|Finley settled in for the playoffs||04.28.10 at 11:56 pm ET|
Michael Finley had played in over 110 playoff games when he signed with the Celtics in March. Now he is putting his championship-winning experience to good use, both on the court and in the locker room.
“My role since I’ve been here really hasn’t changed. I can just be a little bit more vocal now that I’ve been here for a while,” Finley explained. “I just didn’t want to come here right away and be the loud mouth of the locker room. But now the guys feel a little more comfortable with me. I’m able to pull guys to the side, tell them different situations, especially in these playoff series that are important, not only to them, but to our team. And they’re listening and they’re being receptive, and that’s been good.”
The 37-year-old is happy to share the veteran wisdom he has accumulated over the last 15 years, and the C’s are just as happy to receive it.
“Mike is big,” said Ray Allen. “Most people don’t realize the things that he’s saying, just his advice, just some of the things that he says coming out of timeouts, coming to the bench. You can always tell he wants to win. Even though he came here later on in the season, he’s invested now in what we’re doing. So he’s always making sure, ‘Look for this, this is what’s going to go down,’ or, ‘Ray, you need to do this,’ or ‘Paul you need to make sure …’ So that’s great coming from the bench and you know that he’s fielding us more information so when we go out there, we’re prepared.”
On the court, Finley is fulfilling his role as a reserve who can come in and make timely plays. Even though he averaged less than three points per game in the first round, he shot an efficient 40 percent from both the field and 3-point range.
On the defensive end, he has picked off three steals in 44 minutes (Paul Pierce has three steals in 193 minutes), and is the only Celtic besides Marquis Daniels (who has played just six minutes) who has not committed a single turnover in the postseason.
Finley stays level-headed, regardless of the scoreboard. He has played in enough postseason games to understand how quickly momentum can change. His proven wisdom will be beneficial as the Celtics shift from eliminating the Heat in the first round to battling the Cavaliers in the second.
“It’s a playoffs series, and what I’ve learned over the years is, every game is different, every series is different,” Finley said. “Once you win one, the next one is even tougher. You’ve just got to stay humble in victory and don’t get too high with the highs and too lows with the lows. Just try to keep an even keel, especially emotionally.”
|Richardson: ‘Paul’s a great NBA player’||04.27.10 at 11:10 pm ET|
Just a week ago, Quentin Richardson made his feelings toward Paul Pierce very clear.
“I don’t like them and they know it,” he said of Pierce and Kevin Garnett following their Game 1 altercation.
But on Tuesday, Richardson shared a different opinion after the Heat’s elimination in Game 5.
“Paul’s a great NBA player,” he told WEEI.com. “That’s the only opinion that really matters, his NBA game. He’s a good NBA player.”
Even though Richardson referred to Pierce as “an actress” in Game 1, he said he never knocked his talent. That’s something that, in spite of their differences on the court, Richardson cannot deny.
“I’ve always respected his game, never not,” he said. “I mean, he’s an All-Star, he’s a Finals MVP, he has his accolades, and he well deserves them. I take my hat off to him as a basketball player. Nothing will change that.”
|Fast Break: Celtics – Heat||04.23.10 at 10:03 pm ET|
There was nothing Dwyane Wade could do to stop it. Just seconds earlier, he had to be helped off the court after falling to the ground grabbing his knee following a 3-point attempt. As he sat on the sidelines, Paul Pierce ran the clock down, patiently waiting, and struck just as time expired. Pierce drained the game-winning buzzer-beater to give the Celtics a 100-98 victory and a commanding 3-0 series lead.
First Quarter: Wade scored 15 points (6-9 FG, 3-3 FT) in the first quarter alone to give the Heat a 29-27 lead over the Celtics. Although the C’s trailed, they fought a more balanced attack. Paul Pierce led the team with 9 points, Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen had six apiece, and Kevin Garnett scored four. Defensively, Tony Allen, who contained Wade so well in Game 1, played just one minute during Wade’s performance in the first. The C’s were also outrebounded, 12-9.
