|02.23.10 at 8:37 pm ET|
At the half, the Celtics have a 64-60 lead. After a red-hot start, the Celtics second unit did their part in maintaining a double-digit lead. But when the starters returned, the lead evaporated in a 13-0 New York run.
Newly acquired point guard Sergio Rodriguez was instrumental to the Knicks surge with 10 points, four rebounds and five assists. His counterpart, Rajon Rondo is also on his way to a possible triple-double with 12 points, four rebounds and seven assists. Rondo also added an emphatic slam on the Knicks porous interior defense.
Ray Allen’s hot shooting carried over from the west coast trip. He leads the Celtics in scoring with 16 points.
|02.23.10 at 8:16 pm ET|
“You absolutely look and watch on a guy’s past history,” Rivers said of Robinson’s troublesome reputation with the Knicks. “It’s a great indicator of what’s going to be next. And yeah, we look at all that. I also look at his ability and what he can do on the floor. You try to make a decision on what overrides what and then you take your chance. We’ve taken chances on guys and some have paid off and some haven’t but I’m willing to do that. I’ve always been willing to do that.
“I want him to be him on the court and that’s one of the things I said. We didn’t grab you, we didn’t want you for the things you haven’t done. We grabbed you for all the things you do on the court. As far as the other stuff, we’ll see. We’ll see how it plays out.”
The coach said things were so rushed at the practice facility in Waltham on Monday – the only day the coaching staff has had to work with him – they had to have coaches come in to run the offense sets with no defense.
“One practice was [Monday] with no players,” Rivers said of Monday’s workout with Robinson running the point. “We ran our offense with Thibs [defensive coach Tom Thibodeau] at the two and Armond [Hill] at the three and it looked crazy. It looked awful, and it should have.”
Rivers said it would be way too much to expect Robinson to pick everything up on the fly.
“Well, I don’t know what he can grasp,” Rivers said. “That’s something we’ll find out as the year goes on. We gave him way too much stuff [Monday] and we knew that doing it and then afterward, [Tuesday] we’re just going to roll the ball out and just play. I think with a point guard, it’s very difficult to integrate a point guard in your system like this on the fly like this so we’ll do one set at a time for him.
“When he comes on the floor, basically we’ll be a one-set team and it will involve him, trying to create. It’s no secret to play basketball. We’ll figure it out.”
|02.23.10 at 8:06 pm ET|
There was a festive atmosphere before the game with Eddie House, Bill Walker and J.R. Giddens back at the Garden in different uniforms and that feeling carried over to the start of the game. The Celtics looked crisp and and relaxed on offense, even without Paul Pierce who is home with the flu and resting his ailing thumb.
While the Celtics were building their lead, the first quarter belonged to House who received a stirring video tribute during a timeout. The crowd rose for a standing ovation and broke into a spontaneous “Ed-die, Ed-die” chant. House acknowledged the crowd, in turn.
Nate Robinson also received a rousing welcome from the Garden crowd when he checked in late in the quarter.
|02.23.10 at 6:57 pm ET|
“It’s just a hurt hand so we’re just going to go one day at a time,” coach Doc Rivers said. “He’s not even in the building tonight. He has the flu, too. He would’ve played if he didn’t have the hand injury. With the flu, we just told him to stay home.”
Rivers said he was not aware if tests have been performed on Pierce’s right thumb.
“If we have, I don’t know. I’m assuming we have but I actually don’t know the answer,” Rivers added.
|02.23.10 at 6:11 pm ET|
Nate Robinson promised his new teammates and fans that they are going to see a determined player as he begins his Celtics career in Boston. “It’s a brand new start,” said Robinson, who was seated next to Marcus Landry, the other player acquired in the trade with the Knicks.
“I’m just looking to keep my mind free and no detours. I’m on track and not looking for any detours. I’m just going to have my mind focused on the prize and that’s to win games in the playoffs and win a championship and help this team to that by any means, whether I play one minute or 30 minutes, I’m going to be here whenever my number is called, I’ll be ready to play.”
