Red's Army is scared.
Celtics Blog is not.
You know the Wizards won by 14, right?.
"Meanwhile, also lost in Arenas's absence was the development of all of the Wizards' role players." Well said.
Arenas to continue as sixth man.
Highest plus/minus: Caron Butler (+16).
Lowest plus/minus: Andray Blatche (+2).
I don't particularly want to speculate about whether we have "Boston's number." It's a cliche, but the playoffs really are a completely different mindset, and regular-season success is rarely an indicator of playoff success, unless you're talking about two very even teams (which the Wizards and Celtics certainly are not).
Instead, I want to reiterate how unstoppable our offense can be. I really don't think Boston played bad defense in that game. They dominated the glass, forced Butler into seven turnovers and just 10 shots, and mostly forced Gilbert Arenas into perimeter shots that he just wasn't hitting. On the ball, they did their usual thing.
It was off the ball, however, where this game was won. Our offense struggles when nobody moves without the ball, which forces someone like Arenas or Jamison into a very bad shot. Invariably, Arenas is the one who gets blamed, when some of that blame should go to his teammates who aren't moving. You have no choice but to go one-on-one when nobody is presenting himself to be a passing option.
Today, though, I was really impressed with how quickly everyone moved within the framework of the offense. Darius Songaila was huge in this regard, but Jamison was probably the one who exhibited this most. He was excellent in the two-man game with Arenas, and he was going to different spots besides the post and the three-point line. Boston's bigs were doing a really bad job of covering our bigs off the ball, and we really exploited that within the framework of the Princeton.
Gilbert's final line (5-14, 1-5 from three, only a +7) doesn't look oustanding, and he definitely forced some bad shots, but I thought his first entrance into the game was a turning point. It opened up the offense, to the point where it tailors to Jamison and Songaila's strengths moving without the basketball. Plus, there were those two steals where he dropped it off to Butler and Blatche, respectively, instead of taking the layup himself. Those plays spoke volumes about what he at least is trying to do now that he's come back to a team that has found a formula for relative success without him.
I'm still concerned about the defense, because even though we only gave up 95, we got lucky in that Boston missed so many threes. Take away Pierce's 6-9, and Boston was just 7-21 from deep, and they had a lot of open looks. I'm also really concerned about our pick and roll defense when Haywood is in the game. Boston is so dangerous because they can run so many different players in a pick and roll, so they were able to get Haywood away from the basket by screening with Kendrick Perkins. It's a formula I expect to see a lot if we play Cleveland and Anderson Varejao is in the game. Haywood is an excellent interior defender, but as Truth pointed out a couple of times in the game blog, he really struggles with his pick and roll defense. Our best option besides Haywood is Songaila, who's too small to rely on too heavily down the stretch.
Ultimately, there's a lot of good to take away from this game. Offensively, this might have been our best game of the season. We didn't score as many points as we might have been able to do, but we got across-the-board contributions, hit all types of shots, got to the free-throw line 29 times, and even added a fast-break element now that Gilbert is back. If the defense can be tinkered just a bit, we might well be more dangerous than even we think.