|Paul Pierce speaks for starters: ‘No excuse to way we started out’||03.10.11 at 12:50 am ET|
It would seem after his bench was outscored, 26-12, in a 108-103 loss to the Clippers Wednesday night at TD Garden, Doc Rivers would have laid blame for the defeat at the hands of his reserves.
It’s a lot to ask any second unit to make up a 15-to-20 deficit in a game, let alone one that was making its debut. So, the way Rivers saw it, this loss really was at the feet of his “Big 4” – namely Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.
“I was concerned because in the first quarter, our four starters put us in a hole and then you needed to sub, and you knew nothing good was going to happen,” Rivers said, as his team fell behind by as much as 15 in the first quarter and 23 early in the third.
“It actually [wasn’t bad]. They held their ground,” Rivers said of his reserves, led by Carlos Arroyo and new starting center Nenad Krstic. “The problem was it was a 20-point ground [deficit] they were holding and that’s very difficult.
“We sub anyway. We sit guys down regardless of score. Obviously, we were down 20 and we’re subbing. It’s not something you want to do but you have to.”
Pierce couldn’t argue.
‘It’s tough when you get out to bad starts and a lot of that has to do with the starters. How we come out at the beginning of the games, we’ve got to come out with a better focus,” Pierce said. “Once you get a team confidence like the Clippers then they feed off that for the rest of the game and were able to get the win.’
Pierce did point to the defensive struggles of the second unit but only as far as they had to pick up the pieces from the starters not playing defense, either.
‘I think some of it is the second unit, but a lot of that was at the start of the game with the first five so no excuses on that point,” Pierce said. “They came out and shot 70 percent and a lot of that was against the guys that know what we are doing night in and night out.
“You give some leeway to the newer guys, but there is no excuse to the way we started out giving them the big lead and then having to fight all the way to get back into the game.’
The reserves did a very respectable job on Blake Griffin, who had just 12 points in 37 minutes. Down 23, the Celtics slowly started to chip away, outscoring the Clippers, 24-16 in the third to cut the lead to 10.
Then the starters finally did their thing. Allen drilled a 3-pointer from the right wing on a bullet pass from Rondo with 7:36 left to draw the Celtics within six, 86-80. Garnett’s jumper with just under six minutes left capped a 15-2 run to draw the Celtics within three.
But Mo Williams drained three free throws with 5:23 left to restore the lead to six. Jeff Green drilled a trey with 47.4 seconds left to get within four, 104-100. Allen’s three with 10.5 seconds left turned out to be too little, too late.
The Celtics will try to regroup and start a new winning streak on Friday against the upstart 76ers in Philadelphia. The Sixers are making a late-season push to finish in the middle of the playoff pack in the Eastern Conference and are one of the hottest teams in the NBA since the All-Star break.
Friday would be a great time for a new start for the “Big 4.”
|Glen Davis on the new guys: ‘They’ve got to adjust to the Celtics way’||03.08.11 at 6:24 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Turns out there’s a method to Glen Davis‘ apparent madness – or at least his sometimes goofy behavior.
He just wants to let all the new players acquired in the last two weeks know that they’re part of the family now. And talking and playing around with them in practice is just his way of getting to know them.
“Basketball is basketball,” Davis began. “I play the Celtics way. They’ve got to adjust to the Celtics way. I don’t have any worries or anything like that but just getting the feel for each player. I’m going to have to do that. That’s why I try to interact with everybody, see who they are as people and hope that when I get back on the court have that translate into basketball terminology on the court.”
As for that problematic left knee, Davis said the patellar tendinitis is getting better and better but he’s still limited.
“Just watching a lot of film, trying to drop some lbs before the playoffs start so I can be out there jumping like a jack rabbit,” Davis quipped.
While he can watch film and shadow box with Paul Pierce – as he did after practice Tuesday, what is he not allowed to do while he’s waiting to get cleared for practice?
“Just a lot of up and down, a lot of jumping, things like that,” Davis said. “I’m not doing any jumping or any shooting or anything like that. I’ll try to do that in the next couple of days.
“I’m going to practice soon, I don’t know when but soon, whenever they let me.”
Davis was then asked the classic, ‘Would this injury keep you out of the playoffs?’ question.
“Oh, no way,” he answered without hesitation. “It’s the playoffs. I could play with that. It’s only for a couple of weeks, right? I’ve been playing with this for the whole season so far, half the year. A couple of weeks isn’t going to hurt. As long as I don’t get to the point where I can’t walk, perform or play.”
|Good news on Glen Davis, not so much Delonte West and Von Wafer||03.08.11 at 2:27 pm ET|
WALTHAM — After sounding hopeful on Saturday that Delonte West would return Wednesday against the Clippers, Doc Rivers ruled that possiblity out following practice on Tuesday. West has missed the last four games with a sprained right ankle and was limited to working out on an exercise bicycle Tuesday while the team held an open practice.
