|Third quarter update||04.20.09 at 9:11 pm ET|
What we have here at the Garden is 12 minutes that could potentially decide a season. The Celtics have an 88-87 lead and to demonstrate the urgency of the situation, Doc Rivers did not go to his bench until there ere 40 seconds left in the third quarter.
Rajon Rondo returned to the lineup after spraining his right ankle in the first half and he already has a triple-double with 15 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists, but the big story has been Ray Allen who erupted for 16 points in the third quarter. Every Celtics starter is in double figures, but the bench has been non-existent.
The other issue was the staredown between Kendrick Perkins and Joakim Noah. There have been a lot of hard fouls in this game and Noah has emerged as Public Enemy No. 1 in the Garden. At one point he wandered toward the Celtics bench and got an earful from Kevin Garnett, who has been giving a lot of people an earful. Tyrus Thomas also had a few choice words for the C’s bench.
As we head into the final 12 minutes, the Celtics season is on the line.
|Rondo records triple double||04.20.09 at 8:51 pm ET|
Rajon Rondo recorded a triple-double in the third quarter: 15 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. The last time he posted a triple-double was February 12 against the Dallas Mavericks (19 points, 14 assists, 15 rebounds).
|Second quarter update||04.20.09 at 8:18 pm ET|
The Celtics kicked off the game looking strong. Then they started dropping in the second quarter.
Leon Powe left the game with a minor left knee sprain. (He was already wearing a brace for a sprained right knee.) Five minutes later, Rajon Rondo hit the ground hard after a fast break attempt. He suffered a minor right ankle sprain and was helped off the court by Celtics trainer Ed Lacerte. Both Powe and Rondo are expected to return.
In the meantime, Brad Miller has been causing problems for the Celtics. The big man with the mid-range jumper has posted 14 points (7/8 FT) and six rebounds in the first half. With Powe out of the game and Davis and Perkins sidelined with three fouls apiece, hehas been able to take advantage of his match up against Mikki Moore.
Keeping an eye on the hot/cold players from Game 1, Derrick Rose has been limited to just six points in 14 minutes. He was benched for most of the first quarter with foul trouble. After shooting 1-for-12 on Saturday, Ray Allen is shooting 1-for-4 from the field.
|Rondo limps out of game||04.20.09 at 8:03 pm ET|
After barreling down the court on a fast break, Rajon Rondo went up for the basket. It was moments before he was able to get up with the aid of team doctors. Rondo headed to the bench limping with 5:03 left in the first half. He suffered a minor right ankle sprain and is expected to return to the game.
|Powe leaves the game||04.20.09 at 7:47 pm ET|
Leon Powe walked back toward the locker room with 10:13 left in the second quarter. Powe, who has been wearing a heavy-duty brace after spraining his right knee in March against the Bulls, has not been moving that well tonight. In seven minutes he posted two points, one rebound, and was called for one foul.
Update: Powe suffered a minor left knee sprain. He is expected to return.
|First quarter update||04.20.09 at 7:41 pm ET|
What’s best strategy against a team that presses? You press them back. Similarly, it was clear from the opening seconds that the Celtics wanted to run against a team that runs. Rajon Rondo was sensational in the first quarter with nine points, four rebounds, six assists and a combined five fouls against Derrick Rose and Kirk Hinrich. The Bulls blocked seven shots in the first quarter, but that’s a fine trade-off for taking the ball to the basket aggressively as the Celtics have done time and again.
The biggest beneficiary has been Big Baby Davis who scored 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting, with most of them coming on kickout jumpers off dribble penetration. The C’s also wanted to be tougher defensively and Kendrick Perkins set the tone with a hard foul on John Salmons three minutes into the game.
The only downside for the C’s is that Ray Allen is 0-for-2 and appears tentative early. After one, it’s 35-29 Celtics.
|Big start for the Celtics||04.20.09 at 7:19 pm ET|
Scratch slow starts off the check list for the Celtics. They came out ready to play tonight. Rajon Rondo has been pushing the tempo at every opportunity and taking it hard at the Bulls big men. Even though he is 1-for-3, the strategy has worked because Chicago is paying so much attention to Rondo that the C’s are getting weakside offensive boards.
Another benefit? Derrick Rose got two quick fouls and is out of the game. Something else to watch: Brad Miller was not happy with Kendrick Perkin’s hard foul on John Salmons. Miller, who is one of the toughest dudes in the league, came flying off the bench and had to be mildly restrained by a Bulls assistant.
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