|Delonte West plans to return Feb. 22||02.06.11 at 6:23 pm ET|
In the aftermath of the Celtics‘ 91-80 win over the Eastern Conference rival Magic on Sunday afternoon, Delonte West said he plans to return from his wrist injury on Feb. 22 against the Warriors in Oakland.
“Righ now, they think I’ll be back the first game after the All-Star break,” said West, adding that he will be returning to full-contact practice soon.
West hasn’t played since breaking his right wrist against the Nets on Nov. 24. The Celtics’ reserve guard played just five games after serving a 10-game suspension to open the season for a weapons charge . He averaged 6.8 points and 2.0 assists in 17.6 minutes in those games.
After recently getting his cast removed, West has participated in non-contact drills at practice in addition to shooting prior to games.
As for Sunday’s game action, West expressed concern for Marquis Daniels, who suffered a bruised spine and is expected to miss a month. West also said of Rajon Rondo, who scored a season-high 26 points: “In my opinion, Rondo is the best point guard in the NBA, but I guess you’ll have to leave that to the experts.”
|Fast Break: Celtics silence Magic||at 5:16 pm ET|
After an opening 15 minutes that was both scary and sloppy, the Celtics rallied to put away the Magic, 91-80, led by a season-high 26 points by Rajon Rondo. The C’s won the season series against their Eastern Conference rivals, 2-1.
Glen Davis and Marquis Daniels both hit the ground hard on separate first-half instances. Davis (head bruise) returned. Daniels (neck injury) did not. Meanwhile, the Celtics made only five field goals in the first 15 minutes and trailed by as much as nine points.
Rondo added seven assists, as the Celtics improved their East-leading record to 38-12. Ray Allen (11 points) made 2-of-4 3-pointers on the afternoon to bring himself within four of breaking Reggie Miller‘s all-time record. Howard recorded game-highs of 28 points and 13 rebounds in a losing effort for the Magic (32-20).
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Rallying around Marquis Daniels: Just as they did in a comeback win over the Nets when Delonte West broke his wrist, the Celtics rallied around an injured member of the team. Daniels left with the scary neck injury 59 seconds into the second quarter, when the C’s trailed 24-17. Over the next 19:37 — stretching late into the third quarter — the C’s outscored the Magic by 22 points.
Rondo playing aggressive: Led by a concerted effort by Rondo to get to the rim, the Celtics earned (a rare) 34 trips to the free-throw line. They even made 28 of them (82.4 percent). Entering the game shooting just 51.6 percent from the charity stripe, Rondo made seven of his nine free-throw attempts (Paul Pierce made 10-of-12). The Celtics point guard also converted seven layups around the hoop. Rondo’s effort throughout the game helped the C’s stay in a game when their outside shooting wasn’t as sharp as normal.
Defense: As they did against Kobe Bryant in their win over the Lakers, the Celtics appeared content allowing Howard to pile up buckets as long as Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson & Co. didn’t also heat up. The plan worked, thanks to the efforts of Pierce and Allen on the latter two Magicians.
The Celtics held the Magic to 43 first-half points. Howard scored 22 points on 9-of-14 (64.3 percent) shooting from the field entering the break, while the rest of the team was just 9-of-36 (25 percent). In all, Orlando shot 32-of-93 from the field (34.4 percent) and 3-of-24 from 3-point range (12.5 percent), despite Howard’s 10-of-20 shooting on the afternoon.
WHAT WENT WRONG
Marquis Daniels goes down: Colliding with Gilbert Arenas around the rim, Daniels fell to the floor and lay motionless on the parquet for what seemed like forever. As paramedics brought out a stretcher and strapped Daniels in, the Garden crowd stood deathly quiet. Daniels was conscious and talking as he was taken to New England Baptist Hospital. He reportedly later moved all extremities and will be Ok.
Glen Davis also hit the floor hard in the first quarter, taking a charge against Magic point guard Jameer Nelson of all people. Davis walked with team Dr. Brian McKeon. Shortly afterwards, the Celtics announced Davis suffered a “head bruise” and would return. He did, to start the second quarter.
Shooting: The Celtics made only four first-quarter field goals and did not hit a 3-point shot until Allen knocked down his third attempt with 4:09 left in the second quarter. In all, the C’s made just 14-of-33 shots (42.4 percent) in the first half.
Subtract Rondo and Garnett (a combined 8-of-14) from the equation in that opening 24 minutes, and the rest of the C’s were shooting just 31.6 percent entering the break. They rallied to shoot 16-of-30 in the second half for a 47.6 percent clip for the game.
Taking care of the ball: Whether it was the Sunday afternoon start or anticipation for the Super Bowl, the Celtics looked extremely sloppy to start the game, committing six first-quarter turnovers. That number declined to an average of three over the next three quarters.
|Marquis Daniels sent to hospital with neck injury||at 3:29 pm ET|
Celtics guard Marquis Daniels was sent to New England Baptist Hospital with a neck injury after he fell to the ground on a drive to the basket in the second quarter of Sunday’s game against the Magic at TD Garden.
