With Rajon Rondo’s ankle on sick leave and practically every influential big man off the court, the Boston Celtics are presented with a unique experimental predicament. No matter how you look at it, the Celtics are depleted. What will Doc Rivers and the coaching staff come up with to keep winning?
Currently sporting a 21-4 record after a spirited win over Atlanta on Thursday night, Boston are sitting pretty. Furthermore, their near-perfect 11-1 home record is best in the League. Moving forward Nate Robinson and Marquis Daniels will see extended minutes and guys like Glen Davis and Semih Erden will truly define this experimental period for Boston.
Let’s start with Robinson who on his day can put up numbers quickly. He has certainly introduced a lot more discipline to his game since donning the green threads. Robinson’s challenge is to minimize the ill-advised three’s, keep the ball moving and maximize good looks from mid-range.
Much like Robinson, Marquis Daniels needs to do the same, however substitute the mid-range shots for post ups on smaller guards. At 6-6 Daniels presents match-up issues for almost every team at the point guard position. His ability to capitalize on this will determine his success during this stretch.
Glen Davis has seen extended minutes before and has shined. However he has also capitulated at times when given the green light. (no pun intended!) Davis is at his best when he’s positive and aggressive in his play. With this period of unrest in the Boston lineup, it gives “Big Baby” the perfect chance to be effective.
Last but not least is the unknown Turkish rookie Semih Erden. With only 22 games under his belt, it’s hard to expect too much from the 6-11 Center but he has shown flashes of consistency.. if that makes sense? He makes the standard mistakes that a lot of first year players make but he also executes the fundamentals quite consistently. He has been presented with a great opportunity to work alongside one of the greats in Kevin Garnett.
Time to seize it.
The Celtics face the following schedule, potentially all in “experiment” mode:
vs. New Orleans
Excusing the Orlando trip of course, this presents Boston with probably the best stretch to be without Rondo and others.
Let’s see if the Boston Celtics can continue their winning ways throughout the remainder of December. Amazingly, with all the injuries and set backs, they could realistically kick of 2011 with a scintillating 26-5 record.
If so, then Championship favorites they will be.