Archive for December, 2010

Doc Rivers on D&C: ‘I think we’re in good shape’ with Kevin Garnett

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

On his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show, Celtics coach Doc Rivers expressed optimism about the health of Kevin Garnett, but added that he will know more later Thursday after Garnett has an MRI. Garnett suffered a leg injury Wednesday night in the first quarter against the Pistons. There was no contact on the play, which fueled fears that Garnett had possibly re-injured his surgically-repaired right knee. The team thinks that the injury was related to a muscle, and not his knee, however.

“I can’t tell you much more than what you know already,” Rivers said. “He’s going to do more tests today. We do think it’s muscle-related. We don’t think it has anything to do with the knee, but we don’t know. So we’re going to wait and see.”

Rivers added, “I think we’re in good shape here, but you just never know. I’m just going to wait for the MRI. I should know by mid-afternoon.”

To hear the whole interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Garnett is still likely to miss some games. Rivers said that he expects to start Glen Davis in Garnett’s place and go with a combination of Marquis Daniels and Luke Harnagody in a rotation.

He is also looking for more from Jermaine O’Neal who has played the last three games after missing time with a knee injury. “We need him,” Rivers said. “He struggled against obviously Orlando, first game back. I thought Indiana in the second half he was terrific. I thought [against Detroit] he was one of the few bright spots. He played with great energy and did his job defensively.”

Rivers also said that Rajon Rondo continues to be day-to-day with his ankle injury and he may not be available Friday when the Celtics play the Hornets. “I don’t know if we’ll see him tomorrow or not but he’s getting close,” Rivers said. “Each time he’s worked out there’s been some swelling. That’s a concern. We’re going to take it slow. We’re not going to push him back, we’ll just wait until he’s ready to play.”

Here are more highlights from the conversation: (more…)

The Three-Pointer: The knee, or not the knee is the Kevin Garnett question

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

It’€™s fitting that the adage — Murphy’s law — came from an Irishman, as it probably crossed the mind of every Celtics fan who watched as Kevin Garnett crumpled to the floor in agony late in the first quarter of his team’€™s 104-92 loss to the Pistons in Detroit on Wednesday night.

It certainly entered Doc Rivers‘€™ thoughts.

‘€œI thought it was his knee the way he did it — the knee or the Achilles,’€ Rivers told reporters in Detroit. ‘€œYou’€™ve heard me say it before: Injuries when nobody’€™s around, to me, are always the severe ones. There was no one around when he grabbed it, so I thought it was a bad one. Let’€™s just hope it’€™s not. I don’€™t think it is, but we’€™ll find out later.’€

It looked like the knee as Garnett limped up the floor to commit a foul on Tayshaun Prince and stop the clock. It definitely looked like the knee as trainer Ed Lacerte rubbed Garnett’€™s leg on the bench. And it had to be the knee when replays looked eerily similar to Garnett’€™s season-ending injury in 2009.

But Garnett hobbled to the training room on his own accord, the first sign that it wasn’€™t, in fact, the knee. Later, he walked gingerly (but better) to undergo X-rays that eventually revealed no fractures.

During the game, the Celtics were quick to calm the nerves of their fans, their coach and even their players, as the team stressed that Garnett suffered ‘€œa lower left leg injury’€ — not a knee or ankle issue.

After the game, the C’€™s claimed that tests revealed no structural damage to the knee, and Garnett most likely injured his calf muscle. That noise you’€™re hearing is the collective sigh of relief from those same Boston fans, coaches and players.

‘€œI don’€™t think it’€™s bad, so I’€™m not that concerned,’€ added Rivers. ‘€œHe’€™s going to miss games, probably. I don’€™t know how many. I don’€™t think it will be that long, but, listen, it happens.’€

Watching Garnett hop on one leg, it wasn’€™t a few games most Celtics observers were concerned about. It was another promising season that had appeared to go up in flames before what can now only be termed as ‘€œgood news’€ came from the Celtics’€™ organization.

Which raises another Irish law, Coughlin’s, from the 1988 classic film “Cocktail”: “Anything else is always something better.” (more…)

Fast Break: Pistons pound Celtics

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Kevin Garnett left the game with a lower right leg injury late in the first quarter, but even before that the Celtics were in trouble during a 104-92 loss to the Pistons on the road on the second night of a back-to-back. Paul Pierce scored a game-high 33 points on 11-of-16 shooting, but only one other Celtic (Ray Allen) reached double figures. The Celtics drop to 24-6, despite Pierce’s effort to fuel a failed fourth-quarter comeback.

