|12.03.08 at 6:11 pm ET|
SECOND QUARTER WRAP: The Celtics have a 57-51 lead heading into the second half. Both teams are firing away, combining for 89 field goal and 23 three-point attempts. Rajon Rondo is the story of the first half (10 points, 8 rebounds, 9 assists) while Ray Allen leads all scorers with 19 points. Danny Granger got off to a hot start for the Pacers but scored just 5 points in the second quarter to finish the half with 14. More from Paul after the break …
Here’s what we know from the first quarter: Ray Allen is in the zone. He has 13 first quarter points, including a pair of treys. Danny Granger wants to shoot as well and had nine points early on. The Pacers don’t look worn out from last night’s overtime win over the LA Lakers. They landed at 1am and are playing like they’re well rested. This Pacers aren’t going to hand this game to the Celtics. Let’s see how they work for it in the second quarter.
– During a timeout Celtics super fan Marty Joyce drew a line on the court, showing the ref he knew he couldn’t cross it. Wonder how long he’s jumping out of his seat to argue a call.
– Rasho Nesterovic looks like he has half an inch on Leon Powe. The big man still isn’t doing much on the defensive end, though, and Rajon Rondo has snuck by him under the basket about five times.
– Brandon Rush looks vaguely like Gerald Green. I’m waiting for Doc to pull him aside during a timeout and try to straighten him out. (Speaking of Green, Rivers said he was still happy to land him in the 2005 Draft instead of Danny Granger. Hmm…)
– KG is full court pressing TJ Ford. Yes, we’re only in the second quarter.
– Rajon Rondo watch: With three minutes to go he already has 10 points, 7 rebounds, 9 assists. To quote a message from my mother, “That’s why he’s an All Star.” It’s not too far fetched this season …
– Sam Cassell put his arm around Rondo and had a brief heart to heart at the end of the quarter. Rondo is just one assist and a pair of rebounds away from a triple-double.
|12.03.08 at 5:40 pm ET|
We are live from the Garden for tonight’s game between the Celtics and Pacers. This is a revenge-special for the C’s who were blown out in Indiana earlier this year, easily their worst loss of the season (there’s not much competition, but still).
The C’s are without Tony Allen, who might have helped on emerging star Danny Granger, but look for Paul Pierce to take it up a notch tonight. The Pacers are coming off a win over the Lakers last night and looking to make it two in a row against the NBA’s elite.
As a wise man once asked, “Are you ready?” Read the rest of this entry »
|12.03.08 at 5:37 pm ET|
Tony Allen will not play tonight after suffering a sprained ankle in Monday’s game with the Magic. Allen said he hopes to return by Friday for the Portland game, but a more realistic assessment might be Sunday. Allen came up gimpy in the fourth quarter against Orlando, and he said that after the game he thought the worst.
“When I got back to the locker room, I said, ‘Not again,'” Allen said. “They looked at the X-rays and said that it’s nothing bad, just a sprained ankle.”
Allen’s loss is a tough one for the Celtics who are not deep in swingmen.
Rivers said the Celtics may go small with Rajon Rondo and Eddie House in the backcourt at times, or possibly Gabe Pruitt who is back after dealing with the flu. The loss is also important because Tony Allen has been playing some of his best basketball in recent weeks.
“Tony’s been good,” Rivers said. “Very, very good. I’m always on him about his defense because I think he can be a dominant defensive player.”
Danny Granger has been lighting it up for the Pacers this year and may be on an All-Star pace. Rivers reminisced before the game about the 2005 draft when the only thing standing between the Celtics and the New Mexico product was the Pacers. The C’s wound up with Gerald Green instead.
“I thought he had a chance to be a terrific player,” said Rivers who does not typically pay much attention to college prospects but had caught a few of Granger’s games. “He’s going to be a star.”
Rivers said the difference with Granger this year is that he is driving to the basket more and has added a pull-up jumper instead of settling for perimeter shots. He called him a cross between Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis, which is pretty high praise.
Ray Allen had some anxious moments over the Thanksgiving weekend when he found out his childhood friend, Darryl Jones was actually in the PRS Oberoi hotel. Jones is a flight attendant for Northwest Airlines. “What are the odds?” Allen asked rhetorically.
Allen said that he was able to reach Jones, who had taken refuge in a room on the 21st floor of the hotel. The power was out, but Jones’ cell phone still worked and Allen stayed on the phone with him delivering updates. Jones is OK, Allen said.
|12.03.08 at 2:11 pm ET|
Just in time for holiday shopping, the Boston Celtics have released additional tickets for the remaining home games. They will go on sale this Friday at 11am. Those interested are encouraged to order early. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster, online at www.Celtics.com, by phone at 1-800-4NBA-TIX, or by visiting the TD BankNorth Garden Box Office (open 11am-7pm, Monday-Sunday). Individual tickets start at $10 in the Rite-Aid Pharmacy Family Section and several ticket packages will be made available. A limited number of group tickets for 20+ people are also currently on sale. Call 888-4CELTIX for more information.
|12.03.08 at 9:25 am ET|
On Wednesday night the Boston Celtics (17-2) will take on the Indiana Pacers (7-10) at the TD BankNorth Garden. The Pacers already upset the Celtics once this season and are riding the momentum of stunning the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday. It will be up to the Celtics to halt this series of shockers.
