After a terrible, terrible, regular season, Rasheed Wallace has played surprisingly well in the playoffs. In both the Cleveland and Orlando series, Rasheed has shown that he does have some worth. He’s played tough defense, given fouls, and even hit some timely threes. However, Rasheed did not play well at all on Monday night, going 2-7 from the field and missing all four of his threes. It could easily have just been a bad game, but maybe Rasheed’s shoes were to blame — for the first time in a decade, Wallace was not wearing his trademark Air Force One sneakers, at least not for the first half of the game. I’ll let Ball Don’t Lie’s Trey Kerby take it from here:
“Instead of his trademark AF1s, Wallace started the game wearing a pair of white Nike Zoom Sharkalaids, a hybrid sneaker worn by the likes of Deron Williams and Rudy Gay this season. According to Sole Collector’s Nick DePaula, it was the first time in more than 10 years that Sheed had taken the court in anything but Nike’s first air-soled basketball shoe. Truly the end of an era, people.
Apparently confused by the extra strap and comfortable padding, Sheed changed out of his newfangled shoes and back into some all-white Air Force 1s for the second half of the game. Changing shoes mid-game is the new trend in Boston, I guess.”
So not only did Boston’s six-game playoff winning streak get snapped on Monday night, Rasheed’s Ripken-like sneaker streak ended as well. I would venture to guess that Rasheed won’t deviate from his standard shoe routine before game five.
Chris Paul broke his finger Saturday.
The initial diagnosis said the injury wasn’t serious.
Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times:
Paul obviously wouldn’t push it during the preseason. If the Clippers are allowing him to play, this can’t be bad.
Really, the most challenging aspect to this is grasping the concept that a broke finger can be a minor injury.
Brad Stevens has a big challenge this year – sorting the Celtics’ deep roster of similarly able players.
It seems that process is shaking out at power forward and center.
A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:
it appears Boston’s first four bigs will be starters David Lee and Tyler Zeller, with Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk off the bench.
That leaves Jonas Jerebko and Jared Sullinger, potentially on the outside looking in as far as the regular rotation is concerned.
Lee is the best passer of the bunch, which could partially explain why he’s starting. Boston’s most likely starting point guard, Marcus Smart, is still growing into the role of the lead ball-handler at the NBA level. Lee and presumptive starting shooting guard Avery Bradley can take some pressure off him.
Olynyk can space the floor for Isaiah Thomas-Johnson pick-and-rolls with the reserves and run pick-and-pops with Thomas himself.
I’m a little surprised Zeller is starting over Johnson, though. The Celtics just signed Johnson to a $12 million salary, and I thought they’d rely on his defense to set a tone early. Like Johnson, Zeller is a quality pick-and-roll finisher who can thrive with Thomas.
This is particularly bad news for Sullinger, who – barring a surprising contract extension – is entering a contract year. It seems those reports of offseason conditioning haven’t yet paid off. Jerebko’s deal also isn’t guaranteed beyond this season, but at least he has already gotten his mid-sized payday. Sullinger is still on his rookie-scale contract.