Meanwhile, despite the absence of their leading scorer (Rodney Stuckey), six Pistons scored in double digits: Tracy McGrady (21), Tayshaun Prince (18), Charlie Villanueva (14), Austin Daye (12), Ben Gordon (12) and Chris Wilcox (10).

WHAT WENT WRONG

Kevin Garnett goes down: Late in the first quarter, Garnett went up for a wide-open dunk, held on to the rim for an extra second as he grimaced in pain and limped up the floor on his left leg. Moments later, Celtics trainer Ed Lacerte worked on the same right leg that kept Garnett from finishing the 2008-09 season and hobbled him last year. Then, the official word: Garnett was out for the remainder of the game with a “lower right leg injury.”

Later, the Celtics stressed it was not a knee or ankle issue, but indeed a lower right leg injury. Garnett underwent X-rays, which showed no fractures, and he’ll have an MRI on Thursday. He walked to the locker and training rooms on his own accord.

Is it New Year’s Day? As Tommy Heinsohn said on the television broadcast, “They’re playing like they’re hungover.” The Celtics looked sluggish, even before the injury to Garnett. In the first quarter alone, they committed eight turnovers and allowed the Pistons to shoot 11-of-20 (55 percent).

In all, the C’s committed 21 turnovers, leading to 23 Pistons points. Detroit also shot 39-of-69 from the field (56 percent) and 10-of-14 from 3-point range (71 percent) for the game.  The Celtics even made McGrady appear like the McGrady of old, as he totaled 21 points, eight assists and four rebounds.

Sharing the wealth: In their first matchup of the season, with Rajon Rondo in the starting lineup, the Celtics recorded 20 more assists than the Pistons (33-13) in a 109-86 victory.

This time around? The Pistons actually recorded eight more assists than the C’s (26-18), as Nate Robinson (one assist) got the start in place of the injured Rondo. In fact, the Celtics totaled more turnovers than assists.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Paul Pierce does it all: With Garnett out for the remainder of the game, all eyes turned to Pierce for leadership on both ends of the floor. He responded — even though his teammates did not. Pierce scored 33 points to go with eight assists, five rebounds and five steals. Allen was the only other Celtic to reach double figures, finishing with 12 points, seven rebounds and four assists.

Jermaine O’Neal contributes: In 23 minutes off the bench, Jermaine O’Neal — who had shown little to nothing since returning on Christmas Day — recorded six rebounds and seven points, making his only two shots from the field. He even drew an important fourth-quarter charge on defense.

While it wasn’t much, O’Neal produced more in this outing than he had in the two previous games combined. If Garnett misses significant time this season, a giant magnifying glass will be focused on O’Neal’s impact.

Free-throw shooting: The Celtics didn’t get to the free-throw line much, but when they did they made them count — making 18-of-19 (94 percent). Pierce, Allen and O’Neal were a combined 14-for-14 from the charity stripe.

In fact, the C’s shot pretty well from everywhere on the floor, making 34-of-66 shots from the field (51 percent) and 6-of-15 3-pointers (40 percent).

Kevin Garnett injures leg

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Kevin Garnett went up for a dunk late in the first quarter against the Pistons Wednesday night, and by the time he came down the Celtics‘ season flashed before everyone’s eyes. What’s wrong with Garnett is still not entirely clear, although it appears that the Celtics, and Garnett, may have dodged a major bullet.

Garnett had X-rays in Detroit, which were negative. That ruled out a possible fracture. According to a tweet from Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Garnett is scheduled to have an MRI back in Boston on Thursday. The Celtics initially called it a “lower leg injury,” which could mean anything.

After the game, Celtics coach Doc Rivers suggested the injury was muscle-related, likely to Garnett’s calf, and was not a knee injury. Rivers also said that it’s likely that Garnett will miss some games. They will know more after the MRI.

On their official Twitter account, the Celtics posted the following message: “Official word on KG: Muscle injury to the outside of his right leg, below the knee and above the ankle. MRI tomorrow.”

On the play, Garnett went up clean and didn’t land awkwardly, but he was obviously in pain. He hobbled up the court and had to intentionally foul Tayshaun Prince to stop the game. Garnett then crumpled to the ground and tried to stretch out his leg before being helped to the bench. Garnett was able to make his way back to the locker room under his own power, but he was clearly limping.

In 2009, Garnett was injured in a February game against Utah when he went up for an alley-oop. As in the Detroit game, there was no contact, but that doesn’t mean the two incidents are related. Garnett’s 2009 injury was a strained popliteus tendon on top of bone spurs that had been bothering him all season, and he had surgery in the offseason to remove the spurs.

