Oh, dear. The Family Favorite going up against my new favorite club. The hottest team in the NBA against the surprisingly .500 Celtics.
When my mom and I were watching the Clippers take apart the Denver Nuggets on Christmas Day, mom was already thinking ahead to the Clip Show’s thursday match against her C’s. She leaned over to me and asked me, “Who is going to guard Blake Griffin?”
Who indeed? Last year, guarding a jumper-less Griffin would have been easier: get ahead of him on the break (I never said easy, I said easier) and plant your feet, the charge is coming as surely as Christmas. Now, with Griffin being a threat out to 15 feet or more, who DO you put on him as Boston. Kevin Garnett is the obvious choice, but that leaves the almost as dynamic, if a little less rangy, DeAndre Jordan being defended by Brandon Bass or Jared Sullinger. Neither is desirable, but either may be better then leaving those two on Grifffin.
The Celtics will need to display the kind of defensive effort that we saw from them on Christmas Day and that we haven’t seen from them much of the rest of this season, and they’ll need to limit turnovers, no easy feat against the Clippers. Their bench, namely Sullinger and Jeff Green, will need to be playing like they were on Christmas.
In short (and this will be short, as much of my blogging time today was spent waxing poetic on the Johnson ouster,) the Celtics will need to play like they were on Christmas, and like the team they should be capable of being, to even have a chance in this game. Avery Bradley is traveling with the team on this road trip, and is very close to being back, a moment which can’t come soon enough for Boston. It’s also possible that the Clippers luck has run out; no winning streak can go on forever. But for the Celtic luck to come through like it did in the playoffs last year, the boys from Beantown will have to be at their very best.
I’ll be cheering for Boston in this one. When forced to choose between two teams one supports, I think the proper choice is the team one has supported for longer, and I’m pretty sure I was a Celtics fan in utero. But I won’t be at all surprised, or particularly sad, if LA makes it 15.