Don Nelson

Centerless Celtics aren’t winning 70 games

The Celtics didn’t just ruin Bill Simmons’ Christmas with their loss to the Lakers yesterday, they became the type of team that loses to the Warriors.

I don’t know what’s worse these days, losing to Golden State or failing to score 100 points against them. Boston proved tonight that a center tandem of Andris Biedrins and Ronny Turiaf looks pretty good against a team without a center.

I know, cheap shot. Kendrick Perkins was injured, but Patrick O’Bryant was available! And to be honest, I figured tonight’s contest would end with at least 5 minutes of the Notorious P.O.B. at the end of a 30-point Celtics win. When O’Bryant entered the game with 15 seconds remaining to replace a dejected KG, the proof was out there for everyone to see: the Celtics aren’t unbeatable. Boston isn’t the ghost of Heath Ledger, primed to win every Supporting Actor award based on the strength of what they accomplished last year. The Celtics are suddenly Tom Cruise, trying to make us believe Valkyrie isn’t a steaming pile, if in this case Valkerie was a bench led by the combination of Tony Allen and Eddie House.

ESPN’s Sports Guy probably won’t even leave his house after watching Ronny Turiaf go 10-for-10 from the line tonight, or watching Marco Belinelli go for 22 points. I’ve never been a big fan of either player, but both of them were incredible tonight.

Turiaf could stand to cut back on the Chipotle, but the guy blocks shots like an 18-year-old Greg Oden. His defense was a main reason the Warriors beat the vaunted Celts, along with a ridiculous array of long-distance jumpers from Stephen Jackson, Kelenna Azubuike and C.J. Watson. Turiaf even hit an 18-foot jumper, which meant he played a game that went completely against my homemade Turiaf scouting report consisting of “Speaks French; dances well for a fat guy; shows lots of false-hustle; shoots way too many jumpers; gives up more three-point plays than Todd Fuller.”

Marco should be traded — tomorrow. The Warriors have four combo guards, only one of them has vocalized a desire to play NBA ball in another city, and that Euro vocalizer’s value may never be higher. I know the Bay Area loves Belinelli because he’s Eye-Talian, but now’s the time for the Warriors to have an enticing piece to add in a potential Corey Maggette deal. However, Belinelli probably sells more jerseys than the rest of the Warriors combined (he’s a top-ten jersey seller in Europe), so the chances of him getting traded are about as good as Tony Randolph becoming Nelson’s favorite drinking buddy.

We know the Celtics need a center (or two), but does this win mean anything other than making the Celtics the Eastern Conference Mavericks (the team that for some reason looks like utter crap against the Warriors, no matter who’s playing)? I’d be tempted to say the Celtics were just suffering a post-Lakers hangover, but the Warriors have kept their last two opponents under 100 points. That’s right, Keith Smart is the NBA’s equivalent to Monte Kiffin or Jim Johnson. Defense wins championships, and the Warriors have a new D-Coordinator that seems to have changed their entire philosophy. Could a championship be forthcoming? Maybe if Ronny Turiaf gets a personal chef and stops going to Chipotle. McDonald’s owns them, you know.


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