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Celtics-Wizards Game Blog: Third Quarter 01.02.09 at 6:50 pm ET
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In my time watching the NBA I have seen many a team blow 20-point halftime leads. But this doesn’t feel like one of those nights. For starters, the Celtics are motivated to put the unpleasantness of their west coast trip behind them. For seconders, the Wizards are just not any good. The Celtics shot 60 percent in the first half and had assists on 18 of their 23 field goals. Washington countered with 15-for-42 from the floor and Antawn Jamison was 4-for-15. Not good.

Will we get a Patrick O’Bryant sighting early? Let’s find out…

THIRD QUARTER WRAP: The Wizards are the NBA’s version of a slump-buster. This is just brutal tonight. After three, it’s 86-55. Ouch. Pierce has 26, Garnett 10 and 8, Perkins, 9 and 10, Rondo 10 and 14 assists and Ray Allen knocked down a 3 at the end of the frame to give him a tidy 11 points.

One would think that’s all for them tonight. Me too. Take it away Jess.

Third Quarter Observations

– The onslaught continues. Look, this is a really good sign for the C’s. Regardless of Washington’s record, or their talent level or anything else, for the Celtics to put the hammer down to start the third quarter shows they’re into this.

– Hey Matt Cassel is here.

– I’m trying to discern the Wizards offense, and I’m not having much luck. Neither are they for that matter.

– Not that it matters all that much, but the Wiz put Butler on Pierce.

– Butler is not having much success either. Pierce is 9-for-9 for 24 points. That will help the shooting average a bit. Somewhat ironically he does have a miss from the free throw line. Is that irony? I’m not sure anymore. Blowouts mess with your mind sometimes.

– You know, Darius Songalia plays hard. He’s basically having to play center, which is ridiculous, but he competes.

– Who is having a worse night? The Wizards, or Alabama? Roll Tide.

– Garnett is out, probably for the rest of the night. 10 points, 8 rebounds and 25 minutes. That last number makes Doc happy. He’s the only other guy in double figures besides Pierce who has 26 points.

Celtics-Wizards Game Blog: Second Quarter 01.02.09 at 6:11 pm ET
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FIRST HALF WRAP: It’s not surprising to see the Celtics up 58-34 at halftime. Not only are the Wizards undermanned, they are getting out-rebounded (27-17), out-shot (60.5% to 35.7%), and out-ball handled (18-11 ast). To put it simply, they are getting outplayed. Can the Wiz make a second half comeback? Doubtful.

Second Quarter Observations

- The second quarter kicks off with the refs ruling out an attempted buzzer beater by the Wizards. The Celtics have the early lead, 28-14.

- On the court for the Celtics: House, Tony Allen, Scal, Big Baby, Powe. For the Wizards it’s Young, Butler, Crittenton, Songalia, and Blatche (who has returned to the game after leaving with a left ankle injury).

- Jamison and Butler are back on the floor together. This is the Wizards best shot at closing in. The Celtics bench has had trouble holding big leads, so let’s see if they can fend off this talented duo for now.

- The Celtics have an 18-point lead and Ray Allen hasn’t even scored a basket. He’s come back in for Scal and will be back on Butler, who leads the Wiz with a whopping six points.

- Long-range shooting is keeping this game out reach for the Wizards. With six minutes left in the half, the Celtics are 6-for-7 from behind the arc while the Wiz are 0-for-5.

- When they both came down with the rebound, Perkins love-tapped KG on the head. Paging Garnett: He’s on your team.

- Up 23, Doc has the starting five back in. The Wizards must be thrilled.

- The Celtics close out the half up 58-34.

Celtics-Wizards Game Blog: First Quarter 01.02.09 at 5:38 pm ET
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Way before tonight’s game began, a Wizard was out on the court measuring jump shots. The shots were from 25, 30 feet away and most of them were going down with barely a ripple. That player was Gilbert Arenas, obviously, (What, you thought Etan Thomas was draining 30 footers?).

