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Fast Break: Celtics vs. Lakers

02.19.10 at 1:26 am ET
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Danny Ainge made his trade deadline move and, all things considered, it was a relatively minor one. He effectively traded Eddie House for Nate Robinson and while it will give the second unit a different look, it doesn’t do a lot to alter the makeup of this team.

The Celtics hopes will still rise and fall primarily upon the health and effectiveness of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce. To that end Allen looked positively rejuvenated and Garnett looked like the 2007 version of himself in an emotional 87-86 victory over the Lakers Thursday night in Los Angeles.

The Big Three will get at least one more chance to see if they can win a championship together. That’s what they have been asking for the last few weeks and now that the final decision has been made there can be no more excuses. It’s on them to turn it around in the final 30 games and through the playoffs.

Turning Point: For three quarters the Celtics controlled the matchup, but when the Lakers made their inevitable run to start the fourth quarter and turned a nine-point deficit into a four-point lead, the Celtics had a decision to make. They could retreat into a shell, as they have done so often the last few weeks, or they could stand and fight. They chose to fight.

Player of the Game: Ray Allen. It’s dangerous to read too much into a player’s one-game performance but Allen resembled the dangerous outside shooter that he’s been known for being throughout his career. He made his first four shots and finished with 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting. Was he more relaxed after the trade deadline passed? Who knows for sure, but if this is the Allen the Celtics can get night in and night out for the rest of the season, it will go a long way toward making them a serious contender again.

* The game was physical throughout with several big dunks and a few minor staredowns. Ron Artest and Pierce continued their rivalry, Garnett and Lamar Odom exchanged words after a jump ball and Kendrick Perkins and Andrew Bynum battled under the glass.

* The officials let the two teams play for the most and both sides wanted calls in the final seconds of the game. Doc Rivers could be seen asking the refs, “That wasn’t a foul?” after Pierce drove to the basket. On the other end, the Lakers though Allen fouled Derek Fisher’s last-second shot.

* Rasheed Wallace missed nine of his first 10 shots and picked up a technical foul when he tangled with Pau Gasol at midcourt. After several solid outings, it was not a good night for Wallace.

* Kobe Bryant didn’t play for the Lakers. He is battling an assortment of injuries but it’s his ankle that seems to be giving him the most trouble.

* Robinson and Marcus Landry, the other player acquired from the Knicks in exchange for House, J.R. Giddens and Bill Walker did not play. The Celtics had only 11 players in uniform and lost Tony Allen with an ankle injury, but Doc Rivers stayed with a tight rotation throughout.

* All five started scored in double figures.

* Once again Rondo was on the floor for the final offensive possession. The play involved Pierce and Garnett in a high pick and roll, but without House, expect to see more of that.

Read More: Celtics, Fast Break, Lakers,

Third quarter wrap: Celtics vs. Lakers

02.19.10 at 12:44 am ET
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What third quarter problems?

The Celtics came out for the second half and played the kind of inspired basketball that has been missing lately in taking a 76-69 lead. Ray Allen continued to stay hot (10-for-12, 24 points), Kevin Garnett was energetic and aggressive in going to the basket on pick and rolls and Kendrick Perkins provided the emphasis with a huge slam.

The concern for the Celtics remains the offensive boards where Andrew Bynum and Ron Artest  repeatedly burned them for second-chance points.

Another concern is foul trouble as Garnett picked up his fourth foul early in the quarter and gave way to Rasheed Wallace who is in the midst of a 1-for-9 shooting night. Wallace also picked up a technical foul after he tangled with Pau Gasol at halfcourt.

Halftime wrap: Celtics vs. Lakers

02.18.10 at 11:55 pm ET
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At the half, the Celtics have a 53-48 lead. The Lakers grabbed an slim advantage early in the second quarter, but the Celtics were able to build an 11-point lead capped by a thunderous Ray Allen dunk on Shannon Brown. LA came right back, however, led by Lamar Odom who had a big dunk of his own on Kendrick Perkins. Ron Artest leads the Lakers with 12 points.

Both teams will deal with foul trouble in the second half. Allen has three fouls as does LA’s Andrew Bynum.

Tony Allen and Glen Davis gave the Celtics energy, if uneven, minutes off the bench. Both players got on the glass and attacked the basket, but both had trouble finishing. Still, by the time the starters returned to the floor they had given them a 41-34 lead.

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First quarter wrap: Celtics vs. Lakers

02.18.10 at 11:15 pm ET
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The Celtics started quickly with an 11-2 run to open the game, but the Lakers closed the gap in the final minute, leaving the Celtics with a 29-27 lead after one. Rajon Rondo scored eight points and had two assists, while Ray Allen made all four of his shots to finish the quarter with nine points.

The Lakers are playing without Kobe Bryant and repeatedly tried to establish themselves in the post with Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, who each scored points.

Newest Celtics Nate Robinson and Marcus Landry are not with the team.

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Celtics announce the Robinson deal

02.18.10 at 9:02 pm ET
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The Celtics officially announced the deal to acquire Nate Robinson and Marcus Landry from the Knicks in exchange for Eddie House, Bill Walker and J.R. Giddens. Boston President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge lauded Robinson’s ball-handling and scoring abilities, suggesting that he brings sorely needed skills to the team.

