|11.27.08 at 1:04 am ET|
When Jamal Crawford faced the Boston Celtics two weeks ago as a member of the New York Knicks, the game was filled with heated tension and hostility. That wasn’t the case with the Golden State Warriors. While Wednesday’s back-and-forth game was a battle, it was simply good basketball in his opinion. Crawford could hardly hide his excitement for playing with his new team.
‘It was a lot more fun because with the Knicks, for whatever reason, we always get into it with the Celtics,’ Crawford said with a smile from ear-to-ear following the Warriors 119-111 loss. ‘But here it’s just fun, we just play, it’s competitive. I thought our young guys came to play tonight. After playing kind of lackluster last night, all of us bounced back and had a chance to win against one of the best teams in the NBA.’
Crawford can look forward to another match up against the Celtics when they come to town on December 26 as part of their four-game West Coast road trip.
|11.27.08 at 1:00 am ET|
A year ago Brandan Wright worked out with the Boston Celtics as a top prospect in the 2007 NBA Draft. The Celtics passed on Wright and pulled off the Ray Allen trade, while the big man from UNC landed with the Golden State Warriors by way of the Charlotte Bobcats.
Wright has yet to make a splash in the pros and many speculated that he should have stayed past his freshman year. But Wright, 21, is happy to be learning the ropes with the Warriors and enjoys growing up in the NBA.
‘You have all these grown up responsibilities to take care of but I made a decision (to leave UNC) and I’m not regretting it or anything like that,’ Wright said. ‘I’m enjoying myself. I think it would have been good both ways.’
|11.26.08 at 9:21 pm ET|
It was early in the fourth quarter and the Celtics had just surrendered a lead, again, against the Golden State Warriors. The pattern, if there can be something so structured as a pattern when talking about Don Nelson’s quirky team, had gone something like this: Boston starters establish the lead, bench gives it up.
After having played 55 of the available 60 minutes in the third quarter, every one of the starters with the exception of Paul Pierce was justifiably getting some rest. But still, the lead was disappearing, and big picture thoughts are often far from the minds of the paying customers.
Someone in the stands called out, “C’mon Doc! Call a timeout. Put the stahtahs back in.” But, of course, Rivers couldn’t do that yet. This was still Game 16 of an 82-game season, and as it was, Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen were on track to log almost 40 minutes apiece, well above the prescribed court time Doc had intended.
The bench, which has been generally good this year and at times excellent was not having a stellar evening. It wasn’t until Big Baby Davis finished off a three-point play with nine minutes and change left in the fourth quarter that any of the reserves had actually converted a shot from the floor.
But then, Nellie Ball, came into play. Nelson’s lineups are always a mystery from one game to the next and for the stretch run he elected to play CJ Watson, Jamal Crawford, Stephen Jackson and Corey Maggette together as a unit. None of those four could even charitably be considered a “big” forward, and with such a quick, trigger-happy bunch on the floor, Doc countered with his own version of small ball. All of which is a very long way of getting around to Tony Allen. Read the rest of this entry »
|11.26.08 at 9:04 pm ET|
Last season on the night before Thanksgiving, Stephen Jackson scoffed at the hype surrounding the Boston Celtics. They were 9-1 at the time, including a 23-point blowout over the Golden State Warriors, but Jackson could care less.
“They won nine games. If you all want to hype up nine games so be it. I’m not,” he said at the time. “Like I said, they are just another NBA team just like everybody else. They’ll get praise when they win a championship.”
Exactly one year later, the now-defending champions came from behind the defeat the Warriors 119-111 in Boston. Jackson posted 30 points, six assists, and five rebounds, and looked like he was out for redemption.
So was he playing with a vengeance? His answer may surprise you.
“They definitely have my respect,” he said. “They have three great players and a great leader in (Rajon) Rondo. He definitely is a key to them winning games. Like I said, they have my respect now. If I said that year, I take it back. They’ve definitely earned it.”
The trio of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen have achieved the goal Jackson is working toward with Corey Maggette and the newly acquired Jamal Crawford. Now he is in the same situation and can appreciate what the Celtics accomplished last season.
“It’s hard to not respect them after the season they had,” Jackson said. “When you’re a team that signs three big guys and you haven’t won a championship, you have to earn the respect. And they’ve earned it.”
|11.26.08 at 7:34 pm ET|
- And just like that the Celtics have all but locked in a victory. The Warriors faltered offensively and the Celtics got hot at the basket. KG just attempted a three. I’d say this one’s in the bag.
