|03.22.10 at 11:36 pm ET|
For 22 minutes the Celtics played an almost perfect road game. They rebounded better than Utah, got superior play from their bench and got to the free throw line at a steady clip. All that afforded the C’s a double-digit lead, but Utah was able to slice it back to five by halftime and the Jazz then opened the second half with a 16-4 run in a 110-97 victory, Monday night.
The loss snaps the Celtics four-game winning streak and ends their three-game road trip with a 2-1 record. The Celtics got some momentum back with Friday and Saturday night wins over Houston and Dallas, but the Jazz proved too tough. The C’s return home to the Garden to play six straight games at home against some of the best teams in the Western Conference.
Monday night’s game wasn’t pretty. The two teams have combined for 64 free throws, 51 fouls, and 36 turnovers. In that way it was typical of the last game on a short, but grueling trip.
Player of the Game: Deron Williams was great for Utah with 22 points and 11 assists and Mehmet Okur recorded a double-double with 14 points and 15 rebounds, but C.J. Miles was the biggest reason for Utah’s win. Not even a starter for most of the season and playing big minutes for Andrei Kirilenko, who missed the game with a calf strain, Miles scored 23 points and was 8-for-16 from the floor before fouling out.
Turning Point: In hindsight, one could feel the momentum shift late in the first half, but the Jazz took control of the game in the third quarter by scoring 11 of the first 13 points. Okur , who has missed time with the flu, made three 3-pointers tin the third that helped give Utah a 73-63 lead.
* The Celtics bench outscored Utah’s 26-11 in the first half and continued to play well in the second. Glen Davis scored 13 points (all in the first half) and Michael Finley and Marquis Daniels picked up the second half
* Foul trouble affected both teams all game. Kendrick Perkins and Carlos Boozer each got two in the first quarter. Boozer and Paul Millsap each have three fouls for the Jazz, while Rajon Rondo got his third right before the end of the half and his fourth a few minutes into the third quarter.
Rondo stayed in the game and tallied his 2,000th career assist with a sweet behind-the-back move that resulted in a dish for a Ray Allen 3-pointer
* With Millsap and Boozer out, the Celtics enjoyed a 21-11 edge on the boards in the first half. Utah had just one offensive rebound and the Celtics have six. But that changed completely over the final 24 minutes.
* Doc Rivers got ejected in the final minutes by ref Ed Malloy. It was the second ejection of the season for Rivers.
|03.22.10 at 10:16 pm ET|
The Celtics won the first two games on their road trip, but after one half in Utah it’s clear that they want the three-game sweep. Glen Davis scored 13 points off the bench and made all seven of his free throws, while Nate Robinson added eight points on just three shots and the Celtics have a 54-49 lead.
The Celtics bench has outscored Utah’s 26-11. Ray Allen scored 10 points and Paul Pierce, who was named the NBA’s Player of the Week, added nine points and four rebounds. It hasn’t been pretty. The two teams have combined for 32 free throws 23 turnovers and 21 fouls.
Foul trouble affected both teams early as Kendrick Perkins and Carlos Boozer each got two in the first quarter. Boozer and Paul Millsap each have three fouls for the Jazz, while Rajon Rondo got his third right before the half.
With Millsap and Boozer out, the Celtics are enjoying a 21-11 edge on the boards. Utah has just one offensive rebound and the Celtics have six.
It’s also been a half of runs. The Celtics opened up a 13-6 lead before Utah came back and scored eight straight. The C’s then ran off their own 8-0 run to take control of the game. Late in the first half, an Allen 3-pointer gave them a 54-42 lead, but the Jazz sliced it to five with a 7-0 run. C.J. Miles and Deron Williams have kept Utah in the game with 13 points apiece.
|03.22.10 at 2:44 pm ET|
The NBA issued the following release on the NBA Players of the Week:
Pierce led Boston to a 4-0 week, with wins over Detroit, New York, Houston and Dallas. Pierce averaged 24.8 points ‘ 6.7 points above than his season average (18.1 ppg) ‘ on .630 shooting in 26.4 minutes. Pierce also added 3.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.8 steals. On March 20, Pierce scored 29 points and added five assists, three rebounds and two steals in the Celtics’ 102-93 win at Dallas.
Gasol averaged 24.8 points on .685 shooting (third in the NBA), 11.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.0 block, leading the Lakers to a 4-0 week with wins over Golden State, Sacramento, Minnesota and Washington. Gasol recorded three point-rebounds double-doubles and on March 16, tallied 28 points, 14 rebounds and four assists in the Lakers’ 106-99 win at Sacramento.
Here is a recap of the week for Pierce and Gasol:
Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics
March 15 vs. Detroit: Posted 15 points, three assists and two steals in a 119-93 win over the Pistons.
March 17 vs. New York: Tallied 29 points and six rebounds in a 109-97 win over the Knicks.
March 19 @ Houston: Totaled 26 points, five rebounds and two steals in a 94-87 win over the Rockets.
March 20 @ Dallas: Collected 29 points, five assists, three rebounds and two steals in a 102-93 win over the Mavericks.
Paul Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers
March 15 @ Golden State: Posted 26 points, nine rebounds and four assists in a 124-121 win over the Warriors.
March 16 @ Sacramento: Totaled 28 points, 12 rebounds and four assists in a 106-99 win over the Kings.
March 19 vs. Minnesota: Collected 17 points, 14 rebounds and four assists in a 104-96 win over the Timberwolves.
March 21 vs. Washington: Tallied 28 points, 12 rebounds and three assists in a 99-92 win over the Wizards.
Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Atlanta’s Jamal Crawford and Al Horford, Cleveland’s LeBron James, Houston’s Aaron Brooks, Indiana’s Danny Granger, Milwaukee’s Brandon Jennings and Phoenix’s Amar’e Stoudemire.
|03.22.10 at 12:09 pm ET|
How many times have you written off the Celtics this season? The official count varies, but there have been at least five times when people have begun writing their obituary.
Jan. 31: Capping off three straight heartbreaking defeats against the best teams in the NBA, the Celtics collapsed in the fourth quarter against the Lakers.
Feb. 10: The All-Star break can’t come soon enough as the Celts sleepwalk through a game with New Orleans.
Feb. 27: New Jersey.
Here they are, back from the dead again, winners of four straight and a Texas sweep. The Celtics defy easy characterization, or maybe they just enjoy making things hard on themselves. Either way, no mater how things turn out in the final month of the regular season, we really will have no idea how they are going to perform once the playoffs start.
They have shown just enough life to encourage optimism among the constant pessimism of the last half of the season, but we really won’t know just how good this team really is until May at the earliest.
CELTICS (45-24, 7-3 last 10)
Points Per Game: 98.8
Points Allowed: 94.1
Differential: +4.7 (8th)
Offensive Efficiency: 107.3 (14th)
Defensive Efficiency: 102.2 (1st)
Pace: 91.7 (21st)
JAZZ (45-25, 7-3 last 10)
Points Per Game: 103.6
Points Allowed: 98.0
Differential: 5.6 (4th)
Offensive Efficiency: 110.8 (6th)
Defensive Efficiency: 104.8 (10th)
Pace: 93.2 (12th)
|03.22.10 at 1:14 am ET|
It has been almost four months since former Celtic Gerald Green signed overseas, and he has been showcasing his high-flying skills internationally.
Green, a member of Lokomotiv Kuban, recently squared off against former NBA players James White and Pops Mensah-Bonsu in the 2010 Gatorade Dunk Contest in Russia. Even though Green always maintained he wanted to be viewed as more just a dunker, he didn’t shy away from his leaping abilities in this competition.
(Warning: Content features music with explicit lyrics.)
|03.20.10 at 10:33 pm ET|
The last time the Celtics played the Mavericks, Dirk Nowitzki scored 37 points and had Rasheed Wallace vowing “retribution.” For three quarters the Celtics held Nowitzki in check, but in the final 12 minutes the most under-appreciated superstar in the NBA began to get rolling.
Nowitzki shot the Mavs back into the game — and a seven-point fourth quarter lead — and the Celtics knew that if they were going to steal another one on the road, they would have to stop him to do it.
Kevin Garnett drew the assignment down the stretch, but he was not alone. Wherever Nowitzki went, help followed. The Celtics allowed open jump shots to whomever wanted one, but wouldn’t let Nowitzki breathe. While he finished with 28 points, the Celtics held him to just one field goal in the final five minutes.
The Celtics did escape with a 102-93 win in Dallas (recap) against a Mavs team that had been 14-2 since acquiring Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood. In doing so they not only completed the sweep of the back-to-back, they also capped off a sweep of the Texas triangle after beating Houston Friday night and San Antonio earlier in the year.
Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo combined for 70 points on 26-for-45 shooting, 16 rebounds and 14 assists. It was the Celtics’ fourth straight win and their fifth in the last six games. It was also their most significant win since beating the Lakers and Portland back-to-back in February.
Retribution? Maybe not, but it was certainly a satisfying win for the Celtics.
Player of the Game: Paul Pierce scored 29 points on 10-for-17 shooting, but it was his last points that were the most important. With the Celtics clinging to a one-point lead, Pierce drained a 3-pointer from the top of they key. He then came up with a steal on the other end and found Rajon Rondo for an easy layup and a 99-93 lead. It was Pierce’s third straight game where he has scored more than 20 points.
Turning Point: After J.J. Barea sank a 3-pointer to put Dallas ahead, 82-75, the Celtics looked like they might be in trouble. But Ray Allen came back and hit a 20-footer and then a long 3-pointer to get the C’s back within two, 84-82. The Mavs are a notorious second-half team and looked like they were about to make one of their patented fourth-quarter runs before Allen’s big shots.
* The C’s opened up a 60-52 lead with a 12-5 run to start the second half, but the Mavericks rallied, highlighted by an emphatic dunk by Caron Butler on Kendrick Perkins.
* Both teams got off to a slow start as the Celtics missed their first five shots and the Mavs missed five of their first six. But things picked up quickly after that and the Celtics took a 30-24 lead after one quarter.
* Jason Terry scored 14 points in the first half. The Mavericks bench completely outplayed the Celtics reserves.
* The teams combined for 26 free throws in the first half.
* Garnett had a strange stat line in the first half when he had eight rebounds and five steals to go with just two points. Garnett missed all four shots that he took, but he appeared to be moving well.
|03.20.10 at 9:09 pm ET|
At the half, the Celtics have a 48-47 lead in Dallas.
Paul Pierce leads the Celtics with 12 points, while Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen each have eight.In the strangest stat line from the first half, Kevin Garnett is 0-for-4 from the floor, but has seven rebound and five steals.
Both teams got off to a slow start as the Celtics missed their first five shots and the Mavs missed five of their first six. But things picked up quickly after that and the Celtics took a 30-24 lead after one quarter.
Pierce scored 10 points in the quarter, but the biggest difference was at the free throw line where the Celtics made 12-of-13 shots and were plus-eight at the line compared to Dallas. The Mavs got up 23 shots in the first quarter, but shot only 43 percent.
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