Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Celtics: the quality of a streak put to the test.

The Boston Celtics are putting a four game win streak on the line heading into the heart of American beer country. A simple proposition and another W?

Not at all. Let's look at the factors that will influence this not so straight forward game;

  • Boston / Ray Allen playing better  -  The Celtics are playing better ball generally since the all star break. After a dismal loss to A Nets team chasing a plus 9 win season to avoid a historic losing record, the green and white have buckled down and closed out games with solid D and comebacks triggered by players heating up - thanks in huge part to the 2nd coming of Ray Allen.

  • A house built on dodgy bricks? -  the 4 victories have come against Detroit, Charlotte, Philadelphia and Washington. This is not as weak a lineup of opponents as you would think, but they are not the best teams in the NBA by a long shot. Although Charlotte owns the Cavs in the regular game series and Philly has beaten Denver, Dallas, Chicago and Toronto in a season of inconsistent play. If the Celtics have to clear a deficit in a 'come from behind win' will be less likely if Salmons, Bogut and Jennings heat up.
  • The bucks are a not an easy team - This is a team consolidating 5th place in the east. Bogut is dominating opponents. John Salmons (acquired in a trade) is putting up great numbers and has hit the ground (in Milwaukee) running. Lastly, rookie stand out Brandon Jennings is showing signs of snapping his shooting slump in a 25 point win against a sans-LeBron Cleveland.  
  •  Bostons starters need to bring it  - Peirce is not having the best year due to injury and Kevin Garnett missed all his shots a few games ago. Any team weakness or consistency needs to be addressed so this streak can help bring Boston as close as posibble to a 55 - 60 win total as possible.

The Verdict - A road tested Boston should win this game if they take this bucks team seriously. Playing aggressive defense and pushing the ball up the floor while dictating the pace to the young Bucks team. Most of all Rondo needs to attack the Bucks D because when Rondo plays with a chip on his shoulder, the Celtics usually win. This is also the perfect game for Nate Robinson to make a significant contribution, the perfect foil for Jennings' ability to drop big numbers quickly.   

Game Result - Milwaukee by two...86 - 84. Numerous lead changes, but after an altercation in the fourth the bucks gained got some fire in their belly. Boston played well but letting the Bucks score in runs was costly. Although the C's played well having the last shot and the chance to tie, and missed. Give credit where it is due, the Bucks just played better late in the fourth when it counted.