Archive for February, 2010

How C’s-Cavs are different now

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

WALTHAM — It seems much longer than four months when last the Celtics played the Cavaliers on opening night in Cleveland.

And for both teams – who meet tonight at TD Garden at 8 p.m. – the perspective has changed.

The Celtics went into Quicken Loans Arena on Oct. 27 and came away with a 95-89 win and served notice that they were intent on reclaiming their perch atop the Eastern Conference with Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen back in full stride.

That night Pierce led a balanced attack with 23 points, overcoming a game-high 38 from LeBron James. But C’s coach Doc Rivers said beyond the final score, there’s not much to take from the result that night.

“Nah, they’re not the same team,” Rivers said. “We’re not the same team. We won. We can take that away from it but other than that, I think both teams have forgotten about that.”

Indeed. Since then, the two teams have taken different paths. The Cavs, after losing their first two and starting the season 3-3, have rebounded to claim the top spot in the East and the NBA at 44-14, despite a recent three-game skid.

[Click here to listen to Rivers explain how Cavaliers are different than opening night.]

The Celtics, who stood 23-5 following a Christmas Day win over Orlando, have battled injuries and inconsistency and stand 36-19, just ahead of fourth-place Atlanta by a game in the loss column.

Both teams made moves at the trading deadline to strengthen themselves. While the Celtics added firepower with Nate Robinson, Cleveland acquired more front court athleticism in Antawn Jamisoin, dealing away Zydrunas Ilgauskas. The Cavs lost their first three games following the trade with Jamison in the starting lineup before he scored 18 in Tuesday’s win over New Orleans.

“They are different, watching them on tape the last two games,” Rivers said. “The Jamison thing has changed them a little bit. It definitely makes it more difficult to guard them so we have to get ready for that.” (more…)

Celtics wish the best for Powe

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Thursday night will be Leon Powe‘€™s first return to Boston since signing with the Cavaliers last summer.

It could also be the first time he plays in over 10 months.

Powe tore the ACL in his left knee during Game 2 of the Celtics first round playoff series against the Bulls last season. That was April 20, 2009. He has not played in an NBA game since.

On Tuesday, after months of rehab, Powe was activated into the Cavaliers lineup. While he did  not get on the court, it presented the possibility for him to make his regular season debut against his former team.

Even though he is in a different uniform this time around, those who spent seasons around him expressed their best wishes for his return:

Ray Allen: ‘€œI’€™d be happy for him. I’€™d definitely be happy for him. I’€™m just wishing him well because how he injured himself and how everything went, I was so distraught. We all felt bad so I’€™d be glad to see him just lace them back up.’€

Kendrick Perkins: ‘€œI’€™d be excited for him. Just for him to bounce back after the injury, it could have been a career-ending injury. But for him to come back and get a chance to play, I’€™d be happy for Leon. He’€™s a great guy. ‘€¦ He works hard. Leon’€™s a hard worker. He’€™s all basketball. He doesn’€™t drink, he doesn’€™t do any of the club stuff. He’€™s strictly basketball.’€

Tony Allen: ‘€œThat’€™s my man. I’€™m happy for him. If anybody could come off injuries and play, hey, I’€™m all for it. I hope he gets back to where he wants to get back. That’€™s my man. We’€™ve got a friendship that’€™s going to last forever. He’€™s a championship teammate, we won it together, we threw champagne together, he understands me.’€

Glen Davis: ‘€œIt means a lot. He’€™s a great guy, and for him to have an opportunity to play and do some big things, come back from a tough knee injury, I know it means a lot to him. It’€™s a joy to see a guy bounce back and fight adversity and come back and be able to play. ‘€¦ We won a championship together. We won it together so he’€™s always going to be a part of that.’€

Head coach Doc Rivers: ‘€œIt’€™d be nice to see him playing basketball. I’€™m looking forward to it. I don’€™t know, except for having gone through the knee injury myself, and he’€™s gone through it a couple times, what he has had to go through. So I’€™m really looking forward to him just playing basketball again. It’€™ll be great. To me, it’€™ll be a success story  in a lot of ways because a lot of people didn’€™t think he could ever play again. When he got hurt, I heard that the first time. I said, ‘€˜You clearly don’€™t know who Leon Powe is. That kid will always be a success story.’€™’€

Powe averaged 6.6 points and 4.2 rebounds over three seasons for the Celtics. Last season he stepped into the starting role in place of an injured Kevin Garnett and Davis. He scored a career-high 30 points and added 11 rebounds against the Grizzlies last March.

Powe’€™s troubled childhood has also been chronicled as a testament to his dedication to succeed in the NBA. Click here to read more.

Ainge on The Big Show: Nate played ‘nervous’

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Celtics president Danny Ainge was a guest on The Big Show Wednesday afternoon (Click here to listen to the interview) and he addressed the health of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, Nate Robinson’s adjustment to the team and Ray Allen’s resurgence. Following is a transcript.

Are you expecting Paul Pierce to be out against Cleveland?

I’€™m not sure yet. It will be a game-time decision. You never know with Paul. We want to be cautious with that thumb because those things can get aggravated easily. I don’€™t think the injury is serious, but they can get aggravated over and over and over.

Do you have to hold him out for his own benefit?

Yeah, but again, we will just see how the treatment goes and how much stronger it is tomorrow. By game time we will make that decision.

If you were playing the Nets tomorrow as opposed to Cleveland, would you treat it differently?

I don’€™t think so. I think that Cleveland might be a temptation for Paul. We still have the big picture in mind and it makes more sense to rest all his minor ailments and get him healthy once and for all.

How did Nate Robinson look last night?

