|Shortfall: Celtics come up short again in loss to Mavericks, Courtney Lee injures left ankle||03.22.13 at 11:12 pm ET|
Dirk Nowitzki scored 22 points and Brandan Wright added a team-high 23 – 16 above his season average – as the Dallas Mavericks handed the Celtics their third straight loss, 104-94, Friday night at American Airlines Center in Dallas. The Celtics have lost five of seven and three straight for the first time since losing six in a row between Jan. 16-25.
Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Brandon Bass each scored 16 for the Celtics, who fell to 36-31 on the season. Adding to Boston’s misery was a left ankle injury to Courtney Lee, who rolled the ankle late in the fourth quarter. He had to be helped off the court and to the locker room and did not play in the final minute.
In his return to Dallas for the first time since signing with the Celtics as a free agent last summer, Jason Terry was held to eight points on 3-of-9 shooting. The appreciative Dallas crowd gave Terry a standing ovation when he checked into the game for the first time with 3:57 left in the first quarter. His former Mavericks teammates also applauded his returned on the Dallas bench.
The only Celtics player in double figures in the first half was Brandon Bass with 10 points. Boston had no answers for Vince Carter off the Dallas bench. Carter had 12 points in 12 minutes, a big reason the Mavericks were able to take a 55-44 halftime lead.
The Mavericks built their lead to as much as 14 twice in the second quarter.
Jordan Crawford hit a baseline three early in the third quarter and followed that up with a steal and reverse layup with 10:19 left in the fourth to cut Dallas’ lead down to six, 81-75. Crawford hit another tough shot – a baseline fadeaway – to keep the Celtics within six, 83-77, with just over nine minutes left.
But the Celtics couldn’t keep the Mavericks from responding and building the lead back to 11, 94-83, with three minutes left. Pierce hit a straightaway three with 2:59 left to cut the Dallas lead down to eight, 94-86. Green’s layup with 1:51 brought the Celtics within five, 97-92. The Celtics forced a missed shot by Carter but Knight got the rebound and kicked it to Carter, who then found O.J. Mayo, who knocked down the three to push the lead back to eight, 100-92, with 1:21 left.
Mayo then stole a pass on the next Celtics possession as the Celtics lost their third straight.
The road gets no easier on Saturday night, as the Celtics travel to Memphis to battle the Grizzlies. The Celtics return home for a Atlantic Division showdown with the Knicks on Tuesday night at the Garden.
For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.
|Jason Terry on M&M: Celtics will see Heat in postseason, ‘and it’s going to be be fireworks’||03.22.13 at 2:24 pm ET|
Celtics guard Jason Terry spoke with Mut & Merloni on Friday afternoon from Dallas, where he’s preparing to play against his former team, and talked about the C’s mindset following Wednesday’s disappointing loss as well as his reaction to the LeBron James dunk that made Terry fodder on the Internet.
“I’m going to be fired up,” Terry said of Friday night’s matchup against the Mavericks. “This is a big game for us — not only for me, but for our team. We dropped one in New Orleans, we definitely shouldn’t have lost to them. We’ve got to get back and get things rolling.”
Terry said coach Doc Rivers stressed the need for better focus following Wednesday’s 87-86 loss to the Hornets.
“It’s all about learning at this point, learning how to close and finish ballgames,” Terry said. “Especially when you’re up 10, 15 points. You have to keep it going. We kind of went into cruise control mode. We got lackluster, especially with our execution. We just don’t have that luxury. Rajon Rondo‘s not coming back. So we have to do it by committee and we all have to take ownership and take pride in executing and finishing games, on both ends of the floor.
“We’ve learned from that, we watched a lot of film, and Doc ripped us a new one today in shootaround. So, just expect us to bounce back tonight and be more efficient when we do get the lead.”
Terry was posterized by James in Monday’s loss to the Heat. James later said he enjoyed the dunk because of his personal rivalry with trash-talking Terry. The dunk earned legendary status on the Internet.
“[The way] social media is today, it’s just unbelievable,” Terry said. “But I will say, I did get a kick out of the one when I was in a coffin, laying in the coffin, and the pallbearers were [Kevin Garnett] and Paul Pierce. That was hilarious. It’s all in fun, it’s all in the spirit of the sport.
“But I’ll tell you right now, I would love to see Miami in the playoffs, because the road to the championship goes through the champion. We’re fired up. We love that matchup.”
Terry said his issue is more with the Heat than LeBron. Terry’s Mavericks lost to the Heat in the 2006 NBA finals and got revenge in the 2011 rematch.
