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Fast Break: Celtics – Wizards

04.09.10 at 10:13 pm ET
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The first eight minutes seemed like a close game. The rest of the first half looked like the Wizards shootaround.

The Celtics and Wizards were tied, 15-15, with four minutes left in the first quarter. Then the Celtics got cold and, well, to say the Wizards got hot would be an understatement. The Wizards finished the quarter on a 15-2 run to go up 30-17. They outshot the Celtics, 56.5 percent to 30.4 percent from the field. Nick Young ended the quarter with a buzzer-beating three-pointer.

The Wizards went up 38-17 in the second quarter before the Celtics scored at the 7:05 mark, the first time since 2:40 in the first quarter. Even though the Celtics were only outscored by two the rest of the way, they scored a season-low 31 points in the first half. They trailed, 52-31, at halftime.

In the first half, Andray Blatche and Young combined for 29 points.  Kendrick Perkins and Ray Allen led the Celtics with just seven points each. The Celtics shot 30 percent.

The Celtics and Wizards broke even in the third quarter. Both teams scored 23 points off of 10-for-19 shooting. Blatche continued his attack with eight points; Rondo countered with six points and four assists. The Celtics, however, were outrebounded 12-5. The Wizards took a 75-54 lead at the end of the third.

The mood in the Garden shifted in the fourth quarter. The Wizards did not score for the first 2:07 and the Celtics outscored them, 10-3, in the first five minutes of the quarter. They cut the lead to 12, 83-71, with 4:35 left off a Pierce layup before the Wizards quickly pushed the edge back up to 17 off of a free throw and back-to-back baskets.

But just as it seemed like game was done, Nate Robinson exploded for 11 points in 26 seconds (three consecutive 3-pointers and a driving layup). He brought the Celtics within six, 99-93, with 41 seconds to go. But the Wizards held on to their lead at the line. In spite of another trey by Marquis Daniels, keeping the Celtics within seven, the Wiz hit their free throws. Even though the Celtics kept it interesting late in the game, but their dismal first half performance was too much to overcome. They lost, 106-96.

Blatche (31 points, 11 rebounds), JaVale McGee (14 points, 11 rebounds), and Rondo (17 points, 12 assists) recorded double-doubles.

Turning point: The Wizards broke a 15-15 tie to outscore the Celtics 15-2 in the final four minutes of the first quarter. During that stretch the Celtics committed two turnovers and McGee blocked three shots.

Player of the game: Andray Blatche scored a game-high 31 points (15 in the first half) and grabbed 11 rebounds.

– The Celtics previous first half-low this season was 33 points (March 10 against the Grizzlies). They lost that game, 111-91.

Rasheed Wallace was greeted by a mix of boos and cheers from the crowd. He shot 4-for-7 from the field (10 points) and grabbed three rebounds in 20 minutes. Wallace was the highest scorer off the bench.

– In spite of the deficit, Marquis Daniels did not play until 3:28 left in the game. He connected on a three-point play and drained a trey late in the fourth. He had not scored since last Friday against the Rockets (2 points).

– The Celtics are 14-16 when allowing over 100 points.

First Half Wrap: Celtics – Wizards

04.09.10 at 8:44 pm ET
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The first eight minutes seemed like a close game. The rest of the first half looked like the Wizards shootaround.

The Celtics and Wizards were tied, 15-15, with four minutes left in the first quarter. Then the Celtics got cold and, well, to say the Wizards got hot would be an understatement. The Wizards finished the quarter on a 15-2 run to go up 30-17. They outshot the Celtics, 56.5 percent to 30.4 percent from the field. Nick Young (11 points) ended the quarter with a buzzer-beating three-pointer.

The Wizards went up 38-17 in the second quarter before the Celtics scored at the 7:05 mark, the first time since 2:40 in the first quarter. Even though the Celtics were only outscored by two the rest of the way, they scored a season-low 31 points in the first half. They trail, 52-31, at halftime.

Andray Blatche and Young have combined for 29 points. Kendrick Perkins and Ray Allen are the Celtics leading scorers with just seven points each. The Celtics are shooting 30 percent.

