The Boston Celtics season was supposed to be over two weeks ago.
The announcement that all-star point guard Rajon Rondo would miss the remainder of the season with a partial tear of his ACL had a lot of Celtics fans looking towards next season. Since then, the Celtics have won seven straight games including wins against the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets.
The Charlotte Bobcats season is over. No injury caused this epiphany, rather the lack of talent and balance on the roster did. The Bobcats are 2-19 in the new year and are losers of seven straight.
Monday night, both teams will collide in Charlotte in a battle of streaks.
For the Bobcats, it’s been the same story all season. A perimeter heavy attack has anchored the team in hopes of being able to offset the imbalance in the frontcourt.
Lately though, the Bobcats have got four straight games of double-figure scoring from the returning Byron Mullens. Mullens by far is the Bobcats most capable big man offensively, though his efficiency still leaves a lot of holes in his game.
Regardless, the Bobcats are going to need Mullens scoring the rest of the season in order to have a more respectable chance of staying in games.
The Bobcats are also going to need Kemba Walker to get back on track. Walker’s had a bad stretch in his last six or seven games, and hopefully a game back home against a hot team will motivate him a little more. On the opposition, the Bobcats will see a player who’s been playing his most motivated basketball of the season, in Paul Pierce.
Against the Nuggets yesterday, Pierce had 27 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists in a triple overtime victory. During the Celtics seven-game streak, Pierce has five double doubles, including two triple doubles. In his last five games he’s averaging 19.8pts, 9.6rebs and 7.4ast while shooting 43% from three. This means Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and perhaps Gerald Henderson or Jeffery Taylor will have a tough assignment to contain the 2008 Finals MVP.
Pierce isn’t alone in rising to the occasion. Jeff Green and veteran Jason Terry have also been playing some of their best basketball of the season off the bench. Their play has really ignited the Celtics bench and shown the depth that people expected to see from them earlier in the season.
There’s also that Kevin Garnett guy, who’s averaging 18pts and 10rebs in his last five.
It’s an understatement to say how tough of a time the Bobcats are going to have tonight against the Celtics. Hopefully they play with the same energy level as they did against the Lakers, but with a different result than giving away their double-figure lead.