|Forest for the trees||04.03.09 at 12:54 pm ET|
The standings, like every other statistical number in sports, don’t lie.
And the standings are telling the Celtics that second seed in the East, and guaranteed home court advantage in the second round, are there for the taking in the final six games of the season.
Heading into tonight’s game with Atlanta, the Celtics lead the Magic by a game for second place in the East. Both teams have 19 losses with Boston ahead by two wins, 57-55. So Orlando has two games in hand on Boston but the Celtics have fate in their own hands for the time being.
“It’s human nature and obviously, we want it,” Rivers said at Friday morning’s shootaround. “Don’t get me wrong, I really would like to get the second seed but I don’t worry about it a lot but the bottom line is you’ve just got to play and you’ve got to control your own destiny and whatever happens, happens.”
In other words, don’t expect to see Pierce and Allen playing 45 minutes, or even 40 for that matter, just to get the number one seed.
“We just try to go out there and play the game how it’s supposed to be played,” Davis said. “We can’t worry about what the other teams are doing. We’ve just got to go out there and make sure we do what we need to do to go where we need to go. No matter where we are in the playoffs, we feel like we can compete with anybody and that’s just the way we feel.”
“First is probably out of reach even though Cleveland lost yesterday, we’re still 4 1/2 games out with eight to play,” Rondo added. “We’re not looking ahead to who we’re going to play in the first round but definitely, if we make it to the second round, we want to have home court advantage.”
|Time for TA||at 11:38 am ET|
“Kevin is going to play tonight and that’s April Fools a couple of days late,” Rivers said before quickly qualifying as a joke.
While Garnett is still out, Tony Allen could see his first action since spraining his left thumb in early February. Allen made it to the scorer’s table in the fourth quarter but never entered the game on Wednesday against Charlotte.
“We are going to try and ease Tony in,” Rivers said, indicating that tonight would likely be a chance for Allen to return to action. “It was game situation and Eddie (House) had it going. They stayed small, which is unusual for them. They usually go big and they stayed small. They had (D.J.) Augustine and (Raymond) Felton in a lot together and that allowed us to keep Eddie on the floor, and that was good for us because the way he was shooting we wanted to keep him on the floor.”
“Think about it, we went two overtimes and Paul and Ray still only played 47 and 48 minutes, and that’s with an extra 10 minutes added to it,” Rivers said. “Thank goodness we got them that rest because I don’t know if the overtimes would have worked out.”
|Preview: Boston Celtics vs. Atlanta Hawks||at 9:47 am ET|
Season Series: Celtics 3-0
Last time they met: March 27, 2009
The Celtics survived a fourth quarter push from the Hawks to hold on to a 99-93 win in Atlanta. Glen Davis stepped in for Kevin Garnett, adding 19 points and 12 rebounds. Ray Allen led the Celtics with 22 points. Joe Johnson and Josh Smith also scored 22 points apiece for the Hawks. The Celtics also dished out 22 assists to the Hawks’ 14.
Hawks Team Leaders
Scoring: Joe Johnson (21.4 points)
Rebounding: Al Horford (9.2 rebounds)
Assists: Joe Johnson (5.9 assists)
Follow the latest news and updates from the Garden on Green Street.
|Watch out for the Wiz?||04.02.09 at 10:55 pm ET|
Suddenly the criticism that the Boston Celtics needed double-overtime to put away the Charlotte Bobcats doesn’t seem so bad. With Gilbert Arenas back on the court, the Washington Wizards beat the Cleveland Cavaliers, 109-101, on Thursday night. They snapped the Cavs winning streak at 13 games. The Celtics may have had trouble with the 34-win Bobcats, but this was only the Wizards’ 18th victory of the season. Do the Wizards have the potential to play the role of spoiler again? The Celtics will find out when they come to Boston for the last game of the regular season on April 15.
|NBA goes green||at 9:47 pm ET|
The NBA has kicked off its inaugural Green Week, which will run April 2-10. In partnership with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the NBA aims to raise awareness and funding for the environment.
Green Week initiatives feature hands-on community services programs, auctions to benefit environmental preservation organizations, and PSAs featuring actor/environmentalist Robert Redford. Each team will participate in their own programs, including tree planting, recycling drives, and clean-up days. They will also promote Go Green Awareness Nights in their arenas.
As part of NBA Green Week, the league will also encourage the use of environmentally-friendly materials. adidas will provide 100 percent organic cotton shooting shirts for each player featuring the NBA Green logo. The Charlotte Bobcats, Chicago Bulls, and Denver Nuggets will wear 45 percent organic cotton green-colored uniforms and socks. NBA.com will also auction off autographed Spaulding basketballs made from 40 percent recycled materials, with all proceeds going toward the the NRDC.
For more information visit www.nba.com/green.
|Allen continues to burn Bobcats||at 9:44 am ET|
Stopping Dell Curry was never easy for Ray Allen. Dale Ellis and Ricky Pierce were tough match ups too. They were dangerous players, the type who, if let open, always knew how to sting Allen and his teammates.
After Wednesday night’s double-overtime thriller, consider Allen the Charlotte Bobcats‘ version of Dell Curry.
His three-pointer with seconds left iced another dramatic victory for the Celtics over the Bobcats. (Click here for a recap of the Celtics 2OT 111-109 win.)
‘He’s a pure shooter,’ said Bobcats guard Raymond Felton. ‘He got a good look, he knocked down the shot. It’s not like those were easy shots. Those were contested shots.’
This wasn’t the first time Allen has burned the Bobcats. In November of 2007, he drained a game-winning three after Eddie House picked off Jason Richardson‘s inbound attempt with less than five seconds to go. The Celtics won 96-95. The image of Allen being carried away by his teammates in celebration is still a Garden favorite.
But Allen says credit goes to the Bobcats, too. He wouldn’t be in the situation to hit last-second shots if they didn’t test the Celtics. Last season the Bobcats stunned them at home and snapped their attempt to become the fastest team to reach 30 wins. This season they beat the Celtics in overtime.
‘It’s not anything that I’m doing. Really it’s the team plays us so tough,’ Allen said. ‘They always have a great match up against us, and in the fourth quarter it’s just an opportunity for us to win games. Every day we drill fourth situations, so whether I get the shot, Paul (Pierce) gets the shot, Eddie (House) has a shot, we all kind of know.’
While it is easy for Allen to get overshadowed by Pierce and Kevin Garnett, the Bobcats have learned the hard way cannot be forgotten. He was left wide open to hit the game-winner when they tried to triple-team Pierce.
‘You can’t exclude him out because he’s a guy who could come in and give you 40, 30 points any time,” said Felton, adding, ‘He’s a big time player, big time scorer, he hits some big shots.’
|Take your pic: Marbury or the trophy||04.01.09 at 8:38 pm ET|
Fans who sign up for a Boston Celtics license plate have an opportunity to snag a photo with Stephon Marbury or the Larry O’Brien trophy. Marbury will be at the South Shore Plaza on Saturday, April 4 from 1:00pm – 3:00pm. License plates cost $40 and benefit the Children’s Hospital Boston. They will be distributed once 1,500 are ordered. Those who sign up will also receive a Kevin Garnett T-shirt. For more information, visit www.celtics.com.