Archive for December, 2009

Troy Murphy gets it right on Rondo

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Not sure if everyone’s noticed an emerging trend in the NBA where a large number of players stop short of giving Rajon Rondo his props. Indiana’s Danhtay Jones spoke for many who have conveyed similar statements when he said Tuesday night, “They have a great team. He compliments the guys around him. He’s a part of a great machine.”

There’s a couple of things happening in that quote. One, the players meme is that Rondo is beyond lucky to be on a team like the Celtics with veteran superstars and two, he’s a complimentary player.

The first part may be true. The second part not so much. At the very least Rondo is the third-most important player on the roster and you can make a strong argument that he is actually the most important. That’s not to call out Jones. Lots of players have made similar statements, and some in harsher tones than what  Jones said after a tough loss.

Troy Murphy, however, got it just about right.

“He just kills your whole gameplan because you don’t know where he’s going to be,” Muprhy said. “He’s all over the place. He’s taking chances. He just creates havoc out there. He’s tough.”

Rondo leads the league in steals, which is part of taking chances and creating havoc, yet he’s doing it while playing “more solid” as Doc Rivers has pointed out several times. There are no metrics for staying under control both offensively and defensively, but that’s what Rondo is doing this year, while still maintaining his creativity offensively and his gameplan destroying nature defensively.

In other words, he’s putting it all together. People will start to notice soon off. Even the other players.

C’s can’t be Mickey Mouse on this trip

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Doc Rivers figured his team would be distracted on Tuesday for their game against the nine-win Indiana Pacers.

The Celtics and their families were planning to fly to Orlando on Wednesday morning for a trip to Orlando, two days in advance of their Christmas Day game against the Magic.

Then add to that the fact Kevin Garnett was a late scratch, and the Celtics coach figured the start of the game would be a tough go. He was right. His team basically slept-walked through the first half, falling down 15 points on their home court.

‘€œBasically all I told them at halftime was that our defense was awful and our effort was awful, and our offense was fine,” Rivers said. “We were missing good shots for the most part.  But we couldn’€™t get any early baskets because they scored every time down.  And so it was a walk-up-the-floor game for us and they were running it down our throats.   (more…)

Doc on KG: ‘He wasn’t thrilled’

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

Doc Rivers was asked the most obvious question in his post-game news conference on Tuesday.

What was the deal with the late scratch of Kevin Garnett from the lineup with a right knee bruise and was it related to the knee injury of last year?

‘€œWell I made up ‘€“ I didn’€™t tell the players at all,” Rivers said. “I never told them.  They were ‘€“ it was funny, because I don’€™t think they realized it, maybe until the starting lineup and until Kevin didn’€™t come out on the floor.  I just didn’€™t think it was anything ‘€“ I didn’€™t want them thinking.  I just wanted them to go out and play.  And I decided when we went in that walk-through right before.  Just the way he was walking.  And I just told Rasheed (Wallace) and Kevin to switch spots.  And I hadn’€™t told Kevin at that point.  I just told him to go to the second unit; let Rasheed walk through the stuff.  And then after that I told him that I was shutting him down.

Rivers admitted that Garnett wasn’t too happy with not playing.

‘€œAh, he wasn’€™t thrilled with it, but I think he’€™s better this year than he was last year,” Rivers said. “You know, yesterday he actually sat down in the practice and Paul (Pierce) walked over to him and said, ‘€˜Wow, someone’€™s growing up.’€™  You know, instead of fighting through it.  He’€™s such a ‘€“ has that warrior mentality, sometimes it’€™s to his detriment.  And yesterday he did a good job.  You know he wanted to fight it today and then he kind of just said, ‘€˜You’€™re right.’€™’€

And when did Garnett get hurt?

‘€œSince Memphis,” Rivers added. “He said that’€™s where he got it hit.  And of course he hadn’€™t told anyone until I think today, or yesterday he told (trainer) Eddie (Lacerte).’€

Wallace Makes Unexpected Return to Starting Five

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

It had been nearly eight months since Rasheed Wallace found himself in this position.

Wallace had not started a game since April 26, when the Pistons were eliminated by the Cavaliers in the first round of the 2009 playoffs. Back then, Wallace had hours to prepare. On Tuesday night, he didn’t have the same luxury when he was called upon to start in place of Kevin Garnett, who was suffering from a bruised right thigh.

‘€œKG’s telling me his leg is a little sore, so I knew it was a 50-50 chance,’€ Wallace explained after the game. ‘€œSo its just preparing yourself mentally, and I found out about maybe 10-20 minutes before our meeting started.’€

After establishing himself as the leader of the second unit this season, Wallace was thrown into a situation he had never been in before in Boston. He had to quickly shift his mindset to adjust to his new role and new matchups to make his first start as a Celtic.

‘€œIt’€™s a different preparation,’€ he said. ‘€œYou know when you’€™re coming off the bench, you’€™re looking more at the guys that they have coming off of the bench. At first I was more focused on [Tyler] Hansborough and what they have coming. But I had to turn that focus to [Roy] Hibbert and [Troy] Murphy and try to do what I can with them.’€

Wallace jumped out early in the first quarter. He scored five points (including a three-pointer), grabbed five rebounds, and dished two assists in the first 12 minutes. Hibbert was held scoreless while Murphy posted only three points.

