I’ve seen two things in recent weeks that have really made my heart flutter. Yes. I said it… flutter. My heart is freakin’ fluttering!
I’ve seen Sheed tackle the monster task of playing inside more than out… GASP! And I’ve seen Perk finally closing quarters in meaningful and/or close games. Both of these changes have undoubtedly been a contributing factor the the recent win streak (¡11! ), and I hope will continue to make beating our beloved team increasingly difficult.
While the nit-pickers out in the world can argue about how to fill the wing role left open with Quisy’s absence and our severe lack of a reserve point guard to handle and distribute the ball within the second unit, let’s dwell on that at a later point and time, shall we? For now, let’s really focus on the positives: the increase of Sheed inside and Perk closing out the final six minutes when it matters.
Since Quisy’s been out recovering from surgery, a robot by the name of Tony Allen 3.0 has stepped into fill the minutes. When Quisy was playing efficiently, it was partly due to the spacing the second unit could give him to slice through the lane: it was too risky to leave Sheed and Eddie wide open on the wings, meaning teams couldn’t collapse on Quisy when he got into the paint.
The catch-22 of it all was Sheed was back behind the three point line in order to give Quisy the room, but when Quisy kicked out, we were left with Sheed’s rendition of Bombs Over Baghdad. Sheed has been a streaky shooter this season; whether it be due to the murmurs of him being out of shape or him taking the inch Doc gave him to shoot 18 miles away, the simple fact of the matter is that Sheed was launching a lot of threes without much success.
With Quisy out, Sheed has fallen back into the post more and more. For the first time this season (I am guessing on this based on previous numbers, so of course there is room for me to be wrong on this), Sheed has had a batch of five games where he has taken more shots in the post than from deep range (excluding longer mid range jumpers). Hallelujah. Halle-freakin-lujah. Check out the hotness that is NBA Hot Spots:
Sheed has taken a total of 18 shots from downtown in the last five games, and made seven of those shots, leaving him at 39 percent (rounding up…). That is a great percentage for him, and a good amount of threes for a big man to keep his defenders both honest and on their toes. On the inside, Sheed has taken a total of 21 shots in the last five games, and made 11 buckets resulting in a fantastic 52 percent FG. This, my dear friends, is what you call efficiency! Sheed has been in a wonderful groove in the last seven games (all of the games in December). Sheed is having his best and most efficient month out of the previous three: he averaging the least amount of minutes (19) out of the three months but having stronger and better numbers across the board… Sheed has his highest ppg out of all three months (11.0), his highest FG percentage (42%), highest FT percentage (90%), most blocks per game (1.6), least amount of fouls (2.1), and least amount of turnovers per game (.1).
This is what we all signed on for: a 20 minute big man that can play smart interior defense and provide help on the offensive post from the bench. Yes he could be a starter, but those are not where our needs are. We know he loves to pull the massive trigger on that long ball, but that needs to be fired on selective plays instead of it being a go-to default move. I really like the way Sheed is playing on both ends of the floor and he is proving to be our best bench player during our 11-game win streak. If we keep this algorithm simple, then it basically comes down to this:
1/3(Sheed’s long ball) x 3/1(Sheed’s inside play) = W
W = wins.
And Perk. Perk Perk Perk Perk Perk. There is a grass roots movement to vote for Perk onto the All Star team. Okay. We all know that we are not going to garner the kind of numbers it will take to get Perk the sheer volume of votes to get in the game… So we will have to just rely on the coaches to get Perk in. But that doesn’t mean we give up: visit @kwapt site (http://voteforperk.blogspot.com) and vote anyways.
This really shouldn’t have been an argument at all this season. Perk has worked to earn the closing spot with fellow starters Rondo, Ray Ray, Pierce, and KG. This is our opening squad, and this is our closing squad. At the very least, anyone could have made the argument that Perk is a co-anchor of our defense: Perk holds down the paint so that KG can make those quicker switches.
But the surprise to many of us this season is that Perk has all of the sudden turned into an offensive threat with the addition of so many of his post moves and ability to front defenders with the ball. Now, Perk is not only our defensive stalwart, but turning into a light (dieted version of an) offensive weapon as well. It only makes sense for Perk to be on the floor when it matters. We hired Sheed to be a bench guy that could fill in the front court in case of an injury; we did not bring Sheed on to close out our games. This is Perk’s job… to perform with Rondo, Ray Ray, Pierce, and KG.
Credit goes to Doc on both of these fantastic changes. Doc saw the symptoms, diagnosed the problem, and found the ideal remedy.
Let’s keep the gravy train rolling through Christmas.
Orlando: we’re coming for you.
My favorite KG pic so far this season: