|Suns expecting big game from Shaq||01.19.09 at 7:38 pm ET|
‘Any time we get an opportunity to have a size difference with Shaq in the paint, we always try to go to him,’ Amare Stoudemire said prior to Monday’s game. ‘We try to feed it to him, see if he can take advantage of that. And if not, we go to our other options. So tonight will be a pretty good night for Big Fella if he can dominate out there and stay out of foul trouble.’
The Celtics have to alter their plan of attack without Kendrick Perkins (shoulder). Doc Rivers is looking for Kevin Garnett to use his quickness to outplay Shaq, while the biggest mission for back ups Leon Powe, Glen Davis, and Brian Scalabrine is keeping a body between O’Neal and the basket. The Suns, though, aren’t changing their gameplan.
‘I think it changes the fact that having Scalabrine starting as opposed to Kendrick Perkins, that’s a bit of a difference. But as opponents we can’t look at it that way,’ said Stoudemire. ‘We’ve got to attack it as if he were playing, so we should go inside to the big fella. Shaq should have a pretty good game tonight.’
The Suns are one of the few teams who figured out the key to beating the Celtics last season. Stoudemire scored 28 points off of 10-for-23 shooting and Steve Nash added 18 in the Suns’ 85-77 victory. Combine that with former Charlotte Bobcat Jason Richardson’s success against the Cs and the Suns think they know how to get it done tonight.
‘I’m pretty sure he knows how to defend the guards out there,’ Stoudemir said of Richardson. ‘As a team, we’ve just got to pull together. We beat them last year, Bobcats beat them. What we’ve got to do is just keep playing how we’ve been playing.’
|Rhythm key for Perkins||01.14.09 at 7:27 pm ET|
Before Wednesday night’s game against the New Jersey Nets, Kendrick Perkins broke a sweat working on his post moves. He banked shots over Patrick O’Bryant and then sprinted down the court at the orders of Sam Cassell. This would seem like just another night, except Perkins is injured. That isn’t stopping the big man, though, from keeping his rhythm.
‘I’m just trying to stay on top of my conditioning,’ Perkins said prior to the game. ‘I don’t want to lose my rhythm so I’m working on my post moves, doing a lot of shots, I did some jump roping, and a lot of court running, and stuff like that. I don’t want to be too far off.’
Perkins will miss at least a week with a reoccurring shoulder injury. It has plagued him since a Christmas Day game against the Los Angeles Lakers, according to Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, and is the explanation behind his recent inconsistency on the glass. As a precaution, Perkins is avoiding physical contact. Other than that, he’s following the same routine.
‘I just [can’t] play basketball, contact, that’s it,’ he said. ‘I hit the weights earlier today so it’s getting better by the day … You’ve got to scale back but it never really fell off. I’m pretty much on the same page, I’m just doing different type of exercises now to work different parts of the muscle, so that’s really what I’m concentrating on.’
Perkins hopes to play next Monday against the Phoenix Suns, but said he is not going to rush his return. As for Brian Scalabrine, who has been filling in for Perkins, his return against Shaquille O’Neal would be perfect timing.
‘Wow,’ said a wide-eyed Scalabrine, unaware of the upcoming match up. ‘I’d like the opportunity to start but Perk is the guy who should be on the Diesel.’
|Sounds of the game… Celtics 115, Raptors 109 OT||01.13.09 at 6:42 am ET|
Maybe Kevin Garnett is right. Maybe the Celtics should play the theme from Superman every time Paul Pierce steps on the court. On a bum right knee, or at least very ‘ginger’ as Pierce himself said, the Celtics captain made 13 of his 26 shots and totaled a season-high 39 points to lead the Celtics to a 115-109 overtime win against the Toronto Raptors Monday night at TD Banknorth Garden. With the Celtics already missing starting center Kendrick Perkins with a bad left shoulder and Tony Allen in a protective boot with a sprained right ankle, Pierce picked it up a notch for the entire game, even when Andrea Bargnani hit a three with one second remaining. Pierce did have a supporting cast, as Kevin Garnett scored 20, Ray Allen 12 and Brian Scalabrine, playing for Perkins, chipped in with 11, including three three-pointers.
|Cs to be challenged by one of their own||01.08.09 at 11:42 pm ET|
Before Rajon Rondo was taking hard spills on the court, it was Delonte West who was sacrificing his body for the Boston Celtics. Two years after leaving the Cs as part of the Ray Allen deal, West has brought his hustle to the Cleveland where it has sparked LeBron James and the streaking Cavaliers. Those who played with West early in his career are not surprised by his success.
