|Tony Allen to return||04.01.09 at 3:04 pm ET|
“I’m going to give it a shot and see how it goes,” the Boston Globe reported Allen as saying following this morning’s shootaround. “Today is a big day for me. I’m not looking at going out and scoring 50 points, nothing like that. Just getting in a rhythm and getting a feel for my new teammates and just trying to do what I can do to help.”
Allen has missed a total of 35 games this season. He figures to give the Celtics some much-needed depth off the bench as a defensive stopper. How much he plays is not certain and will likely be determined by his stamina and the game situation.
|KG concern: He’s the center of everything||03.31.09 at 2:52 pm ET|
He hasn’t been that big a player since coming to the Celtics in February but Mikki Moore spoke volumes on Tuesday when he spoke about the news that the team is shutting down Kevin Garnett for the time being with continuing right knee soreness.
“It’s a big adjustment,” said Moore, who will pick up the slack along with Glen Davis. “He’s the center of everything. He’s the vocal point of our defense and he enthuses guys to come out and play hard. We’re going to miss his presence out on the floor but he’s always in the locker room or on the sideline out there talking to us. We’ll be alright.”
“He’s been terrific,” Rivers said of Davis. “Mikki has a big game the other night as well. Maybe that’s the silver lining, that Mikki and Big Baby are playing more. Steph is getting more minutes due to the fact that we just don’t have enough bodies and Billy Walker is playing more so maybe that is a silver lining.”
“We’re not going to play them more minutes but clearly there’s more pressure on them,” Rivers said. “I understand that. That may be a reason to cut their minutes a little bit as well. Bottom line is we’re going to be healthy when playoffs start and we’re going to do whatever we can to have the legs.”
Then there were the following words from Kendrick Perkins.
“We have to do it as a team,” Perkins said. “For sure, I have to do a better job of communicating on the floor and talking the defense out.”
Perkins can read the writing on the wall about the team’s chances if KG isn’t fully recovered.
“There’s always concern,” Perkins said. “A guy that has a month off from rest, comes back and he’s still not fully recovered. It’s still kind of scary. But then again, you’re dealing with a warrior, so he’ll find a way to get back.
“When he was out there, he wasn’t 100 percent, you could tell. The biggest thing is, we’ve got two-to-three weeks before the playoffs and we just want Kevin to be healthy, get treatment, messages and go from there,” Perkins added.
|Doc on shutting down Garnett||03.31.09 at 2:12 pm ET|
Doc Rivers began his briefing with reporters on Tuesday with the following statement about Kevin Garnett’s right knee.
“After watching him move today, we’re just going to shut him down,” Rivers said. “It probably won’t be for the year. He’ll probably play by the end, last couple of games, or last three games. It’s just not progressing the way we anticipated it would progress. So, instead of going back and forth, trying to get him run in practice and seeing he gets sore, it’s just not worth it.”
Garnett experienced continued soreness in the knee, first injured on Feb. 19 at Utah.
Here are some of the other quotes from Rivers on Tuesday:
Any second guessing on bring him back after 13 games: “We thought it was the right decision and the doctors thought it was the right decision. Again, I told you that I wasn’t going to play him until the doctors said, ‘play him.’ With half the people it’s fine and half it’s not. Unfortunately, he’s in the ‘not’ category right now.”
On working him out in practice before making Tuesday’s decision: “We assumed we were going to practice him and right now, we’re not even going to do that. We’re going to shut him down until the soreness goes away and the swelling goes away and then we bring him back up.”
On the seriousness of the injury: “We’re just going to shut him down until we feel like he’s ready. It’s nothing structural. It’s the same thing that it’s been. It’s just not reacting the same way we thought it would react. He didn’t react to the games we thought he would and he’s clearly not reacting to practice the way we thought he would.”
|Full disclosure||03.29.09 at 12:26 am ET|
BOSTON – Covering Saturday night’s East Regional final was the single toughest assignment of my professional career.
It’s one thing to grow up following a team and surrender those feelings once you turn professional reporter.
It’s another to cover the school you poured your heart and soul into for four years while watching one of the greatest sporting upsets in modern sports history as a freshman in person. Yes, I’m referring to Villanova over Georgetown on April 1, 1985 at Rupp Arena.
So it was Saturday night. I blogged away as Pittsburgh battled my alma mater, Villanova in a game where classic doesn’t seem to do it justice.
I got text messages from my peeps in my native Cincinnati, my peeps in New York, my peeps here in Boston, all of whom were pulling for me during a nerve-wracking second half. Thanks to you all for your concern for my mental health as I was typing furiously away across from the Pittsburgh bench. But I was also in front of the Villanova fan section. It was deafening all night.
I maintained professional composure until the last teardrop by Scottie Reynolds. And beyond. No cheering, no smiling, honest. At least on the outside. On the inside, I was a mess. I’ll admit that I clenched my fist when the ball went through the hoop but as soon as it did, I unclenched and got busy typing This Just In on WEEI.com.
