|11.11.08 at 9:58 am ET|
When Jermaine O’Neal looks at Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, he can’t help but get frustrated.
Garnett and Allen were able to hit the ground running in their first season with the Boston Celtics, starting off 20-2 en route to the first NBA Championships of their career. For O’Neal, his debut season with the Toronto Raptors has anything but a joyride.
“It’s been kind of a roller coaster for me,” he said. “And it’s been hard.”
This summer O’Neal was traded to the Raptors from the Indiana Pacers, a year after Garnett’s blockbuster trade to the Celtics. The move paired O’Neal with dominating big man Chris Bosh and positioned the Raptors as an Eastern Conference contender. Like the Celtics, the Raptors united unfulfilled All-Stars in hopes of winning a title.
“You try not to base your career and your success off of somebody else’s,” O’Neal said. “A lot of people can say, ‘I want it to be like this,’ but it’s not necessarily like that. [The Celtics] definitely have put together a format on how to do it, for sure. Sometimes you’re not able to go that route. You’ve got to take another route and that’s the route that I’m on.”
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|11.10.08 at 9:34 pm ET|
Monday night had all the makings of a back-to-back letdown. And for all the world in the first half, it looked like an emotional and dominant win in Detroit 24 hours earlier had taken its toll, as the C’s trailed by as many as 16 in the second quarter and 48-36 at halftime. Then the Celtics woke up in the third before Paul Pierce took over in the final 15 minutes, scoring 25 of his game-high 36, including 22 in the final quarter to match the ENTIRE Raptors team.
The end result was a stunning win for the Green and a demoralizing, head-scratcher for Toronto.
What they said about it…
Jason Kapono: “We felt we could have had them down a tad bit further, especially at the end of the second quarter. They made a couple of shots there and they got to the free throw line. It’s our job to keep it going and build a lead, but obviously they are a quality team, a world championship team, and you know that their best run (of the game) is still coming.”
Jermaine O’Neal: “Those guys in the third quarter shot a lot of free throws. In the fourth quarter, they did a good job of making shots. Ray (Allen), Paul and the others have an incredible comfort level with each other. We’ve got to figure a way to keep those guys down, especially when we’re up 15 or 16 points in a game, especially in the second half.”
|11.10.08 at 9:23 pm ET|
There was a moment midway through the third quarter that looked the period and exclamation point on a Celtics loss. Chris Bosh got himself free behind the Celtics defense and sailed in for an easy alley-oop dunk off an uncontested feed from Jose Calderon. This kind of thing doesn’t happen to the Celtics very much. The Grizzlies, maybe, but not the baddest defensive team on the planet.
Kevin Garnett, the closest defender on the play, raised his hand as if to say, “My fault.” He left it up there a tick or two longer than was necessary, a strange sort of self-flagellation as if he wanted to be sure everyone in the arena knew it too. It was 59-46 and there wasn’t a soul in the Garden who thought, “OK, now they start the comeback.” But, that’s exactly where it started.
Garnett hit a 5-foot jump shot, and then Paul Pierce knocked down a 3-pointer to cut the lead to eight and suddenly the Garden was alive. The Celtics have played eight games on this young season, and through the first seven they have hit on an admirable grind-it-out formula that has proven successful, if not entirely aesthetically pleasing.
But then the comeback started and for the first time this season, the Celtics of last season were back. Read the rest of this entry »
|11.10.08 at 7:31 pm ET|
Once down by as many as 16 points, the Boston Celtics staged a fourth quarter comeback to beat the Toronto Raptors 94-87 on Monday night at the TD BankNorth Garden. Paul Pierce scored 22 points in the final 12 minutes alone and finished the night with 36 points, nine rebounds, and four assists. Kevin Garnett added 21 points and 10 boards. Jermaine O’Neal posted 23 points and 11 rebounds for the Raptors.
|11.10.08 at 6:56 pm ET|
We’re back for the second half, with the Celtics down 48-36. They shot an ugly 12-for-37 from the floor (32.4 percent) in the first half and 1-for-10 from 3-point range. The good news is that Kevin Garnett got it together in the second quarter after starting 1-for-5, but someone (anyone?) had better stop Jermaine O’Neal.
O’Neal lit the Celtics up for 19 points in the first half. For the first time this season he is resembling the guy from Indiana–before the injuries hit.
That much vaunted point guard battle between Rondo and Calderon that I’ve been touting since training camp? Uh, not so much. Rondo has two points and one assist and Jose has two and three assists. On with the show…
|11.10.08 at 6:15 pm ET|
Ok so that wasn’t pretty. The Celtics are down 48-36 at the end of the first half and are basically getting beat by one player … Jermaine O’Neal. JO has 19 points and eight rebounds in just 17 minutes. Next in line is Joey Graham with eight points and Chris Bosh has six. The Celtics have not had an answer for JO on either end of the court. Kevin Garnett has 11 points and 4 defensive rebounds while Perk is scoreless with one board. If the Celtics are going to get back into this game, they are going to have to step up their low post game to counter JO’s assault. Adding insult to injury, the Celtics are shooting 32%.
|11.10.08 at 5:36 pm ET|
We are live at the Garden for tonight’s game between the Celtics and Raptors. This is an intriguing matchup for a number of reasons. The Celtics, as we know, play great defense. The Raptors are a very efficient offensive team. Something shall give tonight. Also to watch, the point guard duel between Rajon Rondo and Jose Calderon and the big man matchup between Kevin Garnett and Chris Bosh.
Jess and I will be bringing you all the action, so click through for all the off-the-cuff observations, intentional and unintentional comedy and a few insightful points, as well. Read the rest of this entry »