|Teamwork: Paul Pierce, Jeff Green and Courtney Lee pick it up in win over Warriors||03.01.13 at 10:00 pm ET|
Paul Pierce scored 26 points and Jeff Green added 18 off the bench as the Celtics overcame foul trouble from Avery Bradley to beat the Golden State Warriors, 94-86, Friday night at TD Garden. Kevin Garnett was just 2-for-10 from the field but finished with a team-high 13 rebounds. The Celtics avenged their ugly 101-83 loss from late December in Oakland. Pierce and Green were the only Boston players to score in double figures.
Stephen Curry scored 54 points earlier in the week in New York against the Knicks, a season-high in the NBA this season. He had scored 94 points in his previous two games but was held to 25 points on Friday night on just 6-of-22 shooting, as the Celtics (31-27) won their eighth straight home game. David Lee had 10 points and a game-best 19 rebounds for the Warriors, who fall to 33-26.
The Celtics used hot shooting early to build a 13-point first-quarter lead. Pierce led the way with 13 points in the opening period. Pierce finished with 18 in the first half. The Warriors, mostly behind the scoring of Curry, worked their way back into the game in the second quarter. Curry drew three fouls on Bradley in the first half and scored 10 points in the second quarter as the Warriors cut Boston’s lead to 50-46 at the half.
The Warriors scored the first two baskets of the third quarter and tied the game. The tide seemed to be turning heavily against the Celtics when Bradley – the player assigned to defend Curry – picked up his fourth and fifth fouls of the game in a 27-second span of the third quarter and had to check out with 8:01 left in the quarter after his fifth foul.
Courtney Lee stepped in and shutdown Curry as the star scored just two points against Lee and the Celtics in the period. The Celtics had another scare when Green landed hard on his left elbow midway through the third and stayed on the ground for several minutes. After coming off the floor on his own power, Green was given a white protective sleeve and returned with just over two minutes left in the quarter.
With Green back and Bradley in foul trouble, the Celtics took command of the game for good, going on a 9-0 run to break a 60-60 tie and take a 69-62 lead into the fourth.
The Celtics are off until Tuesday when they play in Philadelphia. For more from the team of Mike Petraglia and Ben Rohrbach from the Garden, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.
Celtics head coach Doc Rivers spoke about how the new players Shav Randolph, DJ White and Terrence Williams will fill the bench for the Celtics who come into Friday nights game against the Golden State Warriors having won two of their last three. Jordan Crawford is also making his Garden debut in a Celtics uniform.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo, Williams signed a deal that is good for the rest of the season at the league minimum. It also has a clause that extends to next season but is not guaranteed. It is a report that Rivers confirmed before Friday’s game with the Golden State at TD Garden.
Williams was on a 10-day contract with the Celtics and has appeared in three games, averaging 4.3 points and 2.7 rebounds in 14.1 minutes before Friday’s extension.
Williams, White and Randolph were all playing in China. Rivers was asked before Friday’s game, tongue-in-cheek, if he had ever been to China to see any of three actually play in person.
“Not me,” he said. “I can tell you that. You can watch film these days. You don’t have to travel.”
Williams is one player that has made an impact, except for the game in Portland Sunday night.
“I like the way he’s played, minus one game. Now that he’s going to be here, we have a chance to hopefully turn him into a player we think he could be.
“I saw him this summer. He came in and worked out with us for a week, pick up games. Just watching the way he played, you really that even in those situations, he’s more point than ’2′ [guard]. I don’t think he’s ever going to be a great scorer in our league but he can be a great playmaker.
“It’d be nice if we found a superstar but there are very few of those in the entire league. We’re just looking for a solid player.”
Were any of the three on Doc’s radar?
“No, because we were healthy,” Rivers said. “They may have been on Danny’s and [management] but honestly I’m looking at the guys we have in the gym not those in China. I’m focused on that. Because of the injuries, we had to look around and that’s where we went.
“This is different because a lot of them are young and a lot of these guys really haven’t established themselves as players yet. In the past, the P.J. Browns, the Gary Paytons, and whoever else we brought in had pretty much established themselves and we knew who they were.”
Rivers did acknowledge that the spread offense likely makes their transition to Boston easier.
