11.06.2009

Rondo v. Nash and Hill v. Daniels

Ah, the Phoenix Suns.

A lot of the Celtics' games involve sub-plots we are aware of, but forget about until forced to remember. For example, KG and Amare have had a "thing" for sometime, where "thing" means competitive and chippy battle of one-upsmanship pretty much since Stoudemire came into the league. How will the latest chapter in that battle be impacted by the current state of KG's knee?

Another example is the way Rajon Rondo has made a point of making Steve Nash look bad every time the two face each other, and by "bad" I mean Nash has often looked like a rich man's version of Dan Dickau in games played against Rondo, not something easy to do for a two-time league MVP (Dickau, BTW, was with the Suns during NBAx, but eventually was cut).

But my favorite sub-plot will undoubtedly involve Grant Hill and Marquis Daniels. Celtics' fans remember that Danny Ainge pursued Grant Hill last summer, a pursuit that included Ray Allen and possibly others making personal appeals for Hill to join the Celtics. Hill responded by appearing to drag out the decision-making process longer than necessary, before choosing Phoenix over Boston (and New York). In New England, the snub was perceived as a choice between playing time for Hill in Phoenix and a championship ring in Bston. And, indeed, Hill is averaging 31 MPG this season, while Marquis Daniels, who the Celtics' ended up signing for less money than Hill got from the Suns, is averaging 21 MPG.

I will be curious to watch how this shakes out, and not just the individual performances of Hill and Daniels. Since certain Celtics made personal appeals to Hill, they may have taken the snub personally, and thus those players may be out to prove the magnitude of his mistake via a blow out. Orlando beat Phoenix by 22 earlier in the season, in Orlando. So that adds another nuance to tonight's game, as Orlando was missing certain key players in that game. Can the Celtics administer a beatdown in a similar fashion?

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