He honed in on defense as the game went on. Wallace nabbed seven boards in the second half to finish the game with nine points and 13 rebounds. He banged his shoulder and was sidelined as Murphy got hot late in the final two quarters. But fortunately for the Celtics, the other starters picked up the pace while their leading rebounder was on the bench.

‘€œIt’s cool. A little sore but nagging injuries, I’m good,’€ he said of his shoulder, which was wrapped in ice after the game. ‘€œLord knows [how it happened], scuffling around in there with those big guys and came up a little bit sore. But I’m alright though. It’s all normal.’€

Although his start was unexpected, the Celtics like what they saw from his impromptu performance. Once the first unit gelled with their new member ‘€” Doc Rivers was happy to see them making the extra pass ‘€” they clicked with Wallace in the lineup.

‘€œHe’s just got like a totally different focus [as a starter],’€ Kendrick Perkins said. ‘€œHe goes out there and rebounds, his defens[ive] energy is up, and he just goes out there and does the little things. He doesn’t worry about scoring the ball or nothing like that.

“He just goes out there and plays his role to the fullest.”

Fast Break: Celtics vs. Pacers

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

BOSTON ‘€“ It was one of the ugliest first half performances the Celtics have displayed in a while. But as they have done so many times, they owned the third quarter to fight back for a 103-94 win over the Pacers on Tuesday night at the Garden.

Turning Point: After being outscored by 15 in the first half, Celtics went on a 31-14 run to take a 73-71 lead off a Rasheed Wallace fastbreak dunk. Kendrick Perkins dropped 13 points in the third quarter alone while Ray Allen added 11 in 12 minutes. The Celtics outscored the Pacers 35-20 in the quarter to get back in the game.

Player of the Game: This win was a combined effort throughout the second half. After Perkins and Allen scored 13 and 11 points in the third, respectively, it was Paul Pierce who got hot late in the game. He scored 14 points in the fourth quarter to finish the night with 21.

- Kevin Garnett did not play (bruised right thigh) and did not join the Celtics on the bench. According to team sources, the decision was Doc Rivers‘, not Garnett’s. Rasheed Wallace got his first start of the season in place of Garnett.

- The Celtics gave up 57 points in the first half, tying the season-high set by the Suns on November 6. This is the eighth time this season the Celtics have allowed more than 50 points in the first half.

- Perkins was whistled for his 8th technical of the season. He moved ahead of Carmelo Anthony to rank second in the league, behind only Wallace.

- Pierce shot 6-for-6 from three-point range on Sunday. He started Tuesday’s game 0-for-6 from the field.

- Wallace banged his right shoulder in the second half but did return to the game.

Rescinding Rasheed

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

Tuesday was a big day for Rasheed Wallace.

Not only did he make his first start of the season – giving Kevin Garnett the night off to rest his right thigh – he caught a break on Tuesday when he had one of his 10 technical fouls removed from the official record. On Nov. 29 in Miami, Wallace said, “and one!” after he thought he was fouled after making a basket at the end of the first quarter.

He was assessed the technical by Bennett Salvatore.

“He said [he would rescind] right away,” Rivers said on Tuesday. “He said it at halftime that they would rescind it. He told me something I didn’t know. When they rescind a tech, it still has to go to the league and it still has to be approved. They don’t have to rescind it.”

But taking away the one tech didn’t satisfy Wallace. He feels there are several more that need to be reviewed.

“No, I’m not happy because there’s still some more that hopefully they can look at,” Wallace explained. “That wasn’t the only one we were talking about. That one got rescinded that fast because it was referee who said he was going to do it. I’m still seeing what the outcome is on the others but I know it won’t be anytime soon for the simple fact they’re in [collective bargaining agreement] meetings. I’m not worried about it yet.”

Wallace was rung up twice for arguing and ejected from the game against Philadelphia on Friday, a game the Celtics lost, 98-97.

Those two remain on the record, now giving Wallace nine for the season. An automatic suspension is levied at 16 technicals and every two technicals after.

Jim O’Brien on Marquis Daniels, Paul Pierce

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

Indiana Pacer coach Jim O’Brien is as familiar with Celtic personnel as any coach in the league who is not on Doc Rivers‘ staff. Not only did O’Brien coach the Celtics earlier this decade, he also coached Marquis Daniels in Indiana.

Here was O’Brien’s take on Pierce’s efficiency on offense:

“I don’t see a dramatic difference. He always seemed to me to have a calmness to his game. He felt confident that he could score on anybody in any situation.”

Where O’Brien does see a difference with Pierce is on the defensive end, where he is now surrounded by like-minded players.

As for Daniels, O’Brien is obviously still a big fan.

“He’s a great pick-up,” O’Brien said. “Marquis is a player who does very subtle things offensively. He has an uncanny understanding of how to move without the basketball.” Asked how Daniels will fit with the Celtics when he returns from his injury, O’Brien added, “Marquis will have no problem. He has an exceptionally high basketball IQ.”