Archive for February, 2010

Fast Break: Celtics-Knicks

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

The Celtics returned home after two weeks away and a reunion broke out. With Eddie House, Bill Walker and J.R. Giddens back at the Garden but in the colors of the New York Knicks, the pregame atmosphere had an almost surreal quality to it with House poking his head into the Celtics locker room saying, “Yeah, I know it’s the wrong one.”

The game between the Celtics and Knicks wasn’t any less bizarre. The Celtics built a double-digit lead only to see it collapse in the second quarter when the starting five came back into the game. They dominated in the paint, held the Knicks in check on the boards and turned it over only 13 times.

And they still needed a fourth quarter push to pull out a 110-106 victory.

Part of that was the game’s pace, which was strongly in New York’s favor, and part of that was the 27 3-point attempts the Knicks lobbed at the basket. But a win is a win, and the Celtics will take all of them that they can get, no matter how strange the circumstances.

Turning Point: In a game that featured 159 shots, the biggest play came on a possession that didn’t result in a field goal attempt. With the Celtics clinging to a 109-106 lead and less than a minute to play, Ray Allen appeared from out of nowhere and cleanly swatted Wilson Chandler’s drive to the basket resulting in a 24-second violation and a much-needed stop.

Player of the Game: Rajon Rondo. A couple of different options here, but Rondo’s 15 points and 16 assists get the nod over Kevin Garnett’s overall game, which was also strong. Rondo also had an emphatic slam when the Knicks backed off guarding him and gave him an open lane to the basket.

* Marquis Daniels started for Paul Pierce who was home sick with the flu and also resting his injured thumb. Daniels scored 14 points.

* All five Celtic starters had double figures in points before the end of the third quarter.

* Garnett got up for a vicious alley-oop dunk off a pass from Rondo in the first quarter. Garnett got loose for a number of backdoor cuts, but that was the only one they connected on for a dunk.

* The Celtics scored 38 points and shot 61 percent from the floor in the first quarter.

* Eddie House who received a stirring video tribute during a timeout. The crowd rose for a standing ovation and broke into a spontaneous “Ed-die, Ed-die” chant. House acknowledged the crowd, in turn.

* Nate Robinson also received a rousing welcome from the Garden crowd when he checked in late in the quarter. As promised by Doc Rivers he did see time with Rondo in the backcourt. Robinson had just four points, one rebound and one assist on 2-for-7 shooting.

* Bill Walker scored seven points and seems to have already made a strong impression on his new team. There’s a good chance Walker will get an opportunity to earn a roster spot with the Knicks next season.

Third Quarter Wrap: Celtics vs. Knicks

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Up 64-60 at the half, the Celtics came out of the break and did what they’ve done so many times this season — let their opponents back in the game. The Knicks outscored the C’s 14-10 in the first five minutes of the third quarter to tie the game at 74.

The Celtics responded with an 11-5 run of their own and pushed the lead back up to six. The second unit helped maintain the edge, as the Celtics led 94-91 at the end of three quarters.

Wilson Chandler led all players with ten points in the quarter while Marquis Daniels added seven for the Celtics.

Halftime wrap: Celtics-Knicks

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

At the half, the Celtics have a 64-60 lead. After a red-hot start, the Celtics second unit did their part in maintaining a double-digit lead. But when the starters returned, the lead evaporated in a 13-0 New York run.

The Knicks were able to take advantage of several Celtics misses at the rim as Tony Allen and Kevin Garnett both missed layups.

Newly acquired point guard Sergio Rodriguez was instrumental to the Knicks surge with 10 points, four rebounds and five assists. His counterpart, Rajon Rondo is also on his way to a possible triple-double with 12 points, four rebounds and seven assists. Rondo also added an emphatic slam  on the Knicks porous interior defense.

Ray Allen’s hot shooting carried over from the west coast trip. He leads the Celtics in scoring with 16 points.

Doc on Nate: ‘You take your chance’

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Doc Rivers wasn’t pulling any punches or setting expectations too high before Nate Robinson’s debut in a Celtics uniform.

