|Halftime: Celtics-Wizards||03.07.10 at 9:10 pm ET|
The first half was best summed up by a fan in the next row: “C’mon, it’s the Wizards!”
Once again, the Celtics have their work cut out for them against a bad team as they trail 44-38 at the half. As they did against New Jersey two weeks ago the Celtics came out flat and suddenly a team with no hope and no directions looks like a world beater.
The Celtics problems have been mostly on offense where they shot just 35 percent and tied a season-low for first-half points. The Wizards have also blocked six shots, which contributed to that low total, with three of them coming from Javale McGee. Undeterred, the Celtics continued to try and take it to the basket against McGee and he continued to throw it back in their face.
Al Thornton has 15 points and eight rebounds, which in and of itself in an indictment on how the C’s played.
|First quarter: Celtics-Wizards||at 8:37 pm ET|
The obvious fear when playing a team like the Washington Wizards at 8 p.m. on a Sunday night is that the Celtics wouldn’t come out with enough energy. That was the story of the first 12 minutes as the C’s, and the crowd, sleepwalked through a 25-19 Wizards lead.
The Celtics dutifully worked the ball inside and got good shots, but they didn’t fall, going 7-for-21 from the floor. With favorable matchups at almost every position, the Celtics couldn’t seem to settle on a plan of attack.
The best idea involved Paul Pierce who had his way with Al Thornton and scored seven points. Washington’s Andray Blatche, who has been a revelation after the Wizards’ housecleaning at the trade deadline, has eight points and five rebounds.
|Finley: Not going to ‘hurt what they already have’||at 7:18 pm ET|
Looking at the big picture, it’s perfectly clear why Michael Finley is in a Celtics uniform today. After all, familiarity is a powerful thing.
Finley and his new head coach both hail from the Windy City, and it was in Chicago where their bond began in the late 1970s while Finley’s sister and Doc Rivers were at Proviso East High School.
“Well, me and Doc go way back,” Finley explained. “My sister was a cheerleader and he was the star basketball player at the high school games, and I used to sit under the basket and watch him play. That’s how far our relationship goes back. He’s always been a mentor for me, how to be a professional and how to be a man. He’s a role model for me and it goes way back, I’ve watched his career as a basketball player and as a coach, and it’s definitely an honor for me to play for him.”
Finley said his familiarity with the organization, from general manager Danny Ainge to coach Doc Rivers and players Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, made Boston a good fit for him. He said he had talks with another “championship” caliber team before deciding on the Celtics.
“I’ve talked to Doc and Danny, and coach was very honest with me, which I respect that he doesn’t know how he is going to use me,” Finley said. “I have to respect that. I am coming to a situation, where the team is already established. They have put in ‘X’ amount of games, so for me to come in and try to establish a role would be crazy for me to even think that. But coach has put me in a situation at ease, where he doesn’t know, I don’t know, just when my situation comes just go out there and play hard and do what I can to help the team be a better one. I think that I am able to do that.”
There’s also another practical matter for Finley, who turned 37 on Saturday, the day he landed — literally — in Boston.
“It gave me an opportunity to challenge for a title,” Finley said. “All those things combined with the over history of Boston just drew me here.”
Finley, who suffered what he called a severe ankle injury in December, said he’s ready to play and will wear the No. 40. Rivers held him out of Sunday’s game against the Wizards as he just arrived in Boston Saturday night.
Finley was also honest about his less-than-ideal situation in San Antonio, which precipitated his release last week.
“This all happened within a week, a week or two span,” Finley admitted. “It was something that started as something little and I think it just erupted. I think both sides, myself and the Spurs organization, there was a mutual split. I have no hard feelings with them, it was just something they were willing to do, and I was man enough to be ready to make that move.
“It was frustrating because of the situation I was in at San Antonio, but I think all players at my age and that have been in the league as long as I have experience that. Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t finish something that I had in San Antonio because the role was something that I really didn’t agree with. But here, hopefully the situation will be different, but you never know, it may be the same. But I’m happy with my situation now and I’m definitely going to make the most of it.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Preview: Celtics-Sixers||03.05.10 at 10:57 am ET|
A question that has been hanging in the air during this Celtics season: Should they be more aggressive? Should the Celtics be a little more (choose your adjective here) physical, punishing, nasty?
Paul Pierce certainly thought so. “That’s who are, truthfully,” he said after Wednesday’s game that featured a minor run-in with Stephen Jackson. “We’re a team that usually intimidates.” Pierce was quick to add that he didn’t advocate crossing whatever arbitrary line is drawn in the NBA sand these days regarding physical play.
Certainly the Celtics aren’t about to emulate the 90′s “no layups” Knicks, mostly because the rules have changed to the point where no one can play that kind of rough and tumble basketball without getting half the roster suspended. The Celtics are up among the league leaders in technical fouls with 77 (Orlando of all teams is the leader in the clubhouse with 79), but that’s more agitation than intimidation.
They’ve been called bullies and trash talkers before, but that’s a different thing, as well. The Celtics have played 59 games and they still seem like a team that is searching for an identity. Perhaps their old one fit just fine.
