UPDATE 6:59 pm: It’s official, Paul Pierce will not only play but start for the Celtics in their home opener against the Pistons, according to A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com.
Don’t expect 35 minutes of run in his first game, he’ll get eased back in a bit. However, against a weaker team at home is a good way to come back in. Now we start to see just how good — or not good — the Celtics really are. At the very least they should pick up their first win in this one (which is really more about playing better defense than it is Pierce).
2:23 pm: There are no “must win” games in the first week of the season. But the 0-3 Celtics sure could use one Friday night.
And they might have Paul Pierce to get it.
Here is the latest, via Chris Sheridan of Sheridanhoops.com.
Word from the Celtics this morning is that Paul Pierce will be a game-time decision vs. Pistons tonight.
Yesterday Pierce tweeted that he was “very, very close.”
Smart money says Pierce makes his return from a bruised heel tonight.
Which means we will get a clearer picture of what has been going on with the Celtics. Just a tough stretch without a key offensive weapon, or are the problems much deeper?
In the short term Boston may get PP back and plays a Pistons team that has not looked good this season. Boston could use a slump-busting win in whatever shape it comes, this would be a prime chance.
Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.
His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.
George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).
As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.
Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.
This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?
He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.
The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.
“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”
As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.
“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”
Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.
I think Cousins can help provide that.
I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.