|11.14.08 at 7:08 pm ET|
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.
|11.14.08 at 6:36 pm ET|
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.
|11.14.08 at 6:04 pm ET|
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 »
|11.14.08 at 5:33 pm ET|
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 »
|11.14.08 at 5:26 pm ET|
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.
|11.13.08 at 1:53 pm ET|
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.
|11.13.08 at 7:09 am ET|
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.