When the Celtics play the Clippers tonight, Allen Iverson will not be in uniform for either team. Both teams actively tried to trade for the erstwhile Sixer, but in the end Billy King just couldn't resist the considerable charms of Andre Miller.
Iverson made sense for the Celtics - maybe more sense than any other team. The Celtics have a plethora of young players who may be really good some day. Unfortunately, they all need minutes to develop, and for the time being they're pretty bad. The Celtics needed to trade some of that 'some day' talent for a 'today' player, but Billy King didn't want to see AI 4 times a year playing for a hated rival.
The Clippers and Celtics have similar records. Of course, in the Pacific Division, that leaves you out of the playoffs, as one of the worst teams in the Western Conference. In the Atlantic Division, you're icing the champagne.
The Clippers' opponent injury curse continues. So far this year, they've played the Mavs without Howard, the Rockets without TMac, the Raptors without Bosh and in this game they'll face the Celtics without Paul Pierce, who has a swollen left foot. (Not that it did the Clippers much good to avoid those all-stars.)
Pierce leads the Celtics in scoring and assists, and is second in rebounding. With second leading scorer Wally Szczerbiak nursing a sprained ankle, some of the kids will get a chance to show what they can do against the Clips.
The point guard matchup will be interesting to watch. Shaun Livingston and Sebastian Telfair are both 21 years old, and they were both drafted out of high school in the first round in 2004 (4th and 13th respectively). While many high school draft picks have reached elite status in the NBA, a point guard has yet make the leap. It's the toughest position in the league, and the transition may be too difficult. As everyday NBA starters, Livingston and Telfair are at least being given the chance to reach an all-star level, though neither has come close yet.
With the Celtics injury-woes, and playing the second of back-to-back road games, it would seem that LA could not possibly lose this game.
Of course, that's what we said about the Raptors.