|04.08.09 at 8:09 pm ET|
If point guard play is your thing it doesn’t get much better in the East than Rajon Rondo and Devin Harris. In the first quarter of Wednesday’s game, both players put on a show. Showing no ill effects from his most recent bout with a sprained ankle, Rondo scored 10 points to go with two rebounds and two assists. Harris, meanwhile, was just as effective with seven points and four assists.
|04.08.09 at 7:47 pm ET|
Pay not attention to the presence of Brian Scalabrine in uniform and on the Celtics bench tonight. There is no way he will play tonight. “He can not play,” Doc Rivers said. “If everybody fouled out he still wouldn’t play. We’d just take the techs.”
But the news is slightly more optimistic on the other injured Celtics. Kevin Garnett and Leon Powe will travel with the team to Cleveland, although neither will play against the Cavs, and Rivers hopes both can practice on Monday and then possibly play Tuesday at Philly. The key word there is possibly.
Powe reported that he was able to run at full speed and cut and do agility drills, which had him in high spirits in the Celtics locker room Wednesday night. “So far it’s been good,” Powe said. “We just want to make sure it’s right for the playoffs.”
Garnett was also in the locker room although he didn’t talk to the press (as per usual). Rivers was asked if he would be comfortable playing Garnett without practice time if it comes to that. “That would bother me,” Rivers said. “It wouldn’t bother me enough to sit him.”
Rivers was also asked if he would rest Paul Pierce and Ray Allen next week if the seeding with Orlando was still an issue. The Celtics entered play Wednesday night with one-game lead on the Magic and control of the tiebreaker if they finish tied. “Absolutely not,” Rivers said. “If you can get homecourt, you’ve got to go get it.”
|04.08.09 at 1:02 pm ET|
In promotion of TNT’s ‘40 Games in 40 Nights,’ Turner Sports is rolling out a multiplatform marketing campaign via Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
Just as Paul Pierce and Stephon Marbury have already done, TNT and NBA TV personalities including Craig Sager, Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, Chris Webber, Steve Smith, Eric Snow, Gary Payton, and Rick Kamla will regularly update Twitter pages starting on April 14.
Beginning on April 19, sponsored ads will run on Facebook inviting users to ‘Become a Fan’ of the TNT Facebook page. That same day TNT will also run ads on Yahoo! Sports to promote their playoff coverage. On April 20, YouTube will run videos from NBA players promoting that night’s games.
|04.08.09 at 12:03 am ET|
Season Series: Celtics 3-0
Last time they met: March 4, 2009
Playing without Kevin Garnett, the Celtics gave up a 13-point fourth quarter lead and found themselves down by three with just over a minutes to go. But Ray Allen kicked the Cs into high gear, scoring five points during a 7-0 run. Ultimately it was Paul Pierce’s jumper with 20 seconds left that iced the Celtics 115-111 victory. Pierce (12-14 FG) led the Celtics with 31 points. Vince Carter led all scorers with 34 points (13-21 FG).
Celtics Team Leaders
Scoring: Paul Pierce (20.5 points)
Rebounding: Kevin Garnett* (8.5 points)
Assists: Rajon Rondo (8.4 assists)
Hawks Team Leaders
Scoring: Devin Harris (21.8 points)
Rebounding: Brook Lopez (7.9 rebounds)
Assists: Devin Harris (7.0 assists)
Follow the latest news and updates from the Garden on Green Street.
|04.06.09 at 4:34 pm ET|
It came as a surprise to exactly no one that Michael Jordan was a first ballot inductee to the Basketball Hall of Fame in the voting announced Monday morning at the Final Four in Detroit. And names like John Stockton, Utah coach Jerry Sloan, David Robinson and women’s coach C. Vivian Stringer were hardly stunning either.
“I had a lot to do with that. I guarded Michael, I guarded Stockton, they looked a lot better. I can tell you that. Clearly, first ballot all of them. It’s terrific. Michael may be the greatest player, definitely of our generation, and maybe of all time. Stockton may be the greatest point guard in some arguments,” Rivers said.
But the late Dennis Johnson did not make it.
“That surprises me, I thought he would make it,” Rivers said. “Well, I’m disappointed in that part. I absolutely think he deserves it.”
And a look at the numbers Johnson put up over his 14-year career detail Rivers’ argument. He played in exactly 1,100 games, averaging 14.1 points and 5.0 assists. His numbers were even better in the playoffs. He averaged 17.3 points and 5.6 assists in 180 games, while playing on three NBA championship teams.
Everyone recalls how DJ was brought to Boston in the 1983-84 season, in part, to answer Philadelphia’s Andrew Toney and Maurice Cheeks, and give the Celtics a powerful backcourt influence and provide great defense on Magic Johnson. The Celtics won titles in 1984 and 1986.
But ask Rivers, and he will tell you voters forget what DJ did in Seattle, like leading his team to the 1979 NBA title, earning Finals MVP honors.
“I really believe this, they (voters) only look at him just with the Celtics,” Rivers said. “They forget how great he was with the Sonics. He was unbelievable. He came to the Celtics and they asked him to do what we ask Ray Allen to do, what we ask Paul (Pierce) to do and that is play a role and I actually think he’s being penalized for it.”
