Reggie Miller Joins the Celtics Afterall

Remember when Doc and Danny were hot on the trail of Reggie Miller?

They even enlisted Kevin Garnett to persuade the 43-year-old shooting guard to end his four-year retirement and join the party known as the Celtics Summer of Love (which still hasn’t ended, BTW).

Miller gave the comeback a good faith effort, working out on a daily basis with Garnett and others. In the end, Miller wasn’t up to it. Either his body, his mind, or a combination of both decided that returning to the grind of an 82-game schedule, plus pre-season and playoff games, was a mountain he wouldn’t climb.

Nonetheless, many of us Celtics fans were enticed by the idea of Reggie Miller in Green, raining down wide-open threes while defenses focused their energy on the Big Three. The picture painted for us by the Celtics Brass was one depicting a playoff atmosphere, four minutes to go in a tight game.

Garnett’s on the floor, surrounded by four guns: Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Reggie Miller, and either Eddie House or James Posey.

Pick your poison.

Who you gonna guard?

With a little ball movement, something the Celtics have made a hallmark of their offense this season, the answer was good luck trying to guard anyone.

Even though Mr. Indiana Pacer stayed put, it has become clear that Doc and Danny weren’t ready to eulogize the Reggie Miller Offense just yet.

After watching the Celtics play catch-up against the Spurs and then play six of the last seven minutes of the fourth quarter with Rajon Rondo on the bench, it occurred to me that the only big in the game was Garnett, who was surrounded by Sam Cassell, Paul Pierce, Eddie House, and James Posey.

And you know what?

It worked.

It worked in playing catch-up, and it worked in closing out the game.

Rajon Rondo, no doubt, played huge, both in quarters one through three and for thirty seconds of the final minute.

But the interesting point was that the offense conceived by Doc and Danny last August didn’t die a thousand painful deaths when Reggie Miller said ‘no.’

Playing small-ball is not a favorite among a large contingent of Celtics fans, this much is understood. They would prefer if the only sport to witness "small ball" was baseball, where Billy Martin used that phrase to describe an aggressive running game, the hit-and-run, and the suicide squeeze.

Still, you have to believe we haven’t seen the end of it for the Celtics, especially when it produces results like it did last night. And don’t forget, Ray Allen wasn’t even in uniform. Throw another deadly gun into the mix, and it makes the argument for small ball that much more compelling.

To placate Celtics fans made unhappy by this strategy, maybe we should come up with a new name for small ball.

How about Four Guns and Garnett?


Naftali said...

It can work in special situations as long as they hit their shots.

All the guns shoot less than fifty percent. And most of the shots will be from the perimeter, bringing the percentage down further.

There will be few if any second chances, while the other team will get many. And the Celtics will play poor interior defense, producing high percentage shots for the opposition.

It a good trick to have in your bag, and nothing more.

I don't think those who oppose small ball do so absolutely. they are opposed to its overuse.

Rebounding, defense and high percentage shots is a winning strategy. No rebounding, poor defense and forty percent three point shooting is a trick play
to be used wisely and sparingly.

Lex said...

Good comments, thanks, naftali.

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