|The Impact of NCAA Experience in Game 7||05.17.09 at 8:05 pm ET|
Veteran experience can be one of the biggest advantages in the NBA playoffs. The Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic, though, are relying on two of their more inexperienced players to help them advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. Fortunately for 23-year-olds Glen Davis and Courtney Lee, they have been in high pressure situations before ‘ the NCAA Tournament.
Davis was one of the driving forces on the LSU Tigers’ Final Four run in 2006, the school’s first in 20 years. Playing on a big stage prepared him for performing in the spotlight of the NBA, especially since being thrust into the Celtics starting lineup.
‘This is the seventh game, the elimination game. Either win or go home,’ Davis said prior to Game 7. ‘Every game in the NCAA Tournament is either win or go home. So it’s a good experience because it helps you understand the meaning of each game, and you understand the meaning of Game 7. No matter how you look at it, it helps you mentally prepare yourself to win or go home.’ Read the rest of this entry »
|Celtics: “We have total faith in Ray”||05.16.09 at 2:21 pm ET|
‘I don’t need to say nothing to Ray,’ Paul Pierce said after practice on Saturday. ‘Ray knows what he needs to do. I mean Ray’s been in the league long enough. We have total faith in Ray. There’s nothing wrong with him.’
Allen is averaging 11.5 points per game in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, down from 23 points in the first round. He is shooting just 14% from three-point range, including an 0-7 performance in Game 6. Allen has been held to a total of 22 points in the Celtics three losses.
Still Allen is unfazed by the buzz surrounding his battles at the basket. He does not watch television and chalks the hype up to the scrutiny of playoff basketball.
‘I’ll tell you what, every shot that I take is good. Every shot that I put up there, it always looks good to me,” Allen said. “For the last second, you see the ball rolling around the rim and sometimes it toilet bowls and it goes down and sometimes it pops out, and you just, you never know until that ball goes all the way through. So I’ll be making sure the ball goes all the way through tomorrow.’
‘We’ve survived other games in this series with Ray struggling. Even if Ray’s not making shots, he still has a tremendous value for us,’ Rivers said. ‘He’s going to make shots tomorrow. I do feel good about that. If Patrick Ewing can guarantee a win, I can guarantee that Ray will make shots tomorrow.’
|Ewing Guarantees Victory over Celtics||at 1:52 pm ET|
WALTHAM – Patrick Ewing doesn’t need to be playing to guarantee a Game 7 victory over in the Celtics. In fact, he doesn’t even need to have a proven track record of accurate predictions. The Magic assistant coach is certain his team will advance to the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday.
‘It’s a whole team. Everyone has to step up in a Game Seven. Bring your A-game. Get our there and play with your hearts on your sleeve and come away with a win,’ Ewing said in an interview aired on ESPN. ‘Even though I’m not playing, I’m guaranteeing a win.’
That guarantee sits well with Doc Rivers, who was teammates with Ewing on the Knicks.
‘Oh that’s great. We feel great about that,’ Rivers said after practice on Saturday. ‘I’ve been on those Knicks teams where he had some predictions.’
Rivers could not hide his sarcasm. Click here to see just how well Ewing’s past predictions have panned out.
|Much needed practice for Celtics||at 1:32 pm ET|
WALTHAM – The Boston Celtics have not had more than one day off since a two-day lapse in between Games 3 and 4 against the Chicago Bulls. So Doc Rivers was relieved when the Celtics got another 48-hour break before Game 7 against the Orlando Magic. He put the team to work on Saturday.
‘When you don’t practice you have slippage, and we’ve had a ton of slippage,’ Rivers said after practice. ‘Our film today was all execution ‘ things that you should be doing but when you don’t practice and work on everything, you slip a little bit. I think in Game 5 and 6 we had done that.’
Dissecting game film allowed the Celtics to see their mistakes, including 83 turnovers in the first six games of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
‘Execution is always key, down to the littlest thing,’ Rivers said. ‘When you mess up one play and give up a three and you lose by two, that play in the first quarter counts just as much as something in the fourth. And so you just have to try to execute every single time and have great focus.’
One thing Rivers does not intend to adjust after Saturday’s practice is how they will stop Dwight Howard. The Celtics have had a solid plan since the first game and Rivers does not want to change it, just execute it more effectively.
‘Not a thing, really,’ he said. ‘We just have to hold our ground, dig a little more. A lot of those are offensive rebounds from dribble penetration. A lot of Howard’s baskets are not coming from just throwing the ball down to him in the post. It’s coming come guards and small forwards beating us off the dribble. Perk (Kendrick Perkins) does his job by going to help, and it frees up Howard’s ten offensive rebounds. Going into Game 1 we said the single most important thing for us was to stop dribble penetration. That has not changed at all.’
|Did Howard learn to dominate?||05.15.09 at 1:05 pm ET|
One of the hottest topics in Game 6 was Dwight Howard’s ability to dominate. The Celtics had stopped him from doing it in the first five contests, but Howard was confident he could take over the paint. As he wrote on his blog, he thinks he accomplished his mission:
“I knew going into this game that if I wanted what I call touches that I had to crash the boards and dominate the game defensively and rebounding … I know that there are other ways to dominate a game than on scoring. My team needs me to be a beast in the lane for us to win. I tried to go after every ball last night and see if they could stop me.”
As for his decree of domination following Game 5, Howard has learned to prove it on the court, not at the podium:
“I guess if I learned anything the past few days after my comments in Game 5 it’s that I need to keep my mouth shut sometimes. Otis had me in his office and we talked about how there are better ways to deal with problems than I did. I’m still young, still learning and I’m going to make mistakes sometimes.”
|Howard guarantees series win||05.14.09 at 9:03 am ET|
“We can’t give up hope,” Howard told reporters on Wednesday. “We’re in this series to win it. We are going to win this series.”
Howard criticized head coach Stan Van Gundy following the Magic’s Game 5 loss. He questioned why he wasn’t being allowed to ‘dominate,’ as he barely touched the ball down the stretch of their fourth quarter collapse. Howard and Van Gundy seemed to have reached a resolution.
“Getting the ball shouldn’t be a big issue for me,” Howard said. “There’s more ways to dominate the game than scoring. Me and coach, we talked about that. I just can’t let my frustrations get to the point where I’ll say anything.”
Game 6 will be played tonight in Orlando. The Celtics lead the series 3-2.
|LeBron wants to face Celtics?||05.13.09 at 3:13 pm ET|
Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain Dealer believes otherwise:
He said he’d seen every one of the Magic’s playoff games and talked about how difficult they are to defend with Dwight Howard and his strong shooters. But there was an edge when James discussed the Celtics.
“We know everything about Boston; we have a history with them,” James said.
James considers last season Game 7 one of the most challenging he has ever played. Then the NBA’s MVP left his desire for a rematch up to interpretation.
“I’m a competitor; I thrive on going against the best,” James said. “I love playing against the best. You make your answer out of that.”
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