Here’s the play from Wednesday:

Fast Break: Celtics pace themselves against Indiana

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

For the first 18 minutes of Tuesday night’s game with the Indiana Pacers, the Celtics played like a team that has been away from home for a week during the holidays. They were slow to rotate, hesitant to pass to the open man and generally looked like they’d rather be anywhere but Conesco Fieldhouse.

Then Paul Pierce started hitting jumpers and the Celtics got back in the game. They started the second half in much the same way, but rallied behind Marquis Daniels who took control after Nate Robinson banged heads with Mike Dunleavy and had to go back to the locker room.

The Celtics emerged with a 95-83 win in a game where they played well for maybe two quarters. Here’s how they did it:

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Marquis Daniels had a very Marquis Daniels-like game: The notion that a player’s contributions don’t show up in the box score is more often than not, ridiculous. Almost every thing an NBA player does in a game is recorded, tracked and committed to the stat sheet, so if a player has no stats it’s not usually because what he does is so sublime, it’s because he didn’t actually do anything.

Daniels is one of those rare players who can have a positive impact without accumulating stats. He handled the ball when it was necessary, but not so much that he would racked up a bunch of assists. He scored, but never forced. He found mismatches and exploited them. In short, Daniels did all the things the Celtics need him to do, and his stats were solid: 12 points, five rebounds, four assists and only two turnovers.

Paul Pierce arrived just in time: Pierce picked up two fouls in the first four minutes of the game, which sent him to the bench and took the rest of the Celtics offense with him. Without Pierce in the game, the Celtics 40 percent in the first quarter and trailed 26-19. By the time he heated up in the second quarter, the Celtics were down by 10 points, but he shot them back in the game.

Ray Allen did the rest: As Pierce tailed off in the second half, Ray Allen picked up the slack, scoring 12 of his 17 points in the final two quarters. The Celtics once again had great balance with four players in double figures and five players posting 10 or more shots.

WHAT WENT WRONG

Rajon Rondo didn’t play: The new timeline for Rondo’s return to the court is now Friday when the Celtics return home to play the Hornets on New Years Eve. (Coincidentally or not, that’s also just in time for a matchup with Chris Paul). The Celtics aren’t going to rush Rondo back, but his return can’t come soon enough.

Their offense, which once featured so much flow and ball movement, has devolved into a one-pass and shoot stagnant system. The Celtics are talented enough to get by like this for a while, but they are becoming very predictable and predictably easy to stop.

Foul trouble for Shaq again: Shaquille O’Neal didn’t get into foul trouble early this time, but he made up for lost time with a flurry of violations that had him setting on the bench with five fouls less than six minutes into the second half. Shaq was fined $35,000 for his comments after the Magic game, and like it or not, he’s becoming a target of the refs for his hard fouls.He lasted 16 minutes before fouling out for the second straight game.

Free throw shooting: The Celtics shot 15-for-22 and for a change, they can’t blame Shaq (or Rondo) for that sub-par number. Shaq made five of his six shots, which left the rest of the team 10-for-16 and that’s not good enough.

Irish Coffee: The Paul Pierce Tribute

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

Paul Pierce just tweeted a link to this hip-hop song by Damani, called “(The Truth) Paul Pierce Tribute.” I gotta say, it’s pretty good. I especially like this line: “Back to the basket, face up tragic, mix between Bird and Magic, got to have it.”

SHAQ FINE WITH HEFTY FINE

Celtics center Shaquille O’Neal got hit with a $35,000 fine by the NBA for the comments that he made to the officials — which we covered here yesterday. Here’s what Shaq had to say to the Boston Herald:

‘€œHere’€™s my quote: Over my 18-year career, I’€™ve probably paid $90 million in federal tax, $20 million in FICA and $1 million in [NBA commissioner] David Stern tax.’€

(more…)

Shaquille O’Neal fined $35,000 for criticizing officiating

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Celtics center Shaquille O’Neal has been fined $35,000 by the NBA for criticizing the referee Bob Delaney after his team’s 86-78 loss to the Magic in Orlando on Christmas Day.

Following the Celts’ loss, O’Neal was quoted as saying, “‘€œWe have two premier big men out there.  He is pushing, I’€™m pushing. Let us play. I guess they [fans] come out to see No. 26 [Delaney] play. He was a great player out there today. They paid all that money to see No. 26 come play. My thing is, if you’€™re going to call it, call it the same way every time. Don’€™t pick and choose who you are going to call it against.’€

For more Celtics coverage, see the team page at weei.com/celtics.