|Halftime Wrap: Celtics – Cavs||05.07.10 at 8:14 pm ET|
Even though LeBron James only scored 7 points in the second half, the Celtics still trail the Cavs, 65-43. It is three more points than their first quarter deficit.
James leads all players at the half with 28 points (11/15 FG, 1/1 3PG, 5/5 FT) in 20 minutes. Rajon Rondo (6/13 FG) and Kevin Garnett (5/7 FG) scored 12 points apiece for the Celtics. After going scoreless in the first quarter, Paul Pierce scored seven in the second.
James’ scoring aside, the most glaring stat is on the defensive end. The Cavs have a 25-10 advantage on the boards. James has eight, one more than the Celtics starting five combined.
|First Quarter Wrap: Celtics – Cavs||05.07.10 at 7:40 pm ET|
LeBron James scored 21 points in the first quarter, four more than the entire Celtics team combined, to give the Cavs a 19-point lead.
But James isn’t the only problem for the Celtics. The C’s are being outrebounded, 15-5. None of the starters grabbed more than one board, while Antawn Jamison nabbed six of his own.
Paul Pierce played just nine minutes after shooting 0-for-5 from the field. James scored 14 points with Pierce on the court. Kendrick Perkins was also sidelined early, picking up two fouls including a flagrant committed on a James fast break.
|Celtics focus on starting small||05.07.10 at 7:11 pm ET|
The Celtics believe if they can end up with big results by starting small.
Their game plan is to focus on the little things that, when executed properly, can result in an advantage in the long run. They are also the things that could wind up hurting them if ignored.
‘I think it just boils down to small things,’ Ray Allen said before Game 3. ‘Just building the small things in the game. Don’t worry about whether the ball goes in, but more importantly moving the ball, keeping turnovers to a minimum, and then getting back on defense.’
The Celtics have paid attention to those details so far. They are outrebounding the Cavs, 226-197, picked off 10 more steals, and committed two less turnovers in the first two games of the series.
‘All those that things, they ultimately add up to getting buckets,’ said Allen. ‘But those habits, if we keep those habits, you start small and as the game goes, the game is being played the right way on both ends.’
|No Celtics Named to All-NBA Teams||05.06.10 at 2:29 pm ET|
A day after Rajon Rondo was named to the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team, none of the Celtics were named to First, Second, or Third All-NBA Teams. LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, and Dwyane Wade were named to the First Team, the league announced on Thursday.
Last season, Paul Pierce was named to the Second Team and received 330 points, including 27 First Team votes. This season, he received a total of six points. Rondo led the Celtics this season with 47 points, 45 more than last season.
Teams were chosen by position by a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. Points were awarded on a 5-3-1 scale.
See how the Celtics fared in voting from last season to now:
Rajon Rondo: 47 points
Paul Pierce: 6 points
Kevin Garnett: 1 point
Click here for a complete list of First, Second, and Third Team members.
|Rondo named to NBA-All Defensive Team||05.05.10 at 3:06 pm ET|
Rajon Rondo was named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team, the league announced on Wednesday. Rondo finished second in voting to Dwight Howard. LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Gerald Wallace were also named to the First Team.
Rondo led the league with 2.3 steals per game during the regular season. He set a Celtics franchise record in single-season steals (189), held previously by Rick Fox (1996-97). Rondo also ranked 10th among all guards with 360 total rebounds (4.4 rpg).
Members of the First and Second Teams were voted on by position by the NBA’s head coaches, who were not allowed to vote for players from their own teams. Players received two points for a First Team vote and one point for a Second Team vote.
All-Defensive First Team
Center ‘ Dwight Howard, Magic (57 points)
Guard ‘ Rajon Rondo, Celtics (50 points)
Forward ‘ LeBron James, Cavaliers (45 points)
Guard ‘ Kobe Bryant, Lakers (34 points)
Forward ‘ Gerald Wallace, Bobcats (30 points)
All-Defensive Second Team
Center ‘ Tim Duncan, Spurs (21 points)
Guard ‘ Dwyane Wade, Heat (20 points)
Forward ‘ Josh Smith, Hawks (20 points)
Forward ‘ Anderson Varejao, Cavaliers (15 points)
Guard ‘ Thabo Sefolosha, Thunder (14 points)
|C’s plan to stop Varejao’s ‘dirty work’||05.05.10 at 1:32 pm ET|
Anderson Varejao is far from a Celtics fan favorite. He isn’t a flashy scorer, nor is he a finesse player. But that’s not what his game is about.
