|Bulls mystique gone for Celtics?||04.23.09 at 12:40 am ET|
The Boston Celtics pride themselves on having one of the best home crowds in the league. Each game thousands of fans make sure the opposing team takes notice of the 17 banners hanging in the rafters, while memories of Bird, Parish, and McHale are never far from their minds.
But when the Celtics travel to Chicago for Games 3 and 4 of the playoffs against the Bulls, they will be met by a United Center crowd who wants them to acknowledge their own collection of banners. It has been just over ten years since Michael Jordan led the Bulls to six NBA Championships in eight seasons, and their fans are eager to see a first round upset.
So what do the Celtics expect from the Bulls crowd?
‘It’s really hard to answer that question because I know there was a Jordan era in Chicago and then there’s a post-Jordan era. Those are two different eras,’ said Ray Allen. ‘Playing when he played, it was one atmosphere that was uncomparable. Now people are supportive and there’s a lot of basketball fans in that city, but the mystique when he was there was totally different.’
Like Allen, Stephon Marbury played against Jordan early in his career. While he agrees that Bulls fans still show their support, there is no replacing Jordan’s presence.
‘They have a really good system as far as how they get the crowd into the game. I think after Michael Jordan, they stayed consistent with exactly what they do. So it’s going to be a nice atmosphere,’ Marbury said. ‘They try to continue with that same mystique. But he’s not there.’
Journeyman Mikki Moore has experienced eight different home crowds. Even so, he still ranks the Bulls crowd (one of the few teams he never played for) as one of the best.
‘It’s a pretty good crowd,’ he said. ‘It’s a lot like here (in Boston). It’s one of the top ten arena crowds because of the traditional Bulls. From Scottie (Pippen) and Jordan, it’s a basketball city so they’re going to come out and support their team regardless.’
For those who played against the Bulls during their dynasty, the memories will still linger in the building. However the younger members of the Celtics cannot relate as their veteran teammates do.
‘It’s alright. It’s no different than any other NBA team,’ said Kendrick Perkins. ‘You don’t [notice a mystique]. You really don’t. I’ve never played there in a playoff game but when we go there in the regular season, most people are all about the Celtics.’
The Celtics and Bulls will face off in Chicago on Thursday at 8pm EST for Game 3 and Sunday at 1pm EST for Game 4.
|Official Powe Statement||04.21.09 at 3:41 pm ET|
“The Boston Celtics announced today that forward Leon Powe suffered an ACL tear and a meniscus tear in his left knee during Game 2 against the Chicago Bulls in the First Round of the 2009 NBA Playoffs. Powe will miss the remainder of the playoffs. A surgery date will be determined at a later date. This injury is unrelated to the right knee injury that he suffered on March 17. Powe is expected to make a full recovery from his surgery.”
|Powe leaves the game||04.20.09 at 7:47 pm ET|
Leon Powe walked back toward the locker room with 10:13 left in the second quarter. Powe, who has been wearing a heavy-duty brace after spraining his right knee in March against the Bulls, has not been moving that well tonight. In seven minutes he posted two points, one rebound, and was called for one foul.
Update: Powe suffered a minor left knee sprain. He is expected to return.
|Garnett back on the bench||at 7:12 pm ET|
Kevin Garnett is back on the bench for Game 2 of the Celtics-Bulls series. Even though the Celtics have six points on the board two minutes into the game, Garnett and the rest of the Cs are still standing on the sideline. Garnett did not return to the bench for the second half of Game 1.
|They call him ‘Big Cuddly’||at 12:14 am ET|
Music can be used to get players in ‘the zone.’ Rasheed Wallace blares hip hop music through the Detroit Pistons locker room. Tony Allen shows off his rap skills before every Celtics game. And then there’s Glen Davis.
On any given night, Big Baby can be seen sauntering down the halls of the TD BankNorth Garden singing Jason Mraz or offering his own rendition of Celine Dion in the Celtics locker room. Davis has an explanation for his unexpected song choice.
‘I’m an emotional player and when I’m mad or I’m thinking mad, I’m not thinking at all,’ Davis said. ‘But when I’m smooth and I understand what’s going on, the rhythm of the game, I’m having fun, that’s the way I am.’
Davis’ postseason playlist keeps him ‘smooth’ in high pressure situations. He lists ‘Bubbly‘ by Colbie Caillat along with ‘Beat It’ and ‘Billy Jean’ by Michael Jackson as his playoff favorites.
So what do his teammates say when he blurts out the latest pop hits?
‘Nothing, they already know,’ he said. ‘They call me ‘Big Cuddly’ because I look like a big cuddly bear.’
|More minutes for Marbury?||04.19.09 at 3:23 pm ET|
Marbury was scoreless after attempting just two shots. It wasn’t that he couldn’t get open, either. Marbury has been playing selflessly since joining the Celtics, often passing up his own looks.
“Steph’s going to be fine. He should have been more aggressive but I should have played him more,” Rivers said after practice on Sunday. “I don’t think I played Steph enough last night to get him going. I thought in the first half the second unit actually had a nice little rhythm going, and in the second half I didn’t play him as much.”
Marbury has a postseason career average of 18.4 points, 6.5 assists, and 3.7 rebounds in 41.1 minutes. Prior to this series, he played his last playoff game in 2004 with the New York Knicks.
Related Story: The Wait Ends for Marbury This Weekend
|Doc: Celtics have to get Ray open||at 3:00 pm ET|
The day after losing Game One in overtime to Chicago, the Celtics honed in on their mistakes with a lengthy film session. They focused on sticking with their game plan, taking away the Bulls transition game, and making the second pass. And after Ray Allen went 1-for-12 on Saturday, they focused on getting him the open shot.
“We’ve got to do a better job of getting Ray open. We didn’t set enough picks for Ray,” said Doc Rivers. “So we’ve got to get him open, give him more time. I think he had two good looks, one was late in the game, but even that, the pass was late. I told them that shooters have to have the ball in their rhythm and they have to have time. And I thought when our shooters were open, we didn’t get them the ball in time and we threw them off rhythm. And then a lot of times they were not open because we didn’t set good picks.”
Rives stressed the importance of playing as a team, not being “the guy.” On Saturday, the Celtics dished 16 assists, nearly seven less than their season average.
“The way our team is built, especially now with KG out, we need to get out and break a little bit more, get Paul and Ray easy shots, get them to the free throw line, so that way their jumpshots will flow easier,” said Rajon Rondo.
Sunday’s practice wrapped with a three-pointer … by Ray Allen.
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