|Can Celtics finish?||11.18.09 at 8:45 pm ET|
In their two losses to Atlanta and Indiana, the Celtics have been jumping out to quick leads but unable to put away teams in the fourth quarter.
That’s a trait they perfected in 2008. And in three blowout wins against Utah, Charlotte and Philadelphia, it wasn’t even an issue as they built leads of over 20 points in each case, turning the final 12 minutes in each case into prime time for the bench.
But against Atlanta, they were outscored 25-16 in the fourth and lost 97-86. In Indianapolis the next night, they were outscored, 61-43, by the younger, fresher Pacers, losing 113-104. The Celtics have led in the fourth quarter in each of their three losses entering Wednesday.
“I’m concerned about bad finishes than slow starts, honestly,” Rivers said before Wednesday’s contest. “I think all three of the games, we’ve had a lead in the fourth quarter. I said it [Tuesday], I don’t think we’re a 48-minute team yet.”
On Wednesday, the Celtics took a 49-48 lead to the locker room, somewhat deflated by the waving off of Kevin Garnett’s 3/4-court heave that hit nothing but net.
But the real question remains – Can the Celtics finish?
Stay tuned now and for the rest of the season.
|Donny Basketball||11.18.09 at 1:49 pm ET|
Doc Rivers has known Don Nelson a long time. When he arrived on the scene in the NBA, Rivers was a point guard on the Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta would have knock down, drag out bouts with Nellie’s Milwaukee Bucks when the Bucks were winning Central Division titles year after year.
This year though, the Warriors are tops in the league in scoring through 10 games, at 111.6 points. Note to Celtics, the Suns and Hawks are second and third and both beat Boston at the Garden.
The flip side of that is they’re allowing 113.7 points a contest, the highest in the league.
“He didn’t start out that way,” Rivers said. “Don’s been coaching a long time. He’s basically taken what he has and uses it and turns it into that.
“In Milwaukee, they might have been the slowest basketball team on Earth to play. They walked the ball up the floor, played slow and used the clock and you were in an 80-point game with them.”
Nelson broke into coaching at the age of 36 in 1976 with the Milwaukee Bucks. He is now 69 and has more wins (1312) than any active coach and is a three-time NBA Coach of the Year. Read the rest of this entry »
|Doc: ‘We’ve done a lot of things average’||11.17.09 at 4:23 pm ET|
WALTHAM – Doc Rivers knows his team hasn’t hit its stride yet.
He also realizes there’s 71 games left in the season.
But still, he, like everyone else, had to watch on Friday and Saturday as the Celtics dropped back-to-back games somewhat unexpectedly to the Hawks at home and the Pacers on the road.
The more alarming loss was Saturday when the weary Celts allowed Indiana to shoot 53 percent from the floor and score 113 points in a loss at Conseco Fieldhouse.
“It’s nothing big,” Rivers said following Tuesday’s practice. “We’ve done a lot of things average and we’re not an average team. When you play average on defense on certain things, and offense, you lose. It’s more of that. It’s nothing earth-shattering. It’s nothing we’re going to panic about. We know we have to get better.
“To me, the way we’ve played so far, we’ve been a spurt team. We’re not ready yet to be a 48-minute basketball team, that’s just not what we’ve done yet. We’re working on it.”
Meanwhile, one of the Celtics best defenders of the last two seasons — when healthy — has been Tony Allen. The guard has been out with a right ankle injury since off-season surgery but could be getting closer to returning as he is now practicing with the team.
“He did well actually,” Rivers said. “He moved and played great. He’s moving well. I’m not sure if he’s ready to play yet, honestly. I just don’t know yet because I do think he’s not sure of his injuries. There’s several times he’ll jump and you can see he’s clearly thinking about it and I don’t like putting players on the floor when they’re thinking about it because that leads to something else.”
|Doc on Belichick call: ‘You don’t get do-overs’||11.17.09 at 3:09 pm ET|
WALTHAM – Doc Rivers weighed in on ‘The Call’ following Celtics practice on Tuesday.
Asked if he had any reaction to uproar over Bill Belichick’s decision to go for it on fourth-and-2 from his own 28, Rivers, an avid NFL fan, replied, “You read your team, and if you like your team, you take risks. That’s what you do.
“But you don’t get do-overs in coaching and that’s the difference. Everything else, you get to sit around and talk about it after the fact. In coaching, you make your decision and you don’t apologize for it.”
|Pierce returns to practice||11.17.09 at 2:27 pm ET|
WALTHAM – Paul Pierce returned to practice on Tuesday at the Celtics’ practice facility after missing Monday with a sore left knee, injured on Friday night against Atlanta.
Pierce said it was only a slight sprain and he took part in the team’s workout, with coach Doc Rivers giving him an occasional rest on the sideline.
“I got a good response from the last couple of days of rest and I felt good about it. It went smoothly. I went the whole practice and felt really good about it. It was a slight sprain in the knee but normally I’m a fast healer so I felt good,” Pierce said.
Pierce and head coach Doc Rivers expect Pierce to be available and start when the team takes on Golden State on Wednesday night at TD Garden.
“He looked good,” Rivers said. He went half-and-half. We got him in, got him out. He really wanted to do something because he said, ‘I don’t want to go through three days of nothing and play a game,’ which I agreed with. It was more about rest than an injury thing. He’ll be fine.”
|Report: C’s considering Nocioni in three-way||11.17.09 at 12:04 pm ET|
WALTHAM – While the Celtics hit the practice court again today in preparation for the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, the team is involved in discussions regarding a three-way trade to bring power Sacramento forward Andres Nocioni to Boston, according to ESPN.
The Celtics would acquire the third-year 6-7 power forward from the Kings while sending Tony Allen and Brian Scalabrine to Philadelphia and J.R. Giddens to Sacramento.
The deal, on the surface, would seem unlikely as Nocioni, who turns 30 on Nov. 30, is signed through 2011-12 and is owed roughly $20.5 million guaranteed, with a team option for the 2012-13 season.
|Pierce will ‘wait’ on tender left knee||11.14.09 at 12:15 am ET|
Paul Pierce bruised his left knee in the third quarter of Friday night’s loss to Atlanta. Pierce said afterward that he will see how it responds before making a decision on whether to play on Saturday night at Indiana.
“It’s a little tender, I’m just going to wait to see how it feels when it cools down,” he said. “On the play I was falling down and my foot got stepped on, sort of turned it so it was a light sprain in the knee. You know I’m just gonna ice it right now and see how it feels a little bit later.”
Pierce led the Celtics with 24 points, and returned with a soft brace on his knee with just under 11 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Celtics flew out to Indianapolis following their 97-86 loss to the Hawks at the Garden.