|Game 6: The carnage continues||04.30.09 at 8:51 pm ET|
Paul Pierce took an inadvertent shot from Tyrus Thomas early in the third quarter and walked off the floor with blood spurting from his mouth. It came on a loose ball situation and it looked like Pierce had a tooth knocked out. The play continued with Kendrick Perkins getting two free throws after the C’s played 4-on-5.
Tony Allen replaced Pierce in the lineup.
|Game 6: Second Quarter Update||04.30.09 at 8:33 pm ET|
At the half … Bulls 59, Celtics 57
In spite of 29 points from Ray Allen, the Celtics find themselves down 59-57 at halftime. Allen has shot 10-for-15 from the field, including 5-for-7 from three-point range. Paul Pierce is the Celtics second-leading scorer with 12 points.
But Allen’s performance has been overshadowed by the real storyline of the game – foul trouble.
A total of 27 fouls were called in the first half, including a flagrant against Rajon Rondo in the first quarter. Kendrick Perkins, who did not commit a single foul in Game 5, was whistled for three fouls in 12 minutes. Six of the Bulls have been whistled for at least two fouls — Ben Gordon and Kirk Hinrich have been called for three personals.
Watch for Rondo in the second half. He has been uncharacteristically reluctant to drive the paint tonight and is scoreless in 19 minutes. Allen may have the hot hand so far, but Rondo cannot be hesitant with his shot for the rest of the game.
|Game 6: First quarter update||04.30.09 at 7:51 pm ET|
After one, the Celtics quest to finish the Bulls got off to a rough start, with Chicago using a 10-0 run to take an early 21-11 advantage and ultimately building a 37-26 lead. The big drama came at the end of the quarter when Rajon Rondo and Kirk Hinrich squared off. Rondo was assessed a Flagrant 1 foul, while Hinrich received a technical. The difference is huge. A Flagrant 2 would have led to Rondo’s ejection.
The refs are calling this one tight. Joakim Noah picked up two quick fouls, but the Celtics couldn’t capitalize because Kendrick Perkins also got two fouls–two more than Perk got in 48 minutes+ of Game 5. Ben Gordon and Brad Miller also picked up two fouls. Without Perkins in the middle, the Bulls attacked the inside of the C’s defense, and when they kicked the ball out John Salmons was there to make six of seven shots and score 16 points.
|Game 6: Rondo gets a flagrant||04.30.09 at 7:47 pm ET|
Late in the first quarter of Game 6, Rajon Rondo got tangled up with Chicago’s Kirk Hinrich and appeared to throw Hinrich into the scorer’s table. Hinrich came back at Rondo with a shove and the two squared off. Rondo was assessed a Flagrant 1 Foul, a huge break for the Celtics because a Flagrant 2 would have resulted in his ejection and could have led to a possible suspension.
Hinrich was assessed a technical foul on the play. It was the culmination of a tightly-called first quarter that saw 15 fouls called.
|Positive impression left by Marbury||04.30.09 at 4:27 pm ET|
For many of the Knicks, there was no love lost by the time Stephon Marbury officially left New York in February. Their relationship had been tarnished for months, if not years. But there was one player who had been positively impacted by Marbury in just a matter of weeks.
“It’s funny that you asked me [about him]. He was a very good mentor to me,” said Anthony Roberson. “When I got here in the short time I knew him, he was very encouraging to me. He always made sure I kept a good attitude and was working hard and always had good, positive stuff to say about always getting better every game.”
Roberson, now a member of the Chicago Bulls, met Marbury after signing with the Knicks last summer. He was returning from a stint in Turkey and was trying to get acclimated with his fifth organization in four years. The veteran took the newcomer under his wing during the preseason.
“When he was in practice we always shot together after practices, he was my partner,” Roberson said. “He always had a very positive attitude toward me in the time he was here with me. I enjoyed all the things he told me, just helped me get better every single day and keep a level head and a positive attitude.”
He added, “[He was] very accessible to me. I would always talk to him if I had a question, from offense to how to really react to certain situations to being on the court to always being ready and prepared for my opportunity, and always staying ready. He was very positive and the things he said were very valuable to me in the time he was [in New York].”
Marbury was eventually banished from the Knicks. Roberson was eventually traded to the Bulls. Now the two are on opposing teams in the first round of the playoffs. Despite their different uniforms, there was a time when they only wanted each other to succeed.
Said Roberson, “He had a good heart and was encouraging to me.”
|Ref assignments for Game 6||04.30.09 at 3:45 pm ET|
As part of the NBA’s new transparency in the wake of the Tim Donaghy fiasco, the league has been posting referee assignments in advance of games. Here’s the crew for Game 6 in Chicago:
Crawford is known throughout the league as the official you most want to have if you’re on the road in a big game, although San Antonio would probably disagree. (He also once threatened to give me a technical in a media 3-0n-3 tournament but that’s neither here nor there. I’m telling you, it was a charge.)
|Celtics among most popular jerseys||04.30.09 at 9:59 am ET|
The Big Three were a big draw in merchandise sales this season. Kevin Garnett (#4), Paul Pierce (#7), and Ray Allen (#12) ranked among the top 15 most popular NBA jerseys for the 2008-09 season, based on sales at the NBA Store in New York City and online at www.NBAStore.com. Kobe Bryant ranked number one. The Celtics, who ranked first in team sales last season, dropped to second behind the Lakers.
Top 15 Most Popular NBA Jerseys:
1. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
2. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
3. Chris Paul, New Orleans Hornets
4. Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics
5. Allen Iverson, Detroit Pistons
6. Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
7. Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics
8. Nate Robinson, New York Knicks
9. Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers
10. Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
11. Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
12. Ray Allen, Boston Celtics
13. Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns
14. Shaquille O’Neal, Phoenix Suns
15. Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets
Top 10 Most Popular Team Merchandise:
1. Los Angeles Lakers
2. Boston Celtics
3. New York Knicks
4. Cleveland Cavaliers
5. Chicago Bulls
6. New Orleans Hornets
7. Phoenix Suns
8. Miami Heat
9. Detroit Pistons
10. San Antonio Spurs