|O’Neal Struggling to Achieve Celtics Success||11.11.08 at 9:58 am ET|
Garnett and Allen were able to hit the ground running in their first season with the Boston Celtics, starting off 20-2 en route to the first NBA Championships of their career. For O’Neal, his debut season with the Toronto Raptors has anything but a joyride.
‘It’s been kind of a roller coaster for me,’ he said. ‘And it’s been hard.’
This summer O’Neal was traded to the Raptors from the Indiana Pacers, a year after Garnett’s blockbuster trade to the Celtics. The move paired O’Neal with dominating big man Chris Bosh and positioned the Raptors as an Eastern Conference contender. Like the Celtics, the Raptors united unfulfilled All-Stars in hopes of winning a title.
‘You try not to base your career and your success off of somebody else’s,’ O’Neal said. ‘A lot of people can say, ‘I want it to be like this,’ but it’s not necessarily like that. [The Celtics] definitely have put together a format on how to do it, for sure. Sometimes you’re not able to go that route. You’ve got to take another route and that’s the route that I’m on.’
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|Pregame: Celtics vs. Raptors||11.10.08 at 5:17 pm ET|
The Raptors wasted no time getting ready for the game as nearly every player except for Jermaine O’Neal and Chris Bosh were warming up when I scoped out the court around 5:30. Leon Powe, Kendrick Perkins, and Brian Scalabrine were practicing on the Celtics end.
The Cs were loose in the locker room, with Powe, House, and Rajon Rondo crowded near Perkins’ locker. Perk turns 24 today and the big man is trying to downplay his birthday even though he is receiving some extra attention from his teammates.
Chris Bosh received treatment on the trainers table in the Raptors quarters while a handful of players wandered in and out of the locker room. Jamario Moon said the Raptors are a brand new team with O’Neal’s veteran leadership this season. They are also a better offensive team, ranking second in the league in both three-point shooting and free throws.
Tonight it was the bench who was receiving praise from Doc Rivers. The Celtics head coach said the starters have not been consistent with their offense and defense. He would not go as far to say the bench has exceeded his expectations but they are “playing well.”
The game will get underway shortly. Check back soon for more …
|Sounds of the game… Celtics 101, Bucks 89||11.07.08 at 11:23 pm ET|
Prior to going out and beating the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night at TD Banknorth Garden, Celtics coach Doc Rivers called a meeting of the reserves before Friday night’s game, asking them if the opponent took away their best skill, how could they still help the team. Eddie House, Leon Powe and Glen “Big Baby” Davis had all the answers as the Cs wore down the Bucks in the fourth quarter with a 28-19 run to end the game and improve to 5-1 on the season, with Allen Iverson and the new-look Detroit Pistons on the horizon on Sunday night.
|Smith to miss game against Celtics?||at 9:12 pm ET|
Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith suffered a high ankle sprain on Friday night against the Toronto Raptors. Initial reports indicate Smith will miss 2-4 weeks, which would sideline him for next Wednesday’s game against the Celtics.
Last season Smith averaged 15.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 2.9 assists against the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs.
|Celtics-Bucks Game Blog Fourth Quarter||at 7:34 pm ET|
|Take a mental picture of the Bucks||at 7:15 pm ET|
Take a good look at the Milwaukee Bucks because there are very few chances to see them during the regular season. The team doesn’t come back to Boston again (the Celtics go to Milwaukee twice) and, as Andrew Bogut pointed out, they don’t get much national coverage either. The Bucks are ok with that, though.
‘Going under the radar a little bit is something we’re obviously used to,’ Bogut said. ‘We never really get attention, even when we had winning seasons back in the early 2000s. Milwaukee isn’t a big city and we don’t get that much attention nationally. I think we only have one ESPN game this year. But regardless of that I think it’s better for us.”
Charlie Villanueva, who played college ball in the spotlight at UConn, doesn’t thrive on the attention either.
‘That’s the way we want it. We want to be under the radar,’ he said. ‘Not a lot of people are talking about the Bucks or us acquiring (Richard) Jefferson and Luke Ridnour. But that’s the way we want it. We want to be under the radar and at the end of the season we’ll see where we stand and I think we’ll be in a good position.’
Considering the way the Bucks are keeping it close with the Celtics tonight, it wouldn’t be out of the question to see them back in Boston for the early rounds of the playoffs.
|Celtics-Bucks Game Blog Second Quarter||at 6:20 pm ET|