|01.18.10 at 11:52 pm ET|
Dirk Nowitzki ‘ with 37 points on 14-of-22 shooting from the floor ‘ had a great game. Rasheed Wallace thinks he had a whole lot of help from the officiating crew of Tony Brown, Dan Crawford and John Goble.
Wallace didn’t hold back in expressing his frustration following Monday night’s game about a crucial fourth personal foul called on him with 5:16 remaining in the third quarter and the Celtics holding on to a 63-60 lead.
With Wallace on the bench, Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks on a 15-5 run to close out the third quarter, on their way to a 99-90 win over the Celtics at TD Garden.
“You know, they don’t like no tough defense on him so of course I get a whole lot of bull[crap] calls but that’s how the story goes,” Wallace said, before adding, “I ain’t worried about it. We’ll see them again. Honestly, I can’t remember which one the fourth foul was, there were so many bogus [calls]. I ain’t worried about it. Like I said, we’ll see them again. We go down there in about a month or so. There’ll be retribution.”
Wallace and the Celtics will have their chance at payback on March 20 when the Celtics visit Dallas.
|01.18.10 at 11:39 pm ET|
BOSTON ‘ Kendrick Perkins walked into the locker room with a bandage on his cheek. The big man caught an elbow from Dirk Nowitzki while he was trying to block a shot and ended up with six stitches under his right eye.
In spite of the battle wound, Perkins could still see the Celtics‘ problems clearly. They have dropped the past three games at home after giving up a 12-point lead to the Mavericks on Monday night. The Celtics are now 11-7 in Boston this season and 4-6 in their last ten games.
‘We’re not putting together a full game, obviously, so we’re playing in spurts,’ he said following the C’s 99-90 loss. ‘We’re not playing for 48 minutes. The first half was pretty great tonight. Second half, third quarter we gave up 34 points and we can’t do that.’
In addition to blowing a third quarter lead to the Mavericks, the Celtics have been outscored in the fourth quarter in their last four games. They are 1-3 during that stretch, except for a win over the Nets. Extended minutes and fatigue all come into play late in the games. So does the absence of a leader whose intensity is heightened down the stretch.
‘You need Kevin [Garnett], we needed Kevin tonight,’ said Perkins. ‘I think [the Mavericks] match up pretty well with this defense and the way Dirk stretches the court, Kevin could guard guys like this. So I guess we needed him, but we couldn’t do it.’
Even with the bandage under his eye, Perkins has a clear perspective on the Celtics’ recent woes.
‘[It’s been an] up and down season,’ he said. ‘I think we’re playing in spurts during the season so some games we look like a championship team, some games we look pretty old, but we’ve just been playing in spurts.’
|01.18.10 at 10:38 pm ET|
BOSTON — What started off as a duel between Paul Pierce and Jason Kidd ended as a one-man show starring Dirk Nowitzki. The Celtics crumbled in the second half as the Mavericks went on tear to erase a nine-point halftime deficit and win, 99-90, in Boston.
Player of the Game: Dirk Nowitzki had an impressive first half with 13 points. Then he came out of halftime and crushed the Celtics to carry the Mavs to victory. He was nearly flawless in a critical third quarter in which he shot 6-for-7 from the field for 13 points. Nowitzki continued the assault in the fourth, scoring another eight points to finish with a game-high 37 (14-for-22 FG).
Turning point: Whatever Rick Carlisle said at halftime worked for the Mavericks. Led by Nowitzki, they dominated the third quarter. The Mavs erased the Celtics’ 50-41 halftime lead to go up 75-68 by the end of the third. Aiding Nowtizki was Erick Dampier, who scored his first 11 of the game in those 12 minutes. The Celtics gave up a season-high 34 points in the third and lost all control of the game.
– Paul Pierce and Jason Kidd combined for 19 points in the first quarter. But they both went scoreless in the second quarter (neither attempted a field goal). Pierce finished with 24 points (9-for-17 FG) while Kidd posted 13 (5-for-7) and 17 assists.
– Kendrick Perkins showed a poise and maturity tonight by staying out of foul trouble. He picked up his first personal nine minutes into the game and didn’t get whistled again until six minutes left in the third quarter. Perkins finished the game with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
– Rasheed Wallace posted 11 points (5-for-13 FG) and three rebounds in 35 minutes in his first game back since being sidelined with a sore left forefoot.
