|A look back: Celtics vs. Heat||04.15.10 at 11:15 pm ET|
The Celtics and Heat will square off in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference playoffs on Saturday. The teams faced each other three times this season, with the Celtics sweeping the regular-season series. See how the Celtics got a 3-0 edge over the Heat heading into the postseason:
CELTICS 92, HEAT 85
Nov. 29, 2009, at Miami
How the Celtics won: Led by 24 points (11-12 FG) from Kevin Garnett, the Celtics starters led a balanced attack in this win over the Heat. Rajon Rondo (13 points, 11 assists) and Kendrick Perkins (14 points, 13 rebounds) recorded double-doubles; Paul Pierce added 15 points; and Ray Allen scored 11, including a key 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter. The C’s shut the Heat down from behind the arc (2-for-15). Michael Beasley was the only player to knock down a trey.
Wade watch: Dwyane Wade scored a game-high 27 points. He attempted 23 field goals, the same number as Garnett and Pierce combined. The Heat were also a team-low -14 with Wade on the court.
Key stat: Assists — Celtics 21, Heat 12
After the game: Celtics 13-4, Heat 9-7
The Three-Pointer: Garnett enjoys a run of near perfection
|Unexpected Reunion for Davis and Lafayette||04.14.10 at 11:44 pm ET|
Glen Davis got a surprise when he arrived at TD Garden on Wednesday.
He entered the locker room and saw his childhood friend, Oliver Lafayette … in Celtics warmup gear?
“I walked in and I was like, ‘What’s up man?! Baton Rouge!’” Davis exclaimed.
Davis and Lafayette have known each other since elementary school and played AAU basketball together in Louisiana. Unbeknown to Davis, Lafayette had recently signed with the Celtics. The former D-League standout received the call just two days ago while he was driving to Baton Rogue.
“My agent called me and told me Danny Ainge had called him. When he called me, I almost ran off the road driving,” Lafayette said before suiting up for his first Celtics game. “I had to pull over for like an hour or two. I had to regroup myself. I called my mother and told her the good news.”
The 25-year-old guard came to the Celtics by way of Brown Mackie (Junior) College, the University of Houston, Erie BayHawks and Fort Wayne Mad Ants. He is thankful for his time in the NBA Development League, where he says the coaches gave him the green light to play ball.
“My coaches just taught me the game,” he said. “They put the ball in my hand and let me go to work, learn how to read the defense and stuff like that.”
This season Lafayette averaged 17.1 points, 6.5 assists, and 4.0 rebounds in 48 games for the Mad Ants, and ranked 10th in the league in steals. He was named NBDL Co-Performer of the Week after averaging 26.4 points, 8.0 assists, and 6.4 rebounds in his last seven games.
“He’s a scorer,” said Davis. “He’s a scoring point guard. He can play the point, he can play the one, play the two. He’s efficient with his jumpshot, playing defense, he’d be good for our team.”
The rookie made the most of his first opportunity with the Celtics in their 106-95 loss to the Bucks. He scored seven points (3-6 from the field, including 1-of-2 on threes), grabbed four rebounds, and dished two assists in 21 minutes. Davis believes it is time for Lafayette’s hard work to pay off.
“He’s a great guy, a wonderful player. I think he’s a great player, actually,” he said. “Oliver, I’ve always though of like a late-bloomer as far as his opportunities. He played high school at Capitol High School … he went to [junior college], every time it was a late-bloomer. He went to University of Houston, played great over there, and now he’s just finally really getting his opportunity.”
Lafayette’s goal is to play well enough to earn a contract with the Celtics next season. In the meantime, he is trying to digest a whirlwind 48 hours that has taken him from the roads of Louisiana to the Garden parquet.
“I can’t believe it myself right now,“ he said. “This is a great opportunity, great guys, great team, and great players I’ve been looking up to my whole life.”
|Fast Break: Celtics – Bucks||04.14.10 at 10:22 pm ET|
On Fan Appreciation Night, Paul Pierce addressed the crowd … and then headed to the bench. He, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Kendrick Perkins sat out of Wednesday’s game against the Bucks. Rajon Rondo was the only starter to actually start and was joined by Marquis Daniels, Glen Davis, Michael Finley, and Rasheed Wallace.
The Celtics lost, 106-95, as they rested their players in preparation for the playoffs.
First quarter: The Celtics started the game 0-for-5 from the field before finishing the quarter shooting 8-for-19 (42%). The Bucks closed out the final three minutes of the quarter run and led 23-20 after 12 minutes. John Salmons led all players with 10 points; Rajon Rondo scored nine for the Celtics.