[Click here to hear some audio highlights of Nate Robinson’s press conference before Tuesday’s game.]
Robinson, after missing his first two games with an illness, will make his debut against his former Knicks team at TD Garden.
[Click here to hear Nate Robinson’s opening remarks followed by Marcus Landry’s remarks.]
Here are the highlights of Robinson’s press conference before members of the New York and Boston media. Read the rest of this entry »
|02.23.10 at 10:20 am ET|
When last we saw the Celtics in Boston, they were blowing a huge third-quarter lead against the Orlando Magic and causing nearly everyone to abandon ship. That was on Super Bowl Sunday. Since then, we’ve seen Peyton Manning choke, the United States win 25 medals in the Olympics and Tiger Woods kind of apologize.
Since then we’ve also seen the Celtics manage to win the first three games of a treacherous West Coast road trip (including sweeping the Lakers and Blazers in a back-to-back, which ranks near the top of the NBA in degree of difficulty) before getting blitzed in a first-quarter barrage in a loss against the Nuggets.
In other words, a lot can change in two weeks.
In the games since the All-Star break, Ray Allen has rediscovered his shooting touch, Kevin Garnett has looked more athletic than he has since December and Rasheed Wallace looks like he cares. That last part is a cheap shot, but it accurately encapsulates how a lot of people feel about this Celtics run.
The question is: Are the Celtics capable of turning it on and off whenever they want, and is this what happened over the first half of the season when uneven performances and second-half collapses became the norm? The showed out west just how good they can be even with Paul Pierce dealing with his various injuries. Now they just have to do it consistently before everyone can believe it again.
KNICKS (19-36, 1-9 last 10)
Points Per Game: 100.9
Points Allowed: 104.1
Differential: -3.2 (21st)
Offensive Efficiency: 106.6 (15th)
Defensive Efficiency: 109.7 (24th)
Pace: 94.0 (7th)
Injuries: McGrady (knee, questionable)
CELTICS (35-19, 6-4 last 10)
Points Per Game: 98.5
Points Allowed: 93.6
Differential: +4.9 (4th)
Offensive Efficiency: 106.8 (13th)
Defensive Efficiency: 101.5 (1st)
Pace: 91.7 (21st)
Injuries: Pierce (thumb, questionable) Read the rest of this entry »
|02.22.10 at 10:38 am ET|
‘I think it is [bothering him],’ Rivers said after the Celtics’ loss to the Nuggets on Sunday. ‘You can see it on free throws. I think the thumb, the knee, and the foot may have caught up to him right now, so we may have to look at giving him some rest. I don’t know yet, but on the surface that’s the way it looks like it’s going.’
Pierce was injured during the first half of Thursday’s win in Los Angeles when he was hit by Derek Fisher. Though he played through the sprain, his offensive production has been hampered.
He shot 3-for-9 on Friday against the Trail Blazers, but his struggles were most evident two days later against the Nuggets. Pierce went 2-for-10 from the field and, more noticeably, 1-for-4 from the line. He finished with a season-low five points.
Even though Pierce still managed to block four shots and pick off two steals, he admitted the injury impacted his shot and dribbling. According to the Herald, he said ‘maybe’ when asked if he would miss games to heal his thumb.
‘It’s sore right now,’ Pierce said. ‘It’s affecting my shot a lot. I’m not really even looking to be aggressive with it. I’m trying to do other things to help this ball club, but hopefully in the next few days it’ll get better. There’s some pain when I catch the ball, and it’s really affecting my shot. That’s the reason I’m not as aggressive.’
He added, ‘I try to play off my instincts, and my instincts are shoot the ball. But it’s not the same shot. It’s definitely not. Even my free throws feel weird.’
If Pierce were to sit out, Tuesday’s game against the Knicks would be his best opportunity. The Celtics will need all able bodies Thursday against the Cavaliers.
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