|02.27.09 at 8:56 pm ET|
The Celtics got absolutely pounded on the boards, 26-14, in the first half which is the biggest thing that stands out from the opening 24 minutes. And yet, they are only down one as we get ready for the third quarter.
THIRD QUARTER WRAP: Despite Rajon Rondo’s brilliance. Despite Ray Allen’s hot hand. Despite solid production from Paul Pierce, the Celtics have some work to do in the fourth quarter against the short-handed Pacers. Oh, and there is some serious tensions between the Celtics and ref Derrick Collins.
It’s all leading to an exciting fourth quarter. Will Stephon Marbury play an important part?
Third Quarter Observations
— It would really help the backup big men’s causes if they learned how to finish around the rim. Both Big Baby and Leon Powe seem to have a tick where they either expect contact or wait for it to come instead of finishing off the play.
— Old NBA wisdom that seems apt this evening. Long road trips don’t end until after the first home game back in town. The Celtics have been gone for almost three weeks and they seem a step slow tonight.
— Leon Powe has put together a nice night so far with 10 points and three rebounds. As I wrote after the Clipper game, Powe’s per-minute production is practically starter level. What keeps him off the floor for longer periods of time (besides playing on a team like the Celtics) is the fact that he averages a foul every six minutes or so. If he can do two things–cut down on the fouls and make free throws at a 75 percent rate–he can have a long and very lucrative career.
— Rondo has 17 assists tonight. Seventeen. Think he might be making a point? (That ties a career-high by the way).
— That was so close to the greatest offensive move Kendrick Perkins will ever make.
— Well, give the Pacers credit for hanging in this one without Danny Granger. They’ve shot the ball much better this quarter and they’re still enjoying a +10 margin on the boards.
|02.27.09 at 8:12 pm ET|
At the start of the second quarter … Celtics 26, Pacers 18
– Stephon Marbury may be Enemy Number One to some Knicks fans, but Celtics fans are quick to embrace him. Marbury received a standing ovation when he checked in late in the first quarter. They followed up with a loud cheer the first time he brought the ball up the court. Mikki Moore received about a fifth of the applause when he made his Garden debut.
– Marbury scored his first points as a Celtic less than two minutes into the second quarter.
– Doc is going with the frontcourt duo of Leon Powe and Moore. The (barely) 6-8 Powe appreciates the move back to power forward. He doesn’t have to guard Shaq anymore, he joked.
– During an early timeout, Doc and assistant coach Tom Thibodeau separately pulled Moore aside for some one-on-one feedback.
– Eddie House is sharing the backcourt with Marbury. Doc likes this combination and thinks it will help House. “In the grand scheme of things, I think it’ll make Eddie a better player because now Eddie can become a shooter almost full time,” Rivers said. “He can run he floor, he can come off picks. The point guards will still probably have to guard Eddie. The two guards will guard Steph together, and I think of all the guys who this benefits it’s probably Eddie.”
– How are the Celtics losing this game? Being outrebounded 23-11 never bodes well.
– The Phoenix Suns were interested in rookie Brandon Rush last summer and it’s easy to see why. Rush has the shot to make an impact of the bench and would have been another scoring option for Steve Nash (who, as the Celtics have exposed twice this season, isn’t the same player he used to be). Rush has 13 first half points.
- At the half … Pacers 49, Celtics 48
|02.27.09 at 7:34 pm ET|
Hey, there’s a game tonight? After all the pregame hullaboo it was easy to forget that the Celtics have a real live actual game at the Garden. I don’t want to say it’s been a while, but the last time the C’s played at the Garden, Kevin Garnett was healthy, Stephon Marbury was still kind of a Knick (although not really) and the NBA wasn’t pulling out $175 million loans.
Against all that, it will be kind of a nice reprieve to just focus on hoops, which we shall do for the next two hours, 20 minutes or so.
FIRST QUARTER WRAP: At the end of the quarter, Marbury was inserted into the game and he received a rousing standing ovation. So far everything for the Celtics is going according to script. They have a 26-18 lead, Indy is shooting 32 percent and Pierce looks strong.
First Quarter Observations
— So, in case you missed any of it. Stephon Marbury is going to play tonight. (see above) It will be interesting to say the least. Doc Rivers didn’t seem the slightest bit hesitant to run him out there, and presumably he is in great shape. There’s the old adage about the different between shape and basketball shape (it’s a lot. Trust me), but Marbury is probably about as well-prepared as anyone who hasn’t played in over a year could be.
