|02.24.10 at 12:53 am ET|
On Tuesday night, Ray Allen returned to TD Garden for the first time since the trade deadline.
He didn’t expect to be anywhere else.
‘I had my whole West Coast bag packed already, so it was going on the plane to Sacramento on that Monday morning [for the Celtics four-game road trip]. So I wasn’t thinking about anything anyways,’ he said prior to the Celtics-Knicks game. ‘I think there was more made up than honestly I knew because people were tweeting me, hoping I stayed here. But it wasn’t a question for me whether or not I thought I was going anywhere.’
Allen repeatedly vocalized his desire to retire as a Celtic. There was no questioning his interest in finishing his career in green.
However, an expiring contract combined with the Celtics’ inconsistencies had landed his name is trade rumors for weeks. Many thought Allen had played his last game as a Celtic when the C’s blew a late lead to the Magic on Feb. 7, their final home game before the deadline. And when he sat out the next game in New Orleans with back spasms, even more speculation buzzed.
But as Celtics fans waited anxiously for the trade deadline to pass last Thursday, Allen was unaware of the time frame. He actually thought the deadline was Feb. 20, not the 18th.
Besides, one deadline did not dictate his 14-year career.
‘Not that I was ever worried about it because at worst you go somewhere else and you still play. Just you start somewhere else,’ he said. ‘So that was my mindset. But I think obviously there were people that either wanted me to stay or wanted me to go, one way or the other, it didn’t make a difference. I was still going to play.’
Just as leaving the Garden before the trade deadline didn’t trigger any emotions for Allen, neither did his return. For him, it was just another game in Boston, the city he always intended to return to.
‘I never expected not to be [here],’ he said. ‘If they traded me, then I’m gone. But I was never worried about it so I never thought otherwise, like I’m going to be somewhere else. This is where I planned to be and I didn’t think about anything else.’
|02.23.10 at 11:36 pm ET|
The emotion ran both ways for Eddie House in his return to the same parquet floor where just last month he was raining down 3’s on opponents and bringing fans to their feet.
On Tuesday night, a very appreciative House thanked the fans at TD Garden following Boston’s 110-106 win over his New York Knicks.
House received a standing ovation from the fans following a video tribute during a first-quarter timeout.
“It was beautiful,” he said. “I love the fans for the way they showed their love me and I have just as much back for them. I loved playing here. It was a great place. What a great run I had, winning a championship and having a chance again last year.”
[Click here to hear from House and his reaction to his return to Boston.]
On going from team with goal to win championship to a team building: ‘It’s hard, just losing. That’s the hard thing, I’m not used to losing. I haven’t been on a losing team in quite a long time. That’s the toughest thing about it is taking these L’s. Keep competing man, as long as you’re playing hard and trying to do the right thing. You can never be upset with yourself or your teammates. Everybody is trying to do the right thing and playing hard but for whatever reason we’re falling short.’
On whether he was glad he returned to Boston was so quick after trade: ‘It was no big deal. I didn’t put any more weight on this game than I did my first game in Madison Square. Just play the game of basketball. It’s the same thing just different opponent and just happens to be guys I played with before about a week ago. Just no strain on this game at all. I didn’t try to come in and just automatically try getting my shots like it was something. I just played the game and let the game come to me. Just play the right way that’s all I’m trying to do all the time.’
On what can he bring to this Knicks team: ‘I’m just going to try to bring as much leadership that I can. As far as playing the right way. That’s all it’s about is playing the right way and competing. I’m not saying I’m the best defensive player, but we’re going to try to do the best we can to put ourselves in position to be successful and keep helping if you get beat, and help him if he goes, and help someone else. We just got to continue to compete and it’s about leading by example, not just talking about it.’
|02.23.10 at 9:53 pm ET|
The Celtics returned home after two weeks away and a reunion broke out. With Eddie House, Bill Walker and J.R. Giddens back at the Garden but in the colors of the New York Knicks, the pregame atmosphere had an almost surreal quality to it with House poking his head into the Celtics locker room saying, “Yeah, I know it’s the wrong one.”
The game between the Celtics and Knicks wasn’t any less bizarre. The Celtics built a double-digit lead only to see it collapse in the second quarter when the starting five came back into the game. They dominated in the paint, held the Knicks in check on the boards and turned it over only 13 times.
And they still needed a fourth quarter push to pull out a 110-106 victory.
Part of that was the game’s pace, which was strongly in New York’s favor, and part of that was the 27 3-point attempts the Knicks lobbed at the basket. But a win is a win, and the Celtics will take all of them that they can get, no matter how strange the circumstances.
Turning Point: In a game that featured 159 shots, the biggest play came on a possession that didn’t result in a field goal attempt. With the Celtics clinging to a 109-106 lead and less than a minute to play, Ray Allen appeared from out of nowhere and cleanly swatted Wilson Chandler’s drive to the basket resulting in a 24-second violation and a much-needed stop.
