|The Celtics are dead, long live the Celtics||05.04.13 at 2:31 am ET|
The Celtics are dead, long live the Celtics.
The Knicks hosted their funeral on Wednesday, and the zombie C’s crawled out of their graves to live one more game. Then, they buried themselves alive in the first three quarters of Game 6, and nearly lived to tell about it. Grit and balls. Heart of a champion. #BostonStrong. All of it was on display amid a 20-0 run over four fourth-quarter minutes that nobody would’ve believed if the 18,624 fans filling the Garden hadn’t watched it unfold.
As Knicks guard Iman Shumpert said after an 88-80 win that finally laid these C’s to rest, “It felt like it wasn’t real.”
Only this time the ghosts of Celtics past weren’t good enough. Not without Rajon Rondo. Not on Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett alone. Not anymore. So, what now? Where do these old, tired, stubborn Celtics go from here?
|Fast Break: Knicks survive furious Celtics comeback||05.03.13 at 10:03 pm ET|
A montage of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in the first half with the tagline “heart of a champion” left the Garden crowd in awe. Then, a Knicks barrage left those same fans in shock. Finally, the Celtics showed that heart, rattling off a 20-point run midway through the fourth quarter and making a game of it, but it proved too little, too late.
Garnett came to play, and Pierce finally showed up in the fourth quarter, but an 88-80 loss in Game 6 ended their season, opening up a Pandora’s Box of questions nobody in the Celtics organization wants to answer. That’s another story for a different day. Here’s what went wrong in their final game of the season.
WHAT WENT WRONG
Worst first: The Celtics were lucky to get out of the first quarter only trailing by 14 points. They shot 25 percent from the field. Garnett made his first three shots, and his teammates finished 1-of-13 in the opening quarter. Pierce went 1-for-8. While the Celtics settled for jump shots, the Knicks scored from everywhere. Seven minutes into the game, New York had as many points off turnovers as the C’s had total points. No other word to describe it but ugly.
3 falling: The Celtics missed their first nine 3-pointers, including five bricks from Pierce, and the Knicks’ defense held the Celtics to 14 points through the game’s first 18 minutes. Meanwhile, Pablo Prigioni made three of his first four attempts from beyond the arc, scoring as many points in the first quarter as he had in any game in the series.
Everything: The Celtics looked gassed. Through three quarters, they had 15 field goals and 17 turnovers. C’s not named KG made 8-of-37 shots entering the fourth quarter. It seemed as though they left everything they had on the Madison Square Garden floor in Game 5, when Garnett, Pierce, Jason Terry, Jeff Green and Brandon Bass combined for 201 minutes. Then, the fourth quarter happened, and the Celtics scored more points than they did in all of the first half. It was ridiculous and unsustainable all at the same time.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Green light: Nobody on the Celtics could get within 10 feet of the basket, so Jeff Green gave it a shot. And another. And another. He started just 1-of-6 but led the C’s with nine points at the break — thanks to 6-of-8 shooting from the free throw line. If anybody else could’ve beat his man off the dribble, the Celtics wouldn’t have been in such dire straits at halftime. But Pierce settled for contested jumpers when he should’ve been deferring to Green, who finished with 21 points on 12 shots. Pierce scored 14 on 18 attempts.
The runs: Any sign of life was a positive. That’s how bad the C’s offense was. Back-to-back Green and Terry 3′s with four minutes left until halftime capped an 8-0 run that left the Garden wondering, “Wait, they’re only down 10?” With four minutes remaining in the third quarter, a Terry triple punctuated a 9-2 run that did the same. And, of course, the miraculous 20-0 run in 4:05 that slashed a 75-49 game to a six-point deficit, breathing life back into the building in the fourth quarter.
Melo J.R.: The only thing that kept the Celtics from completely getting their doors blown off was another poor shooting performance by both Carmelo Anthony (7-23 FG) and J.R. Smith (5-13 FG). If only Raymond Felton (11 points, 7 assists) — who killed the Celtics all series — forgot to show up, too, the Celtics might have had a shot.
|Classic Kevin Garnett: ‘We out here scrapping’||05.02.13 at 10:21 am ET|
Following the local broadcast of Game 5 between the Celtics and Knicks, Kevin Garnett provided another classic postgame interview — this time with C’s sideline reporter Greg Dickerson rather than Craig Sager.
“We’re scrapping,” said Garnett, who totaled 16 points, 18 rebounds and five assists in the 92-86 victory. “All that you about to say ain’t got nothing to do with it. We out here scrapping. This is survival. This is like a Game 7. Every game from here on out is like a Game 7, and we’re scrapping. Easier said than done right there.
“No shenanigans. No nothing. We know what they’re running; they know what we’re running. It’s just all out. Who wants this? That’s what it is. That’s all we’ve been doing these last couple games, man. They came out, they talked. We did no talking. We know we down. We put ourselves in this position, and we’re scrapping.”
He wasn’t done. And neither are the Celtics, who come home to Boston for Friday night’s Game 6.
“Put your hard hat on,” KG added. “Throw your hammer and your nails on there. It’s time to work. Let’s do it.”
Here’s the video: Read the rest of this entry »
|How Jordan Crawford-Carmelo Anthony feud unfolds||05.02.13 at 9:52 am ET|
If the Celtics ever pull off the seemingly impossible against the Knicks, let’s just say benchwarmer Jordan Crawford‘s weed socks aren’t exactly the equivalent of Red Sox ace Curt Schilling‘s bloody sock in 2004.
