|Sounds of the Game… Celtics 126, Bulls 108||12.20.08 at 10:32 am ET|
What makes a great team is when it can constantly find way to get better even when things are already going so well. Doc Rivers and staff worked with center Kendrick Perkins to work on setting better screens and picks, convincing him that this would lead to better seals under the basket and eventually more scoring opportunities for him. The result? Perk scored a career high 25 points on Friday night, second only to Ray Allen’s 27 as the C’s (yawn-yawn) dispatched of the Chicago Bulls 126-108 at TD Banknorth Garden. Now, the Celtics can match the team’s all-time winning streak mark of 18 on Sunday night against Quentin Richardson and the Knicks at home. If victorious against New York, the chance to break it comes on Tuesday against another arch-rival, the Philadelphia 76ers.
|73 or 34 in a row||12.19.08 at 7:42 pm ET|
Chicago, one of the most important bands of the 70s once wondered, 25 or 6 to 4. Sitting here at TD Banknorth Garden watching Chicago’s NBA entry offer precious little resistance to the Celtics, your intrepid reporter was inspired to re-work the question.
What is more likely, the Celtics winning 73 games in a season to break the 1997 Chicago Bulls all-time record or 34 straight wins to top the mark by the 1972 Los Angeles Lakers?
Would love to hear your comments and thoughts. Just Email Trags
This reporter is on record maintaining that as the Celtics are currently constituted, they will win 73 and set the new record. As for 34 straight, with a West Coast swing on the docket starting Christmas Day, that might be too much, even for these Celtics.
One other random question… With Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man, in attendance at the Garden taking in the game, who is in better shape, Bolt or Ray Allen? When the two shook hands just prior to the fourth quarter at the scorer’s table, it marked a meeting of two supremely conditioned athletes.
Then, following the game, Bolt entered the locker room for a personal chat with the team and coaching staff. There was this question posed… Who would win a race, Bolt or Rajon Rondo?
|Sounds of the Game… Celtics 100, Jazz 91||12.16.08 at 8:39 am ET|
The Green Machine rolled to their 15th straight win thanks to another All-Star-worthy performance from point guard Rajon Rondo. He poured in a career-high 25 points and was just a rebound and two assists shy of another triple-double. He also had the move of the night late in the fourth quarter when he drove to the basket, got turned around and threw threw the ball over his head. The ball banked off the glass and came down, sending the sellout crowd into a frenzy and sealing Boston’s 23rd win in 25 tries. The Celtics matched the NBA’s all-time best 25-game start. All three previous teams to start 23-2 have won the NBA championship. The last time the Celtics won 15 straight was during their franchise-record 18-game run in the 1981-82 season. Next up, the Atlanta Hawks on the road Wednesday night at Philips Arena.
|Phelps Makes a Splash with Celtics||12.15.08 at 9:42 pm ET|
There was a ruckus coming from the trainers room following the Boston Celtics 100-91 win over the Utah Jazz. They weren’t celebrating their win but rather their special guest, U.S. Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps.
“B-More!” Kevin Garnett screamed out of the trainers room.
Sam Cassell rushed in to see the fellow Baltimore native Phelps, who grew up north of Cassell in the suburb of Rodgers Forge. Cassell had met Phelps after his first Olympic run in 2000.
“It’s good, a guy from the suburbs accomplished so much,” Cassell said. “He’s cool, he’s cool. He’s from the suburbs but he does everything a city guy does.”
So who has to fend off more fans in Baltimore? The swimmer or the point guard?
“It depends on which neighborhood we’re in. In my neighborhood they’d attack me because they know who I am. They might not know who he is,” Cassell replied with a laugh.
The prolific swimmer was ushered into the Celtics locker room by an entourage of security and Jared Fogle, with whom he is promoting Subway.
|Hold the Fries for Pierce||12.14.08 at 9:33 pm ET|
“I got a rotisserie, so you can pretty much throw anything in that and just sit it and forget it,” Paul Pierce said with a laugh.
If only his weight loss program was that simple. This summer Pierce estimates he dropped between eight to ten pounds, a step he took to enhance the quality of his career. Pierce, 31, had seen plenty of players gain weight around the same age and he couldn’t afford to do the same. Not when there is a championship to defend.
“You always want to improve. I’m at the stage and the age where I’m not getting any younger and it’s going to be more difficult to keep off weight,” he said. “But it’s just making a conscious effort, especially as my career winds down for the last four or five years, to just be in the best shape possible.”
Pierce became his own personal chef and said goodbye to many of the foods he had grown accustomed to.
“I just cut back on a lot of meats, like red meats. I don’t eat a lot of steak as much as I did before, hamburgers, stuff like that,” he explained. “It’s more chicken and fish, salads, pasta. Not as much pasta either, but you gotta sneak it in there sometimes. There are some great Italian places out here in Boston.”
The NBA season keeps Pierce out of his kitchen so he has to be extra cautious on the road. The combination of eating in the locker room after games, late-night meals, and dining out are red flags he has to avoid, or pay the price the following day.
“It’s hard, especially when you go to Dallas and Mark Cuban puts all that food in [our locker room],” he said. “I’m not saying I don’t cheat though. I just know I’ve got to get some extra work in the next morning.”
While Pierce decided to lose the weight on his own, he was impressed by how much shedding pounds transformed his teammate’s career. Kendrick Perkins lost 16 pounds heading into last season.
“Just seeing him where he was day one,” Pierce said. “I watched him from a kid to now and if you look at his pictures from his rookie year, you’d be like, ‘Man, who was that?’”
So now that Pierce has traded in fried food for fresh fruit, what guilty pleasure does he miss the most?
“Man, Mexican food,” he said. “Growing up in Los Angeles you’ve got all the good Mexican places. I’m a taco guy, burritos, stuff like that. I cut back on those but I kind of sneak those in here and there. My mom makes the best chicken enchiladas. (Pauses) Man!”
|Sounds of the Game… Celtics 94, Hornets 82||12.13.08 at 8:53 am ET|
Yet another sign on Friday night that these Celtics may be even better and more focused than last year’s 66-win, NBA-champion group. The C’s came in after an 8 p.m. game the night before in Washington and had to battle the talented New Orleans Hornets, with James Posey making his return and collecting his ring. After circling at midcourt and doing Ubuntu one more time with the man Doc Rivers said understood it as well as anyone, the Celtics went out and won their 14th straight, matching their longest since March-April 1986. Rajon Rondo didn’t have his finest game but Paul Pierce more than picked up the slack with 28 points. Even Pose had to concede that this team may be even better than last year’s group.
|Stojakovic Done with Three-Point Shootout||at 1:06 am ET|
Sharpshooter Peja Stojakovic is saving his long range game for the regular season. The two-time Three-Point Shootout champion will no longer compete in the All-Star Weekend contest.
“I did that so many times so I don’t think I need to do it again,” he said on Friday night prior to the New Orleans Hornets-Boston Celtics game.
Stojakovic participated in five Three-Point Shootouts, dating back to 2001 as a member of the Sacramento Kings. He dethroned Celtics guard Ray Allen to win back-to-back titles in 2002 and 2003. Stojakovic took a three-year hiatus before returning this past February to show his appreciation for the host city of New Orleans. He looks forward to spending time with his family during the All-Star Break.