|Nenad Krstic: I’m lost a little because ‘Oklahoma is still in my head’||03.10.11 at 12:43 pm ET|
Nenad Krstic had a season-high 20 points in 38 minutes but he admitted afterward he wasn’t satisfied with his defense in a 108-103 loss to the Clippers at TD Garden.
Krstic and the Celtics had tremendous difficulty early on stopping DeAndre Jordan and the rest of the Clippers front court, which scored early and often en route to shooting 68 percent in the first half and building a 60-42 halftime lead.
Krstic came to Boston on deadline day, Feb. 24 with Jeff Green in exchange for the defensive-minded Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson. Krstic is still trying to get accustomed to thinking the Celtics’ way – which begins and ends with defense.
“I just need to get better, need to be more focused,” Krstic said. “Sometimes, I’m a lost a little bit because of a different style of playing. Oklahoma is still in my head. I’m just really trying to get adjusted. It just takes time, especially when you play games. It’s different in practice but in games you just have to react.
“It’s going to come. I just need to get used to more of the guys. Sometimes, I’m trying to do too much, over help and have a couple of stupid fouls, too. I know I scored 20 points but I need to focus on my defense and help the team.”
Doc Rivers still has confidence in his new starting center.
“Krstic overall is playing pretty well,” Rivers said. “He’s got to hold his ground a little bit. The problem we had going into the game, and I’m kind of kicking myself, is I told our bigs — the two bigs that we have right now due to all the injuries — you can’t get in foul trouble. “So if it comes down to you getting out of the way, you almost had to. Because we couldn’t afford Kevin [Garnett] or Nenad in foul trouble.
“And it actually happened anyway.”
Krstic said he’s confident the defensive part of his game will come but it will take time.
“Just not having been on the court at the same time together is the problem,” Krstic said of the chemistry with his new teammates. “Sometimes, especially in the first half, our second unit is almost all new guys, and we’re not used to each other. I think that was a problem tonight, we just haven’t spent too much time together playing. It’s going to take some time, but obviously with this team, we pick it up really quickly.”
|Irish Coffee: Celtics a slam dunk||at 12:38 pm ET|
Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘¦
Between Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon, the Clippers own four of the top 10 throwdowns on NBA.com’s Dunk Ladder. Not to mention the fact that DeAndre Jordan had more than twice as many dunks (7) during the Clips’ 108-103 victory against the Celtics on Wednesday night as Rajon Rondo has had all season (3).
So, I figured now is as good a time as any to check out the dunk statistics for the Celtics, especially in comparison to their performance during the 2007-08 season. Thanks to CBS Sports’ Dunk-O-Meter and Roto Evil’s Slam Dunk Stats, we can do that.
If an aging NBA veteran has almost twice as many dunks through 62 games this season than he did during a year in which he captured the NBA Finals MVP, that seems to say a lot about the kind of lift and athleticism that’s still in his legs, right?
Of course, I’m talking about Paul Pierce, who according to CBS Sports has slammed 28 dunks already this season — including the highlight-reel one last night that can be seen in the video that accompanies this blog (thanks to @MrTripleDouble10). By comparison, Pierce recorded just 16 dunks in the 2007-08 regular season.
Count Ray Allen in the same category, as his 11 dunks so far this year are two more than he produced during the entire season three years ago. Glen Davis has already more than doubled his dunking output (11 in 2010-11, compared to 5 in 2007-08), but that can be credited to his increased role as the Sixth Man on this year’s squad.
If we can draw conclusions about how much more lift or aggressiveness Pierce has this year compared to three seasons ago based on his increased number of dunks, is the same true for those going in reverse? That means you, Kevin Garnett.
The naked eye test suggests Garnett has been more active and aggressive around the basket than he’s ever been in a Celtics uniform, but could it be that we’re simply remembering the guy who’s been hobbled by knee problems the last two years?