I thought Nate was playing a little bit nervous. I think the dynamic of coming into a good team is a tough one because you are trying to fit in. He hasn’€™t played basketball in 10 days. They had a shootaround, basically, was all they had to go through the offense and playing the Knicks. I think all those things going in, there was a lot of emotion going on. I could see he was trying to fit in. Doc was trying to tell him that we just want you to be aggressive and attack, because that’€™s when he is at his best. Being an aggressive offensive player looking to score, I think that’€™s when he plays his best basketball. (more…)

Nate: Celtics ‘want you to be loud’

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

WALTHAM —  Communicating would seem to come very naturally for Nate Robinson. But what the three-time NBA dunk champ learned Wednesday on the first full day of Celtics practice for him and Marcus Landry was a bit of a surprise.

The Celtics coaches told him they want him to “talk” and “be loud” – specifically when he’s on the court.

“Talking on defense,” Robinson said. “They want you to be loud and talking. I’m a loud person but sometimes in basketball some of the guys that talk a lot are not the ones who talk on defense. But they bring out the best in me and I’m looking forward to this.”

Pierce, Daniels miss practice

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

WALTHAM — The Celtics will likely be without Paul Pierce when they take on LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers at TD Garden on Thursday night, according to Celtics coach Doc Rivers.

Pierce was kept out of practice on Wednesday to protect his injured right thumb while Marquis Daniels was sent home with flu-like symptoms.

“I’m not going to say definitely but most likely not [Thursday],” Rivers said. “We’ll just evaluate it day-to-day. I didn’t want him to take a chance of getting his thumb hit at all in practice so that if he did feel good [Thursday] but if not, we’ll just wait. We’re just going to go a game at a time with him.”

Asked if he were concerned that Pierce’s thumb was anything more than a sprain, Rivers said likely not. “I would know if it’s something else and it’s not,” he said.

Also missing practice on Wednesday was Daniels. “We sent Marquis home. He looked awful so we’ll see [Thursday] and if not I have no idea right now so we’ll figure it out,” Rivers said.

Allen always expected return to Boston

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

On Tuesday night, Ray Allen returned to TD Garden for the first time since the trade deadline.

He didn’€™t expect to be anywhere else.

‘€œI had my whole West Coast bag packed already, so it was going on the plane to Sacramento on that Monday morning [for the Celtics four-game road trip]. So I wasn’€™t thinking about anything anyways,’€œ he said prior to the Celtics-Knicks game. ‘€œI think there was more made up than honestly I knew because people were tweeting me, hoping I stayed here. But it wasn’€™t a question for me whether or not I thought I was going anywhere.’€

Allen repeatedly vocalized his desire to retire as a Celtic. There was no questioning his interest in finishing his career in green.

However, an expiring contract combined with the Celtics’€™ inconsistencies had landed his name is trade rumors for weeks. Many thought Allen had played his last game as a Celtic when the C’€™s blew a late lead to the Magic on Feb. 7, their final home game before the deadline. And when he sat out the next game in New Orleans with back spasms, even more speculation buzzed.

But as Celtics fans waited anxiously for the trade deadline to pass last Thursday, Allen was unaware of the time frame. He actually thought the deadline was Feb. 20, not the 18th.

Besides, one deadline did not dictate his 14-year career.

‘€œNot that I was ever worried about it because at worst you go somewhere else and you still play. Just you start somewhere else,’€ he said. ‘€œSo that was my mindset. But I think obviously there were people that either wanted me to stay or wanted me to go, one way or the other, it didn’€™t make a difference. I was still going to play.’€

Just as leaving the Garden before the trade deadline didn’€™t trigger any emotions for Allen, neither did his return. For him, it was just another game in Boston, the city he always intended to return to.

‘€œI never expected not to be [here],’€ he said. ‘€œIf they traded me, then I’€™m gone. But I was never worried about it so I never thought otherwise, like I’€™m going to be somewhere else. This is where I planned to be and I didn’€™t think about anything else.’€

House: I still love Boston

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

The emotion ran both ways for Eddie House in his return to the same parquet floor where just last month he was raining down 3′s on opponents and bringing fans to their feet.

On Tuesday night, a very appreciative House thanked the fans at TD Garden following Boston’s 110-106 win over his New York Knicks.

House received a standing ovation from the fans following a video tribute during a first-quarter timeout.

“It was beautiful,” he said. “I love the fans for the way they showed their love me and I have just as much back for them. I loved playing here. It was a great place. What a great run I had, winning a championship and having a chance again last year.”

[Click here to hear from House and his reaction to his return to Boston.]

On going from team with goal to win championship to a team building: ‘€œIt’€™s hard, just losing.  That’€™s the hard thing, I’€™m not used to losing. I haven’€™t been on a losing team in quite a long time. That’€™s the toughest thing about it is taking these L’€™s. Keep competing man, as long as you’€™re playing hard and trying to do the right thing.  You can never be upset with yourself or your teammates. Everybody is trying to do the right thing and playing hard but for whatever reason we’€™re falling short.’€

On whether he was glad he returned to Boston was so quick after trade: ‘€œIt was no big deal. I didn’€™t put any more weight on this game than I did my first game in Madison Square. Just play the game of basketball. It’€™s the same thing just different opponent and just happens to be guys I played with before about a week ago.  Just no strain on this game at all. I didn’€™t try to come in and just automatically try getting my shots like it was something. I just played the game and let the game come to me. Just play the right way that’€™s all I’€™m trying to do all the time.’€

On what can he bring to this Knicks team: ‘€œI’€™m just going to try to bring as much leadership that I can. As far as playing the right way. That’€™s all it’€™s about is playing the right way and competing. I’€™m not saying I’€™m the best defensive player, but we’€™re going to try to do the best we can to put ourselves in position to be successful and keep helping if you get beat, and help him if he goes, and help someone else. We just got to continue to compete and it’€™s about leading by example, not just talking about it.’€