NBA.com has a complete bio of Dennis Johnson, who passed away on Feb. 22, 2007 in Austin, TX of a heart attack while coaching the Austin Toros of the NBDL.
|04.06.09 at 3:06 pm ET|
Rajon Rondo continues to battle ankle injuries. On Monday, in the team’s first practice since beating Atlanta on Friday night, Rondo was seen limping off the court after turning his ankle.
Doc Rivers said he wasn’t sure of the severity or which ankle was turned but said he didn’t initially think it was a serious injury.
“He just twisted his ankle, nothing bad but instead of keeping him out on the floor, easier to take him off,” Rivers said.
Meanwhile, Rivers said Kevin Garnett is making progress in rehabbing his strained right knee but not enough for him to return this week.
“I’m just really happy with what we see,” Rivers said. “A week ago there was more concern. This week, less concern. He looks great, he’s moving great. You can just tell the difference.”
Rivers ruled Garnett out from games through next Sunday, meaning the star forward won’t be able to play in the team’s final three games as Rivers had hoped.
“He won’t play this week, Wednesday, Friday or Sunday,” Rivers said. “But he’s going to go on the road with us and start practicing. Actually, our hope is start practicing our entire team on this little road trip, which would be really nice since I haven’t seen them in a while, and I think it’s possible.”
Rivers also said Garnett will travel with the team on its road trip to Cleveland and Philadelphia, with the hope of having the entire team together practicing together. Leon Powe and Brian Scalabrine could also return to action in practice.
|04.06.09 at 2:02 pm ET|
National Championship-Michigan State (31-6) vs. North Carolina (33-4), 9:18 p.m. ET, CBS-TV.
The Michigan State Spartans are unquestionably the darlings of this tournament, if you can be with a 31-6 record and a No. 2 seed in the Midwest Region. They beat No. 1 Connecticut on Saturday and advance to the national title game just 90 miles from their campus in East Lansing. Their official web site proclaims: “One More. Wear White on Monday Night.”
One of the more overwhelming storylines of this Final Four is the boost that a national championship would give Detroit and the state of Michigan if the Spartans could prevail.
Roy Williams, the Heels coach, would have none of that talk on Sunday.
“You know if we’re playing against the City of Detroit and the State of Michigan, they out number us,” Williams said. “We don’t have as good a chance at that one. But the other thing is you guys have to understand, we left here (Saturday) night at 12:45. We went back, we had a nice little snack and some ice cream and the kids went to bed. I saw them this morning at 11:00 for 30 minutes. We haven’t exactly exhausted the state of the nation’s economy in the last 18 hours.
“So for us, we’re playing Michigan State. I do realize they have a cause. Well, we also have a cause. We want to win a national championship, period, the end. And if you would tell me that if Michigan State wins, it’s gonna satisfy the nation’s economy, then I’d say, Hell, let’s stay poor for a little while longer. I don’t think that’s gonna happen. So if all the workers of America come down and start guarding my butt on the bench, then I’ll start being concerned about it.”
Michigan State has certainly been outstanding guarding people and that’s the No. 1 reason they have gotten to this point. They completely took overall No. 1 seed Louisville out of its game, allowing just 52 points in the Midwest final. They never let Jeff Adrien and A.J. Price get into their game in the national semifinal on Saturday. Now, they are playing their third straight game against a No. 1 seed.
Can they do it again against Carolina? Here’s a vote for reality and against storybook finishes. Carolina simply has too much.
Here’s how North Carolina wins its fifth title tonight in Detroit.
1: Depth. When Ty Lawson picked up two quick fouls on Saturday against Villanova, the Heels didn’t panic. When Tyler Hansbrough picked up his third early in the second half, again no worries. The reason for the calm is the number of bodies Roy Williams has next to him on the bench that can come in, bodies that would be starters on most other Division I programs.
2. Ty Lawson. The bum toe of Lawson has not been a factor and the point guard has played his best basketball in the tournament.
3. Outside-in. As Carolina showed in the first half on Saturday, they have plenty of scorers who can fire from three-point range.
4. Tyler Hansbrough. The Carolina big man can match up with Goran Suton. That will be a fascinating matchup to watch.
5. Us against the world. Carolina knows full well what the atmosphere is likely to be. Playing in Cameron Indoor Stadium, in many ways, is harder than playing before 72,000 in dome stadium.
How they lineup:
Morgan, Raymar…… f
Roe, Delvon……… f
Suton, Goran…….. c
Lucas, Kalin…….. g
Walton, Travis…… g
Deon Thompson……. f
Tyler Hansbrough…. f
Lawson, Ty………. g
Danny Green……… g
Wayne Ellington….. g
How they got here:
No. 2 seed Michigan State won the Midwest Regional. Beat No. 15 Robert Morris, 77-62. Beat No. 11 USC. 74-69. Beat No. 3 Kansas 67-62. Beat No. 1 Louisville, 64-52. Beat No. 1 Connecticut
No. 1 seed North Carolina won the South Regional. Beat No. 16 Radford, 101-58. Beat No. 8 LSU, 84-70. Beat No. 4 Gonzaga, 98-77. Beat No. 2 Oklahoma, 72-60. Beat No. 3 Villanova, 83-69.
It certainly won’t be the 98-63 Carolina blowout in the same stadium back on Dec. 3 but Carolina can handle the pressure that the Spartans will throw at them.
North Carolina 76, Michigan State 71