|The cold truth: Paul Pierce leads Celtics to 7th straight in epic fashion||02.10.13 at 9:15 pm ET|
The two hottest teams in the NBA rewarded hearty New England basketball fans with the game of the year in professional basketball. In a game with countless ebbs and flows, the Celtics outlasted the Nuggets, 118-114, in triple overtime Sunday night at TD Garden, earning their season-high seventh straight win in the process. The Celtics also ended Denver’s nine-game win streak, with Rajon Rondo in attendance.
In 54 spectacular minutes, Paul Pierce finished with a triple double, scoring 27 points, grabbing 14 rebounds and dishing 14 assists. But with a chance to tie the game, his second free throw rattled in and out with 32.5 seconds left in double overtime. Ty Lawson hit jumper to put Denver up three. Pierce came down and drained a 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds left to send the game into triple overtime.
After missing six straight 3-pointers, Jason Terry drilled a straightaway trey with 1:33 left in triple OT to put the Celtics up 116-113. Terry finished with 26 points off the bench. Sunday marked Boston’s ninth overtime game this season, matching a franchise record for a season (1950-51 and 1953-54). Kevin Garnett was big on the boards in 47 minutes, hauling in 18 rebounds to go with 20 points.
The Celtics were 3.6 seconds from their seventh straight win when the officials overturned a Nuggets turnover out of bounds under the Celtics basket. Given a second chance, Lawson hit the game-tying layup off the glass to send the game into overtime.
There were very few empty seats in TD Garden as Celtics fans braved the elements and lack of public transportation to get to the game just 24 hours after a state of emergency was lifted in the wake of the “Nemo” blizzard.
The Nuggets entered the game with an NBA-best nine-game winning streak, beating the Cavaliers Saturday night. The Nuggets (104.8) entered the game as the third-highest-scoring team in the NBA, with only the Thunder (106.6) and Rockets (106.0) scoring more per game.
Kris Joseph has a new start with a new team in the NBA.
Joseph cleared waivers and was released last month after appearing in six games for the Celtics. He was subsequently re-signed by the Red Claws. Joseph averaged 18.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.6 steals per game in 12 games with Boston’s D-League affiliate.
As for Mays, he was invited to Brooklyn Nets training camp and cut before being assigned to the Springfield Armor, the D-League affiliate of the Brooklyn Nets. Mays was undrafted in 2008 before signing as an unrestricted free agent with the Nuggets. Mays is averaging 16.4 points and 10.6 rebounds in 26 games, earning him a spot on the D-League All-Star team.
For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.
|Doc Rivers ‘very concerned’ about Nemo after effects||at 5:55 pm ET|
As Nemo was belting New England Friday night and Saturday morning, all Doc Rivers could do was stay inside in his Boston home, cook up a batch of gumbo and watch – what else – basketball.
“I cooked some gumbo,” Rivers said when asked how he kept himself busy. “I went out on the blizzard night because my oldest [Jeremiah] was in. He’s from Florida and he’s never been in one. So I thought he should experience it. We walked about a half block and he wanted to turn around — that was disappointing. But it was cool. It was really neat seeing the city with no one in it, at least no cars. It was great.”
While the Bruins did everything in their power to get in Saturday’s game against Tampa Bay before the NHL, city of Boston and Commonwealth of Massachusetts stepped, Rivers likewise thought there might be some way to get his team out to Waltham for a practice.
“Trust me, we tried everything we could [Saturday], even into the evening I had guys in our [director of] security, Mr. Phil Lynch, thought it would be very dangerous, and he was right, which I hate to say that,” Rivers said. “So I’m very concerned. We even contemplated going this morning on a 6 o’clock game, it’s just tough when you have two days off. What actually concerned me more is that Denver was playing last night, because you knew they would come in with rhythm.
“But there’s nothing you can do. We came earlier than usual this evening [to TD Garden], and actually went over stuff at a real pace. I don’t know what that does, but it makes me feel better.”
But not much. Rivers knows his team will have a monumental challenge in handling the Nuggets, winners of nine straight, including a victory in Cleveland Saturday night. The Nuggets didn’t get into Boston until 3 a.m. Sunday, not leaving much time for coach George Karl and the Nuggets to get ready. Still, the Nuggets (33-18) are impressive, just 5.5 games behind Oklahoma City in the Northwest Division.
