|Five things we learned in Celtics’ blowout loss in Houston||11.01.14 at 10:27 pm ET|
Brad Stevens‘ team arrived safely in Houston for Saturday night’s tilt, but its game was misplaced. Everything that went well for the Celts in their runaway, season-opening win Wednesday night went wrong in a 104-90 loss to the Rockets.
In a nutshell, the Celtics weren’t aggressive enough early on, and were remarkably bad from beyond the 3-point line. The C’s went to the foul line 24 fewer times than the Rockets, while having the worst 3-point shooting night in franchise history.
With the 1-for-25 showing from beyond the 3-point stripe, it marked the first time in franchise history the Celtics have not hit a three while taking more than 10 attempts. Jeff Green hit his team’s 22nd attempt. The NBA record still stands at 0-for-22, set by the Nuggets in 2012.
The closest the Celtics would come in the second half was 11 points. (For a complete box score, click here.)
RAJON RONDO IS A WORK IN PROGRESS
It was easy to forget Rondo didn’t play a single preseason game after watching him excel against the Nets. But in Game No. 2, the point guard seemed out of sorts from the start.
Before exiting the game for the first time, with the Celtics trailing, 22-8, Rondo had trouble both offensively and defensively (where he was often lost on rotations after double-teaming Dwight Howard). He would re-enter the game with the C’s still trailing by 14 (32-18), continuing to lack any sort of spark.
Rondo finished the first half going 0-for-2 from the field. For the game, the point guard went 2-for-9 from the floor, but did haul in 10 rebounds.
LEANING ON JUMPERS PROVED DANGEROUS
There was a reason the Celtics attempted just three first-half free throws, while the Rockets were going to the line 24 times: the C’s weren’t exactly taking it at the hosts.
The missed jumpers, particularly in the first quarter, were especially damaging considering how Houston was able to transition into makable shots (shooting 57 percent from the field in the initial quarter, leading to a 15-point Celtics deficit). The Celtics started going inside more in the second quarter, but the hole had already been dug.
The most noticeable aspect of the Celtics’ reliance on their outside game came from beyond the 3-point line, where they turned in a historically bad performance.
DEALING WITH HOWARD PROVED DICEY
Stevens attempted to rotate the trio of Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk and Tyler Zeller on Howard. That strategy, however, ran into some issues with all three carrying three fouls into halftime. The trio finished with five fouls apiece.
The unevenness at the position also translated to a dramatic 180 for Olynyk from Wednesday night, when he totaled 18 points. This time the second-year big man couldn’t find a comfort zone, finishing with eight points in 15 minutes.
Howard only finished with 14 points and eight rebounds, but his presence allowed for the likes of James Harden (26 points) to get in the clear.
LIVING WITH THE UPS AND DOWNS OF MARCUS SMART
So much was made of the performance of the rookie in Game 1, with Smart contributing on multiple levels against Brooklyn.
This time, however, he couldn’t supply any help for a Celtics team desperate for some aggressiveness. Smart went 0-for-7 from the field
HOT STARTS ARE STILL A THING OF THE PAST
The Celtics failed to go 2-0 once again, not having accomplished the feat since 2009.
|Doc Rivers after Rajon Rondo injury: ‘You can write the obituary. I’m not’||01.27.13 at 5:33 pm ET|
After the Celtics‘ 100-98, double-overtime win over the Heat on Sunday afternoon, Celts coach Doc Rivers explained that he didn’t tell his players the news of Rajon Rondo‘s torn ACL injury until after the game.
“Obviously the Rondo news is pretty tough,” Rivers said. “I knew it before the game; no one else knew it. I just didn’t think it was any time to tell any of our guys that. I told them after the game. Pretty emotional in the locker room.”
Rivers said Rondo went through the team’s walk-through earlier in the day, and actually believed the injury — suffered in Friday night’s loss to Atlanta — to be a hamstring issue. But after further examination by team medical director Brian McKeon, it was determined that the point guard had torn the ACL in his right knee.
It wasn’t until halftime that Rondo was informed the extent of his injury, according to Rivers.
“Very emotional. Very emotional,” the coach said of the player’s reaction. “Funny, at halftime, I knew, and didn’t know. Still. And because Dr. McKeon knew, but he hadn’t seen the MRI. But the technician had already told him. And Dr. McKeon told me, ‘Positive, but let’s wait.’ And so that was hard, too.”
Regarding the reaction of the players after he informed them of Rondo’s injury, Rivers said, “It was good, and then it went down. … I just walked in and told them. I don’t know what else you can do. Guys were celebrating and then it just …”
The Celtics coach still relayed optimism after the game, despite there be no pure point guard on the current roster whom might step in for Rondo.
“Well, you can write the obituary. I’m not,” Rivers said. “You can go ahead. But I’m not. We won tonight, and so the way I look at it is: we’re going to stay in there. In my opinion, we’re going nowhere.”
To hear Rivers’ entire postgame press conference, click here.
