|10.11.08 at 10:27 pm ET|
Paul Pierce knows he’s in for a battle whenever he goes up against Ron Artest. So while Artest’s tough play seemed uncharacteristic for most preseason games, Pierce was not surprised at all.
“That’s Ron,” Pierce said. “He plays like that preseason, summer league, regular season. That’s the way he plays.”
Artest’s hustle was tough enough to send Pierce to the locker room in the first quarter with a stinger.
“It’s a little stiff. I’ve got a crick in my neck but I’m going to be alright,” Pierce said.
The Celtics captain knows Artest is only the beginning of opponents who will be gunning for him this season.
“You’ve got to understand, when you’re the champs people are going to come at you whether it’s preseason, regular season,” he said. “We’ve just got to be ready for it.”
|10.11.08 at 10:18 pm ET|
It’s a rare occasion when the media flocks to Gabe Pruitt before Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, or Ray Allen after a game. But tonight Pruitt who stole the show, clinching an 90-89 victory over the Houston Rockets with six seconds to go.
“There wasn’t [any hesitation],” Pruitt said. “[Doc] told me that he’s going to put it in my hands and he wanted me to attack early and that’s what I did.”
In just three preseason games Pruitt has already shown signs of improvement from his rookie season. The second-year guard chipped in eight points and four steals in 20 minutes on Saturday night.
“This time [Doc's] giving me more opportunities,” he said, “And even though it’s early, I feel like I need to show coach that he can be confident in me. He gave me that opportunity tonight in the second half and I just wanted to build off of that.”
The veteran Celtics showed their enthusiasm for Pruitt’s heroics after the game.
“Hold on G. Wipe your face, man,” Kevin Garnett yelled as Pruitt addressed reporters. “You can’t be sweating on TV.”
|10.11.08 at 10:18 pm ET|
The Celtics beat the Houston Rockets, 90-89, when Gabe Pruitt banked in a jumper with 6.6 seconds remaining to improve to 2-1 in the preseason. But that was hardly the story of a game that featured Ron Artest driving Paul Pierce the floor on a drive to the basket in the first quarter, a Tracy McGrady elbow to the ribs of rookie Bill Walker and McGrady and Eddie House almost going at it after exchanging words in the second quarter.
Here’s what some of the Celtics had to say about not backing down afterward.
|10.11.08 at 5:17 pm ET|
There is still a minute to go in the first quarter and more tension is ensuing.
As Bill Walker drove on Tracy McGrady, T-Mac appeared to push off on the rookie. Down at the basket, words were exchanged between Walker, McGrady, and Rafer Alston after McGrady gave Walker a one-handed shove that sent him to the ground. The players were separated and order seemed to be restored. Seconds later, McGrady and Eddie House became engaged in a heated conversation. Just as Pierce, who had recently returned to the game, separated the players, Walker came back to get in a few last words, only to be held back by Luis Scola. McGrady and House were charged with technical fouls.
Looks like J.R. Giddens was right when he said there are two sides to Bill Walker.
|10.11.08 at 4:57 pm ET|
Paul Pierce asked for the match up and he got it.
With just under 7:30 to go in the first quarter, Pierce drove the lane against Ron Artest. Artest welcomed him at the basket with a blow to the shoulder. No foul was called and the Rockets scored on the fastbreak. Artest pumped his chest as Eddie House and Kendrick Perkins rose to their feet on the Celtics bench to vocalize their disagreement with the no-call.
Moments later, Garnett blocked a Rockets shot that sent the crowd into a frenzy. The noise escalated when Artest dealt a hard foul to Ray Allen that sent the Celtics guard sliding into the front row.
Pierce has left the game with a bruised right shoulder but is expected to return.
All this tension and there is still five minutes to go in the first quarter.
|10.11.08 at 4:49 pm ET|
At some point tonight Paul Pierce was led to believe that he wasn’t going to play against the Houston
Rockets. He had just worked up a sweat shooting around and was ready to go. Pierce muttered his frustrations as he hit the floor for push ups.
He didn’t just want to play basketball – he wanted to take on Ron Artest.
“I always want to play against Ron Artest,” Pierce said. “I think we both bring out the best in each other. I think he’s the best perimeter defender in the league.”
Turns out Pierce will play tonight, and more than he did on Friday against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Doc Rivers expects the Big Three to play solid minutes in both halves, given that the team has the day off tomorrow.
|10.09.08 at 5:23 pm ET|
How does a rookie celebrate his 21st birthday with the world champion Boston Celtics?
Bill Walker’s answer may surprise you.
“Oh man, I’ve got to guard against LeBron James and (Sasha) Pavlovic and all those guys tomorrow,” Walker said. “So I’m resting.”
Walker will lay low in preparation for Friday’s preseason match up against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Providence, Rhode Island.
Darius Miles also celebrated a birthday today, turning 28. Walker and a handful of teammates serenaded him before Thursday’s practice.