|04.19.13 at 3:25 pm ET|
It’s only fitting that Boston and New York will meet again in a playoff series.
An underlying respect between the two cities rose to the surface this week, when the Yankees honored Red Sox Nation with a ‘United We Stand‘ sign outside their Stadium and sang Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline’ inside. Bound further now by more than a rivalry, we can only hope sports provide the same small distraction and healing power in Boston that they did in New York City after Sept. 11, 2001.
As we did during Wednesday’s emotional National Anthem at the Bruins game, let’s attempt to welcome that distraction and healing power in the aftermath of the cowardly Boston Marathon bombings and ensuing manhunt by previewing the first-round NBA playoff series between the Celtics and Knicks.
The two erstwhile Defensive Players of the Year have each served as anchors of NBA title teams and enter this series dealing with recent injuries. While Chandler (neck) has relative youth and superior rebounding on his side, Garnett (ankle) is a more versatile offensive threat, illustrating a far wider shooting range and facilitating at a higher rate. There’s a reason one’s a future Hall of Famer and the other made his first All-Star roster this winter.
Slight advantage: Celtics
Brandon Bass (27.6 MIN, 8.7 PTS, 5.2 REB, 1.0 AST, 0.8 BLK, 0.5 STL)
Vs. Carmelo Anthony (37.0 MIN, 28.7 PTS, 6.9 REB, 2.6 AST, 0.8 STL, 0.5 BLK)
|04.18.13 at 11:00 am ET|
With the regular season over and the playoffs starting Saturday, Celtics coach Doc Rivers made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning and discussed his experience during the Boston Marathon bombing, the team’s matchup with the Knicks, and how to stop Carmelo Anthony.
When the two explosions went off at the Boston Marathon on Monday, Rivers had just finished up his team’s practice and was planning on heading for the conclusion of the race.
“I just noticed people, literally running around,” Rivers said. “Then my phone rang and I think it was my assistant who told me what was going on. Obviously I didn’t have any hardship personally except for trying to navigate through people. What I witnessed more was just how quickly, in my opinion, the city went to work. I’m not talking just the first responders. What I did get to witness, it felt like hundreds, it wasn’t, but it felt like hundreds of ambulances, fire trucks roaring by me because I was on Huntington Avenue, which is the next block. … I saw a guy in a suit and tie directing traffic and saw guys hugging and saw people just trying to help each other, and that’s what struck me.”
Rivers talked about how his team will not be returning to Boston before the team’s first playoff game on Saturday in New York.
“The playoffs start on Saturday, so just the travel would have been hard and we made that decision,” Rivers said. “So that’s what we’re going to do. It’s an extended road trip, basically. But guys, they call home, they check on people they know, so that will be part of it. One of the things that I’ve never let go [of] and I understand more than anything is that athletes have a human life. A lot of times a guy will have a bad game and fans or the media will just want to say he didn’t play well, but you may know why for real. Maybe he had a personal issue at home that affected him, and this may affect us, but I’m hoping this affects us in a positive way.”
The Celtics finished 41-40 and with the seventh seed and will play Game 1 of their series vs. the second-seeded Knicks on Saturday afternoon. Games 1 and 2 will be at Madison Square Garden. The Celtics have had success in the postseason vs. the Knicks, but Rivers said he doesn’t expect past series to affect this year’s games.
“I hope [past history will help], but I don’t think it will,” Rivers said. “It would be nice if it helped but none of those guys or at least very few of those guys are part of that history. In a lot of ways it’s a brand new team we’re playing and they’re really good. They didn’t win our division and win the amount of games that they won by fluke. They’re a good basketball team.”
|04.18.13 at 10:07 am ET|
The NBA released the full schedule for the first-round playoff series between the Celtics and Knicks.
Game 1: Celtics at Knicks on Saturday (3 p.m., ABC)
Game 2: Celtics at Knicks on Tuesday (8 p.m., TNT)
Game 3: Knicks at Celtics on April 26 (8 p.m., ESPN)
Game 4: Knicks at Celtics on April 28 (1 p.m., ABC)
Game 5: Celtics at Knicks on May 1 (TBD, if necessary)
Game 6: Knicks at Celtics on May 3 (TBD, if necessary)
Game 7: Celtics at Knicks on May 5 (TBD, if necessary)
|04.17.13 at 11:19 pm ET|
The NBA announced Wednesday night that Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series between the seventh-seeded Celtics and second-seeded Knicks is set for Saturday at 3 p.m. at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
For more Celtics news, check out weei.com/celtics.
|04.17.13 at 10:58 pm ET|
The Celtics are heading into the postseason on a sour note.
The C’s dropped their regular-season finale Wednesday night, losing, 114-90, to the Raptors in Toronto. The Celts now look forward to taking on the Knicks in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Doc Rivers‘ team, which hadn’t played since Saturday because of Tuesday night’s cancellation due to the Boston Marathon bombing tragedy, played without both Kevin Garnett (left ankle) and Jason Terry (sore leg).
Paul Pierce, who missed Monday’s practice due to illness, started but didn’t play in the second half, finishing with 11 points in 15 minutes.
The Raptors finish their season with five straight wins, getting 24 points from DeMar DeRozan and 19 out of Rudy Gay. Toronto ends up at 30-29 after starting the season 4-19.
The Celtics conclude their regular season with a 41-40 mark. For a complete recap of the C’s regular-season finale, click here.
|04.16.13 at 4:51 pm ET|
The Celtics have announced the ticket refund policy for Tuesday’s canceled game against the Pacers:
“Fans that purchased single game tickets through Ticketmaster, or any Ticketmaster affiliates, will be refunded in full within the next two business days.
“All season ticket holders, Premium clients, mini plan holders, group ticket buyers and suite renters will be contacted by the Celtics office within the next 24 hours outlining their refund and credit process.
“For additional questions, please contact the Celtics directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
|04.16.13 at 1:06 pm ET|
Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday afternoon to talk about the decision to cancel Tuesday night’s game against the Pacers in the wake of Monday’s Boston Marathon bombing.
“The first phone call I got about this was from [NBA commissioner] David Stern,” Grousbeck said. “[Wife] Corinne and I had been following the news for just a few minutes. Right away David called, and we started our dialogue. We’re always on the same page. He’s a terrific commissioner and a terrific person. It was an easy decision for us to make together as the evening unfolded, as we learned about injuries and deaths.
“It wasn’t going to feel right to play a basketball game tonight just out of respect, and then out of diverting police resources in any way to playing a game. I’d rather personally have them able to work on the crime scene and help care for anybody who needs help in Boston as opposed to helping patrol our game. It just didn’t feel right at all to be playing tonight. It was an easy decision, which we made together.”
Grousbeck said the team will do its best to make sure TD Garden is a safe place for next week’s playoff games against the Knicks.
“We’ll be intensely focused on security,” Grousbeck said. “I’ve been here 10 years now, and it was shortly after 9/11 when we came in. Every single game is secured to a relatively high degree. Every playoff game is secured to the nth degree. Maybe we’ll secure every game to the nth degree, as it were. But these playoffs will be a very safe place to be. And they will be respectful of the victims and hopeful for the future.”
Added Grousbeck: “I think it’s fair to say that there are levels of security that people are even unaware of. There will be more of those.”