|05.02.09 at 3:22 pm ET|
The combination of an injured Celtics team and an athletic Bulls squad ruled out expectations of a sweep in the first round in the playoffs for the defending champs. Even a Game 7 wasn’t that unrealistic considering the Celtics struggles with the Hawks last season. But the road the Celtics took to this deciding game was nearly impossible to predict.
Game 1: Bulls 105, Celtics 103 (OT)
The Bulls stunned the Celtics on their own court with an overtime victory that set the tone for the intensity and unpredictability of the series. Paul Pierce missed a potential game-winning free-throw with 2.6 seconds left in regulation and Ray Allen (1-12 FG) failed to connect on the last shot of overtime for the Celtics. Point guards Rajon Rondo (29 points, 7 assists, 9 rebounds) and Derrick Rose (36 points, 11 assists, 12-12 FT) established a rivalry that will play out in seasons to come.
Game 2: Celtics 118, Bulls 115
Game 2 was a showcase of UConn’s finest. Ray Allen redeemed himself from Game 1 by hitting a game-winning three-pointer with two seconds left on the clock. Ben Gordon scored 42 points, including a go-ahead shot with 12 seconds left, in the Bulls loss. Rajon Rondo (19 points, 16 assists, 12 rebounds) recorded a triple-double. But the Celtics celebration was cut short ‘ Leon Powe suffered a season-ending ACL tear in the second quarter.
Game 3: Celtics 107, Bulls 86
The Celtics got payback for their Game 1 loss by blowing out the Bulls in Chicago. They held Derrick Rose to just nine points while shooting nearly 50% from the field. Ray Allen and Paul Pierce combined for 7-for-12 from long range. Glen Davis posted 14 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, and 6 steals.
Game 4: Bulls 121, Celtics 118 (2 OT)
Ray Allen and Ben Gordon were back at it in Game 4. Allen knocked down a game-tying three with ten seconds left in regulation before Gordon hit a contested trey to force overtime. Game 4 was one by a battle of the benches. Kirk Hinrich and Brad Miller combined for 30 points while five Celtics reserves added just 11. Rajon Rondo (25 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists) posted another triple-double in the loss.
Game 5: Celtics 106, Bulls 104 (OT)
Kendrick Perkins and Rajon Rondo proved there is more to the Celtics than just the Big Three in Game 5. Perkins (16 points, 19 rebounds, 7 blocks) played 48 minutes of foul-free basketball. Rondo (28 points, 11 assists, 8 points) delivered the most memorable moment of the series to date by bloodying Brad Miller’s mouth as the big man drove to the basket for an attempted game-tying basket. Ben Gordon, who was questionable with a strained hamstring, scored 26 points for the Bulls.
Game 6: Bulls 128, Celtics 127 (3 OT)
Emotions ran strong from Game 5 as Rajon Rondo and Kirk Hinrich got involved in an altercation early on. The foul trouble continued for the Celtics and they found themselves without Paul Pierce, Kendrick Perkins, and Glen Davis at the final buzzer. Ray Allen’s 51 points (18-32 FG, 9-18 3PG) were overshadowed by the Bulls triple-overtime win, which was iced with Derrick Rose’s block against Rajon Rondo’s attempted go-ahead shot. John Salmons scored 35 points for the Bulls in the win.
|05.01.09 at 8:43 pm ET|
While the Celtics may have lost Game 6 in Chicago, the epic triple-overtime contest was a huge winner for CSN New England.
CSN announced Friday its highest rating in network history during the Celtics-Bulls Game 6 triple overtime thriller with an 8.2 rating. Game 6 reached an estimated 360,800 homes in New England.
Despite sharing each telecast in New England with a national network, CSN said it is outperforming last year’s playoff run through five telecasts by nearly 10 percent. CSN has averaged a 6.8 hh rating (299,200), which is up 9.6 percent over CSN’s 6.2 playoff average through five Celtics-Hawks telecasts.
During the Celtics-Bulls series, CSN has outperformed the national network by 78 percent 6.8 to 3.8. In game 6, CSN averaged an 8.2 rating (with 360,800 homes) and TNT a 5.2. In Game 5, CSN bested TNT in ratings nearly 2 to 1 with a 6.3 rating (277,200 homes) and TNT a 3.3.
|05.01.09 at 8:24 pm ET|
The two got entangled in the closing moments of the first quarter of Thursday’s night’s Game 6 at the United Center in Chicago, with Rondo throwing Hinrich off his elbow. Hinrich lost his balance and went into the sideline signage next to the Celtics bench.
Hinrich shoved Rondo and both head coaches came onto the floor to restore order. Rondo was assessed a flagrant 1 foul while Hinrich was assessed a technical for shoving Rondo.
Both players remained in the game.
|05.01.09 at 4:41 pm ET|
@paulpierce34: hey guys got my official t-shirts for sale! pick one up, pass me some Celtic karma for game 7 on Sat
Paul Pierce is back on Twitter, this time selling T-shirts on his website, PaulPierce.net, for Game 7 on Saturday. The series of shirts feature the phrase, “We know truth not only by reason, but also by the heart.” Click here for a complete selection of merchandise.
|05.01.09 at 9:38 am ET|
Not surprisingly, the Celtics will not practice on Friday after getting back in the middle of the night from Chicago following one of the most dramatic playoff games in NBA history. The next time the Celtics take the court will likely be a shootaround at their Waltham practice facility on Saturday morning.
The busiest part of the day for the Celtics may be at the ticket office as ducats for Saturday night’s Game 7 go on sale at 11 a.m. today. A limited number of tickets are available at Celtics.com, 1-800-NBA-4TIX or at the TD Banknorth Garden box office.
Game 7 between the Celtics and Bulls tips off at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Garden.
|05.01.09 at 9:19 am ET|
In spite of speculation that Kevin Garnett would return for Game 7, Danny Ainge is ruling it out.
“I’m not planning on him the rest of the season,” Ainge told the Boston Globe via text message.
The Celtics and Bulls will play Game 7 on Saturday night in Boston.
|05.01.09 at 8:37 am ET|
There were rumors of a possible return even before Kevin Garnett decided to hold off knee surgery. There were the conspiracy theorists who believed KG would suit up if it came down to a Celtics/Cavs Eastern Conference Finals. Reggie Miller believed Garnett would return even sooner if the Celtics made it out of the first round.
But now the Celtics are tied 3-3 with the Bulls and elimination is on the line. It was only inevitable that the rumors — remember, nothing has been confirmed — would heat up.
Following the Celtics Game 6 triple-overtime loss, ESPN’s Gene Wojciechowski addressed the issue:
Even more interesting is the rumor, nothing more, that the injured Kevin Garnett might attempt a Game 7 return.
“You must be one of those conspiracy theorists,” said Allen, when asked to divulge any secret Garnett-will-play scenarios.
Allen has acted in movies, but he seemed to play it straight on the possibility of a Garnett return. He said Garnett is “anxious,” but wouldn’t you be if you had to watch Marbury?