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Celtics-Rockets Game Blog: Fourth Quarter

01.07.09 at 7:28 pm ET
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- I’m hoping for more Pierce vs. Artest action in the fourth quarter. They love to hate each other on the court and I haven’t seen another player target Pierce as intensely as Artest.

Nate Robinson gets credit for being the biggest little man in the NBA but Aaron Brooks deserves more recognition. Brooks just dribbled circles around Ray Allen on top of scoring 14 points already.

– Huge 3 for Pruitt. He can be explosive when given the minutes.

Adalius Thomas wants you to get up out your seats and make some noise. His message was just as effective and a lot less startling than Big Baby’s frenzied plea earlier.

– Double fouls issued to Artest and Allen. Looked like Artest pulled Allen to the ground but the Celtics are going to have to fight for this one tonight.

– “In the Air Tonight” is on so you know what that means. KG is about to be unleashed on the Rockets.

– What was that? On a drive to the basket Artest bobbled to ball, seemed to pass it back and forth to himself a few times, then landed on the fans sitting courtside before the shot clock ran out.

– Artest fouled out with three minutes to go. Pierce kindly pointed to the bench, not once, not twice, but enough times to rattle Artest. Were those tears a la Big Baby we saw on the Jumbotron? The Pierce vs. Artest battle is over but everyone got their money’s worth. I’ve never seen Pierce react so strongly to the disqualification of another player.

– Excitement aside there’s no ignoring Perk’s struggle tonight. He is scoreless and reboundless in the second half and hasn’t found a way to contain Yao.

– Rondo, who has been quiet as well, doesn’t have to stress about finding his teammates when they are getting him the ball. Nice dish from KG to Rondo under the basket to give the Celtics a one-point lead with 1:30 to go.

– Homecourt advantage? Pierce got whistled for an offensive foul with a minute to go. Wonder if Artest is snickering about that from the bench. That late game call could come back to haunt the Celtics.

– It did.

Celtics-Rockets Game Blog: Third Quarter

01.07.09 at 6:54 pm ET
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This is the Bizarro-world game. The Celtics shot 12-for-18 in the first quarter and the Rockets shot 12-for-18 in the second. A big reason was the small lineup employed by Rick Adelman. Aaron Brooks, in particular, ran circles around the Celtics defense. The good news for Boston? Only five turnovers in the first half.

This is a big half for the Celtics, maybe their biggest of the season to date. Read the rest of this entry »

Rondo’s keys to snapping a skid

01.07.09 at 6:42 pm ET
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Rajon Rondo can’t pinpoint exactly why the Boston Celtics have been struggling but he has a few ideas on how to get back on track. On Wednesday, the Cs point guard explained how he wanted to bounce back against the Houston Rockets:

Be up for the challenge: ‘€œDoc told us from the beginning that it’s going to be like that every night. We’d be a team’s Game 7, especially the Warriors, Charlotte, New York and they played extremely hard.’€

Match the intensity: ‘€œWe’re definitely getting every team’s best shot. Guys are playing extremely hard against us every time we play one particular team. So we’ve got to come out every night and it starts with defense. We have to talk more, communicate better, play better, and get it going on the offensive end as well.’€

Want it more: ‘€œWe just need to get down and dirty. We need to fight for loose balls, get out on hustle plays, win the hustle wars … Not the whole games but it seems like in key possessions they’re outhustling us.’€

Remember Ubuntu: ‘€œWe’ll stick together. This is a tough time for us right now but we’ve just got to handle the adversity and I’m sure we’ll bounce back from it.’€

Build momentum for the road: ‘€œWe’re just in a slump right now and we’ve got to find a way to get out of it. And it starts tonight. But we’ve got to carry it over when we go to Cleveland (on Friday).’€

Stay confident: ‘€œEvery game we go through right now, the tough times can only you stronger. Like they say, if it doesn’t kill you it makes you stronger. We’ll find a way.”

Celtics-Rockets Game Blog: Second Quarter

01.07.09 at 6:16 pm ET
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HALFTIME WRAP: No T-Mac, no problem for the Rockets in the first half. The Celtics have been unable to stop Houston in the paint and find themselves down by three at the half. Perk has been virtually ineffective down low (0 points, 3 rebounds) and the Celtics will have to ramp up their defensive efforts to slow down Yao Ming, Ron Artest, and Aaron Brooks (37 points combined).

Doc Rivers said Gabe Pruitt has earned more playing time and he’s on the court at the start of the second quarter. It’s Pruitt/Powe/Davis/Pierce/House vs. Brooks/Landry/Barry/Hayes/Artest.

– Carl Landry’s future with the Rockets was in question this summer. After a lengthy negotiation Landry returned to Houston and is giving the Rockets a spark off the bench. He already has four points and four rebounds in 10 minutes.

