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Memories Still Golden for Howard

12.01.08 at 11:39 pm ET
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Dwight Howard isn’t living in the past. He just isn’t ready to put it behind him yet.

It’s been more than three months since he won a gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics with the U.S. Men’s Basketball Team and he relives the glory every day. Howard brings his medal on the road with him as he tries to capture another piece of hardware ‘€“ the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.

‘€œIt’s to remind me of something I accomplished this summer, a goal I’ve been wanting to have since I was little,’€ Howard said following the Orlando Magic-Boston Celtics game. ‘€œWatching the Dream Team I always wanted a gold medal, and I have one now. I take it and it reminds me every day to keep pushing for something because reach for the stars and you might get it.’€

If Howard needs another reminder of Olympic success, he can just look down the Magic bench. Original Dream Team member Patrick Ewing is his assistant coach.

Read More: Celtics, Dwight Howard, Magic, Patrick Ewing

The Genius of Doc Rivers

12.01.08 at 9:27 pm ET
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Doc Rivers was named the Eastern Conference coach of the month for November before last night’s win over Orlando, one of those strange awards the NBA loves to give out to mark the passage of time. “I don’t know if coaches get better from month-to-month,” Orlando’s Stan Van Gundy was saying before the game. “I won a couple of them in Miami and I wondered, ‘Did I really do a better job that month?'”

As Rivers himself pointed out, the award had everything to do with the Celtics 16-2 record in November (and October) and not much at all to do with some blast of strategic brilliance from the sideline, but if the honor does have any significance, it’s further validation that Rivers is at the top of his profession.

That’s a long way from 2006-07 when fans were openly calling for him to be fired, and not all that far removed from those same fans wondering if Phil Jackson would run circles around him in the NBA Finals. But an NBA title does do wonders for a coach’s reputation. “That’s not for me to say,” Rivers said. “It shouldn’t (have an effect on other’s perceptions), but I’m sure it does.”

So, the question becomes, knowing all that we know about Doc in his tenure with the Celtics, how good a coach is he, really? Read the rest of this entry »

Celtics-Magic Game Blog: Fourth Quarter

12.01.08 at 7:24 pm ET
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GAME WRAP: The Boston Celtics defeated the Orlando Magic 107-88 on Monday night at the TD BankNorth Garden. The Celtics extended their winning streak to nine games behind 24 points from Paul Pierce and 21 from Ray Allen. Rashard Lewis led all scorers with 30 points while Dwight Howard posted a quiet 14 points and 15 rebounds. With this win the Celtics improved to 17-2.

– Somewhere there is a Tar Heels fan laughing at the brick J.J. Redick just shot.

– Are you keeping track? Two more technicals have been issued. One on Kevin Garnett, the other against Dwight Howard.

– The interesting thing about this game is that it’s being like there is a two-point differential, yet the Celtics are up by 14 with three minutes to go.

– Before the game Kendrick Perkins proudly pointed out that he hadn’t been T’ed up in the last few games. He spoke too soon. Perk was called for a technical late in the fourth quarter but a 15+ point lead.

– Lewis is the latest recipient of a technical foul. He kept arguing his point until Turkoglu came over to cool him down.

– The Celtics are moving the ball so well it’s like playing hot potato. Powe to Davis to House in a matter of seconds for an EHouse three.

– Monster dunk from Leon Powe. That’s the kind of stuff I’d expect from Howard.

– Ray Allen and Eddie House are walking all over the young backcourt duo of Courtney Lee and J.J. Redick. Lee said the Magic drafted him for his defense but tonight Allen is giving him a crash course on trying to stop one of the best shooters in the league.

– The Celtics held the Magic to just six points in the paint in the third. Howard’s on the bench, will they take advantage of this and continue to attack their own basket?

– Does anyone want to stop Rashard Lewis? Doesn’t seem that way. Lewis has gotten off nearly 20 shots early in the fourth quarter, more than double KG’s stat line.

It’s not really surprising that the Celtics have pushed the lead up considering how undermanned the Magic are. Entering the fourth quarter Paul Pierce leads all scorers with 22 points. Rashard Lewis follows with 20 points. Rajon Rondo has dished nine assists and Dwight Howard has grabbed 11 rebounds. Now on to the final 12 minutes …

At the start of the fourth … Celtics 77, Magic 65

Celtics-Magic Game Blog: Third Quarter

12.01.08 at 6:52 pm ET
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Interesting first half as Magic coach Stan Van Gundy solved his backcourt problem by essentially playing 6-10 Rashard Lewis at shooting guard. Lewis is a tough cover under normal circumstances, but with Paul Pierce on the bench with three fouls, the Celtics had to leave Tony Allen on Lewis, and Lewis took advantage to score 12 of his 18 points in the second quarter.