It would seem after his bench was outscored, 26-12, in a 108-103 loss to the Clippers Wednesday night at TD Garden, Doc Rivers would have laid blame for the defeat at the hands of his reserves.
It’s a lot to ask any second unit to make up a 15-to-20 deficit in a game, let alone one that was making its debut. So, the way Rivers saw it, this loss really was at the feet of his “Big 4″ – namely Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.
“I was concerned because in the first quarter, our four starters put us in a hole and then you needed to sub, and you knew nothing good was going to happen,” Rivers said, as his team fell behind by as much as 15 in the first quarter and 23 early in the third.
“It actually [wasn't bad]. They held their ground,” Rivers said of his reserves, led by Carlos Arroyo and new starting center Nenad Krstic. “The problem was it was a 20-point ground [deficit] they were holding and that’s very difficult.
“We sub anyway. We sit guys down regardless of score. Obviously, we were down 20 and we’re subbing. It’s not something you want to do but you have to.”
Pierce couldn’t argue.
‘It’s tough when you get out to bad starts and a lot of that has to do with the starters. How we come out at the beginning of the games, we’ve got to come out with a better focus,” Pierce said. “Once you get a team confidence like the Clippers then they feed off that for the rest of the game and were able to get the win.’
Pierce did point to the defensive struggles of the second unit but only as far as they had to pick up the pieces from the starters not playing defense, either.
‘I think some of it is the second unit, but a lot of that was at the start of the game with the first five so no excuses on that point,” Pierce said. “They came out and shot 70 percent and a lot of that was against the guys that know what we are doing night in and night out.
“You give some leeway to the newer guys, but there is no excuse to the way we started out giving them the big lead and then having to fight all the way to get back into the game.’
The reserves did a very respectable job on Blake Griffin, who had just 12 points in 37 minutes. Down 23, the Celtics slowly started to chip away, outscoring the Clippers, 24-16 in the third to cut the lead to 10.
Then the starters finally did their thing. Allen drilled a 3-pointer from the right wing on a bullet pass from Rondo with 7:36 left to draw the Celtics within six, 86-80. Garnett’s jumper with just under six minutes left capped a 15-2 run to draw the Celtics within three.
But Mo Williams drained three free throws with 5:23 left to restore the lead to six. Jeff Green drilled a trey with 47.4 seconds left to get within four, 104-100. Allen’s three with 10.5 seconds left turned out to be too little, too late.
The Celtics will try to regroup and start a new winning streak on Friday against the upstart 76ers in Philadelphia. The Sixers are making a late-season push to finish in the middle of the playoff pack in the Eastern Conference and are one of the hottest teams in the NBA since the All-Star break.
Friday would be a great time for a new start for the “Big 4.”
|Irish Coffee: Reggaeton, President Obama & the Celtics||03.09.11 at 11:40 am ET|
Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘¦
I’ve got to tip my hat to Celtics Hub for reminding everybody that new Celtics backup point guard Carlos Arroyo is also a Reggaeton (think Akon, in Spanish) star in his native country of Puerto Rico. He’s released two singles: ‘Oculto Secreto’ and the more popular ‘Se Va Conmigo’ with a dude named Yomo.
Thanks to AllTheLyrics.com, we now have a (very) loose translation of the ‘Se Va Conmigo’ (‘Go Away With Me’) remix performed with Ivy Queen, and it’s obviously pretty amazing ‘¦
To me, it’s enough to look for an affair.
I told you, I go with you.
If you tell me, I continue,
And without telling me, I follow you.
If you know it, I’m a hired killer.
I catch you when you get in my area.
What you like is that I have fury,
That I speak to you clearly
And that I don’t go on with you with sweet talk.
I don’t mind nothing, I leave.
Speaking clearly, you know well what I give.
That’s enough games, and bring me down the ego.
I’m not made of ice, and you like that.
We go without detour that I’m shrewder
Pa, pa, papi.
Do you want it in English or in Portuguese?
He’s looking for that I catch him, he asks it.
