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Celtics-Nuggest Game Day Blog: Second Quarter

11.14.08 at 6:36 pm ET
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At the half … Nuggets 48, Celtics 42

SECOND QUARTER WRAP: First half woes continue for the Celtics. A late second quarter push got them back within six, but it doesn’t erase the fact they were outscored 25-13. The problem is their inability to finish at the basket and have been outscored by 12 in the paint. Ray Allen is still leading all scorers with 18 even though he hasn’t hit a shot since the first quarter. Nene is leading the Nuggets with 10.

- The Celtics capped the second with a 6-0 run. Right now it’s too little too late.

- The second unit couldn’t get anything started so Doc’s going back to this starting lineup with under four minutes to go. The starters gave up two quick baskets to go down 48-36, prompting a timeout. The Celtics are faltering in the second quarter like they had in the first against the Raptors and Hawks. They’ve been able to compensate for their offensive struggles with tough D but tonight they’re coming up short on both ends.

- We’re five minutes into the second and the Celtics have dished just one assist since the end of the first. With Rondo on the bench, the only dime as come from Pierce. House is at the point and has not recorded any.

- The Celtics are struggling to connect down low even. At the eight-minute mark they have been outscored 20-8 in the paint. In fact, they’ve taken less than a third of their shots in the green.

- Ray Allen is finally getting a break with 9:39 left in the second quarter. Pierce is back in the game, looking to reignite the hot hand that has dropped 75 points so far this week.

- Doc Rivers is resting all of his starters except for Ray Allen. He has Tony Allen, Glen Davis, Eddie House, and Leon Powe on the court against Billups and reserves J.R. Smith, Renaldo Balkman, Linas Kleiza, and Anthony Carter.

- At the start of the second quarter … Celtics 29, Nuggets 23

Welcome to the Ray Allen Show.

Check out Allen’s stat line from the first 12 minutes: 18 points, 6-7 FG, 3-3 FT, 1 AST. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett have chipped in with nine points combined, matching Chauncey Billups’ team high for the Nuggets.

Celtics-Nuggets Game Blog: First Quarter

11.14.08 at 6:04 pm ET
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We are live and courtside for tonight’s game between the Celtics and Nuggets. Is everyone still a little wrung out from the Comeback on Monday and the Epic on Wednesday? We’ll see how strong the Celtics legs are, but then, they seem to have an extra gear in the fourth quarter so we promise not to write them off too early if it’s not there at the beginning.

They are playing up the highlights from the Hawks game in the pregame intros, by the way. Game of the Year candidate if ever there was one. Click inside for all the live-ish goodness. Read the rest of this entry »

Nuggets Pre-Game Odds and Sods

11.14.08 at 5:33 pm ET
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What was that sound that caught my sabermetrically-inclined ear in the runway before tonight’s game? Why it was George Karl, coach of the Denver Nuggets, talking about “efficiency.”  Or, more specifically he was talking about recently acquired Chauncey Billups.

Someone asked the question about whether the Nuggets gained anything from Mr. Big Shot’s championship-tested mettle and Karl responded with some wonk about possessions and the like. In other words, Karl went from a question about an intangible to describing a tangible.

“(Billups) is a very efficient player,” Karl said. “He’s not going to be on SportsCenter (intangible). His efficiency is geared toward winning the game (tangible). It helps the coach. It helps the game’s flow.” OK, those last parts were intangible benefits of a tangible, but you all get the drift.

Let’s slow down and talk about what all this means. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Allen Iverson, Chauncey Billups, George Karl, Nuggets

Welcome to the Garden

11.14.08 at 5:26 pm ET
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Welcome to the TD BankNorth Garden where Paul and I have you covered as the Boston Celtics take on the Denver Nuggets.

This is the Celtics first look at Chauncey Billups in his new uniform since the Allen Iverson trade. Doc Rivers called Billups “terrific,” noting his size (6’3″) and basketball IQ. He also praised how clutch Billups has been over his career in down the stretch, something the Celtics know a thing or two about after this week’s buzzer-beating wins.

