|04.13.10 at 11:10 pm ET|
Doc Rivers eyed rest for his team while the Bulls had no time to slow down.
The Celtics weren’t ready to take the night off — the starters wanted to play and they still had a shot at stealing the third spot in the East — but Rivers wanted to keep an eye on Kevin Garnett’s minutes, in particular. The Bulls, on the other hand, needed a win as they tried to snag the eighth spot from the Raptors.
Both teams had something to play for, but only one could come out with the win. On Tuesday night in Chicago, it was the Bulls, 101-93.
The game began with bruises and foul trouble. Paul Pierce was sidelined less than minutes into the game with two quick fouls. Minutes later, Garnett had to receive three stitches above his left eye after being accidentally elbowed at the basket. Even though neither player returned in the first quarter, the Celtics took a 20-17 lead. The Bulls fought back in the second quarter to outscore the Celtics, 27-21, and take a three-point lead at halftime.
The Celtics led by one after three quarters, but the fourth belonged to the Bulls. They jumped out on a 14-4 run to take an 81-72 lead with less than five minute go to. Even though the C’s pushed back within four, Derrick Rose scored 17 points in the quarter to secure a necessary win for his team. The Celtics locked into the fourth seed with the loss.
Player of the game: Derrick Rose scored a career-high 39 points (17 in the fourth quarter alone). He shot 15-for-22 from the field and connected on a fastbreak dunk that is sure to make the highlight reels.
Turning Point:As the Celtics tried to fight back in the fourth quarter, a defensive rebound slipped out of Rasheed Wallace’s hands … and into the Bulls basket. The mishap did more than put two points on the board for the Bulls – it also brought the crowd into the game for their home team.
– Brian Scalabrine (shoulder) was also out.
– The Celtics will wrap up the regular season at home on Wednesday against the Bucks.
|04.12.10 at 2:44 pm ET|
The Celtics find themselves in an interesting position with two games left in the regular season. They will play either Miami or Milwaukee in the first round of the playoffs and they have some control over the outcome, but not total control.
To review: The Celtics sit one game behind Atlanta for third in the Eastern Conference, but the C’s own the tiebreaker. The Heat and Bucks are tied for fifth, but the Bucks own the tiebreaker with Miami.
If things stay as they are the Celtics will open the first round with Milwaukee, but things are not likely to stay the same. That’s because Milwaukee hosts Atlanta tonight [Monday] and then travels to Boston for the regular-season finale Wednesday.
If Atlanta wins, the Hawks can just about wrap up third and almost guarantee a first-round matchup with the Bucks. If not, the whole thing becomes a jumble. The Heat play at Philly Monday and then host New Jersey Wednesday, so if the Bucks stumble Miami had a good chance to climb into fifth.
Which brings us back to the Celtics and whether they should have a preference in a first-round opponent. On the face of things, not really.
Milwaukee and Miami have identical records and have been two of the hottest teams down the stretch. Milwaukee has gone 21-7 since acquiring John Salmons at the trade deadline, while the Heat have won 16 of their last 20. Both are also strong defensive teams who rarely turn the ball over.
But that’s where the similarities stop. The Heat are incredibly reliant on the individual brilliance of Dwyane Wade who leads the team in points, assists and steals. He has also taken almost 500 more shots and free throws than any of his teammates.
The Bucks do not have nearly that kind of star power and they’re best player, Andrew Bogut, is injured and unavailable. Playing Milwaukee seems like the obvious choice, and indeed it may be (Zach Lowe at Celtics Hub makes a strong case here), but let’s examine both sides. Read the rest of this entry »
|04.12.10 at 2:17 pm ET|
The Celtics have been wildly inconsistent in their play this season, and that was no more evident than last week when they followed up a big win over Cleveland with losses to the Knicks and Wizards (with a win over Toronto sandwiched in between). The ugly display against Washington on Friday did not please fans at TD Garden, who booed the Green for their lackluster effort.
“It’s disappointing anytime your home fans boo,” Allen said. “Obviously, nobody on the team wants to lay an egg out there on the floor. It snowballed in the wrong direction. I remember being in the game and it was tied and I came out, and before you know it they went on a run and were making shot after shot and we just couldn’t make a bucket.”
Allen was asked about the high expectations for this team, as the Celtics have had harsh critics all season long despite winning 50 games. He said that in sports, players always think they can do things better. “Even in ’08 when we won 15 games in a row it was like, ‘Well what do we do next?’ And we just keep working and focusing on the process that we are going through and get better,” Allen said. “Even at 50 wins we are really thinking that there is so much room for improvement. Each guy can get better. But there is never room for disenchantment or for anybody to be discouraged. Especially fans and the media, we have an uphill battle for us. Even if we won 60 games it would be an uphill battle [in the playoffs].”
Allen also was asked about the unity of this team, with constant mentioning of team meetings and reports throughout the season questioning the team’s desire. He said that this squad is even closer than the ’07-08 title team, “but the complexity of guys change and I don’t make excuses for anybody, but I know [Rajon] Rondo even more now and I know Kevin even more now. So we are getting to know each other and everybody has each other’s back.”
A full transcript of the interview is below. To listen, click here.
At the beginning of the year Doc Rivers got rid of shootarounds. Has this new system been comfortable for you?
For me, I get up pretty early anyway. Some days when we didn’t have shootarounds I was up taking the kids to school, so I was always up anyway and it didn’t really make a difference for me one way or another. I think we all felt the same way; everybody on the team was on the same page. And body-wise we all had to find a new routine or new rhythm. I know Doc was taking responsibility but for us we take responsibility just as much because we still have to go out there and play when the game starts.
We talked to you early in the season about all the trade rumors. But now with the deadline well past, how do you assess this season? It has been pretty interesting I’m sure.