“Probably because it’s not just one play or the execution part of it, it’s spreading the floor, moving it to the open guy. That I would think would make it easier.”
What Rivers made very clear Friday are the roles he wants Randolph, Williams, White and, to a lesser degree Crawford, to all understand while in Celtics green. They are, for the most part, here to fill out a bench and help when needed, which is mainly in practice.
“I would rather put Kevin and Brandon Bass and Jeff Green out there [in games],” Rivers said. “We’re bringing them in to fill our bench and to help us if we need it. I’m not bringing in guys to take any of those other guys’ spots. Obviously, if one of them comes in and helps us, that’s good. But that’s their role to be ready to play, and be ready not to play and understand what we’re doing.”
For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.
The Celtics signed former Duke big man Shavlik Randolph to a 10-day contract on Friday. The 6-foot-10, 236-pounder is the C’s third Chinese Basketball Association import in the past two weeks.
Following the signings of CBA stars Terrence Williams and D.J. White, Randolph’s deal effectively fills the Celtics roster at 15. All three players were signed to 10-day contracts, and Yahoo! Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski reported Williams will sign for the remainder of the season and on a non-guaranteed deal in 2013-14.
This is what the Celtics must resort to after season-ending injuries to Rajon Rondo, Jared Sullinger and Leandro Barbosa. They’ll sign players off the scrap heap for 10 days at a time until someone better comes along, which they probably won’t. Meanwhile, they’ll kick the tires on the Lou Amundsons of the world. (After narrowing his list to the Heat, Knicks, Bulls and Celtics, Amundson “committed to Chicago,” his agent Mark Bartelstein said.)
“We’re just going to wait,” said Rivers, who doesn’t expect anybody of importance to become available on Friday’s buyout deadline. “That’s the only thing you have now. Once the buyout season is over, you basically just have overseas guys and free agents who are just out there, and usually they’re out there for a reason.”
Not exactly rolling out the red carpet for the C’s three newest Chinese imports, huh? Anyhow, let’s take a look at where the Celtics roster stands now that it’s full for really the first time all season.
|Stephen Curry, Tom Brady and the NBA All-Defensive power of Avery Bradley||02.28.13 at 6:33 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Celtics coach Doc Rivers and captain Paul Pierce both had high praise for Avery Bradley before Thursday’s practice. The C’s guard will have the unenviable task Friday of guarding Warriors counterpart Stephen Curry, who scored 54 points against the Knicks in Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night.
- Pierce: ‘I think every great team needs a player like that, especially a great defensive team. With so many great scorers in this league and great individual play, you need that one guy who can go out there and kind of slow those types of guys down. We have that in Avery Bradley. He’s shown a willingness to sacrifice so much. I believe he can give us a lot more defensively, but he’s so great on the defensive end that it has an impact on this whole team. You don’t have to double as much, you don’t have to give as much help when you’ve got a guy like that who can defend at a high level. In my eyes, he’s probably the best on-the-ball defender in the NBA. I’d be very surprised if he didn’t make the All-Defensive Team.’
- Rivers: ‘They’re picking him now. They’re getting him off of [his assignments], and that’s what they should do, but it’s nice to have a guy that can pressure the ball. I don’t know if Avery’s going to shut down everyone, but I know he’s going to give you the attempt to pressure, and ball pressure is important. I just use a football analogy: If you didn’t blitz Tom Brady and you just let him sit back there all day, he’s going to pick you apart. It’s the same in basketball. If you let the passers just sit there with no pressure, they’re going to pick you apart. And Avery is our blitzer.’
For more on the NBA All-Defensive case for Bradley, read this column.
|Danny Ainge: Big part of the second half involves getting Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce healthy||at 5:24 pm ET|
In his weekly appearance on “The Big Show” Thursday, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge talked about a variety of topics, including why Boston didn’t make more deals at the trade deadline and the health of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Ainge was asked as to whether he was concerned at all about the fatigue level of Pierce and Garnett, the latter of whom sat out Friday’s game against the Suns.
“Yes, I always am. Paul and KG have been incredibly durable throughout their entire careers,” Ainge said. “They take good care of themselves, but I do think that they need rest. If we have any chance of winning playoff basketball games, we need those guys fresh, healthy. Paul’s neck thing I think comes and goes, but there was a stretch I think when we were in that losing streak, I actually think that might have been one of the biggest factors. Paul was not 100 percent and yet he continued to play. That’s just who Paul is.
