|12.01.08 at 9:27 pm ET|
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 »
|12.01.08 at 7:24 pm ET|
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
|12.01.08 at 6:52 pm ET|
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 »
|12.01.08 at 6:16 pm ET|
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
|12.01.08 at 5:41 pm ET|
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 »
|12.01.08 at 2:44 pm ET|
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.
|11.30.08 at 10:01 pm ET|
On Monday night the Boston Celtics (16-2) will take on the Orlando Magic (13-4) at the TD BankNorth Garden. The presence of Dwight Howard makes the Magic an Eastern Conference contender but, despite successful regular season records, Superman hasn’t been able to carry his team to the Eastern Conference Finals. After last season, the road to the championship goes through Boston and the Magic surely know it. Monday’s game could be a preview of a future postseason battle.
In the Last Five Games ‘¦
The Celtics enter this game on an eight-game winning streak while the Magic have won their last four. Both teams have been running up the scoreboard in the last five games. The Celtics have averaged 104.6 points while winning by an average 13.8 points; the Magic have averaging 102.8 ppg while winning by a less impressive 6.6 ppg. They have been nearly identical on the glass. Even though Howard leads the league in blocks, the Celtics have the slight advantage as of late. The Cs have also held their opponents to less than 18 assists per game, a troubling stat for the Magic who have been playing without point guard Jameer Nelson.
Dwight Howard looks to bring his show-stopping antics to Boston and dominate his way through the paint. Howard (21.8 ppg, 13.9 rpg, 3.9 bpg) will be a challenging match up for the foul-prone Kendrick Perkins. The only silver lining for the Celtics is Howard’s inconsistency at the free throw line (57.3% FT). He shot 21-42 in three games against the Cs last season.
All Banged Up
While this game could be a playoff preview, it will be without a handful of key players. The Magic’s Jameer Nelson (hip), Mickael Pietrus (thumb), and Keith Bogans (thumb) suffered early-season injuries. This leaves holes at the point guard spot, on the wing, and on the bench. The Celtics should expect to see more of shooting guards J.J. Redick and Courtney Lee. Veteran PG Anthony Johnson has been starting in place of Nelson and will try to contain the streaking Rajon Rondo. These injuries are depleting the Magic reserves and creating a daunting task to stop the Celtics deep bench.
In the past five games the Magic have held their opponents to a staggering 28% from three-point range. Their biggest challenge will be stopping Ray Allen, who is shooting 56% from downtown during that same stretch. On the contrary, Paul Pierce is shooting just 15.4%. Ironically Allen’s former teammate, forward Rashard Lewis, has the hot hand for the Magic (47.2% 3PG last five games). There’s also no telling if one time NCAA-phenom J.J. Redick will find his groove.
Check in with the WEEI Celtics Game Day Blog for all the latest from the Celtics-Magic match up.
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