For more Celtics news, go to the team page at weei.com/celtics.
|Celtics beat Knicks for third straight win||01.07.13 at 10:19 pm ET|
Playing without Rajon Rondo — due to the point guard’s one-game suspension — the Celtics beat the Knicks, 102-96, Monday night at Madison Square Garden. It marked only the Celts’ second three-game winning streak of the season.
The Celtics have now beaten the Knicks — who lost just their fourth Eastern Conference matchup in 18 tries this season — in 19 of the teams’ last 23 meetings.
Filling in for Rondo was Avery Bradley, who finished with 13 points and five assists. Leading the offense for the Celtics was Paul Pierce, whose three-pointer :46 helped seal the deal for the visitors. Pierce finished with 23 points.
Helping matters for the Celtics was a horrific shooting performance by New York’s Carmelo Anthony, who had scored at least 40 points in two of his last three games and averaged 30 points in each of his past four contests against Boston. This time, Anthony shot just 6-of-26 from the floor, finishing with 20 points.
The win boosts the Celtics’ record to .500 (17-17). It was also just the Knicks fourth home loss of the season.
For more Celtics news, go to the team page at weei.com/celtics.
|Rajon Rondo has made us take a closer look at the evolution of the assist||11.23.12 at 1:06 pm ET|
The debate regarding just how important or impressive Rajon Rondo‘s streak of 35 straight games with at least 10 assists will continue into Friday night’s game at TD Garden.
But one of the more interesting elements of the run has been the opportunity to reflect on how the assist statistic has changed over the years, and if that evolution makes Rondo’s feat any more, or less, impressive.
The stat itself can be compared somewhat to an error in baseball, with just enough subjectivity involved to spark conversation.
For instance, in 1980 there were 3,609 errors given out in 4,210 Major League Baseball games (0.85 per game). Last season, in 4,860 games there were 3,008 errors (0.61 per game).
The most errors given out to any one team in ‘80 was 174 (Cubs), while last season’s top team was the Rockies, who committed 122 (which would have been the 23rd most 22 years ago).
The lesson is that different statistics are viewed differently through the ages and the eyeballs, and assists are no exception.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers recalled after Tuesday’s practice how different arenas offer different expectations when giving out assists. Washington, he said, was notorious for being a difficult environment for visiting players to extract assists. Upon further examination, Rivers was right. Read the rest of this entry »
|Tim Duncan, Doc Rivers reflect on a decision that altered history||11.21.12 at 11:51 am ET|
When Tim Duncan hits the TD Garden floor Wednesday night, he will represent plenty: Excellence. Championships. A face for the NBA over the past 15 years.
But for Doc Rivers, the Spurs center will be the ‘other’ one that got away.
During a Nov. 1 interview on the Dennis and Callahan Show, Rivers was asked if the failure to keep Ray Allen in Boston last offseason could be considered his biggest recruiting misstep. He was quick in his response.
“I lost a bigger one, and probably learned a lot of lessons from that. Tim Duncan in Orlando,” he said. “We never had him, but I thought we had him turned and we lost him. So I’ll always remember that one.”
The recruitment came following Rivers’ first year as coach of the Magic, in the 2000 offseason. Orlando was coming off an overachieving, 41-41 campaign in which Rivers had earned NBA Coach of the Year. Duncan was a free agent, as was Grant Hill, who joined the San Antonio center on the recruitment trip.
Upon their tour of Orlando, the two then-superstars were greeted by billboards, picturing themselves along with the world “Imagine.” Disney World’s Epcot ball donned the words, “Grant Us Tim.” There was a private jet, house-hunting tips from Orlando resident Tiger Woods, and, of course, a ton of money.
There was also the charismatic Rivers.
“I think his confidence is what stood out,” Duncan said of Rivers during Wednesday’s shoot-around at the TD Garden. “He was very confident in what he thought he could put together and the type of team he wanted to have.”
Hill was sold, committing to a deal. Duncan ultimately decided a different path, choosing the familiarity of San Antonio and Spurs’ coach Gregg Popovich.
“I just thought we had a great shot at him,” said Rivers following Tuesday’s practice in Waltham. “You could see he was leaning our way a little bit, but he had the loyalty to Pop, and, to me, that was tough to fight against. I actually didn’t fight against it.”
“[Rivers] made his pitch. I don’t think there was anyone to blame for it,” Duncan explained. “It was just a decision that went one way or another, and I decided to stay.”
It does beg the question: How would have Rivers’ career path been altered if Duncan did decide to bolt for the Magic?
Rivers would ultimately be fired after 11 games in the 2003-04 season, having never made it out of the first round of the playoffs. He would be hired a year later to coach the Celtics, winning 54 postseason games, including one world championship.
|Fast Break: Rajon Rondo, Celtics get the better of Bulls||11.12.12 at 10:36 pm ET|
Rajon Rondo sliced and diced his way through a Bulls’ lineup without their two top guards ‘ Rose (knee) and Hinrich (hip) are both injured ‘ on the way to an 101-95 win over Chicago Monday night.
