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The Nba Report MAG
The Boston Celtics, second best team in the NBA? Is this the same team that national sports magazines called "third place"? Well, take that because the green machine is number one in the East and number two in the league. How are they doing this?
According to The Boston Globe, the Celtics are the best shooting team and also hold their opponents to the lowest field goal percentage. Only a few teams have done this in the history of the NBA. There are other reasons also, though:
Kevin McHale - With him coming off the bench, it's like automatic offense and defense. He is a very consistent player who rarely has a poor shooting performance. The question I have heard lately is that if Jimmy Rodgers used him as the sixth man last year, why didn't it work like this? Jimmy Rodgers would put Kevin into a game off the bench automatically, no matter what the situation was on the floor. Chis Ford plays the situation. If he thinks that Kevin doesn't fit the style of play of the game, he won't put him in. Just for information's sake, the sixth man isn't the first man off the bench, he is the guy who plays and produces the most coming off the bench.
Brian Shaw - Even though I haven't forgiven this spoiled kid for going to Italy, I must say that he is doing quite a number with the Celtics. Last year in Italy, Brian averaged nine rebounds, this year he is averaging about six. Reggie Lewis is not a rebounder, nor is he supposed to be, so having a point guard like Brian is a tremendous lift.
Chris Ford - This guy was the perfect man to replace Jimmy Rodgers as head coach. He was a player for the Celtics; he was an assistant coach for K.C. Jones and Jimmy Rodgers; and he has Red Auerbach as his boss, the greatest head coach to ever live. He has totally taken over as if he built the team himself. He plays the right players (at the right times!) and has turned the "old" and "slow" into the second best team in the NBA. If the season ended today, he would definitely receive the Coach of the Year honors, but it won't, and he still has 50 or so games left to coach. n
Other than the Celtics, the Central division is the place to watch this season. Detroit, Chicago, and Milwaukee are all in the hunt for the title. My money is on Chicago, though. Detroit is looking old and defeated, and almost every game they are playing catch- up in the fourth quarter. The only solid performer is Dennis "Hot Dog" Rodman, who is playing as well as he thinks he is.
Milwaukee is a team on a mission: they have no reason to be so good, no player having a career year, no big acquisition that's paying off, not even a change in uniforms, they are just playing well. As for Chicago, they're now called Chicago, and not Michael Jordan's team. They are now playing like a team, and kids like B.J. Armstrong and Stacey King are maturing.
The Midwest division will again be a battle between San Antonio and the Utah Jazz, which should be even closer than last year because Utah now has the talent of a great team. But can they put that talent together?
San Antonio is great with Terry Cummings and David "Mr." Robinson. Their problem is the rest of the team who could be labelled as "potential." Not to mention their unfortunate first-round draft selection, Dwayne Schintzius. On paper Utah should have this division in the bag, but on the court, it's not that easy containing Mr. Robinson.
The Pacific division will not change unless some unbelievable injuries occur. Portland has everything and should wrap up this division. Their foes include the Lakers, Golden State and Phoenix. The Lakers are getting old, and their new coach, Mike Dunleavy, is turning a once dominant team into a team that you do not fear to play. If you believe it is not the coach's fault, how do you explain that they were 63-19 last year and now they are around 65% winning percentage? Kareem right? Right (sarcasm).
Golden State and Phoenix have the best chances to wrap up this division. Phoenix now has Xavier McDaniel to add to the trio of Chambers, Johnson and Majerle. As for Golden State, they have their own trio, who are averaging over twenty points per game. This would be the best divisional race if Portland wasn't so hot and everybody else was playing to their potential. n