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Celtics-Nuggets Game Blog: Fourth Quarter

11.14.08 at 7:57 pm ET
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Final Score … Nuggets 94 , Celtics85

The Boston Celtics could not overcome an early deficit and lost 94-85 to the Denver Nuggets. This is the Celtics first home loss of the season and they fall to 8-2. Ray Allen led all scorers with 26 points while Chauncey Billups and Carmelo Anthony scored 18 apiece for the Nuggets. The Celtics end this homestand 2-1.

- Could this be the end of late game heroics? The Celtics have found themselves in a double-digit deficit with just over a minute to go. Pierce is scoreless in the fourth quarter, for the record.

- Heart. Toughness. Intensity. Focus. Home Court. The words flashed on the Jumbotron during a highlight video set to KG’s favorite, “In the Air Tonight.” Then Nuggets came out of the timeout with a Billups three-point play. Talk about a mood kill.

- Pierce is back and and KG welcomed him to the court with a huge dunk. Scal got so excited he nearly ran from the bench to the player’s tunnel. With the Big Three on the court and 2:30 to go, we’ve got ourselves a ball game. Timeout Denver, Nuggets 86 – Celtics 84

- The Celtics are staying in this game with their long-range shooting. They have hit 9 of 21 from three-point land. The Nuggets on the other hand are just 4 for 12. Ray Allen and House are a combined 7-for-15.

- A Nuggets fan just got doused in Silly String. She jumped around basking in her glory of the crowd’s disapproval and now she’s posing for pictures.

- Pierce, who is scoreless in the first five minutes of the quarter, has just come out of the game. Interesting since he has single-handedly taken over the previous two games in the final 12. Doc’s got KG back out there now with Ray Allen, House, Powe, and Tony Allen.  KG quickly got to work, getting tied up with Anthony Carter for a jump ball. I think Garnett’s got this one in the bag.

- Tony Allen and Melo are on the sidelines waiting to come in. The Cs are going with defense, the Nuggets with offense with the score Nuggets 74 – Celtics 70 at the eight minute mark.

- Let’s take a look at who’s on the court:

Celtics: House, Ray Allen, Pierce, Davis, Powe
Nuggets: Carter, Kleiza, Smith, Balkman, Martin

At the start of the fourth quarter … Celtics 65, Nuggets 64

The Celtics have followed suit and got hot in the third quarter after a slow start. Pierce is entering the final stretch after scoring 12 minutes in the last 12 minutes. Let’s see if they can continue this trend of comeback wins …

Celtics-Nuggets Game Blog: Third Quarter

11.14.08 at 7:24 pm ET
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We’re back for the second half with the C’s down 48-42. This will be yet another interesting second half as I am becoming more and more intrigued by the Celtics ability to dig themselves out of a hole. It’s not the way you want to play every night, obviously, and I know the myth is “It’s the NBA, everybody makes a run,” but this kind of digging deep, for lack of a better cliche, is becoming a team characteristic.

With the exception of the Chicago game back on Halloween they haven’t really played a complete game yet, and they’re still 8-1. At some point it’s going to bite them. We’ll see if it’s tonight. Onward… Read the rest of this entry »

Celtics-Nuggets Game Blog: Halftime Adjustments

11.14.08 at 7:08 pm ET
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As faithful readers know, I am not of the mind that the loss of James Posey is the huge deal that some make it out to be. However, credit George Karl with an interesting lineup that specifically exploited the lack of a legit backup small forward–like James Posey.

In the second quarter, Karl used PG Anthony Carter and C Nene and surrounded those two with three listed small forwards: Carmelo Anthony, Renaldo Balkman and Linas Kleiza, all of whom are 6-foot-8. The Celtics had their usual second unit on the floor with Paul Pierce which led to two specific matchup issues: Tony Allen on Carmelo (length problems) and Big Baby on Balkman (quickness problems).

The unusual lineup really messed with the Celtics on the offensive end as they only managed to score five points in the first six minutes of the second quarter and their six-point lead went poof. Karl hinted at this in his pregame chat, by the way. We’ll be back for the second half in a bit.

Quick addendum: Just got the halftime stats and Carmelo, Kleiza and Balkman went 7-for-11 for 15 points and 12 rebounds in the second quarter.

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
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