The Celtics led the whole way — with the Bulls closing to two late in the fourth quarter — thanks in large part to Rondo, who owned both former Celtic Nate Robinson and rookie Marquis Teague on the way to scoring 20 points on 10-of-16 shooting from the field . He also added 10 assists and nine rebounds.
All five the Celtics’ starting five finished in double-figures, with Brandon Bass (16 points), Paul Pierce (10), Kevin Garnett (15) and Jason Terry (13) all pitching in for a C’s squad that finished at 50 percent shooting from the floor. In fact, it marked the first time in 15 games that Chicago had allowed 100 points.
Here is what went right (and wrong) for the Celtics in their fourth win of the season:
WHAT WENT RIGHT
– The Celtics turned in perhaps their best half of the season, not only claiming a 58-46 lead, but also shooting 59 percent against one of the best defensive teams in the NBA. In fact, it was the third highest first-half percentage allowed by the Bulls since head coach Tom Thibodeau took over.
– The Celtics set the tone with a 33-point first quarter, in which they only turned the ball over once
– The Celtics extended their NBA-best active streak of winning after three quarters, carrying an 82-70 lead heading into the fourth quarter. The streak now stands at 27 straight games, with the Lakers second at 13.
– Jared Sullinger capped the scoring in the third quarter by making his first NBA 3-pointer.
– With the Bulls having closed the gap to three points, and the Celtics going two for their last 12 from the floor, Jason Terry knocked down a jumper with 4:52 left, giving the C’s the momentum back for good.
– Chris Wilcox played his best game of the season, scoring seven points in 19 minutes, including some key moments in the final minutes while Kevin Garnett rested.
– Doc Rivers drew up a pair of well-executed alley-oops to from Rondo to Garnett coming out of timeouts in the final few minutes, including one which got the visitors’ lead back to four with 41 seconds left.
– By feeding Brandon Bass for a dunk with 20 second remaining, Rondo’s streak of notching at least 10 assists stretched to 31 games.
WHAT WENT WRONG
– With 49 seconds remaining and the Celtics leading by four, Luol Deng missed both free throws, but managed to take advantage of Taj Gibson’s offensive rebound with a subsequent lay-in, closing the gap to two.
– The Celtics went cold in the fourth quarter, scoring just 19 points while allowing the Bulls to close within a pair.
– The Celtics suffered a few minor injuries in the first half, with Bass dislocating high right ring finger, and Jeff Green suffering a mild right ankle sprain. The ailment didn’t seem to deter Bass, who came back to finish a strong first half (12 points). Green also returned.
|Fast Break: Celtics claim an uneasy win over Wizards||11.03.12 at 9:48 pm ET|
If there was going to be a team that the Celtics could get well against, it would be these Washington Wizards. The Celts had, after all, won all four of the teams’ meetings last season, and Washington was heading into its home opener without its star John Wall (knee).
It worked out for the C’s, but it wasn’t as easy as they might have wanted.
The Celtics claimed an 89-86 win over the Wizards on Saturday night, sealing the deal when Martell Webster jumper from the corner fell short with two seconds remaining. Webster’s miss, which came out of a timeout with 4.5 seconds remaining and the Wizards trailing by a point, was followed by two free throws by Jason Terry to finish things off for the visitors.
The Wizards had come back from a 16-point first-quarter deficit to take a one-point lead with 2:55 to go on a jumper from Kevin Seraphin (8-of-9 from the floor, 19 points). But Paul Pierce (27 points) came right back to can a 3-pointer, giving the Celtics a lead they would never relinquish.
“A win’s a win,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers told reporters after the game, “and we’ll take it.”
Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Celtics’ win:
WHAT WENT RIGHT
‘¢ For just the eighth time in his career, Rajon Rondo made two 3-pointers. The point guard managed multiple 3-pointers just once last season, hitting a pair against the Knicks on April 17. Rondo also finished with 10 or more assists (12) once again, also pitching in with 12 points.
‘¢ The Celtics stormed out to a 26-12 lead after the first quarter, shooting 50 percent from the field while holding Washington to 21 percent. The Celts also turned the ball over only one time in the opening quarter.
‘¢ Jared Sullinger got his first career start and acquitted himself fairly well. The rookie only four points (taking three shots), but managed seven rebounds. He was a plus-7 when on the floor.
WHAT WENT WRONG
‘¢ Terry struggled again, finishing with a minus-12 in his 17 minutes. The guard hit just two of his eight shots from the floor. He was part of a Celtics bench that was outplayed most of the night, contributing to the C’s being outscored in both the second, third and fourth quarters. The Wizards claimed a 62-27 edge over the Celts reserves.
‘¢ The Celtics were beaten on the boards, losing the rebound battle, 46-35. The bench managed just seven rebounds, with Brandon Bass claiming five of them.
‘¢ The Celtics had no answer when Rondo was out of the game, with Leandro Barbosa claiming a minus-12 when on the floor while going just 1-for-3 from the floor.
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