|05.06.09 at 10:40 am ET|
Doc Rivers told the press yesterday that the Celtics Game 1 comeback was fool’s gold, and somewhere Stan Van Gundy is probably saying roughly the same thing to his Magic team about their 28-point lead. Moral victories are for Little League. All we know from Monday is that Orlando got its win and the Celtics have to get one back tonight.
But there are a few left-over pieces from Monday that have been the talk of the town, so let’s dive in.
1. Should Brian Scalabrine start?
Short answer, no. You’ve heard this a thousand times before, but it’s not who starts it’s who finishes in the NBA. Also the fact that Scalabrine can spell Paul Pierce, Big Baby Davis or even Kendrick Perkins in a pinch makes him much more valuable coming off the bench.
The Celtics have a tough matchup with Rashard Lewis. They know it. Lewis knows it. Even the dude behind the basket with the chicken on his head knows it. Scalabrine did a good job in the second half by “doing his dirty work early,” as he said. And by that he meant keeping Lewis from his preferred spot on the floor before he gets the ball. Scal will play. He’ll probably play a lot, but his versatility makes him a better option coming in off the bench.
2. What’s up with Ray Allen?
Not much. Sometimes you just have to give credit to the defensive scheme, and the Magic paid a lot of attention to the Celtics perimeter shooters. ESPN’s David Thorpe nicely captures a moment when J.J. Redick raced to find Eddie House after the Celtics grabbed an offensive board before the ball could be swung back to House.
Allen said after the game that he didn’t get a lot of rhythm shots, which had a lot to do with Orlando’s defense. Look for the Celtics to run him off the usual double screens and work extra hard to get him some space.
3. Will Rajon Rondo attack?
He has to. All the Celtics have to. One of two things will happen when they drive hard to the basket and encounter Dwight Howard. He will either send their shot into the third row or he’ll get in foul trouble.
The Celtics took 26 free throws in Game 1 and all of them came in the second half. It wasn’t the officiating either, as Rivers noted after the game. They were much more aggressive in the final 24 minutes, and if there is a carryover from the comeback it should be the knowledge that they won’t beat the Magic taking jump shots.
4. Will McLovin make an appearance?
I honestly don’t know, but if you haven’t seen this photo yet on Ball Don’t Lie, you’re missing out.
|05.06.09 at 12:04 am ET|
Rajon Rondo had a breakout performance in the first round of the playoffs against the Chicago Bulls. 19.4 points per game weren’t too shabby for a player once considered hampered by a jumpshot. As TNT analyst Kenny Smith explained on WEEI’s Dale & Holley show, he believes Rondo’s early struggles away from the basket have become an advantage for him.
Said Smith, “Well I always thought that when I was playing as a player, I thought that when you played against guys who you thought really couldn’t shoot from the outside and you backed up off of them, I thought that played to his advantage because then one, you gave him passing lanes, two you gave him the ability to take up the space and come at you and put you on your heels, and three how does a guy practice when he really doesn’t shoot the ball well by himself? They feed him the ball and no one’s there. So you’re actually feeding into the things he’s good at and then you make him a stronger player. And I think that teams at times have made him really, really good and then all of a sudden he starts to play good and he becomes great … I think now he’s gotten to a point where he understands how to do this and play at this level. But I really think a lot of times teams play into his hands because they give him shots that dare him to shoot and no one gets to this point in this league, especially at the point where Rondo is, and you can dare him to shoot and they’re not going to make it.’
Rondo scored 14 points against the Orlando Magic in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Game 2 will be played on Wednesday night in Boston.
|05.05.09 at 9:28 pm ET|
And he didn’t disappoint on Tuesday as the media converged on the Celtics practice facility in search of answers to how and why the wheels fell off on Monday night, at least in the second and third quarters.
“It’s just all about our energy and effort,” Pierce said, repeating what Rivers has been saying since Game 1 went into the books for Orlando. “We went into halftime and we really didn’t change anything. We didn’t alter our gameplan, we just everything we were supposed to do a little bit harder. That’s what got us back in the game.” Read the rest of this entry »
|05.05.09 at 3:29 pm ET|
WALTHAM – Down 28 points midway through the third quarter, the Celtics nearly completed the biggest comeback in their great playoff history on Monday night.
But to coach Doc Rivers, that provided no consolation. And he made that much very clear at practice on Tuesday at the team’s practice facility, one day after dropping Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals to Orlando, 95-90, at TD Banknorth Garden.
“Execution was bad, defense was bad, offense was bad,” Rivers said. “And I don’t lean on the fact that we had a chance to win the game. I agree with Van Gundy. I’d focus more on the fact that they were up 28 points. To me, that’s far more important to me than we made a fool’s gold run that got everybody excited. That does nothing for me.” Read the rest of this entry »
|05.05.09 at 10:43 am ET|
Celtics forward Leon Powe underwent successful ACL surgery today, according to a statement from the team. Powe underwent ACL revision reconstruction with microfracture and cartilage repair at New England Baptist Hospital. Powe tore his ACL in the first round against the Bulls. Team Physical Dr. Brian McKeon, Dr. Paul Weitzel, and Dr. John Richmond performed the surgery.
|05.05.09 at 12:54 am ET|
The way Stephon Marbury viewed Boston’s 95-90 loss in Game 1 to the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference semifinals Monday night, the Celtics hadn’t really earned the energy that the sellout crowd was giving them when they started to mount a dramatic, nearly historic comeback from a 28-point third-quarter hole.
“The crowd was great,” Marbury said. “They came ready to do what they were supposed to do. We didn’t.”
What the Celtics didn’t do was keep the game close in the final moments of the second quarter and early stretches of the third quarter. With the game tied, 30-30, Orlando closed the first half on a 24-6 run to take a 54-36 halftime lead. Things were looking really bleak when J.J. Redick drained a three with 8:56 remaining in the third for a 65-37 Orlando lead.
The TD Banknorth Garden crowd was driven into a frenzy in the final quarter after the Celtics converted turnover after turnover by Orlando into either wide-open threes or easy transition baskets. The Green shaved that 28 point lead down to just four, 89-85, on Glen Davis‘ reverse layup with 2:08 remaining. Read the rest of this entry »
|05.05.09 at 12:32 am ET|
“Kendrick did a Kareem shake tonight,” Howard said after the Magic’s win in March. “It shocked me, but that just shows me that those guys have really been working on their game and they’ve gotten a lot better.’
He was just as quick to credit Perkins after the Magic’s victory in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Howard scored just seven points and got to the line once in the second half.
‘They played great defense tonight,’ Howard said of the Celtics. ‘They pushed me out, I didn’t get into a good rhythm. Kendrick (Perkins) kept a body on me and that’s what he’s supposed to do. I have a lot of respect for Kendrick and he makes me a better player, something I look forward to next game. Me and Pat (assistant coach Patrick Ewing) will watch film, see what I need to do so that it won’t be another night like tonight.’
Howard and Perkins will battle again in Game 2 on Wednesday night.