Player of the Game: Rajon Rondo. A couple of different options here, but Rondo’s 15 points and 16 assists get the nod over Kevin Garnett’s overall game, which was also strong. Rondo also had an emphatic slam when the Knicks backed off guarding him and gave him an open lane to the basket.
* All five Celtic starters had double figures in points before the end of the third quarter.
* Garnett got up for a vicious alley-oop dunk off a pass from Rondo in the first quarter. Garnett got loose for a number of backdoor cuts, but that was the only one they connected on for a dunk.
* The Celtics scored 38 points and shot 61 percent from the floor in the first quarter.
* Eddie House who received a stirring video tribute during a timeout. The crowd rose for a standing ovation and broke into a spontaneous ‘Ed-die, Ed-die’ chant. House acknowledged the crowd, in turn.
* Nate Robinson also received a rousing welcome from the Garden crowd when he checked in late in the quarter. As promised by Doc Rivers he did see time with Rondo in the backcourt. Robinson had just four points, one rebound and one assist on 2-for-7 shooting.
* Bill Walker scored seven points and seems to have already made a strong impression on his new team. There’s a good chance Walker will get an opportunity to earn a roster spot with the Knicks next season.
|02.23.10 at 9:31 pm ET|
Up 64-60 at the half, the Celtics came out of the break and did what they’ve done so many times this season ‘ let their opponents back in the game. The Knicks outscored the C’s 14-10 in the first five minutes of the third quarter to tie the game at 74.
The Celtics responded with an 11-5 run of their own and pushed the lead back up to six. The second unit helped maintain the edge, as the Celtics led 94-91 at the end of three quarters.
|02.23.10 at 8:37 pm ET|
At the half, the Celtics have a 64-60 lead. After a red-hot start, the Celtics second unit did their part in maintaining a double-digit lead. But when the starters returned, the lead evaporated in a 13-0 New York run.
Newly acquired point guard Sergio Rodriguez was instrumental to the Knicks surge with 10 points, four rebounds and five assists. His counterpart, Rajon Rondo is also on his way to a possible triple-double with 12 points, four rebounds and seven assists. Rondo also added an emphatic slam on the Knicks porous interior defense.
Ray Allen’s hot shooting carried over from the west coast trip. He leads the Celtics in scoring with 16 points.
|02.23.10 at 8:16 pm ET|
“You absolutely look and watch on a guy’s past history,” Rivers said of Robinson’s troublesome reputation with the Knicks. “It’s a great indicator of what’s going to be next. And yeah, we look at all that. I also look at his ability and what he can do on the floor. You try to make a decision on what overrides what and then you take your chance. We’ve taken chances on guys and some have paid off and some haven’t but I’m willing to do that. I’ve always been willing to do that.
“I want him to be him on the court and that’s one of the things I said. We didn’t grab you, we didn’t want you for the things you haven’t done. We grabbed you for all the things you do on the court. As far as the other stuff, we’ll see. We’ll see how it plays out.”
The coach said things were so rushed at the practice facility in Waltham on Monday – the only day the coaching staff has had to work with him – they had to have coaches come in to run the offense sets with no defense.
“One practice was [Monday] with no players,” Rivers said of Monday’s workout with Robinson running the point. “We ran our offense with Thibs [defensive coach Tom Thibodeau] at the two and Armond [Hill] at the three and it looked crazy. It looked awful, and it should have.”
Rivers said it would be way too much to expect Robinson to pick everything up on the fly.
“Well, I don’t know what he can grasp,” Rivers said. “That’s something we’ll find out as the year goes on. We gave him way too much stuff [Monday] and we knew that doing it and then afterward, [Tuesday] we’re just going to roll the ball out and just play. I think with a point guard, it’s very difficult to integrate a point guard in your system like this on the fly like this so we’ll do one set at a time for him.
“When he comes on the floor, basically we’ll be a one-set team and it will involve him, trying to create. It’s no secret to play basketball. We’ll figure it out.”
|02.23.10 at 8:06 pm ET|
There was a festive atmosphere before the game with Eddie House, Bill Walker and J.R. Giddens back at the Garden in different uniforms and that feeling carried over to the start of the game. The Celtics looked crisp and and relaxed on offense, even without Paul Pierce who is home with the flu and resting his ailing thumb.
While the Celtics were building their lead, the first quarter belonged to House who received a stirring video tribute during a timeout. The crowd rose for a standing ovation and broke into a spontaneous “Ed-die, Ed-die” chant. House acknowledged the crowd, in turn.
Nate Robinson also received a rousing welcome from the Garden crowd when he checked in late in the quarter.
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