|Sounds of the game… Celtics 118, Nets 86||01.15.09 at 10:37 am ET|
When the Celtics were in the midst of a slump that had them losing seven of nine, captain Paul Pierce said they needed to get their swagger back, especially on defense.
Well they can thank the Toronto Raptors and New Jersey Nets for helping them to regain some of the confidence that was on display when they opened the season 27-2.
Pierce hit all five of his three-pointers in the third quarter as the Celtics romped to their thrid straight win. This looked more like the romps that were common place in the first two months of the season. The defense forced 20 turnovers and even without Kendrick Perkins, the Green dominated the glass. And on the offensive side, Rajon Rondo, when he wasn’t throwing in half-hooks, dished out 12 assists helping the Celtics ease to their 32nd win, by 32 points.
Next up for the Celtics, after a day off on Thursday and practice on Friday, a rematch with the Nets in New Jersey on Saturday afternoon.
|Giddens learns to wait||01.14.09 at 11:13 pm ET|
Just mention the possibility of playing and J.R. Giddens gets weak in the knees. The Boston Celtics rookie is trying to be patient, but it isn’t always easy when his dream is dangling right in front of him. Giddens can see the big picture, though, and knows waiting is part of his game for now.
“As a competitor, it’s always going to be hard because you want to play,” Giddens said before Wednesday’s game against the New Jersey Nets. “But as a realist, all I can do is just be slightly frustrated and just keep working.”
Patience is one of the most important things Giddens has focused on over the past three months with the NBDL’s Utah Flash. Being energetic is part of his personality. Now the challenge is controlling it on the court.
“I was just talking to someone about that last night, about one of the hardest things of being on that court when you’re playing at that level is trying to calm yourself down,” he said. “You’re so amped and you see veterans out there that are so calm, composed, and relaxed. But when you’re out there and you’re so excited and you feel like you’re going a million miles an hour. You’ve got to calm your motor down a little bit. I think going down to the D-League and getting the chance to get some games under my belt, I was able to get a more relaxed feeling out there on the court, just kind of maturing my game a little bit.”
Celtics rookie Bill Walker played with Giddens in Utah and saw changes in his demeanor.
“I think he’s slowed down a lot,” Walker said. “He’s an extremely quick player, but he used to have a hop in his step before he would take off. But now he’s slowed down and he is taking advantage of every possession he gets.”
Being more focused has allowed Giddens to zone in on what he calls his deficiencies. He hit the free throw line to improve his shot, shifted his attention from offense to defense, and strived to become “a more balanced team player.” Knowing how to take two steps back has helped in his shift from the leader boards in Utah to the bench in Boston.
“I feel like when you’re down there and you’ve got to do everything and then you come up here, I should be able to be more effective in my minutes,” he said. “Less energy offensively, being more active defensively, so I just apply my work ethic around whatever role I’m needed to perform, which is probably going to be defender, rebounder, and just help on defense. Hopefully it’ll make my transition easier to the NBA instead of having a lot thrown on me. I get to come in, get a feel for it, get to see and be around great players, and just try to add that to my game.”
Celtics head coach Doc Rivers does not put players on the court until they have earned their minutes in practice, so it may be awhile before Giddens is on the parquet. It’s tempting to be so close, but ultimately he knows it is the best decision. He is still nursing a sprained wrist which he injured twice back in the D-League.
“If somebody needed me to play right now I’d be able to play,” he said. “But I think probably a little rest wouldn’t hurt.”
The competitor in Giddens wants to play. The realist knows he will when the time is right.
“Time is going to come,” he said. “Just in the meantime, do everything I can to make myself better.”
|Celtics-Nets Game Blog: Second Quarter||at 8:14 pm ET|
FIRST HALF NUMBERS: Celtics lead 51-41 at halftime thanks to 52.6% shooting from the field. KG leads all players with 14 points (6/8 FG) and Ray Allen has 10. The Celtics have also attempted 12 treys (4/12 3PG) compared to the Nets four (1/4). They slowed down Devin Harris in the second quarter (5 points) and limited his passing to just two assists.
Second Quarter Notes
- The second quarter gets underway with Ray Allen … Paul Pierce … Big Baby smiling from ear-to-ear after draining a three from way past the arc. That was Davis’ first trey of his NBA career.
- Pierce is in with the second unit (Davis/Powe/House/Pruitt). Vince Carter, who threw himself on to the Nets bench earlier in the game, is on the court. He’s a little hobbled but still aggressive at the hoop.
- Kudos to Big Baby for his effort on the boards. He may not be grabbing every missed shot but he is in the mix each time the ball goes up.
- Back by popular demand (allegedly), Celtics Slow Dance 3. It’s another slo-mo video montage of memorable dance moves from the Garden set to LoneStar’s “Amazed.” I’ll give the prize to my personal favorite, Soulja Boy Junior.
- Brook Lopez is back in with Davis and Powe as the Celtics big men. Doc Rivers, who has been watching Lopez since high school, said the key to guarding him is keeping him off the glass rather than trying to get your own rebounds.
