NEW YORK — After visiting the Indiana Pacers at Conseco Fieldhouse on Tuesday, the 19-2 Celtics invade our nation’s capital on Thursday. Given the way they’re playing, David Stern has canceled the remainder of the season, called off the playoffs and ordered them to go straight to the White House.
Night after night Rajon Rondo is the Celtics’ MVP, the one whose creativity integrates the three All-Stars into a seamless, selfless unit. Without him it’s “your turn, my turn, his turn” . . . boring and predictable.
Is there another point guard who circles the floor like he does, finding seams and odd angles for his assists?
I mean, other than Steve Nash whose freedom to frolic recently was restored by Terry Porter.
Even if the other Celtics won’t move without the ball, Rondo’s circling moves the defense and gets teammates open looks. His assist-to-turnover ratio is 7.7 to 2.1 per game. At 31.1 minutes per game, he is 20th among point guards.
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In the Lakers’ last three games, they’ve entered the final quarter possessing leads of 15 (at Indiana, a loss), 16 (at Philly; cut to seven with 2:30 left) and 15 (at Washington; whittled to one several times). So, despite L.A.’s gaudy 17-2 record the team (at least its vaunted second unit) appears to lack a cutthroat mentality.
Then again, Trevor Ariza’s nine points (eight in the fourth) and Jordan Farmar’s four treys seems to belie that postulation.
Golden State lost for the ninth straight time Saturday night, giving up a mere 123 to the Spurs.
Twenty-four hours earlier in Oakland, the Tracy McGrady-less Rockettes stacked 131.
Owner Chris Cohan might want to read the small print in Don Nelson’s two-year extension for a large loophole. During the wretched run, the unshielded Warriors have given up, in reverse chronological order, 123, 131, 130, 138, 112, 119, 124, 89 and 115 points.
There hasn’t been a defense this useless since the judicial system began protecting abused women with restraining orders.
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On that alarming note, Bob Hellman, a staunch Paper Clips supporter, is amused to read the Warriors reportedly realize Corey Maggette is just interested in leading the team in shot attempts.
“Don’t the Warriors play the Clippers four times a season? Don’t teams have access to game footage? Aren’t scouts paid to be discriminate? Anybody who’s seen Maggette’s (game)knows three things: No D, no assists, no good. Honestly, teams interested in acquiring players could save a lot of time, money and aggravation by simply contacting season ticket holders for unadulterated info.”
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Don’t always take literally what you read in this column. Forget my fanatical flattering of the Celtics; barring any critical injuries to either team, the 17-3 Cavaliers are primed to beat Boston in the playoffs and I suspect it won’t be perceived as that much of an upset.
After all, LeBron James is logging fewer minutes per game this season; Mo Williams provides the kind of resourcefulness LBJ has never had in a teammate; the Cavs weren’t forced to make an exhausting preseason trip to China; Delonte West is taking his medicine; West and Wally Szczerbiak aren’t arriving at mid-season; there were no Sasha Pavlovic/Anderson Varejao contract conflicts and late arrivals to throw off the beginning of the season; Anderson is re-born and in his opt-out year; Daniel Gibson is healthy; and Damon Jones isn’t on the bench making a fool out of himself while dressed in some ridiculous leopard print suit.
I can’t begin to describe how wonderful it is the Cavs no longer have a case of the Jones. Now that Damon’s on the Bucks’ permanent inactive list (while John Hammond tries to trade his expiring $4.46 million contract) he ought to hire himself out as a clown for children’s birthday parties.
Walter Szczerbiak returned home from the hospital the day before Thanksgiving after a successful replacement of his aortic root which turned out to be a nine-hour procedure. In later life Walter became known exclusively as Wally’s father.
Fact is, Walter’s jumper was every bit as pristine as his son’s.
Before establishing himself as a Spanish household name for Real Madrid, Walter was a George Washington teammate of highly regarded (until he became a referee; I’m joking) Ronnie Nunn, rarely misfired (149-for-237, 62.9 percent) in 53 games as a member of the 1971-72 ABA Pittsburgh Condors, and averaged more points (31-to-30) one summer than the other forward (Julius Erving) for my Westsiders’ Rucker team.
Peter Vecsey covers the NBAfor the New York Post.
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