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Fast Break: Celtics vs. Grizzlies

12.14.09 at 10:52 pm ET
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The Celtics extended their winning streak to 11 games with a 110-105 victory over the Grizzlies in Memphis. They have now won eight consecutive games on the road.

Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 19 points but it was a total team effort. Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo scored 18 apiece, Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins both posted 13, while Rasheed Wallace added 15 from the bench. Rudy Gay led all scorers with 23 points.

Player of the Game: Kudos to Rudy Gay for keeping the young Grizzlies team in this game (7-17 FG, 9-9 FT), but it was veteran Ray Allen who iced the game for the Celtics with seconds left in the fourth quarter.

Turning Point: After OJ Mayo drained a three to cut the Celtics lead to 107-105 in the fourth quarter, the Grizzlies read the Celtics offense and nearly picked off Paul Pierce. However Allen quickly recovered with and drained a three as the shot clock expired to put the Celtics up 110-105.

– The Cs and Grizzlies had nearly identical offensive and defensive performances. The Celtics shot 52.5% FG (40-82) and the Grizzlies shot 51.2% FG (42-82). Both teams grabbed 36 rebounds (11 offensive, 25 defensive).

– The Celtics most noticeable advantage came at the point guard position. They dished 25 assists, 11 more than the Grizzlies. Rajon Rondo added nine dimes to Mike Conley’s four.

– The Celtics won their first Monday night game of the season.

Report: Hudson to be send to NBDL

12.14.09 at 10:21 pm ET
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Celtics rookie Lester Hudson will be assigned to the Maine Red Claws (NBA Development League) in the near future, according to the Boston Herald.

‘€œHe’€™s on a very good team where it’€™s very difficult to get minutes, but that hasn’€™t sidetracked his work,’€ Doc Rivers told the Herald prior to the Celtics-Grizzlies game. ‘€œWe’€™re going to send him down pretty soon to the NBDL for a week or so to get him some games, because I don’€™t like our young guys going these long stretches without playing games. And then we’€™re going to bring him back. I think that will help him.’€

Hudson, who was selected with the 58th pick in the 2009 Draft, has played a total of 49 minutes in 13 games this season. He has been working out with assistant coach and former point guard Tyronn Lue. Hudson has also put in extra time with Rajon Rondo after practice to improve his defense.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Lester Hudson,

Celtics-Grizzlies Preview

12.14.09 at 10:45 am ET
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Poor Allen Iverson. He gets traded from Philadelphia to Denver and the Sixers spend the next two years in the playoffs. He goes from Denver to Detroit and the Nuggets go to the conference finals. He gets waived by the Memphis Grizzlies after one game and the Grizzlies become good? There might be a pattern developing here.

Memphis has won four of its last five and included in that are wins over Dallas, Cleveland and a 28-point victory Sunday night in Miami. The Grizz might not be playoff good, but they probably would be if they were in the East. So, does A.I. get the blame, or does Jamaal Tinsley get the credit? (That was a rhetorical question).

CELTICS (19-4, 10-0 last 10)

Points Per Game: 100.4

Points Allowed: 90.6

Differential: 9.8 (First)

Offensive Efficiency: 109.3 (Ninth)

Defensive Efficiency: 98.6 (First)

Pace: 91.4 (25th)

Likely Starters: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins

Injuries: Marquis Daniels (wrist), Glen Davis (thumb)

GRIZZLIES (10-13, 6-4 last 10)

Points Per Game: 101.5

Points Allowed: 104.4

Differential: -2.9 (19th)

Offensive Efficiency: 107.8 (14th)

Defensive Efficiency: 110.8 (28th)

Pace: 93.3 (12th)

Likely Starters: Mike Conley, O.J. Mayo, Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol

Injuries: Darrell Arthur (Torn pec muscle)

Key Matchup: We’re going to talk about offensive rebounding again. The Grizzlies rate as the NBA top offensive rebounding team and Randolph is the primary reason. He’s getting almost five offensive boards per game — a number that is a little inflated after he pulled down 11 in a game against Oklahoma City last week. The Celtics have done a better job on the boards in recent games, but they will have to keep a body on Randolph. It will also be interesting to see how the Celtics matchup Garnett and Perkins with Randolph and Gasol.

Celtics in a Paragraph: There is no hotter team in the NBA now that the Lakers had to move out of the cozy confines of their home arena and venture out on the road. In their 10-game winning streak Rondo has averaged 14.2 points, 10.4 assists and 4.5 rebounds and has pushed his free throw percentage above 50 percent. That he’s not higher in the All-Star voting is a joke.

Grizzlies in a Paragraph: Speaking of the All-Star game, there was a story in the Memphis paper last week about Randolph getting left off the ballot, which seems ridiculous on its face until you start to take a look at what the bizarre big man has been doing this year. He’s averaging better than 18 points and 10 rebounds and has teamed with Gasol to give Memphis one of the better low-post tandems in the league. At least from an offensive standpoint. Defensively, Randolph and Gasol are not exactly Charles Oakley and Anthony Mason.

What to Watch For: Memphis is no longer a pushover. The Celtics are playing the final game of their road trip before heading home for a nice stretch. Will this be the NBA’s version of the get-away game, or will the Celtics continue their road dominance?

Read More: Celtics, Grizzlies, Preview,

Former Celtic Green to play in Russia

12.13.09 at 10:48 pm ET
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When the Celtics play the Timberwolves next weekend, familiar faces Al Jefferson and Ryan Gomes will return to Boston. But where are the rest of the players involved in the Kevin Garnett deal?

This season Sebastian Telfair is a back up point guard on the Clippers, Theo Ratliff is a reserve on the Spurs, and Gerald Green had been out of professional basketball … until now.

