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Better Know an Opponent: Boston Celtics Edition

A Q&A with CelticsBlog


The last few day's I've been talking with CelticsBlog CEO Jeff Clark. He was kind enough to answer some of my questions about the Celtics prior to tonight's game in Boston. Be sure to check out CelticsBlog as well as questions I answered for him here!

1. Mavs fans were saddened to see Jason Terry go this past off season. How's he working out so far in a Boston uniform?

Terry has been surprisingly steady for the Celtics so far. I say "surprisingly" because I figured he'd be a little more streaky. But he's put up double figures in points in 13 of 20 games and has provided some typical JET moments with dagger 3's followed up with his trademark JET dance. The original plan was to start Courtney Lee and let Lee fill his customary role off the bench, but when Courtney stumbled out of the gate, Jason stepped up and filled in. Avery Bradley will be back soon, so that should be an interesting rotation to keep an eye on, but I love having the veteran presence that Terry brings on and off the court.

2. Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce are each Hall of Famers who happened to be drafted sequentially way back in 1998. Like Dirk as a Mav, it seems like Pierce should be a Celtic for life. How's his play as he cruises past 34 years of age. Do you ever see him leaving Boston?

Paul Pierce has managed to lose a step yet not miss a beat, if you will. He's not as quick and lacks lateral movement, but (like Dirk) his game was always more about angles and guile than it was about speed and hops. He's getting more shots off of screens than he did before, but he's still getting to the line and knocking down midrange jumpers. As for him playing in another uniform - I just can't see it. He's had some close calls in the past - even as recently as a year ago, but I think he and Garnett are lined up to walk off into the sunset together (wearing green) at some point in the next couple years.

3. Like Dallas, Boston is hovering near that .500 mark. What are some of the reasons behind the current win-loss record of 11-9?

In an effort to get younger and deeper, the Celtics added a number of new faces to the team. Those new guys have found the learning curve to be steep when it comes to the team defense that has been Boston's trademark for the last several years. Doc has simplified the sets a bit and the team seems to be coming around on that side of the ball lately. So we'll see if they can pick up the pace soon.

4. Jared Sullinger tumbled all the way to Boston in the draft. Have any of the injury concerns with him been warranted?

Well, there were two main concerns with Sullinger. His height and his back. His height will always be there and he does get his shot blocked more often than you'd like but he's also finding ways to use his body and carve out his own space - in particular for rebounds. The back has been fine thus far, but that's the kind of thing that's not a problem until it is a problem. So fingers crossed. As long as he stays healthy and continues his rapid progress, he should end up being the steal of that draft.

5. Boston has a talented but aging squad. What are the goals for the team this year? Is anything less than a championship disappointing in Boston despite the Eastern conference being so top heavy this year?

When the team brought back Kevin Garnett the goal was clear. Win one more title with this group. For the most part banners are all that ultimately matter in Boston, but I wouldn't call the last 4 years a failure either. This team has reminded us what top level, championship caliber basketball is all about and it has been a joy to watch and root for. They have a steep hill to climb and they haven't done themselves many favors early on this year, but I've learned never to doubt this team - especially in the playoffs.

Thanks! Be sure to visit CelticsBlog!