‘There’s no doubt that I thought before Delonte even went there, I thought Delonte was a perfect fit for LeBron James,’ said Brian Scalabrine, a teammate of two seasons. ‘When he got traded to Seattle and he wasn’t playing for whatever, it’s just all about the place you go and where you fit in.’
West has fit in perfectly since being dealt from the Seattle SuperSonics last season. The addition of West, along with Mo Williams, is an upgrade to the Cavaliers backcourt that once relied heavily on James’ long-range game. Rather than compensating for the inconsistencies of Daniel Gibson and Sasha Pavlovic, James can play closer to the basket without worrying about their guards.
West’s gritty defense is also a factor in the Cavs’ NBA-low 89.1 points allowed per game (down from 96.7 last season). His intensity will be challenging for the Celtics to contain when they take on the Cavaliers on Friday night.
‘D-West has helped them a lot,’ said Kendrick Perkins, who played three seasons with West. ‘He puts another shooter out there on the court for LeBron to pass it to when he drives and penetrates. D-West can make plays. He’s a defender, he’s very feisty, and D-West helps their team a lot. We’ve just got to make sure we go out there and try to keep him under control, keep him off the offensive rebounding, try to get in his aspects a little bit, and just go from there.’
After losing for three years in Boston and inexplicably riding the bench in Seattle, West inked a multi-year deal last summer to stay in Cleveland. Even though his tough play could burn the Celtics this season, his former teammates know he’s in the right place.
Said Scalabrine, ‘I told him when he came here (with the Cavs), ‘Listen, you’re in a place where you can be, as long as LeBron is there, you can be there for the rest of your career and you can thrive in that situation.”
|Scal-a-bri-ne The P-R-O||11.18.08 at 9:24 pm ET|
It was late in the game and the ball swung to Brian Scalabrine in the corner. As they have every time the ball has found him in those situations, the crowd at the Garden began to rise. At times this year this reaction has seemed to un-nerve Scalabrine and made him think just an extra second, long enough for the shot to not be available to him any more.
This time, however, it wasn’t the closing seconds of a blowout win. It was a close game against a division rival and the outcome was still very much in doubt. In other words, there was no time to think. “What we’re trying to get Scal to do is just keep the game simple,” his coach, Doc Rivers was saying after the game. “When you’re open, shoot it. If not, pass it.”
Scal was open. He shot it. And it went down. It was his third 3-pointer of the game and it was critical in the Celtics, 110-101 win over the Knicks Tuesday night.
And so, the evolution of Brian Scalabrine from scapegoat to curiosity to folk hero took another twist as everyone’s favorite reserve stepped into the starting lineup for a suspended Kevin Garnett and not only helped the Celtics win a game against the Knicks, he also made perhaps the biggest shot of the night. Read the rest of this entry »
|Celtics Know How to Beat Knicks without Garnett||11.17.08 at 7:11 pm ET|
On Tuesday night the Boston Celtics will take on the New York Knicks without Kevin Garnett as he serves a one-game suspension for his conduct on Saturday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks. Garnett was penalized without pay for striking Andrew Bogut in the face in the fourth quarter of the Celtics 102-97 overtime win. Bogut’s foul on Garnett was also upgraded to a Flagrant Foul Penalty One on Monday.
This isn’t the first time the team has been without KG since acquiring him nearly 16 months ago. Last season Garnett sat out nine games with an abdominal strain that he suffered on a game-saving play against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Celtics went 7-2 during that stretch.
This isn’t the first time the team will take on the Knicks without KG either. Last February 13 the Celtics defeated them 111-103 at Madison Square Garden.
So how did the Celtics get it done without Garnett?
(I know, I know, beating the Knicks isn’t earth shattering but the Celtics still have to make adjustments.)
That night Paul Pierce and Ray Allen combined for 45 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 assists. The duo hit 17-of-18 from the free throw line (Allen missed one). Rajon Rondo also shot 64% from the field to score 18 points. Garnett wasn’t the only starter out of the lineup that night. Kendrick Perkins was sidelined as well, so Leon Powe and Brian Scalabrine got the starts in their place. Powe chipped in 18 points while Scal lasted just under three minutes before James Posey took over.
On the defensive end, they limited the Knicks to 29% three-point shooting and held them to 20 assists (the Celtics dished 29). The Cs also blocked six shots to the Knicks zero.
The Celtics turned to their bench to get it done last time and Tuesday night will be no different.
|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 …
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