Thursday, December 18, 2008

Boston Celtics - The Real Deal

The defending NBA champion Boston Celtics are off to another brilliant start this season, at 24-2. They are only two wins away from tying the 1969-70 New York Knicks and the 1966-67 Philadelphia 76ers for the best start in NBA history, at 26-2, according to ESPN.

What makes this team so good?

They are arguably the best defensive team in the league. They hold opponents to 41 percent field goal shooting, best in the NBA. They allow 90.3 points per game, second only to the Cleveland Cavaliers, according to ESPN.

They are one of the most efficient offensive teams in the league. The Celtics average over 100 points a game, 10th in the NBA, and also 4th in field goal percentage, at 47.5 percent.

Those statistics are impressive, but the thing that separates them from other teams in the league is their swagger. They intimidate teams. They have a swagger that other teams don’t, because they know they can back it up.

In a game earlier this season vs. the New York Knicks, members of the Knicks complained that Boston was "being classless with their trash-talking and taunting," according to the New York Post.

Last year, the Celtics acquired veteran all-stars Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett in the offseason. These two guys brought leadership and talent to a team that had gone only 24-58 the year before.

Besides the "Big Three," Allen, Garnett and Paul Pierce, the Celtics have nice up-and-coming talent such as point guard Rajon Rondo, who is quickly establishing himself as one of the league’s best young point guards.

They also have a solid bench, with players like Tony Allen, Eddie House, Leon Powe and Glen "Big Baby" Davis. They’re strong defensively and can put the ball in the basket. House is virtually instant offense off the bench, one of the game’s best pure shooters.

There is talk that they can challenge the 1996 Chicago Bulls’ record of most wins in a season. That year, the Bulls won 72 games. Can this Celtics team break the record?

Chances are very slim. Last season the Celtics started out 20-2, and won 66 games. To maintain their current pace for 82 games is a tall order. Injuries can happen, as can end-of-the-year slumps.

With that said, they do look poised to repeat as NBA champs.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Theus out, Natt in

The Sacramento Kings fired former head coach Reggie Theus on Monday, promoting assistant coach Kenny Natt to interim head coach.

Theus, who compiled a 44-62 record in his tenure as Kings head coach, was fired after a disappointing 6-18 start. Many criticized his defensive scheme, as the Kings, as of Sunday, were giving up 106.1 points a game, 28th in the NBA. The Kings were also ranked 28th in opponents’ field goal percentage, at 48 percent, according to ESPN.

In his first season as head coach, many thought Theus overachieved, leading the Kings to a 38-44 record, a respectable record considering how tough the western conference was, with eight teams winning 50 or more games.

Before this season started, there was talk that Theus wanted to implement the triangle offense, which he felt would bring out the most in his young roster. However, the team struggled with the concept, as the team never found its identity on offense.

Theus took a lot of heat earlier this season as the Kings lost several close games. So far this year, the Kings have lost four games by two points or less.

Natt, who won his first game as head coach against Minnesota Monday night, had been a Kings’ assistant coach since Theus was hired. Prior to that, he spent three seasons as a Cleveland Cavaliers assistant coach, and also nine seasons as assistant coach with the Utah Jazz, according to

It will be interesting to see how the team responds to Natt, and which direction Natt wants to take with this team. Conventional wisdom suggests he will play the young guys (Jason Thompson, Spencer Hawes, Donte Greene, Bobby Brown), to develop for the future, and in turn take minutes away from veterans such as Mikki Moore and Brad Miller.

This team is a couple years away from being a playoff contender, but giving the young guns some burn wouldn’t hurt at this point.

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