|11.18.09 at 10:40 am ET|
On Wednesday night, the Celtics square off against the Golden State Warriors at the TD Garden. Golden State is a team that has played the Cs close and pushed them on several occasions in recent years. Last year, the teams split the season season series, 1-1, with the Celtics winning the first match-up at home, 119-111, and then losing the second game on the road, 99-89.
A deeper look at the numbers shows that points off the bench for the teams were not a factor. In the first game, both benches scored 21 points. In the second game, the Golden State bench outscored the Cs bench 26-24. This year, in all likelihood, the benches could play a larger role, certainly for the Celtics, given their increased depth and the fact that Paul Pierce’s sore knee has led to some effort to scale back his work in practice over the last couple of days.
Coming off a two-game losing streak, the Celtics are looking to tighten their defense, something they did at practice on Monday. Pierce was seen at Tuesday’s practice, which bodes well since he chipped in 21 points in each game last season.
While the C’s won’t have to worry about Stephen Jackson this year, they will have to contend with Raja Bell and Vladimir Radmanovic, both recently acquired by the Warriors in a trade with the Charlotte Bobcats.
Tip off is at 7:30 p.m. The game will be the final stop on a five-game road trip for Golden State, which is finishing its run of back-to-back games against the Celtics, who come off four days rest.
|11.17.09 at 4:23 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Doc Rivers knows his team hasn’t hit its stride yet.
He also realizes there’s 71 games left in the season.
But still, he, like everyone else, had to watch on Friday and Saturday as the Celtics dropped back-to-back games somewhat unexpectedly to the Hawks at home and the Pacers on the road.
The more alarming loss was Saturday when the weary Celts allowed Indiana to shoot 53 percent from the floor and score 113 points in a loss at Conseco Fieldhouse.
“It’s nothing big,” Rivers said following Tuesday’s practice. “We’ve done a lot of things average and we’re not an average team. When you play average on defense on certain things, and offense, you lose. It’s more of that. It’s nothing earth-shattering. It’s nothing we’re going to panic about. We know we have to get better.
‘To me, the way we’ve played so far, we’ve been a spurt team. We’re not ready yet to be a 48-minute basketball team, that’s just not what we’ve done yet. We’re working on it.’
Meanwhile, one of the Celtics best defenders of the last two seasons ‘ when healthy ‘ has been Tony Allen. The guard has been out with a right ankle injury since off-season surgery but could be getting closer to returning as he is now practicing with the team.
‘He did well actually,” Rivers said. “He moved and played great. He’s moving well. I’m not sure if he’s ready to play yet, honestly. I just don’t know yet because I do think he’s not sure of his injuries. There’s several times he’ll jump and you can see he’s clearly thinking about it and I don’t like putting players on the floor when they’re thinking about it because that leads to something else.’
|11.17.09 at 3:09 pm ET|
Asked if he had any reaction to uproar over Bill Belichick’s decision to go for it on fourth-and-2 from his own 28, Rivers, an avid NFL fan, replied, “You read your team, and if you like your team, you take risks. That’s what you do.
“But you don’t get do-overs in coaching and that’s the difference. Everything else, you get to sit around and talk about it after the fact. In coaching, you make your decision and you don’t apologize for it.”
|11.17.09 at 2:27 pm ET|
Pierce said it was only a slight sprain and he took part in the team’s workout, with coach Doc Rivers giving him an occasional rest on the sideline.
“I got a good response from the last couple of days of rest and I felt good about it. It went smoothly. I went the whole practice and felt really good about it. It was a slight sprain in the knee but normally I’m a fast healer so I felt good,” Pierce said.
Pierce and head coach Doc Rivers expect Pierce to be available and start when the team takes on Golden State on Wednesday night at TD Garden.
“He looked good,” Rivers said. He went half-and-half. We got him in, got him out. He really wanted to do something because he said, ‘I don’t want to go through three days of nothing and play a game,’ which I agreed with. It was more about rest than an injury thing. He’ll be fine.”
|11.17.09 at 12:04 pm ET|
WALTHAM — While the Celtics hit the practice court again today in preparation for the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, the team is involved in discussions regarding a three-way trade to bring power Sacramento forward Andres Nocioni to Boston, according to ESPN.
The deal, on the surface, would seem unlikely as Nocioni, who turns 30 on Nov. 30, is signed through 2011-12 and is owed roughly $20.5 million guaranteed, with a team option for the 2012-13 season.
|11.17.09 at 10:01 am ET|
|11.16.09 at 3:49 pm ET|
WALTHAM — The Celtics conducted an open practice session for one of their sponsors Monday, which allowed the media a window into their mostly closed off world. NBA teams have been conducting practices in private for several years now, usually allowing the last 20-30 minutes to be open for viewing for the press.
That tends to mean a whole lot of watching guys take free throws, but with the open session we were able to see how hard they work on defense, and how loud and vocal the practices tend to be. The Celtics worked a lot on halfcourt situations and it had the same intensity as a regular game.
Paul Pierce (bruised left knee) sat out the session. Doc Rivers said that he shouldn’t have let Pierce play on Saturday against Indiana, but that he let Pierce talk him into it. Pierce tried to sneak on to the court Monday, but Rivers shut him down.
“He’s not going to practice today or tomorrow,”Rivers said. “I told him that after the game. He tried to get on the floor at the beginning, I told him no. he doesn’t miss practices. The only way you can get him to miss is to force him.”
Tony Allen did take part in his first practice since training camp, but he’s unlikely to see game action, unless as Rivers said, “We need him.”
After the session there was ample talk about what’s been going wrong the last two games, and it starts with the pick and roll defense.
“Our pick and roll coverage is the main thread,” Rivers said. “It’s been inconsistent. It’s two guys not just the guy on the ball. It’s the guy guarding the ball who sets the pick. And then dribble penetration. Some of our defensive sets have been very good and then with five seconds left on the clock the guy dribbling the ball gets all the way to the basket and that’s not just the guy guarding the ball.”
Rivers also said that he thought fatigue was a factor. He blamed himself for working his team too hard during practice last Thursday before a set of back-to-back games. “I made a mistake on Thursday,” Rivers said. “We went way too hard in practice. I thought it carried over to our back to back on Thursday and Friday. I thought we could get away with it, and I was wrong.” Read the rest of this entry »
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