— Playing the role of Reggie Miller tonight: Ray Allen. I think he just ran off five different screens to get that 3-pointer. Not that anyone on the Pacers remembers when they used to do that. Whoops forgot about Jeff Foster. OK, there’s one who does.
— OK, I’ll say it. It’s hard to take the Pacers seriously in those electric yellow unis. UC Santa Cruz called, they want their color-scheme back.
— So far Pierce looks fairly solid for having only nine fingers. The Celtics absolutely, positively can not afford to have him miss any time. It’s been said before but it’s worth repeating: Pierce was banged up during the playoffs last year. Forget the knee injury against the Lakers, he was getting mauled on a nightly basis. If there’s anyone on this team that plays well (better?) with pain, it’s Pierce.
— In case any of you were wondering, Marbury is sitting closest to the coaching staff on the bench and during the timeout he was listening intently to whatever Doc was saying in the huddle. And no, that doesn’t really mean anything, but it’s a start.
|02.27.09 at 6:55 pm ET|
Q: How long will it take you to be ready physically?
A: I don’t how long it’s going to take me. I’ve been training the whole summer until now so I’m ready to play basketball.
Q: What kinds of workouts have you done?
A: Lot of lifting weights. Core balance. Stability. And I shot the ball. Just working on my skills. Continuing to keep my game sharp.
Q: (Directed to Doc Rivers) How long before he’s ready?
A (Rivers): We’re just going to throw him out there. Minutes will be determined by the rhythm of the team for one because we don’t have a lot on there for Steph obviously, and then two, conditioning. It’s one thing to play against me in the gym right now and another thing to be on an NBA court.
Q: (At Doc) references PJ Brown who spent the first part of his time with the Celtics on the bench.
A (Doc): It will be more immediate than PJ. One, because we have to with Gabe being suspended today and Tony (Allen) being out. We need bodies. And two, because we have a lot of practice time between games it gives us a chance to do this quicker.
Q: Will he play tonight?
A: (Doc) Yes. If he screws up a play it’s because he doesn’t know it. So he’ll be safe that way. It’s impossible for him to mess up a play tonight. One of the things I told Steph on the court is just be free. Just play.
Q: How were you greeted by the players?
A: Everyone was excited, which I was happy about.
Q: How about being a backup to Rondo?
A: I’m happy just to play basketball again, let alone what my role is. Like I said, I’m just excited as a player. Whatever the coach asks me to do is what I’ll do.
Q: Feelings on putting on a Celtics jersey?
A: I was lit up. The tradition. I felt it. Thinking about the championships and all the guys that played here just speaks for itself.
Q: Did he look anywhere else?
A: I pretty much had my mind set (on coming to Boston). This is where I wanted to be, because they wanted me here. They wanted me to come here and play basketball and I wanted to be here.
Q: How will this impact Eddie House?
A (Doc): I think it will help Eddie because it will move Eddie off the ball. I think the guy it will benefit the most, and obviously this is not right away. It will take Steph time to learn the system and get in NBA shape. But in the grand scheme of things I think it will make Eddie a better player because Eddie can become a shooter, almost full-time. He can run the floor and come off picks. The point guards will have to guard Eddie. The two-guards will probably guard Steph.
Of all the guys (this will help) it’s probably Eddie. And maybe Paul (Pierce) and Ray (Allen) because now we can get them more rest. In my opinion, even though their minutes are down career-wise, their minutes are over the limit that I want to play them. This will give me the opportunity to give them some rest, as well.
Q: What about playing with Kevin Garnett again. Did he think it would ever happen?
A: No, but my mother did. She kept telling me that day would happen. I’m happy about that. Playing with Kevin is going to be a lot of fun. Kevin brings a lot of energy, which I’ve known since playing with him in Minnesota.
Q: Worried about dealing with shooting guards?
A: It doesn’t matter. You still got to play defense.
Q: Do you want to be here next year?
A: If they want me, I’ll be here.
(Rivers): You’re on next year already? Gosh. We’re just trying to get to next week.
Q: Do you have anything to prove?
A: I don’t look at it as something to prove. It’s just an opportunity to go out and play for a championship team.
