|Celtics-Jazz instant analysis||02.20.09 at 1:48 am ET|
The Celtics lost a game to the Jazz in the early morning hours. (For a full recap of the 90-85 defeat in Utah, CLICK HERE.) They lost because they couldn’t figure out a way to score down the stretch and they couldn’t get a key rebound after dominating the boards for most of the night. Most of all they lost because Kevin Garnett was not on the floor.
Garnett came down awkwardly late in the first half favoring his right knee. Danny Ainge said on the TNT broadcast that it had been bothering him for the last few weeks. Garnett tried to warm up for the second half and apparently wanted to play, but Doc Rivers shut him down.
The team is calling it a “sprained right knee,” and there wasn’t much information available beyond that. Considering the circumstances, considering the opponent and the location, and considering the foul trouble that plagued just about everybody, it’s not surprising that the Celtics started the post All-Star break stretch with a loss.
But as they have shown on several occasions, the Celtics can weather storms like this. They went 9-2 last year without Garnett, and if not for a play or two here or there could have won last night. In the short run the Celtics can handle his absence. But, if Garnett’s injury is more than just a strain, or if it lingers throughout the rest of the season and into the playoffs that’s another matter entirely
The obvious question is what is Ainge going to do with his two open roster spots? The absolute home run of home runs would be Joe Smith, who has apparently expressed an interest in being bought out and coming to Boston now that the trade to New Orleans fell though. (Quick digression: Oklahoma City will rue the day it held up the trade because of concern over Tyson Chandler’s toe. Maybe this is karma for the whole Seattle thing.)
The other name floating in the internet ether is Mikki Moore, an active big man who parlayed one above-average season with the Nets into a big payday from Sacramento. As is usually the case in such situations, it didn’t work out and Moore was released. Moore is younger, more athletic and more defensive-minded than Smith but he doesn’t possess anywhere near the offensive ability or experience that Smith could provide.
Expect Cleveland, which has more of the mid-level exception to bargain with than the Celtics, to make a play in either direction, if only to provide deterrence.
If the Celtics can get one of those two big men, which way do they go with the other spot? Another point guard? A swing man to replace Tony Allen? Another big man if the injury to Garnett is serious? Tough questions for Ainge to answer between now and March 1. But for now the biggest question is Garnett and the status of his knee.
|Garnett strains knee||02.20.09 at 12:24 am ET|
Late in the first half of the Celtics game with the Utah Jazz, Kevin Garnett came down awkwardly favoring his right knee. He left the game and tried to come out and play in the second half, but coach Doc Rivers shut him down. Brian Scalabrine started the second half in his place.
TNT’s Cheryl Miller reported that the Celtics are calling it a “strained right knee.”
We’ll have more after the game.
|Giddens back to the NBA||02.19.09 at 6:53 pm ET|
After trading away Patrick O’Bryant in a three-team deal involving the Sacramento Kings and Toronto Raptors, the Celtics have made a move within their own organization. On Thursday the Celtics recalled rookie J.R. Giddens from the NBA Development League’s Utah Flash. Giddens was first called up in January and was later re-assigned on February 5. He was averaging 17.0 points and 3.0 during his most recent stint with the Flash. Giddens has appeared in a total of 15 games for the Flash this season and averaged 17.6 points and 5.7 rebounds. He has yet to play in a regular season game for the Celtics.
|Celtics to trade Solomon||02.19.09 at 4:23 pm ET|
WEEI.com has learned the Boston Celtics will trade guard Will Solomon to the Sacramento Kings in exchange for a future second round draft pick. The Celtics acquired Solomon today from the Toronto Raptors in exchange for center Patrick O’Bryant. According to league sources, the Celtics will deal Solomon to keep two roster spots open for possible acquisitions in case players including Joe Smith and Calvin Booth are waived, or if Stephon Marbury gets out of his deal with the New York Knicks.
|Smith deal called off||02.18.09 at 11:57 pm ET|
According to multiple reports, big man Joe Smith is heading back to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Smith has been mentioned as a possible addition for the Boston Celtics front court. On Tuesday he was traded to the New Orleans Hornets as part of a deal for Tyson Chandler. However Chandler, who has been sidelined with an ankle injury, did not pass the Thunder’s physical. This means the 6-10, 225 pound Smith could be back on the market. Even though the Celtics are not expected to make any major moves, they do have a roster spot made available by the Sam Cassell trade. The NBA trade deadline is Thursday.
|PP2 and his PS3||02.18.09 at 10:26 pm ET|
During All-Star Weekend Paul Pierce and a handful of NBA players, including LeBron James, received personalized, laser-etched PS3 consoles. On the Sony PlayStation Blog, Pierce shows off his green President Obama console. New York Knick Al Harrington and Philadelphia 76er Thaddeus Young were also given Obama-inspired systems. As for James, his console was fit for a king. Click here for more photos of the athletes and their personalized gaming gear from Gizmodo.
|No ordinary Joe, no ordinary trade||02.18.09 at 9:42 am ET|
In the vast universe of NBA players that may have been available, few would have fit better with the Celtics than Joe Smith. The veteran big man possesses just about every skill the C’s bench needs–shooting range, length, experience.
But Smith is gone to New Orleans of all places, along with Chris Wilcox and some future considerations for Tyson Chandler, and indications are the Hornets are going to keep him. That’s too bad for the Celtics, but that’s merely a sidebar to the developing story within this trade, which is Sam Presti is one heck of a general manager.
When Presti took over the then-Sonics he had an unbalanced roster with two high-priced scorers–Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis–and a collection of mishmashed talents. In a year and a half he now has one of the most dynamic rosters in the league.
Trading Allen and letting Lewis walk cleared the runway, while drafting Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook and collecting oodles of draft picks and cap space laid the foundation. But at some point Presti had to avoid the trap that so many small market teams fall into. Namely, utilizing all those assets to acquire a real-live NBA player instead of hoping for an imaginary free agent that may or may not materialize.
In Chandler, Presti obtained a still-young and still athletic shot-blocking, rebounding big man, which is truly one of the rarest commodities in the sport. And he got him for players with expiring contracts he didn’t need without surrendering any of those draft picks.
This is a bad move for New Orleans, no matter how the Hornets try to spin it. Smith and Wilcox might help, but they’re no Chandler. Devon Hardin might be a poor-man’s Chandler or he might be another Saer Sene. The rumors are out that the Hornets are having money problems and it’s hard not to see this deal in any other light.
If there is one benefit for the Celtics it’s that it significantly weakens a contender in the West, but that’s small consolation.
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