|11.20.09 at 10:47 pm ET|
BOSTON ‘ It took less than three minutes for the Celtics to lose control over the Magic on Friday night. After going up 6-5 with 9:43 left in the first quarter, the Celtics never regained the lead in their 83-78 loss.
Turning Point of the Game: Rasheed Wallace tied the game at 78 apiece late in the fourth quarter but that was as close as the Celtics would get. Carter drained a jumper to push the lead back up to two and the Magic held on to the game at the line.
-Wallace shot 0-for-8 from three-point range. The Celtics as a team shot 2-for-19. The Magic on the other hand shot 10-for-22.
– Dwight Howard averaged 16.8 points, 15.5 rebounds, and 4.0 blocks against the Celtics last season. Tonight he posted 9 points, 15 rebounds, and 3 blocks. His 15 boards were the most the Celtics allowed to one player all season.
– The first half was a tale of two quarters. The Celtics scored season-low 13 points in first quarter. Their previous low was 18 points against the Nets. They gave up a season high-tying 29 points to the Magic, which they also gave up to the Suns. In the second quarter the Celtics outscored the Magic 27-14, one point shy of their season high (28 points against Jazz).
– With this loss the Celtics fell to 1-3 on Fridays, their worst daily record.
|11.20.09 at 8:20 pm ET|
“I’m going to be be more constructive,” Van Gundy said. “I’m not Little Mary Sunshine, but I’m going to work on being less negative. Be more constructive.”
Van Gundy is one the league’s most direct coaches in his dealings with the media, and also one of the most sarcastic. Not surprisingly, that has rubbed some of his players the wrong way over the years. Van Gundy said he would try to work on it after a meeting with star center, Dwight Howard, but he did want to clear up what he said was a misconception about the nature of the sit-down.
“Dwight didn’t come to me about anything,” Van Gundy said. “I went to Dwight and said, ‘What’s going on?’ Why are we not playing with enthusiasm?”
Van Gundy went on to say that Howard mentioned a few things (expectations, injuries) before getting around to Van Gundy being too negative in his assessment of the team.
“It’s not as big a deal as it’s been reported,” Van Gundy said. “I thought it was done in a positive way.”
Van Gundy and Howard had a public disagreement after Game 2 of the Celtics-Magic series last season when Howard campaigned for more touches.
Howard said everything was copacetic between the team and the coach. “I just told him that we need to see more positive than negative.”
Asked for his reaction, Doc Rivers said, “His coaching style is just fine, honestly.” A few minutes before Rasheed Wallace came by and good-naturedly yelled that he and the group of reporters huddled around him were a fire hazard, which prompted Rivers to add, “On this team it’s the opposite. I go to Rasheed and say, ‘Can you be calmer?'”
|11.20.09 at 7:46 pm ET|
BOSTON — Even though Rajon Rondo enters Friday’s game shooting a mere 25 percent from the free throw line, the Magic are not going to give him extra trips to the charity stripe. Just because free throws have been a weakness for Rondo this season that doesn’t mean the same is true for his teammates.
‘With their team you don’t want to foul unnecessarily,’ said Anthony Johnson. ‘Even though maybe he’s not shooting well, Paul Pierce, KG, all the other guys, they’re going to draw fouls.’
In spite of Rondo’s struggle (4-16 FG), the Celtics are still in the middle of the pack around the league. Ray Allen is ranked eighth in the NBA (89.3%) while Shelden Williams and Pierce are both shooting better than 80 percent.
‘If you waste your fouls on Rondo, it’s going to help them as a team get into the bonus and it’s going to give those guys free points,’ Johnson said. ‘So as much as possible we want to keep them off the line, including him, and try to make them make tough shots over the top of us.’
The Magic have a lot more to worry about with Rondo than just free throws. They are without starting point guard Jameer Nelson (knee) and will depend on veterans Johnson and Jason Williams to contain Rondo.
“He’s a guy that plays with a lot of energy offensively and defensively so you’ve got to always keep him in front of you, don’t allow him to really dictate the tempo with his ball pressure and just putting pressure on our defense getting into the paint,” said Johnson. “So we’re going to have to keep him in front of us and not let him orchestrate and make all the big plays.”
|11.20.09 at 1:27 pm ET|
Don’t let Superman take off.
“Step on his launch pad,” Wallace said of his strategy. “He’s a big fella, he can jump. If you step on his launch pad before he can take off and make it a hard shot for him, it’s a 50-50 chance. He going to come with the hook and little jumper, just take that 50-50 chance.”
But just because he wants to make life miserable on Howard’s big feet, don’t get the impression he doesn’t try and help Howard when the two aren’t combatants in the low post.
Wallace actually gives Howard advice on how to become even more of a force than he is now.
“He doesn’t try to brush me off,” Wallace said. “He listens. That’s coming from him being raised well by his mom and dad. I don’t think he’s arroagant. He’s still trying to learn. I think he’s just tipping the iceberg because all we’re seeing right now is him dunking and catching the alley-oops. If he decides to go into the gym and get that little 12-to-15 footer down and they establish a good pick-and-roll with the three guys they’ve got, him and Jameer or him and Rashard, I think they’ll be pretty good.” Read the rest of this entry »
|11.20.09 at 10:20 am ET|
Ray Allen teams up with Wyc Grousbeck and French Lick for the Ray of Hope Foundation benefit at the Lansdowne Pub.
|11.20.09 at 8:40 am ET|
They’re the reason the Green reloaded.
After a Game 7 loss to the Magic ended the Celtics‘ season last year, Boston went into the offseason with a clear objective: Get deeper. The series loss to the Magic exposed a clear weakness within the Celtics team, specifically a lack of depth at the big positions. Boston stormed into the offseason guns-a-blazing, signing Rasheed Wallace and Shelden Williams to give them depth at the bigs, and even grabbing Marquis Daniels to add both scoring and defense off the bench.
The Magic exposed the Celtics’ weaknesses. The Magic played a major role in pushing the Celtics to reload and retool their bench, and now they have to face the beast they helped create.
In a much-anticipated rematch, the two teams will return to the court where they met for their decisive Game 7 just four short months ago, and perhaps some will view this as a chance to start settling a score.
That being said, at this point in the season, a lot has changed between the two teams. For Boston, there are the aforementioned changes to the bench and the return to health of Kevin Garnett. Meanwhile in Orlando, Hedo Turkoglu is out, Vince Carter is in, and Jameer Nelson is back on the shelf. Read the rest of this entry »
|11.19.09 at 10:26 pm ET|
He had to watch from the bench as his teammates lost Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
“I was [ticked] off. Really just [ticked] off,” Garnett admitted following Thursday’s practice.
“I’m not a miserable person,” Garnett continued. “I’m just looking forward to playing them. Obviously, they’re considered one of the best teams. I’m sure we’re going to rate ourselves and grade ourselves on that and try to play better. We’re a team that’s trying to get better so it should be a fun game.”
The Magic are tied with the Celtics with a 9-3, just behind Atlanta for early-season supremacy in the East.
“It’ll be nice to get to play them,” head coach Doc Rivers said. “They’re the team everyone is chasing in the East. They won the championship of the East last year. As far as we’re concerned, they’re the favorite, Cleveland’s the second favorite and we’re the third, based on the results of last year. It’ll be good to see where we’re at.” Read the rest of this entry »
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