“It’s just the Miami Heat,” Terry said. “Is it the red and black? Maybe. I hate that color. I just don’t like them. … It goes back to ’05-06. It doesn’t matter who’s in those Miami Heat uniforms. … [The Mavericks were] up 2-0 and [the Heat] come back and win four straight games and you lose the NBA finals. So, LeBron inherited something bigger than the matchup of he and I. It’s about the Miami Heat and that organization. He picked his poison.
“They put him on me to shut me down in the NBA finals in 2011 and he couldn’t get the job done. Hopefully he’ll have another chance this year in the Eastern Conference finals or wherever we match up. But I’m telling you right now, I love us, I love the way we’re built. We miss Rondo, we miss [Jared] Sullinger, but with this team we have, we have a chance.”
Added Terry: “You know at some point — I don’t want to say that it’s fixed — I think it’s going to happen. We are going to see them, and it’s going to be fireworks.”
|Celtics sign Shavlik Randolph for remainder of season||03.21.13 at 6:29 pm ET|
As they did with Chinese Basketball Association imports Terrence Williams and D.J. White before him, the Celtics signed Shavlik Randolph for the remainder of the season. The deal includes an option for next season.
Randolph has appeared in three games for the C’s this season, averaging 3.3 points and 4.3 rebounds in 12.0 minutes per game. He posted highs of six points, eight rebounds and two steals against Charlotte on March 16.
Randolph played the maximum of two 10-day contracts since March 1, so the team had to make a decision about his future on Thursday. Barring an outright cut, the Celtics roster is set at 15 for the remainder of the season.
|Danny Ainge: Jeff Green ‘deserves to be on the court most minutes’||03.21.13 at 6:05 pm ET|
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge joined Salk & Holley in his weekly Thursday afternoon appearance to face questions about his team’s tough losses to the Hornets and Heat, Jeff Green‘s (lack of) playing time and the NCAA tournament.
C’s coach Doc Rivers, who ripped his team’s performance in New Orleans, only played Green 26 minutes and resorted to another off-balanced Paul Pierce isolation jumper in the 87-86 loss. Even Ainge seemed to have questions about those decisions.
“I think Jeff is starting to prove and has proven to Doc that he deserves to be on the court most minutes of the game,” Ainge said. “Doc needs something off the bench, and I think he’s trying to figure all that out.
“And he will. He’s played Jeff at the 2 and the 3 and the 4 this year, and so I think that last night might’ve been a good opportunity for Jeff to play more at the 2. They had two big guys in there. They were killing us on the glass in the second half. I think in one stretch it was 27-9, and that just shows you lack of effort.”
Ainge stopped himself before including Green’s second-half performance as part of that lack of effort, but he did cite Brandon Bass‘ improved play in defense of Rivers’ decision and eventually blamed the loss on the backcourt.
“I think that last night maybe [we needed] some Jeff at the 2 guard,” said Ainge, who watched Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee combine for eight points in 39 combined minutes, “because our guard play was not good last night.”
While Ainge commended Anthony Davis‘ effort in what he termed “a bad loss” — calling the Hornets rookie “a Spiderman” and “a young, athletic KG” — he also expressed disappointment in his team’s late-game execution.
|Doc Rivers: ‘We deserve everything we got. … We just don’t learn’||03.20.13 at 11:22 pm ET|
Doc Rivers has been here before, and has had way too much experience this year in trying to rip his team a new one after blowing a double-digit lead and losing to an inferior opponent.
As a matter of fact, the Celtics did exactly that against the same lowly Hornets team they lost to at the Garden back on Jan. 16. But that apparently wasn’t motivation enough as the C’s blew a 13-point lead in the third quarter and lost to New Orleans on an Anthony Davis tip-in of an Eric Gordon missed layup with 0.3 seconds left to lift the Hornets over the Celtics, 87-86, Wednesday night.
Rivers needed just one minute, 45 seconds to tear his team a new one after the loss.
“We messed the game up [with] our spirit,” Rivers began. “I thought we thought we were going to win the game when we got the lead.
“I told our guys at halftime, you could see it in the middle of the second quarter. We went from being a solid, just good-looking basketball team, to ‘Showtime.’ And I believe in the basketball gods. When you mess with the game, the game messes you up. I thought we deserved it, I really did.
“I thought we activated them. I thought they were ready to go. You could just see it. We stopped making passes, we started dancing around, stopped defending, laughing. You could see our guys laughing and joking. I told our coaches, I said, ‘The basketball gods will get us tonight at some point.’ And unfortunately, it did. So, I thought we deserve everything we got.
“We don’t learn because we’ve done this three or four times this year and we just don’t learn. It’s disappointing.”
Rivers was asked just one question: Is he surprised this kind of play is coming so late in the season?