Celtics waive Landry

04.09.10 at 2:48 pm ET
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The Celtics announced Friday afternoon that they have decided to waive Marcus Landry, who was the other part of the return from the Knicks in the Nate Robinson trade.

Landry played in just one game for the Celtics and didn’t score in three minutes. He was allocated to the Maine Red Claws in the NBA Development League where he averaged 11 points and four rebounds in 13 games. The Celtics recalled him over the weekend after the Red Claws failed to make the playoffs, but there was no role for him with the team.

An undrafted free agent out of Wisconsin, Landry made the Knicks roster as training camp invite. Landry understood that his spot with the Celtics was far from secure.

“I would love to be back in Boston,” he said in March after he had been assigned to the Red Claws. “It’€™s a great team. But you never know the outcome of the situation.”

The Celtics will go into the playoffs with 13 players on their roster.

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Preview: Celtics-Wizards

04.09.10 at 10:49 am ET
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It is now open season on Rasheed Wallace after Bill Simmons ripped him apart in an ESPN column. It’s convenient to blame all the Celtics woes on Wallace, who has not played well at all this season, and most of Simmon’s critique was completely fair.

The subtext to everything is that Wallace has somehow infected the Celtics with his own unique blend of overconfidence and laissez-faire attitude. That’s both impossible to prove and equally as difficult to disprove.

Wallace isn’t responsible for Ray Allen’s inconsistent shooting in the first half of the season, Kevin Garnett’s limited mobility or Paul Pierce’s long list of injuries. There are many reasons for the Celtics lackluster play and Wallace has certainly contributed to a lot of it with his beyond-awful 3-point shooting, shoddy rebounding and wayward attention to help-side defense

What we do know is that Wallace hasn’t left himself any wiggle room. The only way he escapes this season without any further damage to his reputation is if he plays lights out in the playoffs. The same could be said for the rest of the Celtics.

WIZARDS (24-54, 4-6 last 10)

Points Per Game: 96.0

Points Allowed: 100.9

Differential: -4.9 (26th)

Offensive Efficiency: 104.0 (25th)

Defensive Efficiency: 109.3 (18th)

Pace: 91.6 (21st)

Likely Starters: Shaun Livingston, Mike Miller, Nick Young, Fabricio Oberto, Andray Blatche

Injuries: Randy Foye (Wrist), Josh Howard (Knee), Quinton Ross (Back)

CELTICS (49-29, 5-5 last 10)

Points Per Game: 99.3

Points Allowed: 95.3

Differential: +4.0 (10th)

Offensive Efficiency: 107.7 (15th)

Defensive Efficiency: 103.3 (4th)

Pace: 91.8 (20th)

Likely Starters: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins

Injuries: None. Read the rest of this entry »

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Rondo talks winning in cover story

04.08.10 at 11:17 pm ET
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This month Rajon Rondo is featured on the cover of Dime Magazine, his first national cover story. Rondo discusses his competitive nature, dedication to winning, and drive to be the best. Check out a video from the photo shoot and excerpts from the article:

On staying hungry: ‘€œAfter I won the first ring, I just wanted to get another one. Stay hungry and never settle. Most people don’t get to experience that feeling, so I want to try and feel that way again. Especially with the team that we have, most people can’t say that they can compete each year for a ring, and for the last three years, we’ve been able to contend. Might as well seize the opportunity while I can.”

On inspiring work ethics: ‘€œNow, KG. Actually, KG and Ray. They’re future Hall of Famers. And right now as we speak, you know they’re down there working out. They never settle, so why should I? I’ve accomplished nowhere near what they’ve accomplished. They’re perennial All-Stars. That’s one of my goals as I continue getting better.”

On being the best: ‘€œWhat makes me want to keep getting better is that I just love being the best. I know other point guards like Deron Williams and Chris Paul aren’t settling; Steve Nash continues to get better as he gets older. I’m in love with trying to be the best person I can be, the best player on the court, the best point guard in the league.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Rajon Rondo,

Rivers on D&C: Rest is more important

04.08.10 at 10:06 am ET
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Celtics coach Doc Rivers joined the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning to talk about how his team is playing, whether he had a problem with Tony Allen or Rasheed Wallace’s actions in the Cleveland game and how hard he’s going to push for the third spot in the Eastern Conference.