- This is where team chemistry could come into play. The Celtics can read each other like a book and are pulling away with cohesive play. The Warriors, on the other hand, have two first year players on the court in Maggette and Crawford.
- Jackson thinks this is hilarious. Ray Allen got called for the foul on Jackson’s three-point attempt and Jackson couldn’t contain his jubilation. He made two of three free throws.
- Who wants it more? KG or Captain Jack? It’s about to play out in the final five.
- The officials just told Celtics superfan Marty Joyce to take a seat. Something tells me they can’t stop him, they can only hope to contain him … And he’s back on his feet celebrating a Warriors foul.
- Pierce entered the game with seven minutes to go and the Celtics down by one. He just picked up his fourth foul but Doc needs him on the court for his late-game heroics.
- Jackson wanted to make sure the Celtics saw that shot. After draining a three over a pair of defenders, he pranced in front of the Cs bench. Someone’s in it to win it.
- Eddie House is off tonight. He isn’t simply missing his shots, he just threw up a brick from long range. He and Scal are the only scoreless Celtics with 9:35 to go.
- Scal just got called for his 10th personal foul of the season. Pierce leads the Celtics with 41.
- It will be interesting to see how Watson performs down the stretch. He was a Vegas Summer League standout (19 points, 5 assists, 3.5 rebounds per game) but those impressive performances can often be a fluke.
- Celtics start the fourth quarter with Pierce, Davis, Tony Allen, Scal, and House. Crawford, Azubuike, Turiaf, Watson, and Maggette are on the court for the Warriors.
|11.26.08 at 7:01 pm ET|
I’ll be honest: After that first quarter, I figured the Celtics defense would tighten up and we’d be looking at a 10-15 point game the rest of the way. Which is reason 337 why I don’t gamble. The good news for the Celtics is that a 13-point spread against a team like Golden State can disappear pretty quickly. But, as noted in the intro I have no feel for this game at all.
|11.26.08 at 6:13 pm ET|
At the half … Warriors 67 , Celtics 54
SECOND HALF WRAP: So how did this happen?
- To start, the Celtics only hit 5 field goals in the entire second quarter compared to the Warriors 12.
- Garnett was scoreless in the second, Ray Allen scored three, and Pierce had two.
- Maggette scored 11 while Jackson added six.
- The Warriors hit two free throws in the first quarter and 14 in the second.
- The Celtics, on the other hand, made 7 in the first and just 8 in the second.
- 67 first half points is the most given up by the Celtics since March 14, 2005 against the Charlotte Bobcats. They won the game 119-110.
- Another T, this time for Doc Rivers. The Celtics are leaps and bounds ahead of the rest of the league in technicals … and Doc’s still heated.
- Maggette is flat out ignoring Ray Allen and seeing only the basket in this quarter. He scored 11 second quarter points before getting a rest with 3:30 to go in the half. There’s no let up for the Celtics, though. Stephen Jackson has 18 points so far and is attacking the hoop possession after possession.
- At the timeout, the Warriors have outscored the Celtics 15-8 six minutes into the second quarter. The game is tied 43-43, led by six points in as many minutes from Maggette. The Warriors have also forced three turnovers while committing none.
- KG vs. Ronny Turiaf … I feel like I’m at the NBA Finals again.
- If Eddie House and Corey Maggette were to get tangled on the court, who do you think would come up on the winning end? Surprisingly, it was House who dealt a hard blow to Maggette under the Warriors basket. (No hard feelings, he checked to make sure Maggette was ok.) The Warriors won’t underestimate the size of EHouse.
- Rather than leave a starter on the court, Doc’s going with Scal again in the second unit. He’s on the court with Leon Powe, Tony Allen, Glen Davis, and Eddie House. The Warriors have Corey Maggette, Andris Biedrins, Kelenna Azubuike, C.J. Watson, and Ronny Turiaf.
- One thing that jumped out in the first quarter was how undersized the Warriors looked next to the Celtics. Kendrick Perkins vs. Brandan Wright? Perk’s got 75 pounds on him. So I crunched the numbers to compare the starting lineups … Celtics: 6’7, 230.2 lbs, Warriors: 6’8, 215.6 lbs. May not seem like a big difference but it sure translates into the Celtics big men doing a lot of banging around in the paint.
- The Golden State Warriors allow the second most points in the league (106 ppg), and tonight it’s easy to see why. The Celtics are on pace to score 70 points in the first half alone after aggressively attacking the paint in the first quarter. Let’s see if they run up the scoreboard in the second quarter …