Second quarter: Luke Ridnour and Jerry Stackhouse combined for 24 points as the Bucks outscored the Celtics, 32-30, in the second quarter. Even though the Celtics shot a perfect 3-for-3 from 3-point range, they were edged slightly by the Bucks’ 62 percent field goal shooting. The C’s were also outrebounded, 10-6. At halftime, Bucks 55 – Celtoics 50.
Third quarter: The Bucks continued to top the Celtics, 33-28, behind a combined 16 points from Carlos Delfino and Ersan Ilyasova. Michael Finley scored 8 points off of perfect shooting (3-3 FG, 2-2 3PG). The Celtics, however, were outscored 17-6 in the final five minutes of the quarter.
Fourth quarter: The Celtics were edged, 18-17, in the final quarter. Rajon Rondo finished as the game’s leading scorer with 21 points and 15 assists in the loss. Stackhouse and Ridnour led the Bucks with 17 points. The Bucks outrebounded the Celtics, 41-34.
Player of the Game: Rondo thrived in his role as the only member of the starting lineup to play. He posted 21 points (7-14 FG) and 15 assists.
Turning point: The Bucks had the edge from tipoff when four of the five Celtics starters did not take the court.
- Oliver Lafayette made his Celtics debut. He scored 7 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists.
- The Celtics outscored the Bucks, 44-28, in the paint.
- The C’s also outscored the Bucks, 15-5, on fastbreak points.
|Fast Break: Celtics – Bulls||04.13.10 at 11:10 pm ET|
Doc Rivers eyed rest for his team while the Bulls had no time to slow down.
The Celtics weren’t ready to take the night off — the starters wanted to play and they still had a shot at stealing the third spot in the East — but Rivers wanted to keep an eye on Kevin Garnett’s minutes, in particular. The Bulls, on the other hand, needed a win as they tried to snag the eighth spot from the Raptors.
Both teams had something to play for, but only one could come out with the win. On Tuesday night in Chicago, it was the Bulls, 101-93.
The game began with bruises and foul trouble. Paul Pierce was sidelined less than minutes into the game with two quick fouls. Minutes later, Garnett had to receive three stitches above his left eye after being accidentally elbowed at the basket. Even though neither player returned in the first quarter, the Celtics took a 20-17 lead. The Bulls fought back in the second quarter to outscore the Celtics, 27-21, and take a three-point lead at halftime.
The Celtics led by one after three quarters, but the fourth belonged to the Bulls. They jumped out on a 14-4 run to take an 81-72 lead with less than five minute go to. Even though the C’s pushed back within four, Derrick Rose scored 17 points in the quarter to secure a necessary win for his team. The Celtics locked into the fourth seed with the loss.
Rose and Kirk Hinrich combined for 69 points; Paul Pierce and Ray Allen combined for 53. Rajon Rondo struggled, shooting 2-for-10 (4 points).
Player of the game: Derrick Rose scored a career-high 39 points (17 in the fourth quarter alone). He shot 15-for-22 from the field and connected on a fastbreak dunk that is sure to make the highlight reels.
Turning Point:As the Celtics tried to fight back in the fourth quarter, a defensive rebound slipped out of Rasheed Wallace’s hands … and into the Bulls basket. The mishap did more than put two points on the board for the Bulls – it also brought the crowd into the game for their home team.
- Tony Allen (fever) did not play. Marquis Daniels got the nod in his absence and scored 7 points in 16 minutes.
- Brian Scalabrine (shoulder) was also out.
- The Celtics will wrap up the regular season at home on Wednesday against the Bucks.
|Allen’s high-flying dreams||04.11.10 at 11:27 pm ET|
Ray Allen has been having the same dream for years. He envisions it in his sleep and carries it with him on to the court.
“I always, I have this thing in my mind like sometimes when I’m sleeping I dream that I can fly,” he said. “When I’m playing basketball, it always tells myself that I’ve still got great legs, like I still have that lift in my legs. So when I get on the floor, you see a play, you see something happen, you just feel like you can take it, you can make a certain play happened based on getting up there to the basket.”
Allen doesn’t have wings in his dream. He isn’t a high-flying hero like Superman or Iron Man either. Instead he imagines things like soaring over an oncoming car or running with his friends in the air. It can even be as simple as making it home from a park in a single jump.
The dream has a deeper meaning for the 34-year-old than just being able to take flight. To him, it exemplifies the work ethic that he has committed himself to over his 14-year career.
“I’ve been having that for a long time,” Allen explained. “That’s why when I always wake up, it’s like a great feeling. You wake up and you just know, for me what I do, I get out on the floor and I just feel like I still have that. For me, it translates into my athleticism.”
Athleticism … and perhaps some competition, too? Being able to fly also means he can get places faster than those on foot. It’s another asset to put him ahead of the pack.