“You absolutely look and watch on a guy’s past history,” Rivers said of Robinson’s troublesome reputation with the Knicks. “It’s a great indicator of what’s going to be next. And yeah, we look at all that. I also look at his ability and what he can do on the floor. You try to make a decision on what overrides what and then you take your chance. We’ve taken chances on guys and some have paid off and some haven’t but I’m willing to do that. I’ve always been willing to do that.

“I want him to be him on the court and that’s one of the things I said. We didn’t grab you, we didn’t want you for the things you haven’t done. We grabbed you for all the things you do on the court. As far as the other stuff, we’ll see. We’ll see how it plays out.”

The coach said things were so rushed at the practice facility in Waltham on Monday – the only day the coaching staff has had to work with him – they had to have coaches come in to run the offense sets with no defense.

“One practice was [Monday] with no players,” Rivers said of Monday’s workout with Robinson running the point. “We ran our offense with Thibs [defensive coach Tom Thibodeau] at the two and Armond [Hill] at the three and it looked crazy. It looked awful, and it should have.”

Rivers said it would be way too much to expect Robinson to pick everything up on the fly.

“Well, I don’t know what he can grasp,” Rivers said. “That’s something we’ll find out as the year goes on. We gave him way too much stuff [Monday] and we knew that doing it and then afterward, [Tuesday] we’re just going to roll the ball out and just play. I think with a point guard, it’s very difficult to integrate a point guard in your system like this on the fly like this so we’ll do one set at a time for him.

“When he comes on the floor, basically we’ll be a one-set team and it will involve him, trying to create. It’s no secret to play basketball. We’ll figure it out.”

First quarter wrap: Celtics-Knicks

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

There was a festive atmosphere before the game with Eddie House, Bill Walker and J.R. Giddens back at the Garden in different uniforms and that feeling carried over to the start of the game. The Celtics looked crisp and and relaxed on offense, even without Paul Pierce who is home with the flu and resting his ailing thumb.

Kevin Garnett got up for a vicious alley-oop dunk off a pass from Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen poured in 13 points as the Celtics took a 38-27 lead and shot 61 percent from the floor.

While the Celtics were building their lead, the first quarter belonged to House who received a stirring video tribute during a timeout. The crowd rose for a standing ovation and broke into a spontaneous “Ed-die, Ed-die” chant. House acknowledged the crowd, in turn.

Nate Robinson also received a rousing welcome from the Garden crowd when he checked in late in the quarter.

Pierce out with right thumb, flu

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Paul Pierce will miss the game with the Knicks with an injured right thumb and didn’t make the trip into the Garden as he is also suffering from the flu. Marquis Daniels will start in his place.

“It’s just a hurt hand so we’re just going to go one day at a time,” coach Doc Rivers said. “He’s not even in the building tonight. He has the flu, too. He would’ve played if he didn’t have the hand injury. With the flu, we just told him to stay home.”

Rivers said he was not aware if tests have been performed on Pierce’s right thumb.

“If we have, I don’t know. I’m assuming we have but I actually don’t know the answer,” Rivers added.

Nate: Willing to help ‘by any means’

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Nate Robinson promised his new teammates and fans that they are going to see a determined player as he begins his Celtics career in Boston. “It’s a brand new start,” said Robinson, who was seated next to Marcus Landry, the other player acquired in the trade with the Knicks.

“I’m just looking to keep my mind free and no detours. I’m on track and not looking for any detours. I’m just going to have my mind focused on the prize and that’s to win games in the playoffs and win a championship and help this team to that by any means, whether I play one minute or 30 minutes, I’m going to be here whenever my number is called, I’ll be ready to play.”

[Click here to hear some audio highlights of Nate Robinson's press conference before Tuesday's game.]

Robinson, after missing his first two games with an illness, will make his debut against his former Knicks team at TD Garden.

[Click here to hear Nate Robinson's opening remarks followed by Marcus Landry's remarks.]

Here are the highlights of Robinson’s press conference before members of the New York and Boston media. (more…)