‘The man does one thing, and he does it well, and that’s what he gets paid for,’ Kevin Garnett told WEEI’s Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell following the C’s Game 2 victory (listen to the audio here). ‘And you know what? He doesn’t score a lot, he feeds off LeBron [James], he picks up the garbage, he does the dirty work. He’s out here trying to get guys rattled, trying to get technicals, the dumb stuff. You know, the stuff that shouldn’t even be in basketball, but it is.’
Even though Varejao does the dirty work for the Cavs, he still makes an impact on the scoreboard. He entered the series averaging 13 points and nine boards against the Celtics during the regular season, including a 17-point, 10-rebound performance in March.
In response, the C’s have turned to their bigs to combat Varejao’s energy and keep him away from the glass. They have limited him to a total of 12 points and 13 rebounds in Games 1 and 2 combined. Half of those points have come at the line.
‘We watched a lot of tape, we focused, we understand we’ve got to block him out,’ Garnett said. ‘He’s pure energy, he is a momentum changer, and we understand that. Baby is our momentum changer. And I think not just Kevin Garnett, but Rasheed Wallace, Big Baby Glen Davis, Kendrick Perkins, Shelden Williams, everybody’s been getting a body on him, we’ve been conscious of where he is. And we’ve been helping and trying to foul him and make him score at the free throw line. And it’s been working so far. Knock on wood.’
|Sheed takes heed from Garnett||05.04.10 at 11:46 pm ET|
Turns out, Rivers wasn’t the only one who wanted to see Wallace step up. Kevin Garnett also believed Wallace was critical to the Celtics postseason success, and he made it a point to tell him that.
‘After the first game, I went to him in the shower and I said, ‘In order for us to beat this team, man, it’s going to take not just the starting five. It’s going to take Rasheed, it’s going to take Tony Allen, it’s going to take Marquis (Daniels), Big Baby (Glen Davis), Shelden Williams, everybody, Nate Robinson. It’s going to take everybody who’s on that bench,’ Garnett told WEEI’s Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell following the C’s Game 2 victory on Monday (listen to the audio here).
Garnett has known his teammate long enough to understand his receptiveness ‘ or lack thereof ‘ to feedback. But fortunately for Garnett, who was in the 1995 NBA draft class with Wallace, he is on that short list.
‘I went to him personally, you know, he don’t really listen to a lot of people,’ Garnett explained. “Sheed sort of goes by his own tune and he only respects a few, and I’m one of the very few that he listens to and that he respects. And I went to him and I said, ‘If you give us 10 and 10, we’re going to not only beat these Cavs, but we’re going to blow them out.’ I said, ‘I need 10 and 10 every night with you, at least in this series right here.’”
Wallace shot just 1-for-5 and recorded more fouls than points in Game 1. But Garnett knew what Wallace was capable of, in spite of a disappointing regular season in which he averaged nine points, four rebounds, shot 28 percent from 3-point range, and was assessed numerous technical fouls and fines. He wanted Wallace to put that behind him, focus on the postseason series at hand, and provide the Celtics with a solid contribution off the bench.
‘I said, ‘I don’t care what you’ve been going through. To hell with what the year is. So what? You can make it all up right here,’’ Garnett recounted. ‘And I got into him a little bit. I rubbed him the wrong way a little bit. And then later on we talked. He said, ‘You’re right.’’
Whatever the driving force may have been, Wallace stepped onto the court in Game 2 and gave one of his best performances in a Celtics uniform. He scored an efficient 17 points (7-for-8 on field goals and 3-for-4 on threes) in 18 minutes. Even though Wallace didn’t do anything fancy, it was just what the Celtics needed.
‘It was just good to see results,’ said Garnett. ‘He’s a gutty veteran, he knows how to play, and it was just big. He was big for us.’