“Because they run, they play together,” Rivers said when asked to explain their success. “I love watching them, I tell George that all the time. They are genderless when you watch them play — nobody cares. They have six guys in double figures. [Kenneth Faried] led the team in attempts or second in attempts [Saturday]; he could take two attempts and he doesn’t care. They don’t care and that’s what you see when you watch them play. It’s very difficult team to load on. We load on a couple guys per game, [but] we’re sitting trying to pick which guy do we do that to tonight. It’s just hard.”
Rivers was asked if that formula could play well for the Celtics.
“I don’t know if we’ll have that balance because we have a guy named Paul Pierce on our team that’s pretty good, and Kevin Garnett,” said Rivers. “After those two, the balance should look like theirs.”
With practice canceled Saturday in Waltham, Brandon Bass and Avery Bradley were just two of the Celtics out early before Sunday evening’s game with the Denver Nuggets at TD Garden. The “Nemo” blizzard of 2013 shutdown most modes of transportation in and out of Boston, including Boston’s commuter rail and T system, making transportation to the Garden difficult for even players and coaches.
The Celtics game is the first game at the Garden since Nemo hit Friday night.
The Bruins had their game with the Lightning postponed due to the state of emergency in Boston through Saturday night. The game was originally slated for 1 p.m. Saturday at the Garden and then pushed back to 7 p.m. before the NHL canceled the game late Saturday afternoon.
As for the Celtics (26-23), they are second-hottest team in the NBA having won six straight. The only hotter team is Denver. They have won nine straight and sit 33-15 on the season. Boston has moved up to seventh place in the East and stand just a game behind No. 6 Atlanta. They are just three games back in the loss column of third place Indiana and fourth place Chicago.
The Celtics leave immediately after the game with the Nuggets for Charlotte, where they take on the Bobcats Monday night. For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.
|Celtics recall Fab Melo in time for Nuggets||at 2:50 pm ET|
The Celtics announced Sunday that they have recalled center Fab Melo from their NBA Development League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws. The 7-foot center will be dressed and available for duty against the Nuggets in the 6 p.m. contest at TD Garden.
In his one game on assignment to the Red Claws, Melo scored six points, grabbed five rebounds and had one assist in just under 23 minutes against the Bakersfield Jam on February 8. He is averaging 11.0 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.45 blocks in 27.4 minutes per game in his 20 contests with Maine this season.
For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.
|Fab Melo sent back to D-League||02.08.13 at 6:05 pm ET|
Celtics announced Friday that they have assigned center Fab Melo to their NBA Development League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws.
Since returning from his last assignment to the Claws, Melo, a 7-foot center, appeared in two games with the Celtics. Melo played three minutes against the Magic before playing the final five minutes Thursday night against the Lakers.
Melo recorded his first two career points in the blowout win, to go along with a steal and a block.
In 19 games (17 starts) for the Red Claws, Melo is averaging 11.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.6 blocks a game while averaging 27.7 minutes.
Marshall said he thought the third quarter of the Celtics’ win over the Lakers on Thursday night was the best he’s seen the C’s play in a long time.
“They looked perfect,” Marshall said. “It was one of those situations, at least in my opinion, where it wasn’t just the bad Lakers, but it was the great Celtics. We’ve seen this team play really well, but the other teams are just so horrendous that me, you and Lou could get out there and play with them ‘¦ Last night I really think it was the product of the Celtics playing great.”
Marshall said he doesn’t think the Celtics are a better team overall without Rondo, but that his absence is allowing them a change of perspective that’s helped them.
“It seems like they needed to be more mentally healthy, and it looks like that’s what they are right now,” Marshall said. “I don’t want to make it sound like Rondo is ‘¦ by no means is he a Dwight Howard that’s going to screw things up just because it’s all about him, going to purposely screw the mechanism up of Doc [Rivers'] machine there. But sometimes when we’re young and have success early we can’t stay out of our own way, and I think Rondo kind of ran into that a little bit. He really is a great player, but there’s more than just being a great player when it comes to basketball.”
Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
On Rondo’s leadership: “You can’t go in the locker room and alienate your teammates. I don’t know if he’s doing that or not, but it seems like that locker room is much healthier. You can’t go on the court and say, ‘I’ll handle the ball, get out of the way, I’ll make you better.’
“There would be situations where Ray Allen would be in position to make a move one-on-one, and Rondo would run over to him and grab the ball from him and say, ‘Get to the corner, I’m going to run the play.’ This team doesn’t have that guy right now, and they’re playing so free. Their spacing is amazing, which helps their ball movement. It’s just incredible to see, for a team that doesn’t really have that one guy that stands out to you over this streak, it’s really amazing.”