Loss of Powe increases pressure on Moore
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Wed Apr 22 03:52:27 UTC 2009
Chris Mannix >
INSIDE THE NBA
Loss of Powe increases pressure on Moore to turn back clock on career
Loss of Leon Powe the latest blow to an injury-ravaged Celtics front line
Powe expected to have surgery for torn knee ligament in next few months
Mikki Moore has not provided Celtics production they need in thin
WALTHAM, Mass --You have to wonder if the basketball gods are conspiring
against the Celtics this season.
First, _Kevin Garnett_
(http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/basketball/nba/players/3007) , one of the NBA's foremost ironmen -- KG has played in all 82
games three times in his 14-year career and in at least 76 games 10 times
-- went down with a potentially season-ending knee injury. Then it was
(http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/basketball/nba/players/3544) taking a place on the inactive list after absorbing one too many
concussions. The latest blow came on Tuesday, when Celtics coach Doc Rivers told
reporters that _Leon Powe_
(http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/basketball/nba/players/4177) would miss the rest of the season after tearing his ACL in
the second quarter of Boston's win over Chicago on Monday.
"Obviously a tough break," said Rivers. "He just does so many right
things. He played three minutes with a torn ACL. That says so much about Leon."
If the camel's back wasn't already broken in Boston, this might be the
straw to do it. Powe's regular season numbers weren't gaudy: in 70 games, Powe
averaged 7.7 points and 4.9 rebounds. But with Garnett sidelined and _Glen
struggling to defend the pick-and-roll in Game 1, there was a groundswell of
support for Powe, a physical defender and the team's No. 2 offensive
rebounder in the regular season, to play a more expanded role.
With Powe looking at reconstructive surgery in the next few months,
Boston's front line is now paper thin. Three players -- _Kendrick Perkins_
(http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/basketball/nba/players/3730) , Davis and _Mikki
Moore_ (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/basketball/nba/players/3308) --
will be asked to check a Chicago front line that is young, athletic and, at
least through two games, has shown no fear of the defending champions.
"Mikki, Perk and [Davis], they have to be on the floor," said Rivers.
"Silly fouls, we have to take them out. Mikki had a couple last night but he is
getting better. He is so used to playing hard and free and running around.
Here, you have to play hard and disciplined. In football terms, you have
to run your route. That's our team, defensively. His intent is great. It's
his execution that needs improvement."
Execution ... and maybe a few other things, too. Much was made of the
Celtics' signing of Moore in February, mainly because a lot of people thought
they were getting Moore, circa 2007. Back then Moore led the NBA in
field-goal percentage and was a staple in the playoff-bound _New Jersey Nets_
(http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/basketball/nba/teams/nets) ' starting lineup.
Instead, Moore (4.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.0 fouls in 19 minutes per
game with Boston) has played like the inconsistent, defensively-challenged
player Sacramento dumped just 1 ½ years into a partially guaranteed
three-year, $18-million contract.
Boston can't afford to carry that player on the floor. They need Moore,
the most athletic big they have available, to run the floor with _Tyrus
Thomas_ (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/basketball/nba/players/4132) and
challenge _Joakim Noah_
(http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/basketball/nba/players/4287) around the rim. They need him to take the defensive pressure off
of _Paul Pierce_
(http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/basketball/nba/players/3253) , _Ray Allen_
(http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/basketball/nba/players/3080) and _Rajon Rondo_
(http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/basketball/nba/players/4149) by knocking down the 15-foot jumper that was a major part of
his repertoire in New Jersey. It's the only way this Celtics team can
salvage what is looking more and more like a lost season.
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