So here’s one.
Rasheed Wallace is in his 14th consecutive playoff run.
He’s made the playoffs every single year after his rookie season. That’s incredible. For a guy routinely criticized for not wanting it badly enough, to make the playoffs every single year is kind of a big deal. But what he did in the Eastern Semifinals was no less than a coup for every lazy player who says they can turn it on in the playoffs. Sheed was, to be honest, really good. Not great. Not phenomenal. Just really good. Worked the block. Made threes. Rebounded. And in a championship drive, it’s players that can put that kind of production in in limited minutes that can make the difference.
The Celtics are about to face a team with a series of players that give them fits. Orlando’s forwards are faster, have better range, and play inside of a system that accentuates their unique abilities without sacrificing defense or rebounding. Which is why Sheed’s success is so important.
The thing that’s more important is Sheed’s consistency.
He doesn’t have to bring incredible play every game. He doesn’t have to be a difference maker. But what he cannot do is what he has done the entire regular season and continued to do in the playoffs right up until Game 4 against Cleveland: vanish. He vanished, being ineffective at both ends of the floor.
Boston needs every body, at 100%, primed and ready to fire. Doc Rivers can’t have a situation where he puts Sheed in and doesn’t know what he’s going to get. The Russian Roulette that exists with Sheed has to become a consistent effort he can count on.
Sheed’s shown us that when give the chance, he’ll make good on his promises of flipping the switch. He’d better, because so far Orlando’s been “on” for half a season.
Apparently, all it takes is a little public discussion of LeBron James‘ “broken” jump shot to get him back on balance and knocking down the three ball — he was 4-of-6 from deep Wednesday.
Then again J.R. Smith was 7-of-13, Kyrie Irving 4-of-5, and as a team the Cavaliers knocked down a record 25 threes — while shooting 55.6 percent — as they wiped the floor with the Hawks in Game 2.
In case you’re curious where the Cavs were hitting from, here’s the team’s shot chart.
The Houston Rockets aren’t in any rush to hire a new head coach, preferring to interview a wide range of candidates to find the right one. Jeff Van Gundy has been widely believed to be at the top of their list, now that Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks are off the market, but ESPN.com’s Marc Stein is reporting another name that has entered the mix: Mike D’Antoni, who last held a head coaching job from 2012 to 2014 with the Lakers and currently serves as the Sixers’ lead assistant.
The Pacers, meanwhile, haven’t made a final decision on Frank Vogel’s future with the team, but all signs seem to point to him getting let go in the next few days. And if that happens, Stein reports that Vogel will also be on Houston’s list of candidates.
Given the Rockets’ massive drop-off on the defensive end this season, Vogel would seem to be a better fit than D’Antoni. But it sounds like the Rockets aren’t close to finding a replacement for J.B. Bickerstaff, although it would make sense to have a new coach in place by next month’s draft.
On Monday, the Hawks played the Cavaliers close and even led in the fourth quarter, leading plenty of optimism that Game 2 would be equally competitive, that the Hawks had something to build on.
The Cavs dominated from the start on Wednesday, with a 123-98 final score that was far closer than the game actually was — the Cavs led 74-36 at the half and led by as much as 38 at one point in the second half.
The Cavs also hit 25 three-pointers, which is the all-time record for a single game — regular season or playoffs. J.R. Smith hit seven of them, along with four each from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving and three for Kevin Love.
18 of Cleveland’s threes came in the first half, also a playoff record, and this was all Atlanta could do:
That’s the kind of night it was for the Hawks, who now trail 2-0 in the series as it heads back to Atlanta.
LeBron James has always been an incredible passer. In the midst of the Cavs’ Game 2 beatdown of the Hawks, he zipped this one-handed beauty into the paint to Kyrie Irving, who kicked it out to Kevin Love for a corner three:
The three was just one of the 18 Cleveland hit in the first half, which set an NBA playoff record.