“Both. I think it’s more of my competition,” Allen said. “If you think about the ability to train yourself to go work out or to go do something that’s going to give you greater stamina or endurance, that’s what I think it is, is you’ve got to start from somewhere. Like sitting around, you see some guy on TV bench pressing and he has muscles on every part of his body. Most people see that and say man I’ve got to go work out. Like where does your motivation come from? I think that’s partly the competition factor, like I need to get shots up, I need to go get on the treadmill.”
As Allen dreams of winning another NBA championship this postseason, his dreams of flying continue to serve as subconscious motivation.
“It just always, for some reason, it just gives me great confidence when I wake up,” he said. “It’s like my body feels great. That’s kind of the translation that I make when I wake up. I’m like I feel great, my legs feel great, and now I’m going to work out and get that strength that I need.”
|Fast Break: Celtics – Wizards||04.09.10 at 10:13 pm ET|
The first eight minutes seemed like a close game. The rest of the first half looked like the Wizards shootaround.
The Celtics and Wizards were tied, 15-15, with four minutes left in the first quarter. Then the Celtics got cold and, well, to say the Wizards got hot would be an understatement. The Wizards finished the quarter on a 15-2 run to go up 30-17. They outshot the Celtics, 56.5 percent to 30.4 percent from the field. Nick Young ended the quarter with a buzzer-beating three-pointer.
The Wizards went up 38-17 in the second quarter before the Celtics scored at the 7:05 mark, the first time since 2:40 in the first quarter. Even though the Celtics were only outscored by two the rest of the way, they scored a season-low 31 points in the first half. They trailed, 52-31, at halftime.
In the first half, Andray Blatche and Young combined for 29 points. Kendrick Perkins and Ray Allen led the Celtics with just seven points each. The Celtics shot 30 percent.
The Celtics and Wizards broke even in the third quarter. Both teams scored 23 points off of 10-for-19 shooting. Blatche continued his attack with eight points; Rondo countered with six points and four assists. The Celtics, however, were outrebounded 12-5. The Wizards took a 75-54 lead at the end of the third.
The mood in the Garden shifted in the fourth quarter. The Wizards did not score for the first 2:07 and the Celtics outscored them, 10-3, in the first five minutes of the quarter. They cut the lead to 12, 83-71, with 4:35 left off a Pierce layup before the Wizards quickly pushed the edge back up to 17 off of a free throw and back-to-back baskets.
But just as it seemed like game was done, Nate Robinson exploded for 11 points in 26 seconds (three consecutive 3-pointers and a driving layup). He brought the Celtics within six, 99-93, with 41 seconds to go. But the Wizards held on to their lead at the line. In spite of another trey by Marquis Daniels, keeping the Celtics within seven, the Wiz hit their free throws. Even though the Celtics kept it interesting late in the game, but their dismal first half performance was too much to overcome. They lost, 106-96.
Blatche (31 points, 11 rebounds), JaVale McGee (14 points, 11 rebounds), and Rondo (17 points, 12 assists) recorded double-doubles.
Turning point: The Wizards broke a 15-15 tie to outscore the Celtics 15-2 in the final four minutes of the first quarter. During that stretch the Celtics committed two turnovers and McGee blocked three shots.
Player of the game: Andray Blatche scored a game-high 31 points (15 in the first half) and grabbed 11 rebounds.
- The Celtics previous first half-low this season was 33 points (March 10 against the Grizzlies). They lost that game, 111-91.
- Rasheed Wallace was greeted by a mix of boos and cheers from the crowd. He shot 4-for-7 from the field (10 points) and grabbed three rebounds in 20 minutes. Wallace was the highest scorer off the bench.
- In spite of the deficit, Marquis Daniels did not play until 3:28 left in the game. He connected on a three-point play and drained a trey late in the fourth. He had not scored since last Friday against the Rockets (2 points).
- The Celtics are 14-16 when allowing over 100 points.
|First Half Wrap: Celtics – Wizards||04.09.10 at 8:44 pm ET|
The first eight minutes seemed like a close game. The rest of the first half looked like the Wizards shootaround.
The Celtics and Wizards were tied, 15-15, with four minutes left in the first quarter. Then the Celtics got cold and, well, to say the Wizards got hot would be an understatement. The Wizards finished the quarter on a 15-2 run to go up 30-17. They outshot the Celtics, 56.5 percent to 30.4 percent from the field. Nick Young (11 points) ended the quarter with a buzzer-beating three-pointer.
The Wizards went up 38-17 in the second quarter before the Celtics scored at the 7:05 mark, the first time since 2:40 in the first quarter. Even though the Celtics were only outscored by two the rest of the way, they scored a season-low 31 points in the first half. They trail, 52-31, at halftime.
Andray Blatche and Young have combined for 29 points. Kendrick Perkins and Ray Allen are the Celtics leading scorers with just seven points each. The Celtics are shooting 30 percent.