impersonation of Bill Belichick.
– Ray Allen has been M.I.A this series, shooting an abysmal 0-10 from 23″9′ in the last two games alone. He is averaging 12.8 ppg for the series. The Celts need him to find a rhythm tonight. Doc knows this, so look for him to try to get him involved early.
– Eddie House was lights out for a minute there, but in Game 4 the Magic had him bottled up, reminding everyone why he is a reserve. If he can provide 12-18 minutes of rest tonight for Rondo and Allen, and bucket two or three long-bombs, Doc will be happy enough.
– Back to the bigs for a second, Kendrick Perkins has a chronically bad shoulder. We all know that. But it seems that when Brad Miller took a judo-chop at it in Game 7 of the first-round series, it must have aggravated it. Since then, Perkins has gritted his teeth and played on, but he has been tugging at it, and even needed to sit after hurting it again in Game 4.
– Sam Jones made a rare appearance at a Celtic game, as Game 4 was only his second time watching his old team since he retired. Tonight in Boston, though, look for a handful of former Celts to be on hand, cheering for the current group. In my mind, the Celts of old are more loyal to their old team than most other franchises. And I think it plays a role, albeit small, in their homecourt advantage.
– The Celtics hit only one Three last game. They will not win tonight if that happens again. Ray, Eddie and Paul need to make it rain from downtown.
– Glen Davis is catching a lot of flak for nearly maiming 12-year-old Nicholas Provetti. I don’t like it. It’s hazardous sitting in those court-side seats. It’s also amazing to be so close to the action. That’s the trade-off. As a life-long nosebleed sitter, trust me, I would trade places with that kid any day. Besides, Baby did his best to get out of the way. Imagine if actually hit him head on? We’d be talking to the kid live from the hospital today.
– Bottom Line: Look for the Magic to play aggressive tonight, upset at what they perceived as too much celebrating from the Celtics last game. The Celts just have to weather the initial storm and keep the game close heading into the 4th quarter. Because, as they’ve proven over and over again, if it comes down to one possession, they will win.