Just as Kevin Garnett denied the infamous Honey Nut Cheerios comment about Carmelo Anthony‘s wife Alani “La La” Vasquez earlier in the season, Crawford did the same about similar internet speculation after Game 5.
“Nah, they was talking to me, baby,” Crawford told The Boston Globe after seemingly starting a verbal altercation with Anthony and Raymond Felton despite playing exactly zero minutes in the C’s 92-86 win. “They was talking to me. Yeah, they like me. I think it’s that smile I keep carrying. I think we’re playing freely, not thinking as much.”
While Anthony escalated the Garnett feud outside the Celtics’ team bus after the January incident, the struggling NBA MVP candidate chose not to engage Crawford with his team on the brink of choking away a 3-0 series lead.
“I’m not thinking about no Jordan Crawford,” Anthony told reporters at the podium afterwards. “Not at this point in time. I’ll tell you that. I don’t even think he even deserves for you to be typing right now.”
Meanwhile, Crawford played dumb, which seems apt for a player talking trash after a DNP-coach’s decision.
“I don’t know what happened, you know what I’m saying?” he told the Globe. “I was on the bench the whole game, I don’t know why they was talking to me. They gotta be upset, their [expletives] tightening up. Of course they upset.”
Based on the way Doc Rivers scolded rookie Fab Melo for sticking around the fracas, it’s safe to say the Celtics coach won’t be too pleased with Crawford. Maybe he’ll even get benched. Oh, wait …
|Jason Collins’ great stories about Kevin Garnett, Doc Rivers||05.01.13 at 5:24 pm ET|
A couple great stories from Jason Collins‘ podcast with Bill Simmons about Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett that might instill some confidence in Celtics fans prior to Game 5 against the Knicks …
What’s your best Kevin Garnett story?
“He could be telling you about the weather, and he’ll break out in a full sweat. His intensity is just non-stop. It’s infectious. It makes you work even harder and makes you want to show up even earlier to practice, because you know that this guy is sacrificing his body. He plays through so much behind the scenes. He puts himself out there emotionally and physically. He’s a pro’s pro.”
Will he retire at the end of this season?
“You’ve got to ask him that. I hope not.”
Could you see him shutting that switch off?
He’s going to be that way until the end of his days. He’ll be going hard in a nursing home, although I don’t think he’ll ever be in a nursing home with the amount of money he’s making. He’ll have the suite.
“His intensity is really inspiring. I think if he ever chooses to be an assistant coach, he’d be great. I don’t know if he ever has that in him. He would be awesome with Charles [Barkley on TV]. They might need a seven-second delay for him. Obviously, he can do whatever he wants.”
Is Doc Rivers the best coach you’ve played for?
“I played for a lot of great coaches, but there’s a special place in my heart for Doc Rivers. Just the way he always talks about the team, and me being a team guy, it just really spoke to my heart. Not only the team, but it’s a family. He had that one saying that just stuck with me: If you want to go quickly, go by yourself. If you want to go farther, you’ve got to go in a group.’ It’s comments like that — that someone like me, a team guy who sacrifices so much — I appreciate his professionalism.
“I hadn’t played in a long stretch of games, and he called me into his office and said, ‘Jason, I want you to know that we see you working hard in the training room, and when you’re opportunity comes, just be ready.’ I’m like, ‘Doc, you don’t even need to have that conversation with me. I appreciate that you show me that professional courtesy, that respect of having that conversation with me, but you don’t have to have that conversation with me, because I’m already there with you.’
“He really is an amazing leader, and KG and Paul [Pierce] can speak better to the kind of person, coach and leader he is.”
|Celtics veterans support Jason Collins||04.30.13 at 4:23 pm ET|
Celtics veterans unanimously supported former teammate Jason Collins‘ decision to come out as the first openly gay player in major American sports in an autobiographical Sports Illustrated piece.
Collins told C’s coach Doc Rivers a few days ago and phoned Celtics captain Paul Pierce before the news broke on Monday morning. Rivers, Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jeff Green and Jason Terry all expressed genuine happiness for Collins, and their words must reinforce the erstwhile Celtics center’s decision to come forward.
Here are the Celtics speaking about Collins in their own words:
|Kevin Garnett: ‘Haven’t given any thought to next year’||04.30.13 at 2:44 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Asked if he’s allowed himself to think what might become of these Celtics if they return a healthy Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger next season, Kevin Garnett wouldn’t take the bait.
“I haven’t given any thought to next year,” he said. “I’m just trying to focus on this game coming up.”
Those injuries left the Celtics scrambling to sign the China trio of Terrence Williams, Shavlik Randolph and D.J. White in addition to trading for Jordan Crawford. As a result, the team’s inability to set a rotation entering Game 5 of their first-round series against the Knicks hasn’t come as a surprise to Garnett.
“Our team was formed a little late, so we’ve been behind the 8-ball, if you will, as far as chemistry and just trying to make sure everything is always coming together on a consistent basis,” said KG. “That’s not easy to do, so, no, it doesn’t surprise me that we’re still in those stages.”
Still, Garnett doesn’t make excuses. As usual, he spoke in truths prior to Tuesday’s practice.
“We have no pressure at this point,” he said. “It should be an all-out mentality, and we should play with a free mind and an aggressive mind. We’ll take this thing one game at a time and see what happens. Other than that, we put ourselves in this position. We can’t be moaning about it too much.”
Garnett is averaging 11.3 points, 13.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists and a block in 33.0 minutes in the series.