“He’s not going to play [Wednesday],” “I think he’s doubtful for Friday, as well. We’re hoping Sunday.”
Meanwhile, Von Wafer is also battling leg issues and Rivers said his back-up guard, injured against Golden State last Friday, is out indefinitely. “Von is going to miss a while. He’s nowhere close to coming back,” Rivers said.
There was some good news as Rivers sounded much more hopeful with regard to Glen Davis, who is battling left knee soreness. The power forward has missed the last two games with patellar tendinitis.
“Baby said he felt great today but we’re going to hold him out for the next two games, for sure,” Rivers said.
The Celtics play the Clippers at TD Garden Wednesday night before traveling to Philadelphia for a Friday night game with the 76ers. They host Milwaukee on Sunday night.
Also, Carlos Arroyo participated in his first practice Tuesday with the Celtics after being signed to a veteran minimum pro-rated contract for the remainder of the season over the weekend. Arroyo is expected to be available on Wednesday night when the Celtics play the Clippers.
‘He played against us in two playoff series. He should know some of our stuff. That’s the way we look at it. But he’s a point guard, been a point guard all his life. So I think some of the stuff, he’ll pick up pretty quickly. All the nuances of things, that’ll just take time,’ Rivers said.
|Welcome to town, Carlos Arroyo||03.08.11 at 12:41 pm ET|
After celebrating his 39th birthday on Sunday, Shaquille O’Neal, meanwhile, was not at practice and has not been cleared yet from a strained right Achilles.
|Doc Rivers to his new reserves: We don’t take practice off so you better be ready||03.05.11 at 8:40 pm ET|
WALTHAM — You could sense the urgency in his voice.
Doc Rivers is a coach who exudes confidence and a positive attitude. But he also calls it the way he sees it and can push the emotional buttons of his players when need be.
After practice Saturday, he sent a very clear message to his second unit.
“They’ve got to get out of their [old] habits, wherever they’ve been,” Rivers said, referring clearly to Jeff Green, Sasha Pavlovic, Troy Murphy and Nenad Krstic. “We don’t [practice] long but we play with intensity, play hard. You just see some of their habits and some of their habits have to change. It will. It’s just going to take time.”
Rivers made it clear before practice began with several hundred fans listening in that their “help” defense was very sub-par Friday night in a 107-103 win over the Warriors.
“Learning to cover for each other is number one,” Rivers said. “But you can’t do that unless you have unbelievable focus and intensity and that’s what we’re trying to show them. I thought they were trying to do the right stuff on their help [defense] but they were always late because they’re not ready.”
Then Rivers got really serious.
“A lot of pros practice and they think practice is leisure and we don’t believe that here. It’s quick here but it’s hard. When you have your starters, who are playing 35 minutes [a game] going hard and you have your second unit going in cruise control, that’s not going to settle well with me.”
During the open practice Saturday afternoon at their practice facility, which gave a peek to fans and special guests into some of their basic defensive principles, defensive coach Lawrence Frank called out positions and assignments and helped Rivers get the new players accustomed to the Celtics‘ way of defending. Read the rest of this entry »
|Report: Carlos Arroyo is the newest new Celtic||03.05.11 at 3:22 pm ET|
The paper reported Saturday that the team was looking at several options but favored him over veteran Antonio Daniels, who was attempting a comeback with the Texas Legends of the D-League. The Herald reports Arroyo was signed to a pro-rated veteran minimum contract for the rest of the season, and that he could join the team in time for Sunday’s game against Milwaukee.
Arroyo was waived by the Heat earlier this week to make room for the signing of Mike Bibby. In 49 games this year (42 starts) for the Heat, Arroyo averaged 5.6 points and 2.0 assists per game in just over 20 minutes a night.
To make room for Arroyo, the team informed center Chris Johnson after Saturday’s practice they would not be extending his 10-day contract.
|Not so fast on Shaquille O’Neal return but hope remains for Delonte West Wednesday||03.05.11 at 2:34 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Shaquille O’Neal will likely not be able to return to the Celtics lineup on Wednesday after all, coach Doc Rivers said following Saturday’s practice. Rivers indicated he was hoping to have both O’Neal and Delonte West back by Wednesday to help them begin getting playing time to gear up for the playoffs.
“Probably not going to be ready Wednesday because his foot is bothering him a little again,” Rivers said. “Delonte, we’re hoping Wednesday.”
O’Neal has missed the last 12 games and has been out since Feb. 1 with a sore right lower leg and sore right achilles tendon. West missed his third straight game Friday with a sprained right ankle. Glen Davis shot free throws following Saturday’s practice but is still nursing patellar tendinitis in his left knee and is expected to miss several more days of practice while Von Wafer, who injured his right calf during Friday’s win over the Warriors is still in a walking boot.
The team also informed center Chris Johnson that they will not renew his 10-day contract for now as Doc Rivers announced the priority is to sign a back-up point guard.
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