Just 59 seconds into the second quarter, Daniels drove to his right on Gilbert Arenas, lost his balance and fell awkwardly to the floor. Daniels remained on the court for several minutes as Celtics medical staff tended to him and the Garden crowd fell silent. Teammates Rajon Rondo, Glen Davis and Kevin Garnett dropped to one knee at Daniels’ side.
Eventually, a stretcher was brought onto the court and Daniels gave a brief “thumbs up” before being wheeled off the parquet. The official play-by-play listed the delay at four minutes, 30 seconds.
The injury to Daniels was the second serious injury of the day as Davis was also on the court for several minutes after taking a charge earlier in the first half. Davis was taken to the locker room and treated for a bruise to his head before returning to the bench for the start of the second quarter.
Ironically, both Daniels and Davis were injured and suffered concussions in Game 5 of last year’s 2010 Eastern Conference finals against the Magic.
|Jason Kidd might just get another chance at a ring and C’s might get another chance at Mavs||02.05.11 at 10:53 am ET|
Ray Allen and the Celtics weren’t and neither was Kidd, who downplayed it afterward.
“It’s just two good teams playing and you just hope you can find a way to win on the road,” Kidd said. “If this were June, it’s a different story. But it’s only February.”
The Celtics saw history repeat itself as the Mavericks did to them on the road what they were able to do down in the heart of Texas on Nov. 8 – stop the C’s from running their offense down the stretch and execute theirs. The Mavericks won that game, 89-87.
The Celtics were up 87-82 with 1:58 left before the Mavericks ended the game on a 7-0 run.
“We were in the same position at home,” said Kidd. “We were down and we found a way to get some stops and made some big shots at home and that’s what guys were talking about on the bench, that look, we’re in the same position we were at home against the Celtics and we found a way to make some big shots down the stretch.”
None bigger, of course, than Kidd’s dagger with 2.5 seconds remaining. And now, Kidd and the Mavericks could be in the midst of another run at an elusive title. Kidd was with New Jersey when they lost in the 2002 and 2003 NBA finals to the Lakers and Spurs, respectively. The Mavericks were done in by Miami in the 2006 NBA finals.
Another reason is Dirk Nowitzki, who scored 14 of his game-high 29 points in the third quarter. The Celtics had a 95-89 lead with just over three minutes left before Dallas ended the game by scoring the last 10 points and holding Boston scoreless on its home court for the final 2:43.
Tyson Chandler could very well be a missing link that 2006 team didn’t have. He was huge inside for the Mavs, who improved to 34-15 on the season. The big man finished with 14 points and 15 rebounds as the Mavericks swept the season series.
“You’ve got so many players that have been through it on this team, and been in that moment that any time any of those guys can step up,” Chandler said. “Jet [Jason Terry] has hit game-winners, Dirk has hit game- winners, Jason Kidd has hit game-winners. We’ve got options to go to down the stretch.”
The Celtics know all about options and could easily be seeing the Mavs again come June. Then, Kidd can talk even more about big games.
|Ray Allen knows Jason Kidd isn’t bad from three, either||at 10:00 am ET|
There was a great deal of irony in the game-winning 3-point shot delivered by Jason Kidd with 2.5 seconds remaining, a shot that highlighted a stunning Mavericks’ comeback in a 101-97 win over the Celtics Friday night at TD Garden. The shot was made by the man ranked third on the all-time 3-point field goal list and it came with Ray Allen, No. 2 on that list, guarding him.
“Very underrated Jason Kidd is with shooting the three but he’s proven over his career he’s proven he can knock the 3-ball down,” Allen said. “The only way he has been able to stay around as long as he has was to develop a jump shot. It was in form today and beat us today.”
Kidd, who finished with a pair of threes, now has 1,742 in his career, a mere 813 shy of Allen on the all-time list.
Allen hit three treys and now has 2,555, just six shy of passing Reggie Miller for the all-time NBA record. And Allen admitted afterward that he’s actually enjoying the chase as it nears its end.
“Actually, I truly am enjoying it. This is a moment I’ve never experienced before. I don’t know how many people can experience this type of moment. We’re playing a team sport but there’s an individual element associated with me right now. As much as I’ve always been associated with team, it’s something that everybody keeps pointing at me that you’ve got to keep doing that.
“It’s always a testimony to the guys that can stay around a long time, 20,000 points, however many minutes, whatever it may be but longevity produces greatness at some point.”
But Celtics coach Doc Rivers was forced to talk about Kidd’s greatness after Friday night’s contest, that and his team’s inability to defend the three.
