|03.18.09 at 8:39 pm ET|
The Celtics have two key objectives in the third quarter. Get the lead back and don’t foul. It’s tough to play that way, obviously, but that’s the situation they are in right now. Big Baby, Kendrick Perkins and Mikki Moore have exactly seven fouls to play with for the next 24 minutes and the way this game is going that’s not going to be enough.
|03.18.09 at 8:21 pm ET|
There was a Kevin Garnett sighting before the game in the locker room and the injured big man seemed–dare we say it–happy? Wearing workout clothes, KG bounced around the locker room giving Gabe Pruitt a playful hello and making small talk with a few others. (Not media types, of course.)
One way or another Garnett is getting close to a return but Doc Rivers played it cautious when asked about his prospects. Garnett will apparently accompany the team on their upcoming road trip to San Antonio and Memphis, but as he has yet to get back on the court his return is still up in the air. “We’ll see,” Rivers said. “But I wouldn’t count on this weekend.”
One thing is certain. The Celtics are not going to rush his comeback.
|03.18.09 at 8:14 pm ET|
The Celtics were already shorthanded before the whistles started blowing. But their bench became depleted when their big man could not stay out of foul trouble in the first half. The Celtics are in tough shape at the end of the second quarter:
Mikki Moore: 4 fouls in 8 minutes
Glen Davis: 4 fouls in 14 minutes
Kendrick Perkins: 3 fouls in 17 minutes
|03.18.09 at 7:40 pm ET|
|03.18.09 at 7:31 pm ET|
Glen Davis was asked about seven different ways if he was returning from his ankle injury because of all the other injuries that the team has suffered recently, but he wouldn’t bite. “I’m coming back because I can play,” he said.
But then somebody asked him what it was going to feel like to get back out on the court. “It’s like jail,” he said. “I’m ready to get out. Let me out! I’m ready for parole.”
His return is a big relief for Doc Rivers who admitted he had no idea what he can expect from Baby tonight. “We haven’t seen him play,” Rivers said. “So I’m going to start him.” Then the coach laughed . What else could he do?
Baby is off to strong start tonight with four points and three rebounds through the first nine minutes, but the most important number for him is one, as in fouls. With only three big men in uniform (Davis, Kendrick Perkins and Mikki Moore) none of them can afford to be in any kind of foul trouble.
|03.18.09 at 7:15 pm ET|
There are 14 games left in the Celtics regular season, and while it is not within the realm of the likely that they will catch Cleveland in the Eastern Conference race, it is also not outside the realm of the possible that it could happen. Still, it was a little jarring to hear Doc Rivers say, unprompted, that, “we’re not going to catch Cleveland,” as he did before Wednesday night’s tip with Miami.
It was less than two weeks ago, after all, when the Celtics put on such a galvanizing show in beating the Cavs. But then Rajon Rondo got hurt, Big Baby got hurt, Leon Powe got hurt and finally Ray Allen got hurt. “We’ve earned the record that we have,” Rivers said. “We’re not going to catch Cleveland but we have a chance to hold on to that second spot.”
That’s all it is now, a chance. The C’s entered play tonight a half game ahead of Orlando and tied in the loss column for second place, a development that has been as a quick as it has been inevitable. The starting five last night included a player who joined the team at the beginning of the month, two guys who have missed time with injuries and Paul Pierce and Kendrick Perkins. The bench is even more bare as it has Eddie House and Mikki Moore and three guys who don’t play much, if at all.
Not that it’s going to get better anytime soon. Kevin Garnett is not a sure thing to return this weekend by any stretch of the imagination and Allen is “day to day.” Whether Big Baby has anything to give also remains to be seen.
“If we can get through this week somehow and be in striking distance of the second seed,” Rivers said. “That would be great.”
|03.18.09 at 6:34 pm ET|