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thoughts on last night's game
Well, as you know, we played pretty poorly in the first half and not much better in the second half. I think that Ray's comments were a little intemperate, though, and way too early to have merit. The celtics did kind of stink last night, but mainly because they were playing without any real offensive sets. You're probably better off if you wait until the opener to watch them, because in many ways these early games will be like last years. Guys don't know where they are supposed to be. I didn't think the man to man defense was that bad, given how well the Hornets were shooting and the kind of one-on-one players they have. Asking Danny Fortson to defend Elden Campbell was ludicrous, but Rick wanted to reward Danny for working hard in practice, and said so in the press conference. Here are the positive signs I saw:
* Eric Williams is as good or better than he used to be. The guy still has the same amazing moves. Now rick is going to work on his defense. But E can flat out score.
* Griffin really is a smart player. Tommy was kvelling over him during the game, but you can see why. The guy really does have a great floor game. It's like having an assistant coach out on the floor.
* Wayne Turner knows how to push it, and made a beautiful pass to Pervis Ellison, of all people, for an easy shot. He will put a lot of pressure on the defense, like Dana does, but he is a much better defender than Dana. On the other hand, his shot really is awful. Dana doesn't have to worry about his job there.
* Kenny didn't distribute the ball the way you would have liked to see, but he didn't shoot much, either. He made some beautiful passes to Antoine too.
* Pierce wasn't very aggressive on offense, but played totally in control, and made a beautiful penetration move with a dumpoff for Tony Battie. On the other hand, he missed a floater that would have put us within six with a minute and a half left. I think Pierce wants to play within the offense, especially with all these new guys. But there is no offense!
* The press came out a lot, and was effective even in such a crude form.
* Cheaney is very athletic and intelligent, and made a few plays on both sides of the floor. He is still basically mediocre, but he will have a few good plays each game.
* Everyone, in fact, was thinking pass, and that might have been part of the problem. Some guys have to be cutting to the basket, especially with the new rules.
* Antoine played power forward, and he wasn't able to do anything against Mason/Campbell/Coleman. His little spins and jump hooks were worse than useless. I think moving him to 3 was really the right thing to do. There are some guys he can abuse in the post with his speed, but really good defenders like Mason will generally eat him up.
* Tony had a couple of blocks, but his shot didn't go anywhere. He still looks out of it offensively. He even shot an airball jumper from the baseline, about 8 feet out and undefended.
* You would be amazed at how good Walter's shot looked. Twice in a row in threw up baseline jumpers (from both sides) which he released like lightning, and which hit nothing but net. Apparently he's been practicing all summer. When you think of what he does on D, Ray's remark about him being lucky to be a 12th man is totally ludicrous, especially when you think about some of the 12th men in the league today. The guy's not even making that much above the exception.