With Arenas the Wizards were one of the entertaining and dangerous teams in the league. Without Arenas they were still entertaining, but much less dangerous. Without Arenas and Brendan Haywood they’re just bad, and not all that much fun either.

That’s a shame for us, but the Celtics don’t need much fun. They need a win, although it must be said that they seemed looser than usual before top-off tonight.

As for the Stephon Marbury talk, all we got was this from Doc Rivers, “You know I can’t talk about it,” which was certainly not a No and also not what he said about Dikembe Mutombo, which was more along the lines of yes, we’d like to have Mutombo. So they take that for what it’s worth.

But that’s for another day. What will it be tonight? Will it be the start of a new streak for 2009? Let’s find out…

FIRST QUARTER WRAP: The halfcourt shot by Caron Butler doesn’t count after all. Man that team can’t catch a break. So, after one the Wiz are down 14 and their starting center, Andray Blatche who went back to the locker room with what looked like an ankle injury.

The wager on press row: Over-under on minutes for the starters in the fourth quarter. The number is four. I’ve got the under. Over to you Jess.

First Quarter Observations

– That pretty much sums up Washington in a nutshell. The Celtics run Perkins backdoor, he gets swatted, the refs take a couple of minutes to figure out who should have the ball, the Celtics run the EXACT SAME PLAY and Perkins gets a layup.

– Interesting. The Wizards have Caron Butler on Ray Allen, which leaves Dominic McGuire on Paul Pierce. Pierce just dusted McGuire who can’t possibly be expected to be able to hang with Pierce for the whole game. There are serious mismatches available to the C’s right now (Mike James on Rondo, Andray Blatche on Kevin Garnett), but McGuire on Pierce may be the biggest.

– Blatche is hurt. He’s holding what looks like his ankle. This is really bad for Washington. The only good thing about being 6-24 is that the Wiz get an extended look at players like Blatche (and McGuire
and Javarris Crittenton, etc). Blatche is going back to the locker room.

– The only question tonight is, how much?

– Pierce 13, Washington 12.

– Doc is going to the bench a little bit early tonight. He’s got Baby, Leon and Scal in there already. I think this is the right play, even if Washington comes back a little bit. He’s got to manage some minutes over the next 30 games or so.

Does Marbury Want to Start? 01.02.09 at 3:51 pm ET
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Amid reports that Stephon Marbury could be Boston bound, the New York Post has reported Marbury would actually prefer to be a starter on whichever team he joins. Signing with the Celtics would mean backing up Rajon Rondo, and Marbury apparently doesn’t want to give up his starting role just yet. Or at least that’s the most recent story. Marbury has shifted back and forth on what kind of role he’d be willing to accept, and there are bound to be more conditions floated around during the season.

The Post has also reported Marbury is heading to Minnesota tonight to check out his cousin/former Celtic Sebastian Telfair and the Timberwolves as they take on ex-teammate Jamal Crawford and the Golden State Warriors.

Horry Interested in Celtics 01.02.09 at 12:39 pm ET
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A few weeks after WEEI.com’s Jeff Goodman told how Stephon Marbury is on the Boston Celtics’ radar, another NBA vet is reportedly eyeing the Cs as well. The Sacramento Bee has reported Robert Horry has added the Celtics to his list of possible destinations should he play again this season.

Robert Horry ‘€“ after previously saying he would consider playing only for the Spurs, Rockets or Mavericks because they are likely playoff teams close to his Houston home or Orlando because he could take his kids to Disney World ‘€“ has not ruled out the Celtics.

While many vets come to Boston in appreciation of the organization’s storied history, Horry hasn’t always been in awe of their past championship squads. In 2007 Horry bragged that his title-winning San Antonio Spurs could beat both the Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers teams from the 80s.

Horry is an authority on all things NBA championships, and Big Shot Bob had a message about his San Antonio Spurs for the great Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics teams of the 1980s.

“We would beat them,” he boasted.

