The C’s need big performances out of the Allens to stay afloat this month

by Brandon Simes
Managing Editor
Monday Jan 4, 2010

The Celtics have been losing some games of late. I know, it’s shocking. They’re 6-4 in their last 10, which would be fine for most, but not for an elite team like Boston. The real problem isn’t this brief stretch of above-averageness, however. The issue is Boston is 1-3 in its last four games and very well could lose its next four. The one-game deficit the Cavs have opened up on the C’s will lurch toward four or give full games next week should that occur, and the Magic will also catapult above the Green. A more prolonged slump could even drop Boston to the four-seed, with the Hawks picking up key head-to-head victories.

Despite this very real possibility, I’m not going to worry just yet. Yes, KG and Paul Pierce will be out for a while longer. But, as long as they’re healthy this spring, I have every reason to believe Boston should be at least the co-favorite with Cleveland to come out of the East.

Essentially, Rondo will be back within a few more games, Pierce shortly thereafter, and Garnett-no one knows. It doesn’t appear to be as bad as last season’s mystery knee injury that turned into a season killer, but judging from Doc Rivers’ comments the other night, KG’s return is less than assured any time soon.

"KG’s still 10 days, maybe, I don’t know," said Rivers. "I have no idea, I honestly don’t. There is some history with hyperextended knees that we kind of know that it takes at least two weeks, sometimes three. We know it won’t be longer than that, but we don’t know how quickly. There’s a history there-not with [Garnett]-but with league history."

Yikes. That’s a little disconcerting, but it’s far from a Wes Welker-like disaster just yet. I take Rivers’ comments to mean that KG’ll be back eventually, but the Celts view January as the perfect time to rest their main cogs while they still can. In a few months that won’t be as easy an option.

So, what can the Celts do until their real Big Three return? Rely on the Big Three-er In Name Only (Ray Allen) and the guy with a stomach full of potential and just a bite of brains (Tony Allen). The Allens must dominate the perimeter and slash to the basket like they did Saturday at home.

Game 1 comes on Wednesday against Miami. The Heat have Dwyane Wade and Michael Beasley, but not too much else. Some sterling defense from Tony Allen on Wade ought to give Boston a shot, and Ray Allen will have to knock it down. Kendrick Perkins can handle the inside game, but Rasheed Wallace will have to stay quick on his feat to contain Beasley. I won’t be surprised to see Glen "Big Baby" Davis get some minutes with the mission of keeping Beasley under 30 points. This game is extremely important for Boston. If the C’s can pull out a victory, losing to the Hawks on Friday in Atlanta won’t hurt as much. Boston will have another chance to beat the Raptors in Canada on Sunday, but then must face Atlanta gain on Monday at the Garden.

This whole "if ... then" concept sounds familiar, right? As in (shudder) three years ago. That’s what happens when you lack talent in the NBA. Remember that when you click on the last link in this article in a couple moments. The saying "Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard," explains the situation perfectly. As long as talent tries at a reasonable rate, it will always beat hard workers without ability.

All in all, this is likely just a blip on the radar. No team with such a high injury probability as this elderly bunch should expect smooth sailing for 82 games. However, thanks to the return of Tony Allen, the C’s have a shot of staying within striking distance of the top seed in the East. And thank the heavens for Tony, because one thing’s for sure, this guy’s not the answer.


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