Second Quarter: The first quarter was all Wade. In the second, he finally got some help. The Celtics jumped out on a 10-0 run over three minutes with Rondo leading the surge (he finished the half with a team-high 13 points). But Quentin Richardson stopped the damage with a 3-pointer and the Heat began their comeback. The Celtics were then outscored 15-7 and trailed, 49-48, at halftime. Wade went scoreless in seven minutes in the second, but the Heat’s bench outscored the Celtics reserves 23-6 in the first half to give them the edge.
Third Quarter: The Heat had the edge in the first two quarters, but the Celtics claimed the third. The C’s outscored the Heat, 32-23, to take a 80-72 lead going into the fourth. The Celtics went on an 11-2 run in the final 1:39, which was capped off with 3-pointer from Pierce with 1.7 seconds to go. The Celtics turnaround has been a team effort — Allen (22 points), Pierce (21 points), Rondo (15 points), Garnett (12 points). Wade scored 13 in the quarter to lead all players with 28 points.
Fourth Quarter: The Celtics looked to put the game away as they got up by nine points. But it was Michael Beasley – not Wade – who dominated the fourth and got the Heat thisclose to a win. Beasley, who has struggled throughout the series, scored eight points in the fourth after scoring just eight in the first three quarters. The Heat went on a 16-6 run to reclaim the lead and the victory remained up for grabs until the very last second, literally.
Player of the Game: Pierce exemplified the meaning of a team captain and put the Celtics on his shoulders to hit the game-winning shot as time expired. He led the C’s with 32 points (11-23 FG, 4-10 3PG, 6-8 FT).
Turning Point: In what could be the turning point of the series, Wade injured his knee on a 3-point attempt. He fell to the ground and had to be helped off the court with 13 seconds left. There is no saying whether or not his presence on the court could have prevented Pierce from nailing the game-winner, but the potential of his injury has a major impact on Game 4 as the Heat face elimination on Sunday.
Up Next: The Celtics will fight to sweep the series on Sunday at 1pm in Game 4.
|Richardson won’t focus on crowd reaction||04.20.10 at 7:57 pm ET|
Quentin Richardson isn’t fooling himself — he doesn’t expect a warm response from the Garden crowd.
Prior to Game 2 between the Celtics and Heat, Richardson admitted he anticipates a backlash from the Celtics fans for his involvement in Saturday’s altercation with Kevin Garnett, which resulted in Garnett’s suspension.
“Probably so,” he said, adding, “No for me, I’m going out and playing basketball, playing to help my team win. Everything else will be outside the lines. When I’m inside the lines playing basketball, that’ll be what I’m focused on.”
The Heat will be focused on a new-look Celtics without Garnett in the lineup. Even though Garnett’s absence leaves a void on the Celtics, the replacement of Glen Davis has its benefits.
“It obviously changes a lot but with them probably going with Big Baby in the starting lineup, you get a younger, healthier guy,” Richardson said. “So I don’t know. It definitely changes because [Garnett's] a huge part of their team, he’s an emotional leader, and at the same time he’s still Kevin Garnett. It obviously changes but they have a couple capable guys filling in in Rasheed (Wallace) and Davis.”
Regardless of whether Garnett or Davis are on the court for the Celtics, the Heat’s objective does not change. They look to accomplish their original goal of taking at least one game in Boston before heading home for Games 3 and 4.
“It’s just important for us to win tonight just to even up the series,” he said. “We want to go back to Miami 1-1 feeling good about ourselves and knowing that we’ve got two games on our home floor coming up.”
|Celtics land 19th pick in draft||04.16.10 at 6:54 pm ET|
While it’s uncertain what will happen over the next few weeks in the playoffs, there is some certainty with the Celtics in June:
They will have the 19th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.
On Friday at the Board of Governors meeting in New York City, NBA executive vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson conducted random drawings to determine the draft order among teams with identical regular-season records.
The Celtics (50-32) won a four-way tiebreaker with the Spurs, Thunder and Trail Blazers to land the 19th spot. The order is reversed in the second round, so the Celtics will have the 52nd pick.