“I think Doc is determined to cut those guys’ minutes down now that we have a little bit more depth on the bench and we get some more bodies in here. That’s a big part of the second half of the season — getting them healthy.”
Ainge also talked about the remarkable run of LeBron James, calling him the “best player in our game today, without question. When it’s all said and done, he could be one of the best players of all time.”
“He’s one of those guys, the first time I ever saw him, in the first five minutes, I questioned whether he could be one of the best basketball players who ever lived,’ recalled Ainge. “And he was 17 years old at the time and he had a similar body — he’s probably 10 or 15 pounds heavier now, but he was so gifted, because he not only could shoot, pass and dribble, but he was the smartest guy on the court. The most intense guy on the court. The most unselfish guy on the court.
“I’ve been one of those people who know that LeBron is not perfect, and he’s been under the microscope since he’s been a young man. I think he’s done a pretty good job handling all this stuff and he continues to get better. Now, people are having to have the conversation about him and Michael Jordan. I think it’s still too early, but he’s getting better. And like Michael, now he’s starting to make mid-range jump shots, 3-point shots, and he’s virtually unguardable with one person. You need two and three people to guard him. If he’s making shots, you just have to tip your cap and pray that he misses.”
Here are some more highlights of the Q&A:
Read the rest of this entry »
|Paul Pierce: Pinched nerve causing ‘up-and-down’ performance, will last ‘until the season’s over’||at 1:10 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Two weeks, Celtics president Danny Ainge divulged during a game broadcast that Paul Pierce had been playing through a pinched nerve in his neck for two months, and before Thursday’s practice the C’s captain admitted the pain will continue for the rest of the season, if not longer.
“I probably won’t be fully recovered from it until the season’s over, if I ever do,” said Pierce. “I’ve probably got a little bit of nerve damage in the back part of my neck, but it’s something I’ve been playing through over the last couple months, so I’m probably about as healthy as I’m probably going to be for the rest of the season right now.”
Pierce shot below 40 percent from the field and 30 percent from 3-point range in January, and while those numbers improved this month, he’s having his worst shooting season in nearly a decade, making just 41.9 percent of his field goals after converting better than 44 percent in each of his previous five seasons.
“I really don’t try to pay attention to it during the game,” he said. “I don’t let little injuries try to affect me. I don’t really think about it. It’s probably been the reason I’ve been up-and-down a lot. Sometimes you get a sharp pain. There are times when I have a stinger go through the same part of my neck where the pain is happening, and it’s happening a lot more than normal, whether it be in practice or a game, so it’s something I’ll deal with after the season.”
|Irish Coffee: The 41 best parts of the most revealing Rajon Rondo interview to date||02.25.13 at 10:45 am ET|
Rajon Rondo doesn’t usually trust the media, which makes the fact he told Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins a reason for that — his father left home in his formative years — all the more fascinating. This Jenkins piece is the definitive Rondo feature, even if most of the reporting took place prior to the Celtics point guard’s season-ending ACL injury. It offers insights we rarely ever see into the enigmatic NBA All-Star. Here are 41 great ones.
- Rondo loves Shirley Temples. So do his Celtics teammates. “Waitresses are like, ‘What?’ I feel like I have to add a splash of Patron, and I don’t even really drink.”
- Rondo loves Connect Four. Honing his skills on the front porch of his mom’s College Court home in Louisville, Ky., he plays at charitable events, if only to avoid the awkwardness. Three days before this past Christmas, after handing out bikes, Razor scooters and iPod Touches, he lost for the first time in roughly a thousand charity games. “I can’t believe it. But did you notice I played the guy five more times and won them all? I had to show him, ‘You beat me, but I’lll beat the [expletive] out of you.” His opponent was a 12-year-old named Olisa. Talk about awkward.
- Rondo doesn’t like game-time decisions. “They just want an excuse if they don’t play well.”
- Rondo doesn’t like playing grab-ass. “I’m not trying to make friends. We can talk in the summer.”
- Kevin Garnett: “With Rajon, there ain’t no [expletive]ing around.”
- Rondo admits, “A lot of times I’ll be shooting and think, Maybe I should pass.”