For their part the Celtics old issue of turnovers continues to be a problem. They had nine in the first half, which was the only real negative offensively after shooting 54 percent. Defensively the Celtics have to stay active on the boards. Orlando picked up 11 second-chance points on nine offensive rebounds–Dwight Howard and Tony Battie had three apiece.

Onward with the Celtics leading 48-46… Read the rest of this entry »

Celtics-Magic Game Blog: Second Quarter

12.01.08 at 6:16 pm ET
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At the half … Celtics 48, Magic 46

Despite their injuries the Magic played fully loaded in the second quarter. Rashard Lewis has 18 points in the half while Dwight Howard and Tony Battie have combined for 13 rebounds. The Celtics are making it hard on themselves by sending the Magic to the free throw line. Take a look:

Celtics: 5/5 FT
Magic: 11/17 FT

Pierce is on the bench with three fouls, Perkins and Powe both have two. More after halftime …

– The Celtics have a game on their hands and aren’t doing themselves any favors by fouling the Magic. Lewis had the hot hand and now his teammates are picking up the pace as well. The excitement has slowly been evaporating from the air at the Garden. Even the “Let’s go Celtics” cheers are barely audible.

– There’s that dunk from Howard.

– Sam Cassell was ejected from the bench for arguing a foul called on Kendrick Perkins. He still has yet to play a minute this season.

Tony Allen returns to the game with five minutes to go. Just in time to sub in for Pierce, who has picked up three quick fouls.

– During a timeout Dwight Howard jumped him and grabbed the rim. We haven’t seen much of that tonight and it’s basically inevitable that he’ll throw one down before the game is over.

– The Magic are finally getting the idea and attacking the hoop. They’ve scored six points in the paint in four minutes, doubling their total from the first 15 minutes.

– Tony Allen left the game with a right ankle sprain. He is expected to return.

– Scal checked into the game at the eight minute mark. Ten seconds have gone by and so far no “Scal-a-bri-ne” chants. I don’t want to jinx it but this is astonishing.

– The Magic have Dwight Howard (6’11), Tony Battie (6’11), and Hedo Turkoglu (6’10) on the court and yet they’ve only scored six points in the paint three minutes into the second quarter. Both Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins are on the bench but the Magic still aren’t attacking the paint.

– Redick nails a three and Eddie drains one right after. Redick may have been the man in college but House isn’t letting him steal the spotlight in the Garden.

– J.J. Redick just clocked his tenth minute of the game. This is the most time I’ve seen him play since he was a Blue Devil. The difference is he’s met with boos here whereas he gets a hero’s welcome in Orlando.

– As Paul pointed out in the first quarter, tensions are running high in this game. The undermanned Magic are trying to compensate for the absence of three players by being pesky under the basket in an effort to get under the Celtics skin.

At the start of the second quarter … Celtics 28, Magic 18

Celtics-Magic Game Blog: First Quarter

12.01.08 at 5:41 pm ET
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We are live from the Garden for tonight’s big game between the Orlando Magic and the Boston Celtics. The Magic are 13-4, but a little shorthanded, having to play without their starting backcourt of Jameer Nelson and Mickael Pietrus, as well as backup swing man Keith Bogans.

Ageless veteran Anthony Johnson has been starting in Jameer’s place, and has played well, but can he stick with Rajon Rondo for 36 minutes? Can Kendrick Perkins keep the league’s leading rebounder, Dwight Howard, off the glass? Will JJ Redick get booed? Will answer those questions, and more, tonight. Read the rest of this entry »

Rivers Named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month

12.01.08 at 2:44 pm ET
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Boston Celtics Head Coach Doc Rivers was named NBA Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for the month of November. The Celtics finished the month 16-2 and atop the Eastern Conference standings.

This is Rivers’ third consecutive selection and fourth of his career. He is the third coach in the history of the award (dating back to 1981) to be named three straight months. Flip Saunders and Larry Brown are the only other coaches to do so.

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