As NovaNation was going bonkers right behind me, all I could think of was the man sitting five seats to my right and one row back. Rollie Massimino had seen this all before. He smiled like the proud daddy he is. After all, when this reporter attended Villanova between 1985-88 Rollie was simply known as Daddy Mass, something Jay Wright referenced all weekend long.
Then I got to work again covering postgame. I’m glad I was at TD Banknorth Garden for the greatest game ever played in the building.
|The greatest college game ever… in Boston||03.29.09 at 12:11 am ET|
With about 10 minutes remaining in the second half, during a timeout on the court, the video board at TD Banknorth Garden played a replay of Christian Laettner beating the UConn Huskies at the buzzer in the 1990 East Regional Final at the Meadowlands.
Talk about foreshadowing.
In what many observers were calling one of the five greatest college games of all time, Scottie Reynolds channeled another buzzer beater (Tyus Edney from 1995) to stun the Pittsburgh Panthers and send Villanova to the Final Four for the fourth time in school history and the first time since winning it all in 1985.
Reynolds took a pass from Dante Cunningham and drove some 65 feet winding and weaving his way through the Pittsburgh defense which was scrambling to get in position. They never could and when Reynolds raced past DeJuan Blair and then nudged into Gilbert Brown and float a runner over his head and into the basket with 0.5 seconds remaining, Villanova had a 78-76 lead.
But it wasn’t until Levance Fields’ desperation heave from 75 feet was off the mark that NovaNation could go into a Beantown frenzy. And they did. Villanova coach Jay Wright came over to hug Rollie Massimino and there were ‘I love yous’ and ‘I am so proud of yous’ all around as 2009 met 1985.
“It’s kind of eerie how this is playing out,” Wright said. “I hope to God history repeats itself (laughter), because I remember — my wife is here, my wife and I were down there as fans. I worked Rollie Massimino’s camp, I was there like a hanger on. I was part of the family. The thing with Rollie was if you worked his camp you might as well have been the top assistant, everybody was in the family. And my wife was a cheerleader there, she had just graduated.”
If Carolina beats Oklahoma on Sunday, then it will be Carolina and Nova in the Final Four, one round later than when the Cats beat the Heels in ’85 on their way to the title.
“And it’s — that was kind of the greatest year in the Big East history, and we’ve had discussions whether that year was better than this year, it’s a whole another topic. But that was similar. Villanova was a great team, but St. John’s and Syracuse and Georgetown were the teams that year. Villanova kind of sneaks in. And then it’s all happening the same. I’m not a superstitious person or anything, I don’t care. I’m worried about the next game. But if history repeats itself, I’ll take it (laughter).”
There were so many moments to remember. Almost too many to digest.
Down four and with Pittsburgh bringing the ball up, Dwayne Anderson stole the ball at midcourt and went into for a layup with 2:45 remaining. Reynolds may have had the play of the game but Anderson’s steal and layup was the turning point of the final three minutes.
Corey Fisher hit a layup to give Villanova the lead. Then, down one again, Anderson hit a three for Villanova, 71-69. Then two free throws by Fisher, 73-69 with 46 seconds left. Then, with Villanova up, 76-72, with 20 seconds remaining, Blair hits a layup. Then Reggie Redding heaves a ball the length of the court and the turnover leads to Levance Fields getting fouled.
Two free throws by Fields and 76-76. And then Scottie Reynolds turned into Tyus Edney. And Villanova is off to Detroit.
|A whole heap of (foul) trouble||03.28.09 at 9:00 pm ET|
When Shane Clark picked up his fourth foul with 7:38 minutes remaining in the second half, Villanova had their two primary defenders of DeJuan Blair on the bench with four fouls, with Dante Cunningham being the other.
The Villanova season could very well come down to how well reserve Antonio Pena plays Blair.
|A classic in the making||03.28.09 at 8:40 pm ET|
Jermaine Dixon was taken to the locker room within the first minute of the second half as two Villanova players came down on his legs scrambling for a loose ball. Dixon lay on the floor for a couple of minutes as was treated by Pittsburgh training staff. He returned to the bench with 15 minutes remaining but did not re-enter the game.
Levance Fields hit an early three in the first two minutes of the second half.
It’s been a busy night for legendary college hoops writer Dick ‘Hoops’ Weiss. In the first half, he was bowled over by a Pittsburgh player who spill his drink. Then Sam Young early in the second half ran into press row and guess who had a first-hand look? Young split Weiss and New York Post scribe Lenn Robbins.
That play caused Weiss to move to the second row and led to the most spectacular play of the game. The ball was saved in bounds and wound up at Villanova’s end. Corey Fisher collected it on the ground and fed Scottie Reynolds. Reynolds pump-faked and made a reverse lay-up high off the glass.
Dante Cunningham picked up his third foul with 14:10 remaining in the second half.
The two teams are trading blows in what is turning into a classic Big East backyard brawl.