“That one stood out obviously but I thought we gave up way too many,” Rivers said. “I thought offensively we played well, we shot 50 percent. I just thought defensively we broke a lot of our defensive rules. I thought we played hard, but I thought we tried to cheat a lot defensively as a team, you know gambles, and they made us pay for every one of them.’
Dallas finished just under 50 percent from 3-point range, making 8-of-17 in recording their seventh straight win.
|Delonte West shows TD Garden crowd he’s getting closer||02.04.11 at 7:32 pm ET|
Delonte West keeps progressing in his attempt to return from a broken right wrist. One day after he went through a full shootaround and skeleton practice with the Celtics on Thursday at their practice facility, he warmed up on the TD Garden floor, showing everyone he can catch with his right hand and shoot with his left.
“He didn’t practice,” coach Doc Rivers said on Thursday. “He just did the shootaround and the shooting and that’s about it.”
But Rivers acknowledged it was significant that West could take part in catch-and-shooting drills without any protection whatsoever on his wrist, broken on Nov. 24 in home game vs. New Jersey.
“That’s nice. He did run through all of our skeleton stuff so obviously, the next step will be him going through a practice,” said Rivers before adding that there is still no specific timetable for West to return to game action. “I have no idea. No time soon I don’t think but I’m not sure.”
Meanwhile, with Shaquille O’Neal out Friday and likely Sunday vs. the Magic, Kendrick Perkins was thrust into the starting lineup on Friday against the Mavericks, a little sooner than the All-Star break timetable Rivers orginally expected.
|Kevin Garnett: ‘I never apologize for my actions’||at 4:34 pm ET|
The Cetics All-Star forward took us step-by-step through the last six games, starting with the road loss to the Wizards on Jan. 22 and finishing with the victory in Sacramento against the Kings.
That stretch, of course, covered the Celtics‘ loss to the Suns during which Garnett was ejected for an apparent low blow against Phoenix’s Channing Frye. However, in his blog, Garnett — who said he never apologizes for his actions — claims he was thrown out of the game for “talking too much.” Let him explain:
We “played a back-to-back in Phoenix. This game was physical as well and super ugly. I never apologize for my actions, as I play with passion. I actually got ejected for (the ref said) ‘talking too much.’ Can you believe that? It was unfortunate, and I hate to leave my team out there without being around to support them. Doc [Rivers] got ejected and then fined $15,000 for not leaving the court in a timely manner. A TIMELY MANNER. WOW. The game ended, and we got worked over. It could’ve been the back-to-back and travel, but they played well.”
As reported in The Arizona Republic, Suns coach Alvin Gentry recently said of Garnett in a weekly radio interview, “I lost a litte respect for him. I love his competitive nature but there is not a place for what he was doing in our game.” Based on his blog post, though, Garnett doesn’t seem to care.
Here are the rest of the highlights from Garnett’s most recent blog post:
On the Wizards: “The Wiz game was a bad game, and we started out strong but couldn’t make a shot. We settled for outside shots and stopped attacking. As bad as we played, we still got two looks to win the game, but we never made a shot.”
On the Cavaliers: “The Cavs game went quick, and I didn’t play as much, which was good.Eighteen minutes was all I logged. They are struggling, and we kept their losing streak going. It was also MY HOMIE’s FIRST GAME BACK! Big Perk [Kendrick Perkins] came in, and it was awesome to see him back. The crowd gave him a standing ovation! Well deserved. Perk works extremely hard, and it was great to play with him.”
On the Trail Blazers: “We boarded a plane and left for Portland. It took over 6 1/2 hours for us to get there. It’s in a different time zone, so we gained three hours. The game was real physical, and we were banging with the Blazers. It was a close INTENSE game, but we found a way to win. It was a sloppy game, but we did enough things to get the W.”
On the Lakers: “After the [Suns] game, we boarded the plane (1 a.m.) and by 2 a.m. the crew decided that we could not get to L.A. due to fog. We ended up busing back to the hotel and had to stay over. We had a 3 p.m. flight, so I got my lift in and we headed to L.A.
“When I go home to Cali, I get to get to my crib and relax! We had an early game on Sunday, so not much free time.
“The energy was hyped in L.A., and I thought we’d come out sluggish, but we came out early and applied force. Kobe [Bryant] and P2 [Paul Pierce] were going back and forth exchanging baskets. Pau Gasol came hard at us, but we were ready for him. He did hit me with a ‘bow,’ and I needed five stitches. It didn’t hold me out long and got me even more energized! The second unit really played well, and it helped us get the lead and get a great victory. We executed our offense really well (60 percent field-goal percentage) and locked down the defense for our victory. Another great win.”
On the Kings: “Sacramento fought all night, but we got it done. Ray [Allen] gave an emotional halftime speech and got us going. If Ray’s yelling, then something’s not right. He was right, we needed to play in control and not get caught up in the crap that Sacramento was trying to get us to do. We pulled it out and ended the road trip with a victory.”
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