– Doc’s going with a lineup we haven’t seen much of: House/Pruitt/Ray Allen/Garnett/Powe. Rivers said he only felt comfortable with Pruitt and House in the backcourt together if their were playing a smaller team.

– Here comes Scal. Whereas Pierce could battle all night with Artest, Scal high-fived him after fouling/practically landing on top of #96.

– All sorts of size mismatches on the court … 7’6 Yao vs. 6’8 Powe … 6’11 KG vs. 6’6 Hayes … even 6’1 Rondo vs. the no-way-is-he-really 6′ Brooks.

– Time for Celtics Karaoke on the JumboTron. Tonight it’s Ray Allen “singing” the theme song to “Cheers.” It’d be better if people didn’t know his name after that rendition.

–  With two minutes to go, KG finally drew the first personal foul on Yao Ming. That should tell you something about the Celtics aggression down low. So far they’ve been outscored 20-10 in the paint.

– That’s something to think about as the Celtics enter halftime trailing 52-49.

Celtics-Rockets Game Blog: First Quarter

01.07.09 at 5:38 pm ET
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We are live from the Garden for tonight’s highly-anticipated matchup between the suddenly reeling Celtics and the banged-up Rockets. That’s not the NBA version of the promo, but this is a big game for both teams. The C’s, as we know, are reeling a bit. Losing three out of four on the West Coast and then dropping back-to-back games against the Knicks and Bobcats of all people, have put them on edge a bit.

Tony Allen is out again and might not be ready until next week. Kevin Garnett is also feeling the effects of just about everything. But that’s nothing compared to what the Rockets are going through. Tracy McGrady is not in the starting lineup and not expected to play, and Huston has dropped three in a row and six of its last eight.

So, what will it be? Which team will get itself right tonight? Let’s find out… Read the rest of this entry »

Mutombo couldn’t wait for Celtics

01.07.09 at 5:13 pm ET
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Dikembe Mutombo wanted to play for the Boston Celtics. The problem is, he wasn’t sure how much the Celtics wanted him to play for them. Mutombo was on the list of rumored possible mid-season acquisitions and the big man was on board to play with the champs. But the Celtics weren’t ready to commit and Mutombo, 42, didn’t feel like waiting around any longer.

Prior to Tuesday’s Celtics-Rockets game, he explained why he went back to Houston on New Year’s Eve:

“In the last minutes, especially on the 24th and 25th, I was feeling like I was not the only one in the picture no more that they were looking at,” he said. “It kind of discouraged me a little bit. I said ok, I have about seven organizations here that want me and this organization that I want to go to, I thought they wanted me but they’re looking at somebody else. Should I be on the waiting list or should I just go take another offer that was there on the table? And I think by having a talk that night with Yao and T-Mac and calling me on the phone saying, please come on man. We want you here. I was like ok. Let me just go be with guys who are talking to me who want me to be part of their family than wait for the organization who are waiting on their decision making. I think they were in between. They were looking at, I heard about Alonzo (Mourning), then I heard about Joe Smith, then I heard about P.J. Brown. I was like ok, I’m not going to be in the middle of this. I just have to walk away the way I want to walk. I wanted to come to your cold city, but they did not want me.”

This is Mutombo’s 18th season in the NBA. He has a career average of 9.9 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Dikembe Mutombo, Houston Rockets, Tracy McGrady

Preview: Boston Celtics vs. Houston Rockets

01.07.09 at 10:54 am ET
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For two teams who have their own version of the “Big Three,” nothing about their play as been big lately. On Wednesday night the Boston Celtics (29-7) will take on the Houston Rockets (21-15) at the TD BankNorth Garden in a match up between a pair of talented but struggling teams. The Celtics are 2-5 since snapping their 19-game winning streak on Christmas Day while the Rockets have lost six of their last eight. What is the common denominator?


The Celtics have been outhustled on the defensive end during their recent skid. Their opponents have figured out how to slow down Rajon Rondo and the Cs have not matched that intensity. Getting outrebounded doesn’t help either.

‘€œTeams are way too comfortable when they go up against us now,’€ Paul Pierce told the media after Tuesday’s loss to the Charlotte Bobcats. ‘€œWe’€™re missing assignments. One person can mess up the whole five, so we all have to get back on the same page.”

As for the Rockets, they have allowed their opponents to shoot a league-high 50.8% from the field in the last five contests. They have also been outscored by an average of six points per game.

“For whatever reason, we’ve taken steps back on the defensive end,” Tracy McGrady told reporters. “In the past (defense) has been our make up, a great defensive team. No matter how bad we were struggling on the offensive end, we always seemed to play defense. The last week or two, it got away from us.”

One team will get back on track tonight while another will be left scratching their heads. The Celtics have the advantage with McGrady being sidelined by a knee injury, but recent losses to undermanned teams like the Golden State Warriors and Portland Trail Blazers are proof you may not need your superstar to beat the Cs.

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