Q: (To Rivers) Any concerns?
A (Rivers): No. What’s happened before has nothing to do with today and tomorrow. We’ve always had an open mind with everyone who has come in. We’ve done pretty well. I’m not concerned about that at all.
Q (to Rivers) about Gabe Pruitt’s DUI arrest.
A (Rivers): Obviously we’re disappointed as an organization and disappointed in Gabe. He understands the mistake that he made. He’s young and you learn from those mistakes. I told him to protect the family name first. Pruitt. Your mother and father earned that name and earned that reputation and you should always protect that. And two, you’ve got to protect the Celtics name. Fortunately, no one got hurt and it’s probably a great learning experience for him.
Q: To Marbury about his reputation.
A: I’m human. I’ve made mistakes and I’ve learned from my mistakes. I’ve just got to keep on pushing on.
Q: What’s your impression of Rondo?
A: I like him. He’s a really good player. His hands. His hands are amazing. The things he can do with the basketball are amazing.
Q: Did he learn anything from this past season?
A: Definitely. Sitting home watching basketball games and going to basketball games, it was a humbling experience for me. The whole process of going through what I went through this year was a different test for me. Going forward and playing basketball here in Boston is a great way to get (past that).
Q: Another question about his rep.
A: If you know me, that’s one thing. If you don’t know me you’re speaking about me through what someone else tells you.
Q: What he remembers about playing with KG.
A: The excitement that he brought to the game every night. Every day. Playing against him, I believe we always wanted to beat each other. It’s competitive.
Q: Did he look at other teams, or international teams?
Q: On playing in New York?
A: You never know what’s in front of you. Playing in New York was another part of my book. Another chapter.
Q: Anything he’s looking to improve on?
A: I’m not looking to improve my game. I’m coming here to help the Celtics win another championship.
|02.27.09 at 5:45 pm ET|
We are live from a side room inside the Boston Garden for the much-anticipated and heavily-covered Stephon Marbury introductory press conference. The press gathering is fairly large, almost playoff level for this, which was conveniently timed to make the 6 p.m. local news broadcasts.
We’ll bring you the soundbites as they happen because that’s the kind of mobile news-gathering organization we are here at WEEI.com.
Interesting question: When was the last time there was a press conference of this size in February for a bench player? Now, obviously, Marbury is no ordinary bench player. In addition to being a former All-Star he needs his own skycap to carry around all his baggage.
The eyes of the NBA world will be on him to see if he can pull it off, which ought to be incentive enough. And here he is.
Marbury is wearing No. 8. Hello Antoine Walker.
He says he’s been working out since the summer.
Doc says they’re going to throw him out there. They don’t have a lot of stuff in for him. Obviously.
Marbury will play tonight. “If he screws up a play,” Rivers said. “It’s because he doesn’t know it.”
Q: Are you willing to buy into the Celtics system? A: I’m just happy to play basketball again, let alone what my role is.
Marbury says this is where he wanted to be and he didn’t really look at any other teams.
Doc thinks it will help Eddie House because it will move him off the ball.
His mother thought he and KG would play again.
Any concerns about fitting in? Marbury: You just got to watch and wait and see.
Very wise by the Celtics bringing Doc into the press conference with Marbury, by the way. It already makes him feel like a part of the team and Doc is able to deflect any tough questions.
“I’m human. I make mistakes and I’ve learned from my mistakes,” Marbury said.
On this year with the Knicks: “It was a humbling experience for me.”
“I’m coming here to try and help the Celtics win another championship.”
Much, much more coming…
|02.27.09 at 2:13 pm ET|
The Boston Celtics have suspended guard Gabe Pruitt two games for conduct detrimental to the team. Pruitt was arrested on suspicion of DUI on Thursday morning in Los Angeles following the Celtics loss to the LA Clippers. “I recognize that my behavior was inappropriate and accept the consequences of my action as determined by the Celtics,’ said Pruitt in a statement issued by the team. Pruitt is averaging 2.3 points and 8.8 minutes per game this season.
|02.27.09 at 2:05 pm ET|
Stephon Marbury has signed with the Boston Celtics, according to the Boston Globe. Marc Spears reported Marbury will undergo a physical and is expected to attend a closed practice prior to tonight’s game against the Indiana Pacers. It has not been confirmed whether or not Marbury will be in uniform.