“Nate is one of the great athletes in the league and he brings a dynamic scorer to our team,” Ainge said in the release. “We have been seeking a second ball handler capable of penetrating the defense and we believe that he provides that. We love Nate’€™s ability to pressure the ball defensively and we think he can add to our defense as well as our offense.”

Robinson, a 5-foot-9 guard, is currently averaging 13.2 points, 2.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 24.4 minutes per game. The former Washington Husky is also shooting a career-high 45.2 percent from the field in 30 games this season.

Ainge did suggest that it was difficult to part with House, who became a key reserve in parts of three seasons with the Celtics. House was averaging 7.2 points, 1.4 boards and 1.0 assists a game this year. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bill Walker, eddie house, J.R. Giddens, Knicks

Robinson officially a Celtic

02.18.10 at 8:49 pm ET
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The Celtics announced late Thursday afternoon that the long-rumored trade of Nate Robinson to the Celtics was indeed, official. As it was reported earlier the Celtics traded Eddie House, Bill Walker and J.R. Giddens to the Knicks for Robinson and Marcus Landry.

“Nate is one of the great athletes in the league and he brings a dynamic scorer to our team,” Danny Ainge said in the team’s press release. “We have been seeking a second ball handler capable of penetrating the defense and we believe that he provides that. We love Nate’€™s ability to pressure the ball defensively and we think he can add to our defense as well as our offense.”

Ainge also expressed regret over trading House.

“It is tough to see Eddie go,” said Ainge. “He was one of my favorite players to watch and he was a key element in winning the 2008 championship and a tremendous presence in the locker room along with his son Jaelen. J.R. and Billy are two talented young players that haven’€™t had much of an opportunity to play. We thank them for their commitment and wish them well.”

Robinson is expected to take over House’s minutes as a reserve guard. He’s a better scorer than House, although not as good a shooter. Lanrdry, a 6-foot-7 rookie forward from Wisconsin, is not expected to have much of a role for the Celtics. In 17 games he has played just 108 minutes.

Read More: eddie house, Nate Robinson,

Giddens reacts to trade

02.18.10 at 8:43 pm ET
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On Thursday, spoke with J.R. Giddens in an exclusive telephone interview after he was traded to the New York Knicks as part of the Nate Robinson deal.

Giddens averaged 1.0 points and 0.9 rebounds in 3.9 minutes per game for the Celtics over the last two seasons. He recently got his first NBA career start in place of an injured Paul Pierce.

Giddens, who turned 25 last week, has been in Boston rehabbing his left knee (meniscus surgery) and predicts he could play in the next three-to-four weeks, depending on the Knicks’€™ assessment. He expects to leave for New York on Friday morning, and shared his thoughts on his past and present teams:

What was your reaction when you heard you were being traded to New York?

Well I was excited, but it was bittersweet just because I really wanted to do well and show the city of Boston what I could do. But hopefully the Knicks will give me the opportunity.

Why do you think you will be a good fit for Mike D’€™Antoni’€™s system?

As a ballplayer, I’€™ve got to think that I’€™m a good fit in any system. I’€™ve had three different college coaches. Then me being athletic in this system because he likes to run-and-gun and get up and down, I’€™m athletic and I’€™m best in transition. I could really use my athleticism to help them.

How did playing in Boston in under such a big spotlight prepare you for playing in Madison Square Garden?

Well New York is the mecca of basketball and Boston is a championship town and it’€™s so traditional. Both of them are obviously so rich with basketball tradition. Being out here and seeing how people appreciate basketball, it gives you that love for the game, and I’€™ll carry that over to New York if I’€™m given the right opportunity.

Can you sum up your time in Boston — what you learned and what it meant to play for the Celtics?

I learned a lot from a lot of the veterans and just being under the tutelage of Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers. You get to see great leaders and how they prepare themselves every day and just how they approach life. Just seeing Kevin (Garnett), Paul (Pierce), and Ray (Allen), and even guys like (Rajon) Rondo that are coming into their own, I can see how they conduct business every day, prepare their bodies, the preparation they go into every game with. Just as far as the physical and mental aspect of the game, they taught me a lot. And sitting on the bench with guys like Rasheed (Wallace) and (Brian) Scalabrine, Scal talked to me so much and helped educate me on situations in the game and just how to have my mental.

I think that I was like the little brother to everybody out there, so everybody kind of passed on a little bit of knowledge to me. From the head of the organization down, I’€™ve had so many heartfelt conversations with even trainers, ball boys, doctors, some of the veterans, some of the young guys, everybody. When you’€™re a young guy on the team, everybody has some wisdom to give you. So I’€™ve learned so much that I just feel blessed to be in that position. Now hopefully if the situation’€™s different, I can apply that on court in New York or wherever I get my chance.

You must be excited that both Eddie House and Bill Walker will be going with you to New York.

Yeah, I’€™ll still be with those guys and familiar with them, being them for two years now.

What are you most looking forward to about being a Knick?

I’€™m just looking forward to starting fresh and hopefully getting the opportunity to show coach and players that I can help them win games and that I’€™m a good player and somebody that they’€™d like to have on their team.

You have that shamrock tattooed behind your ear. What’€™s next?

With the shamrock, it took me 22 years to get drafted to the NBA and the Celtics were the first team that gave me the opportunity to go on and play professional and follow my dreams and my heart. Every one of my tattoos means something so that’€™s always going to be my first, so the shamrock stays.

Read More: Boston Celtics, J.R. Giddens, Nate Robinson, New York Knicks
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