I warn him, and he continues.
Truly, she has me with the slow note.
She don’t mind nothing, she leaves.
She leaves with me without fear of to fail,
Because her wish is that I put her to sweat.
She excels with her skirt.
Mini mami, I know you are a hired killer.
Whatever I say, I know you die in my area.
Nice, sexy, exotic.
Obviously, my favorite parts are, ‘Her wish is that I put her to sweat,’ and, ‘She excels with her skirt.’ And, yes, I’m going to use those lines all the time now.
|Glen Davis on the new guys: ‘They’ve got to adjust to the Celtics way’||03.08.11 at 6:24 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Turns out there’s a method to Glen Davis‘ apparent madness – or at least his sometimes goofy behavior.
He just wants to let all the new players acquired in the last two weeks know that they’re part of the family now. And talking and playing around with them in practice is just his way of getting to know them.
“Basketball is basketball,” Davis began. “I play the Celtics way. They’ve got to adjust to the Celtics way. I don’t have any worries or anything like that but just getting the feel for each player. I’m going to have to do that. That’s why I try to interact with everybody, see who they are as people and hope that when I get back on the court have that translate into basketball terminology on the court.”
As for that problematic left knee, Davis said the patellar tendinitis is getting better and better but he’s still limited.
“Just watching a lot of film, trying to drop some lbs before the playoffs start so I can be out there jumping like a jack rabbit,” Davis quipped.
While he can watch film and shadow box with Paul Pierce – as he did after practice Tuesday, what is he not allowed to do while he’s waiting to get cleared for practice?
“Just a lot of up and down, a lot of jumping, things like that,” Davis said. “I’m not doing any jumping or any shooting or anything like that. I’ll try to do that in the next couple of days.
“I’m going to practice soon, I don’t know when but soon, whenever they let me.”
Davis was then asked the classic, ‘Would this injury keep you out of the playoffs?’ question.
“Oh, no way,” he answered without hesitation. “It’s the playoffs. I could play with that. It’s only for a couple of weeks, right? I’ve been playing with this for the whole season so far, half the year. A couple of weeks isn’t going to hurt. As long as I don’t get to the point where I can’t walk, perform or play.”
WALTHAM — After sounding hopeful on Saturday that Delonte West would return Wednesday against the Clippers, Doc Rivers ruled that possiblity out following practice on Tuesday. West has missed the last four games with a sprained right ankle and was limited to working out on an exercise bicycle Tuesday while the team held an open practice.
“He’s not going to play [Wednesday],” “I think he’s doubtful for Friday, as well. We’re hoping Sunday.”
Meanwhile, Von Wafer is also battling leg issues and Rivers said his back-up guard, injured against Golden State last Friday, is out indefinitely. “Von is going to miss a while. He’s nowhere close to coming back,” Rivers said.
There was some good news as Rivers sounded much more hopeful with regard to Glen Davis, who is battling left knee soreness. The power forward has missed the last two games with patellar tendinitis.
“Baby said he felt great today but we’re going to hold him out for the next two games, for sure,” Rivers said.
The Celtics play the Clippers at TD Garden Wednesday night before traveling to Philadelphia for a Friday night game with the 76ers. They host Milwaukee on Sunday night.
Also, Carlos Arroyo participated in his first practice Tuesday with the Celtics after being signed to a veteran minimum pro-rated contract for the remainder of the season over the weekend. Arroyo is expected to be available on Wednesday night when the Celtics play the Clippers.
‘He played against us in two playoff series. He should know some of our stuff. That’s the way we look at it. But he’s a point guard, been a point guard all his life. So I think some of the stuff, he’ll pick up pretty quickly. All the nuances of things, that’ll just take time,’ Rivers said.
|Welcome to town, Carlos Arroyo||at 12:41 pm ET|
After celebrating his 39th birthday on Sunday, Shaquille O’Neal, meanwhile, was not at practice and has not been cleared yet from a strained right Achilles.