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Mr. Smooth

12.03.08 at 9:31 pm ET
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Ray Allen is the best dresser on the Celtics. That is a fact can not be disputed. He is meticulous in his appearance, something he says he learned from Michael Jordan. If you are a star, you must present yourself accordingly.

It’s not easy to be GQ-ed out all the time (just ask any sportswriter). It takes more than a bit of care and attention to detail, as well as an innate sense of sartorial style. That’s important in the context of Allen as a basketball player in that he is just as particular about his shot.

As effortless and natural as it appears, Allen’s shot is actually the product of hours of practice. Honed under the withering eye of UConn coach Jim Calhoun, who used to start every practice with a pressure-packed free-throw shooting contest, and in his early days in the NBA in shooting drills with the largely forgotten Jeff Nordgaard where the two then-rookies would talk shooting concepts. (Nordgaard isn’t forgotten in Poland by the way, where he’s still lighting it up in the Polish League and has played for the national team there).

Allen’s shot abandoned him just once last year. That it came in the playoffs against Cleveland caused the basketball-watching public to wonder aloud if his magnificent career was in its final days. It’s not, of course, but it’s in keeping with his tenure with the Celtics that as brilliant as he has been, Allen has also largely been overlooked.

He was the leading scorer last night in their win over the Pacers with a season-high 31 points. He was the one who got them off to a quick start by knocking down three 3-pointers en route to 13 points in the first quarter. But on a night when Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins recorded double-doubles and Rajon Rondo earned the first triple-double of his career, Allen’s night went largely overlooked. Read the rest of this entry »

Pierce’s D Helps Celtics Earn the W

12.03.08 at 9:24 pm ET
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The stat line will tell the story of Rajon Rondo‘s triple-double, Ray Allen‘s 31 points, and Kevin Garnett‘s 14 rebounds. But what it won’t show is the stifling defense Paul Pierce imposed on Danny Granger. Pierce held Granger to just six second half point (20 total) and shut down the Pacers leading scorer.

‘€œPaul’s always been a good defensive player,’€ Granger said after the Pacers 114-96 loss. ‘€œKG’s a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year and I think that’s one of the things that makes this team good. They can score the ball but they also play good defense.’€

Granger scored 14 points in the first half with the majority coming while Ray Allen was guarding him. The defensive switch worked for the Celtics and Granger finished the night shooting 7-for-15, including just one basket in the paint. Pierce’s tough defense combined with the Pacers’ exhaustion from Tuesday’s overtime win against the Lakers was too much for Granger to overcome.

‘€œI just got a little tired,’€ he said. ‘€œIt’s hard playing back to back games sometimes, especially when you fight so hard to win one game. You have lapses and your legs give out but that’s still no excuse. Everyone plays back to back games. You’ve just got find a way to find through. Tonight we couldn’t.’€

Read More: Celtics, Danny Granger, Kevin Garnett, Pacers

Celtics-Pacers Game Blog: Fourth Quarter

12.03.08 at 7:27 pm ET
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Entering the fourth quarter … Celtics 88, Pacers 73

– Rivers is leaving Pierce on the court with the second unit. The Celtics captain got hot toward the end of the third quarter but his real accomplishment tonight has been containing Danny Granger. The Pacers are going with all but one starter (Nesterovic) in hopes of staging a comeback. They did outscore the Lakers 32-16 in the fourth quarter last night.

– In between the time I typed this and hit save, Granger drained a pair of threes to put the Pacers within nine.

– A new character was dubbed in the Garden tonight. “Mr. Roboto” joins the ranks of Soulja Boy Jr. and the Jack Black Guy for his quirky robotic dance moves.

– Rondo’s back in the backcourt with Eddie House. Usually this would be a size disadvantage but the Pacers have TJ Ford and Jarrett Jack in. Maybe Rondo will get the standing O he deserves when he sits down this time.

– It has been 181 games since a Celtic recorded a triple-double. The last player to do so was Ryan Gomes. (He was selected 50th in the same draft as Granger.)

– The Pacers unloaded their bench with five minutes to go. Travis Diener and Stephen Graham (former Oklahoma State teammate of Tony Allen) have checked into the game. They were greeted by yet another dunk by KG.

– Gino Time. Celtics are up 16 and Patrick O’Bryant’s in the game. Garnett is standing alone to watch Gino but he has the rest of the Garden cheering with him.

– There’s the standing O Rondo deserves. He left the game with 16 points, 17 assists, and 13 rebounds. Someone in fantasy basketball land just had a monster night.

Celtics-Pacers Game Blog: Third Quarter

12.03.08 at 6:54 pm ET
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Interesting half for the Celtics who put up 57 points on 48 percent shooting and had three players–Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett score in double figures. The only problem is that they allowed the Pacers to score 51, not exactly vintage Celtics D right there.

