It's really hard to write anything interesting about Boston right now, as they just aren't playing very inspired basketball. Mondays win over the Clipppers was the definition of uninspired, particularly offensively. Everything just seems out of synch on that end of the floor:
- Ray Allen, though he shot a bit better against L.A. than he did in the previous two games, has temporarily lost his rhythm. The plays we run for Ray require a kind of cadence: Come off a screen, catch, left foot, right foot, turn, and up. Lately, Ray's been traveling basically every time; though he hasn't been called for it, he's shuffling his feet as he comes off the screen. Until he gets that rhythm back, you can expect him to continue to struggle from the field.
- We're going to Kendrick Perkins too much for my liking. It's not about number of shots; Perk doesn't take too many, he generally takes good ones, and he shoots a high percentage. It's just that he's the one guy in the starting lineup who doesn't put pressure on the defense. Rajon Rondo's penetration results in easy shots for others; Paul Pierce commands the attention of extra defenders; Allen coming off of screens forces switches; and Kevin Garnett's singular passing ability quite often gets Rondo and Perk easy buckets.
- The bench offense is tough to watch right now. Its putative leader, Rasheed Wallace, refuses to go inside and kills many possessions with ill-advised threes. There's no one around to get Eddie House, our sparkplug, a decent look. Glen Davis has been a disappointment all year, failing to live up to even the low standards I have for him. This crew needs Marquis Daniels back in a major way.
- I think Paul Pierce is still feeling the effects of his minor knee injury that forced him to miss a few games last month. He just doesn't look the same.
The two previous matchups with Orlando have been defensive struggles, which, in this case, is a nice way of saying they've featured some horrific offense. Boston has actually defended fairly well recently, although in the two games since Garnett's been back, their opponents have been missing one or more of their top scorers (Brandon Roy and Greg Oden for Portland, Eric Gordon for the Clippers -- who, by the way, lost last night to 4-40 New Jersey). That defensive effort combined with the dynamic of the last two matchups with Orlando may be enough to get by the struggling Magic, but Boston will need to find its offensive footing fast. Tonight's game kicks off a brutal three-in-four that continues with a trip to Atlanta Friday night and ends with a home date with the Lakers on Sunday (3:30 pm Eastern on ABC).