Let’s talk about last night’s game [against Toronto]. You’ve been up and down, that was the good Celtics team?

I liked it. We didn’t use a lot of minutes with guys, which was really good. Michael Finley was absolutely terrific last night. You get a performance like that off your bench, especially in the fourth quarter where you can afford to not play Paul Pierce in the fourth quarter, at this point in the season that’s good.

Going back to Sunday, the Cleveland game. How big was that game?

I’ll put it like this. I didn’t think going into the game that it was a desperate game. I felt that once we got the big lead and Cleveland made the charge, then it became a desperate game. It turned into a desperate game because of the way the game it transpired. It worked out that way and obviously we won the game, so that was good.

I didn’t feel that way going into it. I just felt the way we played for three quarters we could have beaten anyone, and we showed that. And then we stopped playing. They made an unbelievable run, or LeBron [James] made an unbelievable run and then you felt like we have to get this win somehow.

Did you have an issue with the way Tony Allen handled himself at the end of the game [with James]?

I really didn’t because I don’t think Tony started that. I think LeBron said something to Tony and Tony responded. Basically what Tony was saying is, “I don’t care who you are.” He said it in more colorful words, but I don’t think Tony Really started that talk. I don’t mind a guy not backing down. And Tony will never back down.

What about Rasheed? Should he have backed down?

I don’t know what exactly happened with Rasheed. I know he felt the official said something to him. Once that happened I could see that Rasheed was not coming back, let’s say. Once you get to that stage where you’re emotionally over the line. Usually when our players go up to him when he starts going off on officials, he backs away from the players. Once I saw where he was at with our own players and then with me, I knew we just had to get him out of the game, sit him down and play him another day.

I waited until the next day and Rasheed understands the next day those are things that he can’t do, that he shouldn’t do. But he can’t himself  and unfortunately that was one of them. Read the rest of this entry »

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Fast Break: C’s right ship

04.07.10 at 9:30 pm ET
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No matter how much they insist that the regular season is meaningless from here on out, the Celtics needed a win Wednesday night against the Raptors. They needed one because of the way they played against the Knicks on Tuesday and they needed one because if they are going to go into the playoffs with any kind of momentum it has to start somewhere.

They might have needed a win, but that doesn’t mean they played like it. For two and a half quarters it was the same Celtics team we’ve seen over the last few weeks. They were fine offensively, but the defense lacked the ability or focus to get stops. That all changed late in the third quarter and the C’s were able to ride a strong effort from their reserves to a 115-104 win over Toronto.

They did it despite sitting Paul Pierce and Kendrick Perkins for major stretches of the second half. Michael Finley scored 14 points and had six rebounds in 23 minutes of action and Rasheed Wallace and Glen Davis also checked in with 20+ minute evenings.

The Celtics had five players score in double figures, led by Rajon Rondo with 21 points and Kevin Garnett had 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting. They shot 56 percent and held the Raptors to under 50 percent shooting on the defensive end. It was a good win for the Celtics, and maybe even a necessary win.

Player of the Game: Rajon Rondo’s night started poorly but ended spectacularly. He had four turnovers in the first half, but didn’t commit another in the second. That was as big a factor in the win as his 21 points, seven assists and five rebounds.

Turning Point: The Celtics were nursing a two-point lead midway through the third quarter when Doc Rivers went to his bench. The reserves pushed the lead to double-digits

* Sonny Weems had a career half for Toronto with 17 points on 7-for-9 shooting in the first 24 minutes, but he scored just four points the rest of the way.

* Ray Allen had 18 points, including a gorgeous behind the back move for a layup.

* Marquis Daniels and Nate Robinson both did not play rotation minutes again and Tony Allen was the nominal backup point guard.

* As expected, Chris Bosh did not play for the Raptors. He had surgery to repair a facial fracture after he caught an elbow from Cleveland’€™s Antawn Jamison in their game Tuesday. It is unlikely that Bosh will play again during the regular season. He will be a free agent this summer.

* It got worse for the Raptors as Hedo Turkoglu was inadvertently hit in the face by Tony Allen late in the first quarter and had to leave the game. He did not return and is listed as questionable with a nasal contusion.

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