|01.19.10 at 5:52 pm ET|
WALTHAM — While the head coach and captain were very happy to see Kevin Garnett back at practice on Tuesday afternoon, they tempered their enthusiasm with a heavy dose of reality.
The Celtics have a lot of work to do, even when their defensive MVP returns to game action.
“He looked real fluid,” Paul Pierce said. “He got up and down the court, got him the ball in the post. It’ll be a positive to get him back whenver he comes back. We don’t know if that’s going to be tomorrow, later in the week or whenever. But it just good to have him out there, his presence. You feel it and you see it when he’s out on the court.
“We ain’t thinking about that but definitely we know we’re going to better when Kevin comes back, obviously. He makes a better team on both ends of the court. We have to take care of responsibilities while he’s out. If he’s going to play the next game or not, we still have to go out there and turn this thing around going into the All-Star break.”
Then there’s Doc Rivers‘ attitude.
“When Kevin gets back, we still have to grow as a team,” Rivers said. “The way I look at it, with him out, our growth has been stunted. When he comes back, it’ll continue our growth. It’s not the answer yet. We still have to grow as a team.”
While Garnett looked terrific, his conditioning wasn’t. And that came as no surprise to Rivers, who reiterated time and time again, KG will NOT return to game action Wednesday in Detroit.
“He actually looked really good,” Rivers added. “He played well. His conditioning was awful. That’s why I stopped [practice] because he was going well. I didn’t want to take him to the next step yet. He’ll do some running [Wednesday]. We may do something Thursday, or not, and then Friday, we’ll see.”
|01.19.10 at 3:15 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Doc Rivers sounded like a parent talking to his child.
But he was talking to reporters about his star power forward who he anticipates will beg and plead to return to action on Wednesday night against Detroit.
Rivers told the assembled media Wednesday that, “No means no,” and he insists he will have the same message for Kevin Garnett after his successful return on Tuesday in practice.
The only trade-off was that Rasheed Wallace was given the day off to rest his foot and groin. But Rivers doesn’t anticipate Wallace missing the game in Detroit on Wednesday night.
|01.19.10 at 3:06 pm ET|
WALTHAM — For the first time since being sidelined by a hyperextended right knee, Kevin Garnett returned to full practice on Tuesday. He took part in session, running up and down the court without a noticeable limp.
“It felt good,” Garnett said. “It felt good to be back with the guys today.”
Head coach Doc Rivers said he will not allow Garnett to play on Wednesday night in Detroit when the team plays the Pistons but rather keep him on track for a Friday return when the Celtics host Portland.
|01.18.10 at 11:52 pm ET|
Dirk Nowitzki ‘ with 37 points on 14-of-22 shooting from the floor ‘ had a great game. Rasheed Wallace thinks he had a whole lot of help from the officiating crew of Tony Brown, Dan Crawford and John Goble.
Wallace didn’t hold back in expressing his frustration following Monday night’s game about a crucial fourth personal foul called on him with 5:16 remaining in the third quarter and the Celtics holding on to a 63-60 lead.
With Wallace on the bench, Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks on a 15-5 run to close out the third quarter, on their way to a 99-90 win over the Celtics at TD Garden.
“You know, they don’t like no tough defense on him so of course I get a whole lot of bull[crap] calls but that’s how the story goes,” Wallace said, before adding, “I ain’t worried about it. We’ll see them again. Honestly, I can’t remember which one the fourth foul was, there were so many bogus [calls]. I ain’t worried about it. Like I said, we’ll see them again. We go down there in about a month or so. There’ll be retribution.”
Wallace and the Celtics will have their chance at payback on March 20 when the Celtics visit Dallas.
|01.18.10 at 11:39 pm ET|
BOSTON ‘ Kendrick Perkins walked into the locker room with a bandage on his cheek. The big man caught an elbow from Dirk Nowitzki while he was trying to block a shot and ended up with six stitches under his right eye.
In spite of the battle wound, Perkins could still see the Celtics‘ problems clearly. They have dropped the past three games at home after giving up a 12-point lead to the Mavericks on Monday night. The Celtics are now 11-7 in Boston this season and 4-6 in their last ten games.
‘We’re not putting together a full game, obviously, so we’re playing in spurts,’ he said following the C’s 99-90 loss. ‘We’re not playing for 48 minutes. The first half was pretty great tonight. Second half, third quarter we gave up 34 points and we can’t do that.’
In addition to blowing a third quarter lead to the Mavericks, the Celtics have been outscored in the fourth quarter in their last four games. They are 1-3 during that stretch, except for a win over the Nets. Extended minutes and fatigue all come into play late in the games. So does the absence of a leader whose intensity is heightened down the stretch.
‘You need Kevin [Garnett], we needed Kevin tonight,’ said Perkins. ‘I think [the Mavericks] match up pretty well with this defense and the way Dirk stretches the court, Kevin could guard guys like this. So I guess we needed him, but we couldn’t do it.’
Even with the bandage under his eye, Perkins has a clear perspective on the Celtics’ recent woes.
‘[It’s been an] up and down season,’ he said. ‘I think we’re playing in spurts during the season so some games we look like a championship team, some games we look pretty old, but we’ve just been playing in spurts.’
|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.
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