|First Quarter Wrap: Celtics vs. Nets||02.27.10 at 1:40 pm ET|
The Celtics stayed true to form racing out to a 12-2 lead. Unfortunately, their second-half form also came out when they allowed the 5-52 Nets to go on a 16-6 run to tie the game at 18.
Like Thursday night, the Celtics were on fire from the floor, shooting a blazing 11-for-16 to start the opening quarter and finishing 12-for-19. Kevin Garnett made all four of his shots and finished with eight points.
Devin Harris, who is second on the Nets in scoring at 16.5 points a game, nearly had that many in the opening period, netting 11, including all six free throws.
Keyon Dooling drilled a three just before the first-quarter buzzer to give Nets a 29-27 lead.
|Perk: ‘Sometimes maybe we do get bored’||at 1:09 pm ET|
“It’s different because I think guys are really anxious to get to the playoffs,” he said. “You have your veteran guys, Sheed, KG, you could tell that this regular season really don’t excite them, seriously. Even with Paul and Ray, you still have to go out here and compete, and it’s not an excuse for losing but you can just tell guys just want to get to the crunch time, get to the playoffs.”
Then Perkins made reference to fact that the Celtics were swept this season in four games by Atlanta, one of the teams they’re battling with for playoff seeding in the Eastern Conference.
[Click here to hear Perkins tell it the way it is.]
“Even like the Atlanta series, when they swept us, we took it to heart but it wasn’t like a big deal like how everyone else tried to make it,” Perkins admitted. “I don’t know if that’s a bad thing but it’s just like we come into games focused and we’re not trying to lose games but you can see that sometimes maybe we do get bored with the process and we can’t do that.
“That first year we kept harping on trying to get that best record so we could have home court advantage through playoffs. I think now guys are [realize] last year we won a couple of games on the road, we won a lot more on the road this year, our road record is pretty decent and guys are comfortable and guys are really like we don’t care where we fall in the playoffs let’s just play so I don’t know if that’s a bad thing or good thing. I do hate losing, whether it’s the regular season or playoffs.”
Perkins said there was no panic in the Celtics locker room after blowing a 13-point lead to Cleveland on Thursday night and losing by 20.
“After the Cleveland game, I never got a bad vibe from the team, period,” he said. “Guys said what they had to say about why we lost but one thing about this is we’re always together. There’s never guys straying apart. Guys always stick together, whether we lose or win so that’s the good thing about our team.
“We’re always consistent on how we act we with each other. We never overreact to a loss or anything somebody may write about us. We always stick together. I guess that’s where ‘Ubuntu’ comes in.
|Pierce will travel, could play Tuesday||at 12:50 pm ET|
Doc Rivers said before Saturday’s game against New Jersey that Paul Pierce would miss his third straight game with a sprained right thumb but the coach is hopeful Pierce could return by the team’s next game on Tuesday in Detroit.
|LeBron: Rondo has made ‘The Board’||02.26.10 at 2:39 pm ET|
Before every game, NBA coaches and their assistants place the names of players to contain on a board as part of the game plan.
But it’s obvious now that they need to add a fourth name: Rajon Rondo.
He showed why in the first quarter on Thursday night, with 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the floor and six assists as the Celtics raced out to a 31-21 lead. James stopped short of saying Rondo has become the most important Celtic but not by much.
“I don’t know if I can say that,” James began. “When you scout for Boston, there are certain guys that make that board before the game, these type of guys you have to stop and he’s one of those guys.
“First couple of years here in Boston, he wasn’t on that board. He was fast point guard, you have to get back but other than that you didn’t talk about him, you didn’t talk about Rondo.”
[Click here to hear LeBron talk about Rondo.]
Rondo earned his first All-Star berth this winter and players like King James have taken note.
“Last year, he made a name for himself and he makes that board when you’re talking about, ‘This is what we’re doing again Paul, this is what we’re doing against Ray and this is what we’re doing against KG and this is what we’re doing against Rondo.’ When you make that board, you’re definitely a very good player.”
As for whether Rondo can get the Celtics back in gear and challenge the 45-14 Cavaliers, that remains to be seen. But James isn’t taking the Celtics lightly, even after a 20-point win on Thursday at TD Garden.
“They’re a very good team,” James said. “No one doubts Boston. No one who ever comes into this building or plays Boston on the road doubts that team. They have too many weapons, they’re too experienced. They have a good coach, a good coaching staff. No one ever doubts them and you better play well or they can embarrass you.”
|King James finally holds court in Boston||at 1:20 am ET|
Before Thursday, LeBron James had pretty much mastered every opponent on every court in the NBA.
The lone exception was Boston. Including four games of the 2008 playoffs, the Celtics had beaten Cleveland nine straight on the parquet. And after one quarter, the Celtics certainly appeared headed for No. 10 with a 31-21 lead. But that’s when the Cavaliers, and specifically James and teammate Mo Williams, said enough was enough.
James had 36 and Williams canned four of his five 3-pointers in the second half as the Cavs ran away from the Celtics, 108-88, at TD Garden.
Afterward, he spoke to the great play of his team in the second half, what it was like to finally win in Boston and picking up the slack for the injured Shaquille O’Neal.
|Halftime wrap: Celtics-Cavs||02.25.10 at 9:20 pm ET|
Rajon Rondo has 14 points and eight assists, while Ray Allen has 13 on 5-for-7 shooting and 3-for-3 from 3-point range. Kevin Garnett also had a big half with eight points and six rebounds. LeBron James leads all scorers with 21 points.
Doc Rivers played Rondo and Nate Robinson together in the backcourt for a significant stretch of the second quarter. The Cavalier guards presented an excellent opportunity for Rivers to try the alignment as Mo Williams and Delonte West don’t present matchup problems with their size. Robinson scored six quick points off jump shots on the pick and roll.
Shaquille O’Neal went to the locker room halfway through the second quarter. He will miss the rest of the game after suffering a thumb injury. Former Celtic Leon Powe made his season debut for the Cavaliers and received a standing ovation from the crowd. Powe had been rehabbing after knee surgery.
|Help defense on King James||at 8:57 pm ET|
Doc Rivers hinted before Thursday’s game with Cleveland that he planned to employ several different defensive strategies on LeBron James, including using one of his best big defenders on the big guard.
With Paul Pierce out for the second straight game with a sprained thumb and Marquis Daniels weakened with flu-like symptoms, Rivers was forced to get creative to come up with ways to defend the 6-8 swingman.
“Tony [Allen]is the other guy right now, and then Marcus [Landry] maybe, Scal maybe, maybe Kevin [Garnett],” Rivers said. “We’ll find that out. We don’t know what Marquis can give us so we’ll just have to wait and see.”
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