|01.18.10 at 10:38 pm ET|
BOSTON — What started off as a duel between Paul Pierce and Jason Kidd ended as a one-man show starring Dirk Nowitzki. The Celtics crumbled in the second half as the Mavericks went on tear to erase a nine-point halftime deficit and win, 99-90, in Boston.
Player of the Game: Dirk Nowitzki had an impressive first half with 13 points. Then he came out of halftime and crushed the Celtics to carry the Mavs to victory. He was nearly flawless in a critical third quarter in which he shot 6-for-7 from the field for 13 points. Nowitzki continued the assault in the fourth, scoring another eight points to finish with a game-high 37 (14-for-22 FG).
Turning point: Whatever Rick Carlisle said at halftime worked for the Mavericks. Led by Nowitzki, they dominated the third quarter. The Mavs erased the Celtics’ 50-41 halftime lead to go up 75-68 by the end of the third. Aiding Nowtizki was Erick Dampier, who scored his first 11 of the game in those 12 minutes. The Celtics gave up a season-high 34 points in the third and lost all control of the game.
– Paul Pierce and Jason Kidd combined for 19 points in the first quarter. But they both went scoreless in the second quarter (neither attempted a field goal). Pierce finished with 24 points (9-for-17 FG) while Kidd posted 13 (5-for-7) and 17 assists.
– Kendrick Perkins showed a poise and maturity tonight by staying out of foul trouble. He picked up his first personal nine minutes into the game and didn’t get whistled again until six minutes left in the third quarter. Perkins finished the game with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
– Rasheed Wallace posted 11 points (5-for-13 FG) and three rebounds in 35 minutes in his first game back since being sidelined with a sore left forefoot.
– The Celtics are now 4-9 when trailing after three quarters.
|01.18.10 at 10:05 pm ET|
The Celtics and Marbury had a 37-game marriage, starting on Feb. 27, 2009. It ended after the 14th game of the playoffs and a Game 7 loss to Orlando.
“We wanted to move on,” Rivers said of the 32-year-old guard before Monday’s game. “I thought we had him for the right amount of time and if he came back he would have wanted to play more minutes, which I wouldn’t have blamed him for.
“I did not think he was done, no. I thought he still had a lot of basketball left in him,” Rivers added. “I thought someone would pick him up last summer but I don’t think the web broadcast helped his cause at all.”
Of course, that broadcast is the now infamous 24-hour homemade production from last July in his house where he rambled about various thoughts on his mind.
But now, Marbury is focused on heading to China to show he can still earn a paycheck playing the game he loves.
“I hope someone does pick him up and I think he’s going over there to prove he still can play,” Rivers said.
|01.18.10 at 8:28 pm ET|
Doc Rivers has seen plenty of great players in his time as a player and coach in the NBA.
But he says he’s never seen one like Dirk Nowitzki.
What makes the 7-foot big man so special is his ability to roam the court like a guard.
“I don’t think there’s ever been a player like Dirk, honestly,” Rivers said. “He’s a rare [player]. He’s literally an original. There’s been seven-footers who can shoot, there’s been seven-footers who can pass but there’s been none who can do all of them.”
“I was laughing with Reggie Miller,” Rivers said. “They’re running plays for Dirk that we run for Ray Allen and teams [used to] run for Reggie Miller. Bringing him off triple-screens. You just haven’t seen that. The next coming of that would be the kid in Oklahoma, [Kevin] Durant. They’re the only two guys like that.”
Rasheed Wallace picked a heckuva time to come back after a three-game hiatus with a sore left foot. He had the task of guarding Nowitzki.
“I don’t know if this is the perfect game for him to come back and face Dirk Nowitzki,” Rivers said. “That’s a tall order but that’s the order we have and he’s got to follow through.”
|01.18.10 at 7:32 pm ET|
Doc Rivers announced before Monday’s tipoff that both Paul Pierce and Rasheed Wallace were cleared to play against the Mavericks. Pierce banged his sore right knee into the leg of Shelden Williams during Sunday’s practice while Wallace missed the last three games with a sore left foot.
|01.18.10 at 10:30 am ET|
Doc Rivers has a well-deserved reputation as a player’s coach, but that tag is too nebulous to hold any real meaning. Generally a player’s coach is regarded as someone (usually an ex-player) who is in touch with his team’s psyche and doesn’t try to make them bend to his will. A player’s coach allows the team to be the star instead of the system. Just as generally, player’s coaches are praised when things go well for knowing what buttons to push and derided for being too soft when things go poorly. That’s just the nature of the business.
Rivers is hardly soft. He demands a lot of his players and expects them to perform according to the coaching staff’s gameplan. But he rarely airs them out in public, at least not in a way that seems too personal. Perhaps more importantly, he seems to have a handle on when to go hard and when to make things light, as in holding a team dunk contest during practice on Saturday. It’s hardly an exact science and Rivers has, at times, taken blame when he felt that he pushed his team too hard in retrospect.
If he has a criticism it’s that he doesn’t incorporate the Celtics younger players into the lineup and give them a fair chance to contribute. It’s impossible to say for sure if Bill Walker, for example, can ever be a part of the rotation because he never gets a real chance to play meaningful minutes. But in Rivers’ defense, he’s not coaching a team for the future. The Celtics are built to win this season. That’s how he will be judged and everything he does needs to be seen through that prism.
That may be unfortunate for Walker and J.R. Giddens at this point in their career, but it makes sense for Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen and Rivers’ job is to get the best out of those players during the time that he has them on his team.
MAVERICKS (26-14, 5-5 last 10)
Points Per Game: 100.3
Points Allowed: 98.1
Differential: +2.2 (12th)
Offensive Efficiency: 107.5 (13th)
Defensive Efficiency: 105.2 (11th)
Pace: 92.1 (19th)
CELTICS (27-11, 4-6 last 10)
Points Per Game: 100.5
Points Allowed: 93.7
Differential: +6.8 (Second)
Offensive Efficiency: 108.9 (10th)
Defensive Efficiency: 101.5 (Third)
Pace: 91.8 (21st)
|01.18.10 at 10:05 am ET|
Marbury has agreed to play for Shanxi Club of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), the team announced on their website (via Reuters). He will arrive in Shanxi next week.
While no financial terms were disclosed, Marbury reportedly did not request a blockbuster deal because he wants to promote his Starbury line of shoes in China.
Marbury appeared in 23 games for the Celtics last season. He averaged 3.8 points and 3.3 assists.
|01.17.10 at 5:15 pm ET|
The injury, according to head coach Doc Rivers, didn’t appear serious. But it was enough to force him out of the final moments of practice.
“It’s starting to feel better, I hope he’s fine,” Rivers said following the session. Pierce was spotted at the end of practice with ice on his right knee – the same one that forced Pierce to the sidelines for five games around the holidays with an infection.
“He got kneed [in] same exact spot,” Rivers said. “It’s just amazing the luck right now with things like that.”
The team held a full practice on Sunday after his team held a short workout on Saturday that included a skills competition.
The scary moment at the end of the practice comes as the team prepares to welcome back Rasheed Wallace to action in time for Monday’s game against Dallas at TD Garden. Kevin Garnett is hopeful to return on Friday against Portland.
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