Pregame Banter: San Antonio at Boston
Brendan Jackson of Celtics Hub sent me some questions. I sent him some questions. We talked. Â His half of the conversation is below, my half is at Celtics Hub.
If that isn’t enough of a pregame meal, the Heat Index asked me to try my hand at John Peel, Henry Abbott talks Popovich, Zach Lowe talks Popovich, Tim Griffin has bullets from the mugging in NY, and greyberger is optimistic about the Spurs’ numbers. It’s a good day to be a Spurs fan, minus the beating that was last night.
And, Graydon, I had to Google ‘Jersey Shore’. And, uh, no.
Brendan Jackson after the jump.
TV: Which team do you want to see least in the ECF and Finals, respectively. And why?
BJ: In the ECF, the answer has to be the Orlando Magic. Despite their recent success, Boston has beaten the Miami Heat twice this season and have the depth and experience to take four out of seven games if they have to. No one knows how effective Kendrick Perkins will be when he returns and his ability to play will be a huge factor in how the Celtics will defend Dwight Howard. Hedo Turkoglu has also been a Godsend to the Magic and has always presented matchup problems for the Cs.
For the Finals, as much as it pains me to say it, the Celtics do not want to play the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers present the worst matchup problems for the Celtics with Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol having a clear advantage over the Celtics’ frontcourt. San Antonio and Boston seem to be the most evenly matched teams as evidenced by their 2-2 record against one another the past two seasons which leaves me ambivalent towards a Finals matchup. I think for basketballÂ purests, a Cs v. Spurs Finals would be the most desired and hardest to predict.
TV: Â Health. How concerned are you that the Celtics are even less healthy than they’re letting on?
BJ: Kevin Garnett and mysterious lower leg injuries are always a cause for concern. That said, Celtics’ fans can’t start worrying until Garnett’s projected return date has come and gone and he’s still in street clothes. Garnett’s injury aside, the Celtic centers are all injury timebombs waiting to go off and their production, specifically Shaquille O’Neal’s, have dripped pretty dramatically as of late. Rajon Rondo is the true wild card. He is the young player the Celtics need to lean on when their age catches up with them. If he is hobbled in any way the Celtics are looking at an early round exit. Since returning from his severe ankle sprain, Rondo’s scoring is undoubtedly down but he looks good directing traffic and is making the correct passes. From here, we can only expect that he is going to get better and healthier (barring unforeseen setbacks, of course).
TV: What is Boston’s biggest weakness? How could a team like San Antonio exploit them?
BJ: The Celtics may have bolstered their frontcourt this offseason but without Kevin Garnett the Spurs would be wise to go downlow early and often. The Celtics get completely owned on the glass game-in and game-out. It’s weirdly surprising that this Celtics team has been so successful despite being so average at hitting the glass, specifically the offensive glass. So far, the Celtics have been completely outplayed by guys like Kevin Love, Reggie Evans, and Elton Brand. DeJuan Blair and Tim Duncan should feast on the glass tonight.
TV: If there is a lockout, we may be watching Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Shaquille O’Neal for the last time. Weird, huh?
BJ: So weird, sad, and almost soul-crushing. I was born in the 80s so this will have much more significance than seeing Jordan, Bird, Magic, Ewing, or Barkley hang them up. These recent and impending retirees have been the first wave of players of which I have had the pleasure of seeing their entire careers. Declining is one thing, but an NBA without two of the best power forwards and arguably the most dominant center to ever play the game? Doesn’t seem right to see them go out on a wasted year.