“It doesn’t matter at the point of the season, it really doesn’t,” he said. “But, it does get old. You could just see it. And once you do it, you can’t turn it back on. But I thought once we activated them, you could see the difference in the speed, the way they were playing and the way we were playing in the fourth quarter. We were trying to say, ‘Come on, now.’ And I was like, ‘No, you can’t do it now. You turned it off and you turned them on.’ I thought they were in a great place at the end. But we were asleep and we deserved it. I thought we absolutely deserved to lose the game. Whether or not we won it or not, we deserved to lose the game.”
For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.
|Stung again: Celtics blow 13-point second-half lead, lose to lowly Hornets||03.20.13 at 10:35 pm ET|
Anthony Davis – the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft last June – tipped in the go-ahead basket with 0.3 seconds left in the fourth quarter to allow the Hornets to nip the Celtics, 87-86, Wednesday night in New Orleans. The Hornets were able to sweep the season series with the Celtics this season. The Celtics could managed just 31 points in the second half and lost their second straight, with road games in Dallas and Memphis on tap for Friday and Saturday nights.
On the final play, Eric Gordon went right on Avery Bradley and drove to the basket. His layup went hard off the glass and the rim. Kevin Garnett and Jeff Green failed to box out Davis, who tipped in the miss. The play was reviewed on replay but was upheld. A final shot by Garnett was off the mark and wouldn’t have counted.
Paul Pierce scored a game-high 28 points while Garnett returned to action after a two-game absence to add 20 points. Green, who had 13 points in the first half, was held scoreless in the second half.
Green picked up where he left off Monday night, when he scored a career-high 43. Green hit 4-of-6 shots in the first 24 minutes, scoring 13 points from his more customary spot coming off the Boston bench.
Garnett, showing no rust or residual effect from his left leg injury and flulike symptoms, was 6-of-9 from the floor and had 14 points. Pierce added 12 points, as the Celtics used an 11-1 run to build the lead to 12 before settling for a 55-45 halftime lead. Boston shot a blazing 21-of-35 (60 percent) in the first half.
The third quarter was a brutal one for the Celtics. They scored just 12 points and turned the ball over seven times, allowing the Hornets to erase a 13-point lead.
Courtney Lee‘s midrange jumper broke a drought of nearly 4 1/2 minutes late in the third quarter and put an end to an 18-5 run that saw the Hornets come all the way back from a 60-47 Celtics advantage.
The Celtics’ ship continued to take on water in the first four minutes as Ryan Anderson hit a pair of free throws that made it 76-69 with 7:39 left. Anderson hit a jumper to build New Orleans’ lead to nine, 78-69, with 6:25 left.
The Celtics – at one point – were outrebounded 26-9 as the Hornets attacked at will in the paint.
But the Celtics responded with a 10-0 run, including four straight free throws by Pierce over a 20 second span. But Anderson responded with a three with Pierce dunk 3:14 tied the game at 81-81. The New Orleans defense collapsed on Garnett, who found Pierce with 2:34 left. Pierce drilled the three-ball to put the Celtics back up, 84-81.
With just under two minutes left, Brandon Bass followed his own miss and tipped it in to put Boston up, 86-81, finishing off a 17-5 run. Bass got another key offensive rebound on an Avery Bradley missed three with 50 seconds left.
Pierce was called for fouling Ryan Anderson on a baseline three attempt with 35.5 seconds left as Anderson had the chance to tie the game. But Anderson, an 85 percent free throw shooter, missed the first one before making the next two to draw the Hornets within one.
The Celtics caught a break when Green called timeout just before getting whistled for a five-second violation.
Pierce missed a 15-foot fallaway with 17.9 seconds left, giving New Orleans a chance to win the game in regulation.
For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.
|Celtics sign D.J. White for remainder of season||03.20.13 at 2:33 pm ET|
The Celtics have signed D.J. White for the remainder of the season.
White averaged 2.8 points and 1.5 rebounds in just 6.8 minutes over four appearances since originally arriving in Boston from China on Feb. 28. The two sides reached a deal before the C’s had to part ways with the 6-foot-9, 250-pound big man upon completing the maximum of two 10-day contracts.
The Celtics announced “a multi-year contract” with White, and while terms of the deal were not disclosed, it’s likely the team owns an option for the 2013-14 season — much like the contract Terrence Williams signed earlier this month.
The next domino to fall should be Shavlik Randolph, whose second 10-day contract expires on Thursday. Randolph made the trip to New Orleans for the opener of the C’s three-game road trip, indicating the Celtics expect to reach a similar agreement with the journeyman forward.
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