To read my answers to Mr. Clark's questions, go HERE.
1. How are you feeling about the Celtics so far? They were the team that gave the champions the most trouble in the playoffs; can they get back to that place? Where is the playoff offense going to come from?
I'm feeling a bit of deja vu so far. The Celtics have this habit of doing poorly at some point during the season (sometimes at the beginning like last year; sometimes around Christmas like in prior years) but ultimately putting it together at the end of the year. I think it just takes that long to really get the defense clicking on all cylinders with new players. The defense is only as good as the weakest links because all the parts have to fit together and rotate at the right times. I'm hoping that they can figure it out and get it all to work. But one of these years it just won't so that's the fear. Still, they've proven time and time again that they'll step up when it matters most, so I'm still optimistic in general.
In the playoffs the starters will play longer minutes so they can carry more of the load, which is good since the bench has been underwhelming so far. Actually I guess the real answer is it will come from Rondo because he's the whole offense at this point.
2. Are you still fired up for the JET era? In other words, are you over Ray Allen?
I'm kind of over the Ray thing at this point. He's gone, that era is over. So far JET has been about as productive as Ray was - though in a different kind of way. Courtney Lee was supposed to be the icing on the cake but thus far he's struggled with his shooting.
I don't know, I would be very tempted. The reason Ainge made the deal in the first place was to give Paul Pierce a good backup and he can swing over and play some 4 in a smallball lineup. The Celtics have been obsessed with beating the Heat but you kinda have to beat the other teams first.
We also don't have a decent center option beyond Kevin Garnett and having the old frontcourt back together again might be just the thing to cure these defensive woes. Jeff has been a bit passive and inconsistent at best so far. I keep hoping that he'll take the next step, but at some point in your career you are who you are. But how much of that was knocked off track after missing a year and is he still getting back to game shape or what? I don't know. At this point he's still a big X factor and if he doesn't step up soon we'll have a long season and a bad contract on our hands.
4. Perkins has recently adopted the "I'm going to randomly press the point guard for 90 feet" move that KG made so popular. What are the odds that they'll end up pressing each other at some point in this game? That might be the greatest inconsequential sequence between two ornery SOB's ever.
Somehow I doubt that Kerkins will try to press Rajon Rondo. I kind of hope he does, actually, because that would create instant 4 on 5 breaks. Moving screens though? That I can see. I just can't wait till Avery Bradley comes back and starts pestering opposing point guards and forcing them to start their offense with 15 seconds left on the shot clock.
5. The game is in your house. Predictions?
I'm usually the king of optimism but somehow I just can't muster up a positive prediction in this one. The Thunder are just too good and the Celtics are just too out of sorts at this point. I think they will put up a good fight and in particular there could be a very interesting point guard battle. But ultimately we don't have an answer for Durant (not that anyone really does).
Just wait till we meet in the Finals though. It will be a different ballgame then.