Green has signed a contract to play for the Russian team Lokomotiv Kuban until the end of this season, according to The Hoop. The deal was announced on the team’s official website.

Green, who turns 24 next month, most recently played with the Mavericks last season. He was also a member of the Celtics, Timberwolves, and Rockets in four NBA seasons. Green is best known for winning the 2007 Slam Dunk Contest, although he had been trying to shake the reputation of just being a dunker.

‘€œI just really wanted to stay focused on basketball,’€ he told WEEI.com last season. ‘€œI didn’€™t want the misconception that everybody thinks I’€™m just trying to dunk. Dunking is fun. That’€™s not my skill. So that’€™s one thing I was trying to do, just stay focused on basketball and not really worry about it.’€

Green averaged 7.5 points and 2.0 rebounds per game in 181 NBA contests.

Fast Break: Celtics-Bulls

12.12.09 at 10:30 pm ET
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Another night, another city, another Celtics victory.

The Celtics have played a dozen road games so far this season and they have left town with a victory eleven times. The only time the C’s suffered a defeat on the road was four weeks ago to the day in Indiana. There was no danger of a repeat performance in a 106-80 win over the Bulls on Saturday, and not just because the Celtics have figured out the road game better than every other team in the NBA.

In Chicago, the Celtics not only caught a team playing the second night of a back-to-back, with the night before going to overtime. They also caught a Bulls team in crisis mode. The double digit losses are mounting and it may only be a matter of time before the Bulls start looking for a new coach.

Credit the Celtics with doing what they needed to do and continuing their winning ways on the road, but the Bulls are in big trouble.

Player of the Game: Rajon Rondo. The Celtics point guard has been playing his best basketball of the season and he continued his run with 16 points, 14 assists, seven rebounds and three steals. Every time Rondo and Derrick Rose match up has the potential to be a special occasions, but at this point in their careers, Rondo is clearly the superior player.

Turning Point: If the Bulls were going to make it a game, they needed to make a stand to start the second half. Instead they degenerated in a morass of turnovers, bad shots and shoddy defense. Game over.

* Brad Miller got a little payback on Rondo early in the first quarter when he collared Rondo on a drive to the basket and threw him to the ground, getting a flagrant foul in the process. Rondo had whacked Miller across the face during the playoffs last season, drawing blood. To Rondo’s credit he continued to attack the middle of the Bulls defense.

* Later in the game Miller got into it a little bit with Kendrick Perkins with the duo getting called for a double foul after Miller hooked perk and Perk flipped him to the ground.

* Paul Pierce took a bit of a beating. He hurt his right shoulder in the third quarter and then banged knees with Luol Deng later in the quarter. Pierce stayed in, and showed yet again why he is one of the toughest players in the league, but the Celtics can ill afford to be without Pierce while Marquis Daniels rehabs from surgery.

* The Celtics bench played very well in the first half and increased the lead while the starters were getting a rest. Vinny Del Negro on the other hand worked his starters big minutes one night removed from an overtime win over the Warriors. The second half was fairly predictable.

* Without Daniels, the Celtics don’t really have a second ballhandler. They can get away with it for a while, particularly against teams like Chicago that don’t pressure guards, but Daniels’ loss will be felt at some point.

* All five starters scored in double figures as did Wallace and Eddie House.

Read More: Bulls, Celtics, Fast Break,

Fast Break: Celtics vs. Wizards

12.10.09 at 11:18 pm ET
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A 7-12 record can be deceiving when the team that carries it features Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler, and Antawn Jamison. The Wizards came to play on Thursday night, but ultimately it was the Celtics‘ chemistry and experience that prevailed, 104-102, in Washington.

The Celtics went up 14 at halftime but came out cold in the third quarter. The Wizards went on a 22-6 run to start the second half before the Celtics fought back, 13-2, to end the quarter. With both teams swapping buckets in the fourth, this game could have gone either way. It came down to clutch shots and free throws, with the Celtics ultimately claiming the two-point edge.

Player of the game: After being benched in the first quarter with two personal fouls, Rajon Rondo carried the Celtics to the win. Rondo posted 21 points (10-20 FG), 11 assists, and three rebounds. Six points and three assists came in the final nine minutes of the game. He recorded his ninth double-double of the season. Segue into …

Turning point of the game: With just over a minute to go and the game tied at 98 apiece, Kevin Garnett set a pick that opened up the baseline for Rondo. Rondo got up for a one-handed slam that made a statement and put the Celtics back on top.

Ray Allen scored his 20,000th career point in the third quarter. He now ranks 33rd in career points all-time and fifth among current players behind Garnett (21,601). Click here for more on the milestone.

– The Celtics outrebounded the Wizards, the league’s third-best rebounding team, 40-34.

– The C’s improved to 10-2 both when leading at halftime and scoring 50+ points in the first half.

– All of the Celtics starters scored in double digits. Kendrick Perkins (16 points, 11 rebounds) and Rondo posted double-doubles.

Tony Allen posted eight points and three rebounds in his second game back (ankle).

Read More: Kendrick Perkins, Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Tony Allen

Allen scores 20,000th career point

12.10.09 at 10:04 pm ET
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Ray Allen scored his 20,000th career point in the third quarter against the Wizards. Allen ranks 33rd in career points all-time and fifth among current players behind Kevin Garnett (21,601).

‘€œTwenty-thousand, to me, is a wondrous accomplishment,” Allen said on Tuesday prior to the Celtics-Bucks game. “I think for the most part it’s all about longevity and staying healthy, taking care of my body, being on some good teams. But you think about all the great assists that lead to a lot of those baskets, so it does allow me to reflect on the guys that I played with, the coaches that allowed me to make the game easier, just understanding the game.’€

Allen boasts a career average of 20.8 points per game (44.8 percent FG), 12th among active players.

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