If Horry were to land in Boston, he would need a crash course in Celtic Pride.

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Marbury Speculation Heats Up 01.02.09 at 8:08 am ET
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Readers of weei.com already know that the Celtics have had interest in wayward point guard Stephon Marbury, and now everyone else does too. Marc Stein has a report on espn.com that the Celtics are very interested in acquiring Marbury and that basically all that’s left is for the ink to dry on his Knicks buyout.

There are a few details to work out, of course, such as the actual buyout, and both Marbury and the Knicks have been playing the weirdest game of chicken since Kevin Bacon went one-on-one with a tractor combine in Footloose. The Knicks want Marbury gone. Everybody knows that, but they want him gone at their price. Marbury, as is his right, wants to get paid what’s on his contract and since he’s been operating without an agent, negotiations–if they can be called that–have been slow.

Assuming Marbury gets out of New York, and assuming the Celtics do indeed bring him aboard, what does that mean?

For starters, the Celtics will have to clear a roster spot. They are carrying the full allotment of 15 players, which means somebody would have to go, probably from among the Gabe Pruitt, Bill Walker, Sam Cassell trio. Pruitt has shown flashes and Danny Ainge is a fan, Walker has been learning his craft in the D-League, while Cassell has kept busy playing one-on-one with Brian Scalabrine and serving as a de-facto assistant coach. We won’t speculate further on the roster until we actually know what’s happening.

Marbury, if he’s in shape, would fill a need as a scorer and ballhandler off the bench. The Celtics have been using Eddie House at the off-guard position more and more lately, and the second unit is in major need of someone who can create.

The issues with Marbury are numerous. Will he adapt to the Celtics culture? Will he accept playing 10-15 minutes a night behind Rajon Rondo? Are he and Kevin Garnett cool?

That said, it is entirely in Marbury’s interest to be a good teammate if this comes to pass. A clean run with the C’s would help him rehabilitate his image and earn him another deal when his current one is bought out/expires.

We’ll have much more from the Garden tonight when the C’s play the Wizards so do stay tuned.

Game Preview: Boston Celtics vs. Washington Wizards 01.01.09 at 10:21 pm ET
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Last week the Boston Celtics headed out West on a 19-game winning streak and seemed unstoppable. On Friday night they will return to the TD BankNorth Garden looking surprisingly vulnerable after going 1-3 on their road trip. The Celtics (28-5) will look to snap out of their skid against the Washington Wizards (6-24). On paper this looks like a guaranteed win for the Cs, but after falling to the sub-.300 Golden State Warriors and Brandon Roy-less Portland Trail Blazers, suddenly no team can be counted out.

The Skid in Review
The Christmas Day loss to the Los Angeles Lakers was, just like any other loss, tough for the Celtics to swallow. But more worrisome than falling to a title contender was losing to the then 8-22 Warriors. Follow that up with an unexpected defeat to the shorthanded Trail Blazers, and their 45-point rout over the Sacramento Kings meant nothing. The trio of quick losses has put the Cleveland Cavaliers just one-game back for first in the East and the Orlando Magic are right on their heels.

Wizards Looking for Some Magic
The last time the Celtics and Wizards met up, the Cs handed their injury-ridden opponents a 122-88 loss. The Wizards have looked tougher in the past week ‘€“ they upset the Houston Rockets without Caron Butler, nearly knocked off the Cavs, and hung close against the New Orleans Hornets. Even though Butler (ankle) is expected to be back in the lineup on Friday, his 19 points were useless in their last meeting.

Do the Wizards have enough momentum to shock the Cs in Boston? Don’€™t count on it. The Celtics may have been rattled but that’€™s even more motivation to come out swinging on their home court. They avenged two consecutive losses with a beat down on the Sacramento Kings and the Wiz shouldn’€™t expect any less fire.

Tip-off is at 7:30pm. Stay with WEEI.com’€™s Celtics Game Day Blog for all the latest from the Garden.

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