Another Nugget who is big at his position is Carmelo Anthony. Before the game Melo talked about his counterpart Paul Pierce, calling him one of the best players in the league. “I respect his game a lot, especially on this team right now,” Anthony said. Pierce is averaging 35 points over the last two games.

Patrick O’Bryant will be activated tonight for the Celtics, with Rivers saying he’s earned it in practice. For the Nuggets, Steven Hunter underwent arthroscoping surgery today and will be out a minimum of 12 weeks.

Read More: Allen Iverson, Boston Celtics, Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups

Celtics Hawks Draw Record Numbers

11.13.08 at 1:53 pm ET
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A year ago a game between the Boston Celtics and Atlanta Hawks was hardly worth a second look. On Wednesday night, the telecast of the postseason rematch was the highest rated regular season game in Comcast SportsNet history.

The final half hour, which included Paul Pierce’s game-winning heroics, was the top rated program on Boston television, beating out network hits such as House and Law & Order. The game drew an estimated 245,000 households in New England and 163,000 in the Boston market alone.

The next Celtics telecast on Comcast SportsNet is Friday’s game against the Denver Nuggets.

Sounds of the game… Celtics 103, Hawks 102

11.13.08 at 7:09 am ET
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Let’s hope that Wednesday night was just the beginning… the beginning of what could be the best rivalry this year in the Eastern Conference. Anyone attending the Cs encounter with the Atlanta Hawks could tell almost immediately that these Hawks, who nearly dashed the Celtics’ hopes last spring in the first round, are no fluke. And those same Celtics fans who were shocked when Marvin Williams hit a three-pointer with 7.4 seconds were were overjoyed when Paul Pierce’s rainbow fell through with half a second to go, handing Atlanta their first loss in seven games and improving Boston to 8-1.

Paul Pierce describes the winning shot.

Pierce said Atlanta is certainly legit.

Kevin Garnett said make way for Superman on the last play.

Doc Rivers said he kidded with Pierce about the actual execution of the final play.

Rivers said it was a great win.

Atlanta coach Mike Woodson said you have to give it up for Pierce and the Celtics.

Woodson said the Celtics have helped his team grow up a lot.

Read More: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett

Put an S on Pierce’s Chest

11.12.08 at 9:45 pm ET
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First there was Shaquille O’Neal.

Then came Dwight Howard.

On Wednesday night, another Superman was born in the NBA.

“The last play was drawn up, get the ball to Paul Pierce, get the hell out of the way,” Kevin Garnett said following the Boston Celtics 103-102 win over the Atlanta Hawks. “Superman’s in the booth. Let’s go home. That was the play and if you don’t believe that ask Doc Rivers and he’ll say the exact same thing.”

He’s not a dunker or a dominating big man. Rather he’s a finesse shooter who knocks down clutch shots as if he could do it in his sleep. For the second consecutive game, Pierce put the Boston Celtics on his back and led them to victory.

Pierce scored 23 points in the fourth quarter, including a perfect 11-for-11 from the free throw line. He answered Marvin Williams’ potential game-winning three with a 20-foot jumper with 0.5 seconds to go. It’s late game heroics like this that earned “The Truth” a new name.

“Once I went right I had the big guy on me. I sort of got to my sweet spot and I felt good the whole time,” explained Pierce, who has a different account of the gameplan. “The play was to get the ball to Kevin and if they switched off, either hand off or he would take he drive down the lane. But they switched and put (Al)  Horford on me and I knew I could get to my spot. I got to it and thank God it went in.”

Pierce’s teammates don’t shy away from the magnitude of his game.

“He’s a superstar man, a superstar,” said Eddie House. “I don’t think he plays with any less confidence any other day. He knows what he’s capable of and man, he’s got a cape on his back sometimes.”

Even though Pierce will probably stick with his P2 logo instead of an S on his chest, he has proved himself worthy of it.

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