What will the second half have in store? Let’s take that journey together, shall we… Read the rest of this entry »

Celtics-Pacers Game Blog: Second Quarter

12.03.08 at 6:11 pm ET
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SECOND QUARTER WRAP: The Celtics have a 57-51 lead heading into the second half. Both teams are firing away, combining for 89 field goal and 23 three-point attempts. Rajon Rondo is the story of the first half (10 points, 8 rebounds, 9 assists) while Ray Allen leads all scorers with 19 points. Danny Granger got off to a hot start for the Pacers but scored just 5 points in the second quarter to finish the half with 14. More from Paul after the break …

Here’s what we know from the first quarter: Ray Allen is in the zone. He has 13 first quarter points, including a pair of treys. Danny Granger wants to shoot as well and had nine points early on. The Pacers don’t look worn out from last night’s overtime win over the LA Lakers. They landed at 1am and are playing like they’re well rested. This Pacers aren’t going to hand this game to the Celtics. Let’s see how they work for it in the second quarter.

– During a timeout Celtics super fan Marty Joyce drew a line on the court, showing the ref he knew he couldn’t cross it. Wonder how long he’s jumping out of his seat to argue a call.

– Rasho Nesterovic looks like he has half an inch on Leon Powe. The big man still isn’t doing much on the defensive end, though, and Rajon Rondo has snuck by him under the basket about five times.

– Brandon Rush looks vaguely like Gerald Green. I’m waiting for Doc to pull him aside during a timeout and try to straighten him out. (Speaking of Green, Rivers said he was still happy to land him in the 2005 Draft instead of Danny Granger. Hmm…)

– KG is full court pressing TJ Ford. Yes, we’re only in the second quarter.

– Rajon Rondo watch: With three minutes to go he already has 10 points, 7 rebounds, 9 assists. To quote a message from my mother, “That’s why he’s an All Star.” It’s not too far fetched this season …

– Sam Cassell put his arm around Rondo and had a brief heart to heart at the end of the quarter. Rondo is just one assist and a pair of rebounds away from a triple-double.

Celtics-Pacers Game Blog: First Quarter

12.03.08 at 5:40 pm ET
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We are live from the Garden for tonight’s game between the Celtics and Pacers. This is a revenge-special for the C’s who were blown out in Indiana earlier this year, easily their worst loss of the season (there’s not much competition, but still).

The C’s are without Tony Allen, who might have helped on emerging star Danny Granger, but look for Paul Pierce to take it up a notch tonight. The Pacers are coming off a win over the Lakers last night and looking to make it two in a row against the NBA’s elite.

As a wise man once asked, “Are you ready?” Read the rest of this entry »

Celtics-Pacers Pre-game Notes

12.03.08 at 5:37 pm ET
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Tony Allen will not play tonight after suffering a sprained ankle in Monday’s game with the Magic. Allen said he hopes to return by Friday for the Portland game, but a more realistic assessment might be Sunday. Allen came up gimpy in the fourth quarter against Orlando, and he said that after the game he thought the worst.

“When I got back to the locker room, I said, ‘Not again,'” Allen said. “They looked at the X-rays and said that it’s nothing bad, just a sprained ankle.”

Allen’s loss is a tough one for the Celtics who are not deep in swingmen.

“It was crystalized last game for us,” Doc Rivers said. “If you lose one of those guards: Tony, Ray (Allen) or Paul (Pierce) that’s a hole.”

Rivers said the Celtics may go small with Rajon Rondo and Eddie House in the backcourt at times, or possibly Gabe Pruitt who is back after dealing with the flu. The loss is also important because Tony Allen has been playing some of his best basketball in recent weeks.

“Tony’s been good,” Rivers said. “Very, very good. I’m always on him about his defense because I think he can be a dominant defensive player.”

——–

Danny Granger has been lighting it up for the Pacers this year and may be on an All-Star pace. Rivers reminisced before the game about the 2005 draft when the only thing standing between the Celtics and the New Mexico product was the Pacers. The C’s wound up with Gerald Green instead.

“I thought he had a chance to be a terrific player,” said Rivers who does not typically pay much attention to college prospects but had caught a few of Granger’s games. “He’s going to be a star.”

Rivers said the difference with Granger this year is that he is driving to the basket more and has added a pull-up jumper instead of settling for perimeter shots. He called him a cross between Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis, which is pretty high praise.

——

Ray Allen had some anxious moments over the Thanksgiving weekend when he found out his childhood friend, Darryl Jones was actually in the PRS Oberoi hotel. Jones is a flight attendant for Northwest Airlines. “What are the odds?” Allen asked rhetorically.

Allen said that he was able to reach Jones, who had taken refuge in a room on the 21st floor of the hotel. The power was out, but Jones’ cell phone still worked and Allen stayed on the phone with him delivering updates. Jones is OK, Allen said.

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