What Went Wrong
On November 1 the Pacers defeated the Celtics 95-79 in Indiana. It was the Celtics first loss of the season, quickly proving their championship didn’t make them immortal. The Pacers jumped out to a 10-point first quarter lead and went up by as many as 25 in the fourth. The Celtics looked sloppy on the road (24 turnovers) and were off the mark all night (34.6% FG, 4-for-20 3PG, 60% FT). Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce‘s combined 33 points and 24 rebounds were not enough. Kendrick Perkins went scoreless while Rajon Rondo hit just one basket. Danny Granger scored 20 points, Marquis Daniels posted 13 points and 11 boards, and T.J. Ford contributed 19 points. When asked to explain the 18-point loss, Garnett told the media, “I don’t even know what to call it.”
In the Last Five Games …
The Celtics have the offensive edge over the Pacers, stretching their margin of victory up to 14.2 points per game over the last five contests while the Pacers have been losing by an average of 4.4 points. Their offense is back on pace with their defense (51.4% FG, 40.3% 3PG) as the Pacers have ranked in the bottom half of the league (43.8% FG, 34.8% 3PG). But in spite of the Celtics stifling D, the Pacers are the best rebounding team in the NBA and average nearly 10 more boards (49.0 to 40.0 rpg). The Pacers have also been the better ball handling team (23.0 to 21.8 apg) as of late despite Rajon Rondo‘s impressive play.
More than Meets the Eye
The Pacers 7-10 record is deceiving. This team has individual talent and has proved they can be threatening when playing together. Danny Granger is one of the hottest players in the league today and he and Paul Pierce will challenge each other on the perimeter all night. Force him behind the arc, though, and the Celtics could stifle his game. He is shooting just 24% from long range on no days rest. The Pacers traded Jermaine O’Neal for T.J. Ford this summer for backcourt leadership. Ford is just as dangerous as Ray Allen from the line and is capable of dropping 20 points on any given night. Troy Murphy (11.0 ppg, 11.8 rpg) will challenge the Celtics on the glass as one of the league’s underrated big men. Marquis Daniels is also having a breakout season (16.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg) after recovering from a foot injury.
Hitting the Bench
While Jeff Foster and Jarrett Jack have been reliable for the Pacers off the bench, the Celtics reserves have the advantage. The Cs bench is filled with championship winners whereas the Pacers bench includes inexperienced rookies and unproven journeymen. Tony Allen has been explosive at the basket and scored 14 points in the first game against the Pacers. After suffering their first loss in Indy, the Celtics starters will look to come out swinging and that intensity will trickle down the bench.
Check back tonight for WEEI’s Live Celtics Game Day Blog from the TD BankNorth Garden.
|12.02.08 at 9:36 am ET|
Doc Rivers called Monday night’s game a ‘free speech night’… a game in which he doesn’t have to say a word to his team about its significance. Such was the case as the Celtics took on yet another ‘would-be challenger’ to their Eastern Conference reign. And the Orlando Magic found out what Detroit, Philadelphia, Cleveland and Toronto have already realized, knocking the Celtics off the throne won’t be easy. And did you hear what the Magic said??? Listen to the comments below. Dwight Howard and Anthony Johnson were all about giving respect but also wanted people to remember they were without their backcourt of Jameer Nelson and Mickael Pietrus. Doc Rivers acknowledged as much but the Celtics also took Orlando’s best punch in the second quarter before blowing them off the court in the second half – doing exactly what championship teams do that have dreams of repeating.
|12.02.08 at 8:29 am ET|
On Tuesday Rajon Rondo is spearheading the 9th annual Spirit of Giving Food Drive to benefit eight New England food banks. The program will run at over 199 Shaw’s and Star Market Supermarkets and is expected to provide 200,000 meals for New England families this winter. Rondo will launch the drive at Shaw’s Supermarket in Mansfield, MA. The Spirit of Giving Food Drive was created by Infinite Ideas, Inc., a Boston agency that develops social marketing programs.
In other community events, the Boston Celtics Women’s Group collected and donated more than 200 coats, winter clothing, and $3,000 as part of their Cradles to Crayons holiday coat drive. The coats were donated by fans during the November 26 home game against the Golden State Warriors. The Women’s Group also received donations from Modell’s Sporting Goods, adidas, Reebok, and Arbella.
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