There were a total of six tiebreakers conducted. Picks 1-14 will not be determined until the NBA Draft Lottery on May 18.
See the picks that have been determined so far:
|A look back: Celtics vs. Heat||04.15.10 at 11:15 pm ET|
The Celtics and Heat will square off in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference playoffs on Saturday. The teams faced each other three times this season, with the Celtics sweeping the regular-season series. See how the Celtics got a 3-0 edge over the Heat heading into the postseason:
CELTICS 92, HEAT 85
Nov. 29, 2009, at Miami
How the Celtics won: Led by 24 points (11-12 FG) from Kevin Garnett, the Celtics starters led a balanced attack in this win over the Heat. Rajon Rondo (13 points, 11 assists) and Kendrick Perkins (14 points, 13 rebounds) recorded double-doubles; Paul Pierce added 15 points; and Ray Allen scored 11, including a key 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter. The C’s shut the Heat down from behind the arc (2-for-15). Michael Beasley was the only player to knock down a trey.
Wade watch: Dwyane Wade scored a game-high 27 points. He attempted 23 field goals, the same number as Garnett and Pierce combined. The Heat were also a team-low -14 with Wade on the court.
Key stat: Assists — Celtics 21, Heat 12
After the game: Celtics 13-4, Heat 9-7
The Three-Pointer: Garnett enjoys a run of near perfection
|Unexpected Reunion for Davis and Lafayette||04.14.10 at 11:44 pm ET|
Glen Davis got a surprise when he arrived at TD Garden on Wednesday.
He entered the locker room and saw his childhood friend, Oliver Lafayette … in Celtics warmup gear?
“I walked in and I was like, ‘What’s up man?! Baton Rouge!’” Davis exclaimed.
Davis and Lafayette have known each other since elementary school and played AAU basketball together in Louisiana. Unbeknown to Davis, Lafayette had recently signed with the Celtics. The former D-League standout received the call just two days ago while he was driving to Baton Rogue.
“My agent called me and told me Danny Ainge had called him. When he called me, I almost ran off the road driving,” Lafayette said before suiting up for his first Celtics game. “I had to pull over for like an hour or two. I had to regroup myself. I called my mother and told her the good news.”
The 25-year-old guard came to the Celtics by way of Brown Mackie (Junior) College, the University of Houston, Erie BayHawks and Fort Wayne Mad Ants. He is thankful for his time in the NBA Development League, where he says the coaches gave him the green light to play ball.
“My coaches just taught me the game,” he said. “They put the ball in my hand and let me go to work, learn how to read the defense and stuff like that.”
This season Lafayette averaged 17.1 points, 6.5 assists, and 4.0 rebounds in 48 games for the Mad Ants, and ranked 10th in the league in steals. He was named NBDL Co-Performer of the Week after averaging 26.4 points, 8.0 assists, and 6.4 rebounds in his last seven games.
“He’s a scorer,” said Davis. “He’s a scoring point guard. He can play the point, he can play the one, play the two. He’s efficient with his jumpshot, playing defense, he’d be good for our team.”
The rookie made the most of his first opportunity with the Celtics in their 106-95 loss to the Bucks. He scored seven points (3-6 from the field, including 1-of-2 on threes), grabbed four rebounds, and dished two assists in 21 minutes. Davis believes it is time for Lafayette’s hard work to pay off.
“He’s a great guy, a wonderful player. I think he’s a great player, actually,” he said. “Oliver, I’ve always though of like a late-bloomer as far as his opportunities. He played high school at Capitol High School … he went to [junior college], every time it was a late-bloomer. He went to University of Houston, played great over there, and now he’s just finally really getting his opportunity.”
Lafayette’s goal is to play well enough to earn a contract with the Celtics next season. In the meantime, he is trying to digest a whirlwind 48 hours that has taken him from the roads of Louisiana to the Garden parquet.
“I can’t believe it myself right now,“ he said. “This is a great opportunity, great guys, great team, and great players I’ve been looking up to my whole life.”