– The Celtics are now 4-9 when trailing after three quarters.
|01.18.10 at 10:05 pm ET|
The Celtics and Marbury had a 37-game marriage, starting on Feb. 27, 2009. It ended after the 14th game of the playoffs and a Game 7 loss to Orlando.
“We wanted to move on,” Rivers said of the 32-year-old guard before Monday’s game. “I thought we had him for the right amount of time and if he came back he would have wanted to play more minutes, which I wouldn’t have blamed him for.
“I did not think he was done, no. I thought he still had a lot of basketball left in him,” Rivers added. “I thought someone would pick him up last summer but I don’t think the web broadcast helped his cause at all.”
Of course, that broadcast is the now infamous 24-hour homemade production from last July in his house where he rambled about various thoughts on his mind.
But now, Marbury is focused on heading to China to show he can still earn a paycheck playing the game he loves.
“I hope someone does pick him up and I think he’s going over there to prove he still can play,” Rivers said.
|01.18.10 at 8:28 pm ET|
Doc Rivers has seen plenty of great players in his time as a player and coach in the NBA.
But he says he’s never seen one like Dirk Nowitzki.
What makes the 7-foot big man so special is his ability to roam the court like a guard.
“I don’t think there’s ever been a player like Dirk, honestly,” Rivers said. “He’s a rare [player]. He’s literally an original. There’s been seven-footers who can shoot, there’s been seven-footers who can pass but there’s been none who can do all of them.”
“I was laughing with Reggie Miller,” Rivers said. “They’re running plays for Dirk that we run for Ray Allen and teams [used to] run for Reggie Miller. Bringing him off triple-screens. You just haven’t seen that. The next coming of that would be the kid in Oklahoma, [Kevin] Durant. They’re the only two guys like that.”
Rasheed Wallace picked a heckuva time to come back after a three-game hiatus with a sore left foot. He had the task of guarding Nowitzki.
“I don’t know if this is the perfect game for him to come back and face Dirk Nowitzki,” Rivers said. “That’s a tall order but that’s the order we have and he’s got to follow through.”
|01.18.10 at 7:32 pm ET|
Doc Rivers announced before Monday’s tipoff that both Paul Pierce and Rasheed Wallace were cleared to play against the Mavericks. Pierce banged his sore right knee into the leg of Shelden Williams during Sunday’s practice while Wallace missed the last three games with a sore left foot.
|01.18.10 at 10:30 am ET|
Doc Rivers has a well-deserved reputation as a player’s coach, but that tag is too nebulous to hold any real meaning. Generally a player’s coach is regarded as someone (usually an ex-player) who is in touch with his team’s psyche and doesn’t try to make them bend to his will. A player’s coach allows the team to be the star instead of the system. Just as generally, player’s coaches are praised when things go well for knowing what buttons to push and derided for being too soft when things go poorly. That’s just the nature of the business.
Rivers is hardly soft. He demands a lot of his players and expects them to perform according to the coaching staff’s gameplan. But he rarely airs them out in public, at least not in a way that seems too personal. Perhaps more importantly, he seems to have a handle on when to go hard and when to make things light, as in holding a team dunk contest during practice on Saturday. It’s hardly an exact science and Rivers has, at times, taken blame when he felt that he pushed his team too hard in retrospect.
If he has a criticism it’s that he doesn’t incorporate the Celtics younger players into the lineup and give them a fair chance to contribute. It’s impossible to say for sure if Bill Walker, for example, can ever be a part of the rotation because he never gets a real chance to play meaningful minutes. But in Rivers’ defense, he’s not coaching a team for the future. The Celtics are built to win this season. That’s how he will be judged and everything he does needs to be seen through that prism.
That may be unfortunate for Walker and J.R. Giddens at this point in their career, but it makes sense for Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen and Rivers’ job is to get the best out of those players during the time that he has them on his team.
MAVERICKS (26-14, 5-5 last 10)
Points Per Game: 100.3
Points Allowed: 98.1
Differential: +2.2 (12th)
Offensive Efficiency: 107.5 (13th)
Defensive Efficiency: 105.2 (11th)
Pace: 92.1 (19th)
CELTICS (27-11, 4-6 last 10)
Points Per Game: 100.5
Points Allowed: 93.7
Differential: +6.8 (Second)
Offensive Efficiency: 108.9 (10th)
Defensive Efficiency: 101.5 (Third)
Pace: 91.8 (21st)
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