SIXERS (22-38, 3-7 last 10)
Points Per Game: 97.6
Points Allowed: 101.0
Differential: -3.4 (21st)
Offensive Efficiency: 105.6 (21st)
Defensive Efficiency: 109.2 (22nd)
Pace: 91.8 (21st)
CELTICS (38-21, 6-4 last 10)
Points Per Game: 98.7
Points Allowed: 94.1
Differential: +4.6 (7th)
Offensive Efficiency: 107.1 (13th)
Defensive Efficiency: 102.1 (2nd)
Pace: 91.7 (22nd)
Read the rest of this entry »
|Larry Brown: Don’t panic, Boston||03.03.10 at 11:43 pm ET|
Bobcats coach Larry Brown has a simple message for Celtics fans and others proclaiming an early demise for the Green in early March. Just relax.
“They buried us two games,” Brown said after his team lost 104-80 Wednesday night. In Boston’s home opener on Oct. 28, the Celtics prevailed, 92-59.
“But I don’t buy all this stuff that they’re in trouble. They’ve had some injuries. They’re just starting to get healthy. They got some new players like [Marquis] Daniels and Nate [Robinson] now, Rasheed [Wallace]. They’re gonna be fine. They got a great coach, they got great chemistry. They’re gonna be fine. I think everybody has bad periods but when you put the injuries they faced, all that’s done is develop depth.”
[Click here to hear Larry Brown rave about the Celtics.]
Brown has heard the naysayers proclaim the Celtics aren’t going anywhere because they’re old, because they can’t win at home and because they’ve lost the fire of a champion. Paul Pierce came out on fire Wednesday, scoring 27 points, one point for each minute he played.
“They’re gonna be alright,” Brown continued. “They play like this, this is the way Paul Pierce plays. Garnett was phenomenal. But I just like all the little pieces they have because I think Danny [Ainge] has done a tremendous job putting them in a position where they can play with just about anybody.”
“I don’t think anyone could have played in that environment,” Brown added. “They played great, they made shots, they executed great. We played hard but there were too many obstacles. But they played great. One time I think they were 10 for 12 from three. They shot 60% in the first half. Shared the ball. There bench was great. There bench was great last night. So if we had played our best I don’t know if that would have been good enough.”
|Jackson: Pierce challenged my manhood||at 11:03 pm ET|
Before Wednesday’s game, Celtics captain Paul Pierce made it a point to speak out for his team, letting them all know that nothing less than dominance at home would be acceptable the rest of the way.
During the game, that vocal spirit apparently offended Charlotte’s Stephen Jackson.
Following Wednesday night’s blowout 104-80 win by the Celtics, Jackson took issue with trash-talking by the Celtics and Pierce in particular.
“It turned disrespectful when certain things were said,” Jackson said. “You can be emotional in the game and you talk to your teammates and do all that but when you get personal and direct certain things to people as far as their manhood, that’s when the problems come up. And I guarantee you that if I wasn’t in this gym, that wouldn’t have been said to me.”
Pierce and Jackson got into a verbal battle and were each called for technical fouls with 7:31 remaining in the third quarter as Jackson was preparing to shoot free throws
[Click here to listen to Stephen Jackson speak out against the Celtics.]
|Fast Break: Celts rip Bobcats||at 9:58 pm ET|
Now, this is what the Celtics have been looking for.
Playing the second night of a back-to-back, and at home where they have struggled incomprehensibly this season, the Celtics finally put together a complete game in a 104-80 destruction of the Charlotte Bobcats Wednesday night at TD Garden.
The Celtics shot 54 percent, while holding the Bobcats to 36 percent shooting. It was eerily reminiscent of their first meeting of the season way back in October when the Celtics won 92-59.
The starters were solid, the bench was terrific, everyone is healthy and for the first time in a long time the Celtics looked like the team we’ve grown accustomed to watching over the last two and a half seasons.
Turning Point: Coming out for the second half the Celtics had a nine-point lead, which was nice but considering the way they had played for most of the half should have been much higher. Another night of post-game laments seemed imminent. But the Celtics flipped the script, outscoring Charlotte 28-16 in the third quarter. It was the kind of third-quarter effort that has been lacking since December.
Player of the Game: Paul Pierce scored 27 points in just 27 minutes of action. He made nine of 13 shots and was 4-for-6 from 3-point range. That’s impressive in and of itself, but what made Pierce’s performance even more remarkable is that the 27 points was the most he has scored in a game since scoring 35 against the Hawks on Jan. 29.
* Things got testy midway through the quarter when Stephen Jackson and Pierce received double technical fouls. A few minutes later Tyrus Thomas picked one up as well.
* Ray Allen scored only three points and took just two shots in 17 minutes. He had early foul trouble and never got on track, but the Celtics didn’t need him on this night.
* The Celtics led by as many as 17 points in the second quarter before the Bobcats cut the lead down to four.
* Nate Robinson electrified the crowd with a buzzer-beater 3-pointer at the end of the first quarter. He made his first four shots, all 3-pointers and finished with 16 points.
* Kendrick Perkins returned to the lineup after missing the previous game with the flu and scored five points early.