- No look pass from KG to Big Baby for a three-point play. I hope the fans sitting courtside were looking when Davis jumped into them chasing a loose ball. Davis has four fouls in 12 minutes, not including barrelling over spectators.
- Who said Rondo didn’t have a jumper? He drained a 20-footer as the shot clock expired. If only he could do that every night …
- KG ended the second quarter with huge “think about this at halftime” dunk.
- At the half … Celtics 51, Nets 41
|Rhythm key for Perkins||at 7:27 pm ET|
Before Wednesday night’s game against the New Jersey Nets, Kendrick Perkins broke a sweat working on his post moves. He banked shots over Patrick O’Bryant and then sprinted down the court at the orders of Sam Cassell. This would seem like just another night, except Perkins is injured. That isn’t stopping the big man, though, from keeping his rhythm.
“I’m just trying to stay on top of my conditioning,” Perkins said prior to the game. “I don’t want to lose my rhythm so I’m working on my post moves, doing a lot of shots, I did some jump roping, and a lot of court running, and stuff like that. I don’t want to be too far off.”
Perkins will miss at least a week with a reoccurring shoulder injury. It has plagued him since a Christmas Day game against the Los Angeles Lakers, according to Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, and is the explanation behind his recent inconsistency on the glass. As a precaution, Perkins is avoiding physical contact. Other than that, he’s following the same routine.
“I just [can't] play basketball, contact, that’s it,” he said. “I hit the weights earlier today so it’s getting better by the day … You’ve got to scale back but it never really fell off. I’m pretty much on the same page, I’m just doing different type of exercises now to work different parts of the muscle, so that’s really what I’m concentrating on.”
Perkins hopes to play next Monday against the Phoenix Suns, but said he is not going to rush his return. As for Brian Scalabrine, who has been filling in for Perkins, his return against Shaquille O’Neal would be perfect timing.
“Wow,” said a wide-eyed Scalabrine, unaware of the upcoming match up. “I’d like the opportunity to start but Perk is the guy who should be on the Diesel.”
|Rondo: Feels good to win||at 8:34 am ET|
In the latest edition of his Yardbarker.com blog, Rajon Rondo said he is happy to be back on the winning side of things. Back-to-back victories over the Toronto Raptors have the Boston Celtics point guard feeling good again.
I’m glad to say that we have won the last two games (knock on wood). I don’t want to jinx anything, but these past two wins have felt great. It is extremely tough to beat the same team back to back, but I’m glad that we did. Our defense was better and we were able to make shots-two things that we needed. We have another game tomorrow. Hopefully, we will be able to get the W.
Rondo averaged 11.5 points, 9.5 assists, and 5.5 rebounds in the last two wins. He will be tested tonight against the New Jersey Nets standout PG Devin Harris.
|Sounds of the game… Celtics 115, Raptors 109 OT||01.13.09 at 6:42 am ET|
Maybe Kevin Garnett is right. Maybe the Celtics should play the theme from Superman every time Paul Pierce steps on the court. On a bum right knee, or at least very ‘ginger’ as Pierce himself said, the Celtics captain made 13 of his 26 shots and totaled a season-high 39 points to lead the Celtics to a 115-109 overtime win against the Toronto Raptors Monday night at TD Banknorth Garden. With the Celtics already missing starting center Kendrick Perkins with a bad left shoulder and Tony Allen in a protective boot with a sprained right ankle, Pierce picked it up a notch for the entire game, even when Andrea Bargnani hit a three with one second remaining. Pierce did have a supporting cast, as Kevin Garnett scored 20, Ray Allen 12 and Brian Scalabrine, playing for Perkins, chipped in with 11, including three three-pointers.
|What If: Tony Allen||01.10.09 at 1:56 pm ET|
On January 10, 2007 Tony Allen blew out his left knee in a post-whistle slam dunk. Two years later, he still isn’t the same player.
At the time of his injury Allen was one of the few bright spots on a dismal Boston Celtics team. He had stepped up in the absence of Paul Pierce and was doing his best to lead his team with explosiveness and defensive hustle. He was also averaging a career high 11.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, and shooting 51.4% from the field. In an instant, it was gone.
Reminders of Allen’s injury have come to mind with the recent struggles of the Celtics bench. He has missed the last three games with an ankle strain and has been inconsistent when healthy. Allen, who turns 27 on Sunday, has learned to accept his role as a defensive specialist. At times there are flashes of the old TA, slashing to the basket, getting up for a dunk, or attacking the hoop for a rebound. But those highlights have been few and far between.
On the date of his injury it’s easy to wonder, what if Tony Allen never went up for that dunk?
If Allen had continued his breakout season, he most likely would have been packaged in the Ray Allen trade instead of Delonte West. If not, the Minnesota Timberwolves probably would have pushed for him in the Kevin Garnett deal. Allen was playing too well to stay on a team desperate to make moves.
There would be no need to wonder what if. Chances are Tony Allen wouldn’t be on the Celtics.