Guys, that is part of the NBA business I believe. Every step of the way throughout the year you are dealing with some type of situation or scenario, whether it is All-Star Weekend, the trade deadline, or the playoffs. It is just typical business. For me, I have been in this situation before when I was in Seattle. I was in the last year of my contract and they were discussing whether I was going to be traded. So I’d dealt with it before; it wasn’t anything that was new to me. What people were assuming was that it was bothering me, which it didn’t because I have been in basketball long enough to understand how it goes. I knew coming into the season that my contract was very attractive to a lot of teams that wanted to jump into the free agency pool this summer. So that is just part of it. To me, if you look at what we are doing if you are ever around our practice facility ‘ it was unfortunate that Eddie House got traded, we hate to see him go ‘ but nobody talked about it. We didn’t worry about it. Once we were in the locker room we just did our job. Read the rest of this entry »
|04.11.10 at 11:27 pm ET|
Ray Allen has been having the same dream for years. He envisions it in his sleep and carries it with him on to the court.
‘I always, I have this thing in my mind like sometimes when I’m sleeping I dream that I can fly,’ he said. ‘When I’m playing basketball, it always tells myself that I’ve still got great legs, like I still have that lift in my legs. So when I get on the floor, you see a play, you see something happen, you just feel like you can take it, you can make a certain play happened based on getting up there to the basket.’
Allen doesn’t have wings in his dream. He isn’t a high-flying hero like Superman or Iron Man either. Instead he imagines things like soaring over an oncoming car or running with his friends in the air. It can even be as simple as making it home from a park in a single jump.
The dream has a deeper meaning for the 34-year-old than just being able to take flight. To him, it exemplifies the work ethic that he has committed himself to over his 14-year career.
‘I’ve been having that for a long time,’ Allen explained. ‘That’s why when I always wake up, it’s like a great feeling. You wake up and you just know, for me what I do, I get out on the floor and I just feel like I still have that. For me, it translates into my athleticism.’
Athleticism ‘¦ and perhaps some competition, too? Being able to fly also means he can get places faster than those on foot. It’s another asset to put him ahead of the pack.
‘Both. I think it’s more of my competition,’ Allen said. ‘If you think about the ability to train yourself to go work out or to go do something that’s going to give you greater stamina or endurance, that’s what I think it is, is you’ve got to start from somewhere. Like sitting around, you see some guy on TV bench pressing and he has muscles on every part of his body. Most people see that and say man I’ve got to go work out. Like where does your motivation come from? I think that’s partly the competition factor, like I need to get shots up, I need to go get on the treadmill.’
As Allen dreams of winning another NBA championship this postseason, his dreams of flying continue to serve as subconscious motivation.
‘It just always, for some reason, it just gives me great confidence when I wake up,’ he said. ‘It’s like my body feels great. That’s kind of the translation that I make when I wake up. I’m like I feel great, my legs feel great, and now I’m going to work out and get that strength that I need.’
|04.10.10 at 7:55 pm ET|
Rivers has maintained that rest is more important for his veteran team than getting the third seed in the playoffs and with this being the second game of a back-to-back and the fourth game in five days for the Celtics, it’s a good time to get Garnett some rest.
Garnett had played in 39 straight games since missing 10 games in late December and early January. Despite coming off knee surgery in the offseason and suffering a handful of injuries during the season, Garnett has played in 68 of the team’s 79 games.
The Celtics play the Bucks twice in their last three games (they also host Milwaukee in the regular-season finale, Wednesday) and could possibly meet Milwaukee in the first round of the playoffs.
|04.10.10 at 12:12 am ET|
Doc Rivers knows champions are made in the playoffs. So are reputations.
But that didn’t keep Rivers from acknowledging this has been a tough first season for Wallace to endure in Boston.
“Up and down,” Rivers said. “He’s had some good games, some bad games. Bottom line is, he’ll be judged, and our team will be judged, on how well we play in the playoffs. If he has a great playoff run, I don’t think anyone is going to say it was a disappointing Rasheed Wallace. If he has a great playoff run, I think people are going to say, ‘That’s what we brought him here for.’ I think somebody’s going to write that.
“If he has a poor one, then obviously, it’s going to go the other way.”
Rivers said he has moved on from the public argument the two had during the team’s win over Cleveland last Sunday.
“You know there’s going to be days like this and you just get through them and move on from them. I think we all have,” Rivers said before Friday’s game. “You still get back to the type of guy he is when the emotions aren’t around.”
That’s when Wallace did his typical walk back from shootaround to the locker room and teased Rivers with a ‘fire hazard’ comment as Rivers conducted his usual pre-game briefing outside the locker room.
“See what I mean,” Rivers said without missing a beat.
“When emotions aren’t around, he’s a good guy. That’s how you try to get back to it.”
Rivers also said before the game that it’s too early to be concerned with who the Celtics play in the playoffs, even with less than a week to go in the regular season.
|04.09.10 at 11:54 pm ET|
“It’s just hard, especially when we get to the end of the first quarter and we are down, 30-17, and everybody starts to hit – not the panic button – but tries to pick it up in different ways and when it doesn’t come together or you miss some shots, and it doesn’t help when the crowd boos and all these other things then you have to grow tighter together,” Garnett said. “It’s not easy. We know this journey and duration in which we are traveling is not going to be an easy one, and tonight was a difficult one. I wouldn’t say we hang our heads but every individual is trying to figure out what to do and what they can do individually to try to pick it up.’
The Celtics heard it from the TD Garden crowd as the Celtics fell behind by 28 in the second quarter.
“Well, I mean we are at home, we look for our fans to give energy, to give us a spark when the times are tough,” Garnett said. “It doesn’t help when the boos happen but we are a group of veterans and we are a group that is a real team. We aren’t fair weather.”
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