|Fast Break: Celtics-Knicks||02.23.10 at 9:53 pm ET|
The Celtics returned home after two weeks away and a reunion broke out. With Eddie House, Bill Walker and J.R. Giddens back at the Garden but in the colors of the New York Knicks, the pregame atmosphere had an almost surreal quality to it with House poking his head into the Celtics locker room saying, “Yeah, I know it’s the wrong one.”
The game between the Celtics and Knicks wasn’t any less bizarre. The Celtics built a double-digit lead only to see it collapse in the second quarter when the starting five came back into the game. They dominated in the paint, held the Knicks in check on the boards and turned it over only 13 times.
And they still needed a fourth quarter push to pull out a 110-106 victory.
Part of that was the game’s pace, which was strongly in New York’s favor, and part of that was the 27 3-point attempts the Knicks lobbed at the basket. But a win is a win, and the Celtics will take all of them that they can get, no matter how strange the circumstances.
Turning Point: In a game that featured 159 shots, the biggest play came on a possession that didn’t result in a field goal attempt. With the Celtics clinging to a 109-106 lead and less than a minute to play, Ray Allen appeared from out of nowhere and cleanly swatted Wilson Chandler’s drive to the basket resulting in a 24-second violation and a much-needed stop.
Player of the Game: Rajon Rondo. A couple of different options here, but Rondo’s 15 points and 16 assists get the nod over Kevin Garnett’s overall game, which was also strong. Rondo also had an emphatic slam when the Knicks backed off guarding him and gave him an open lane to the basket.
* All five Celtic starters had double figures in points before the end of the third quarter.
* Garnett got up for a vicious alley-oop dunk off a pass from Rondo in the first quarter. Garnett got loose for a number of backdoor cuts, but that was the only one they connected on for a dunk.
* The Celtics scored 38 points and shot 61 percent from the floor in the first quarter.
* Eddie House who received a stirring video tribute during a timeout. The crowd rose for a standing ovation and broke into a spontaneous ‘Ed-die, Ed-die’ chant. House acknowledged the crowd, in turn.
* Nate Robinson also received a rousing welcome from the Garden crowd when he checked in late in the quarter. As promised by Doc Rivers he did see time with Rondo in the backcourt. Robinson had just four points, one rebound and one assist on 2-for-7 shooting.
* Bill Walker scored seven points and seems to have already made a strong impression on his new team. There’s a good chance Walker will get an opportunity to earn a roster spot with the Knicks next season.
|Doc on Nate: ‘You take your chance’||at 8:16 pm ET|
“You absolutely look and watch on a guy’s past history,” Rivers said of Robinson’s troublesome reputation with the Knicks. “It’s a great indicator of what’s going to be next. And yeah, we look at all that. I also look at his ability and what he can do on the floor. You try to make a decision on what overrides what and then you take your chance. We’ve taken chances on guys and some have paid off and some haven’t but I’m willing to do that. I’ve always been willing to do that.
“I want him to be him on the court and that’s one of the things I said. We didn’t grab you, we didn’t want you for the things you haven’t done. We grabbed you for all the things you do on the court. As far as the other stuff, we’ll see. We’ll see how it plays out.”
The coach said things were so rushed at the practice facility in Waltham on Monday – the only day the coaching staff has had to work with him – they had to have coaches come in to run the offense sets with no defense.
“One practice was [Monday] with no players,” Rivers said of Monday’s workout with Robinson running the point. “We ran our offense with Thibs [defensive coach Tom Thibodeau] at the two and Armond [Hill] at the three and it looked crazy. It looked awful, and it should have.”
Rivers said it would be way too much to expect Robinson to pick everything up on the fly.
“Well, I don’t know what he can grasp,” Rivers said. “That’s something we’ll find out as the year goes on. We gave him way too much stuff [Monday] and we knew that doing it and then afterward, [Tuesday] we’re just going to roll the ball out and just play. I think with a point guard, it’s very difficult to integrate a point guard in your system like this on the fly like this so we’ll do one set at a time for him.
“When he comes on the floor, basically we’ll be a one-set team and it will involve him, trying to create. It’s no secret to play basketball. We’ll figure it out.”
|Pierce out with right thumb, flu||at 6:57 pm ET|
“It’s just a hurt hand so we’re just going to go one day at a time,” coach Doc Rivers said. “He’s not even in the building tonight. He has the flu, too. He would’ve played if he didn’t have the hand injury. With the flu, we just told him to stay home.”
Rivers said he was not aware if tests have been performed on Pierce’s right thumb.
“If we have, I don’t know. I’m assuming we have but I actually don’t know the answer,” Rivers added.
|Nate: Willing to help ‘by any means’||at 6:11 pm ET|
Nate Robinson promised his new teammates and fans that they are going to see a determined player as he begins his Celtics career in Boston. “It’s a brand new start,” said Robinson, who was seated next to Marcus Landry, the other player acquired in the trade with the Knicks.
“I’m just looking to keep my mind free and no detours. I’m on track and not looking for any detours. I’m just going to have my mind focused on the prize and that’s to win games in the playoffs and win a championship and help this team to that by any means, whether I play one minute or 30 minutes, I’m going to be here whenever my number is called, I’ll be ready to play.”
[Click here to hear some audio highlights of Nate Robinson's press conference before Tuesday's game.]
Robinson, after missing his first two games with an illness, will make his debut against his former Knicks team at TD Garden.
[Click here to hear Nate Robinson's opening remarks followed by Marcus Landry's remarks.]
Here are the highlights of Robinson’s press conference before members of the New York and Boston media. Read the rest of this entry »
|Preview: Celtics-Knicks||at 10:20 am ET|
When last we saw the Celtics in Boston, they were blowing a huge third-quarter lead against the Orlando Magic and causing nearly everyone to abandon ship. That was on Super Bowl Sunday. Since then, we’ve seen Peyton Manning choke, the United States win 25 medals in the Olympics and Tiger Woods kind of apologize.
Since then we’ve also seen the Celtics manage to win the first three games of a treacherous West Coast road trip (including sweeping the Lakers and Blazers in a back-to-back, which ranks near the top of the NBA in degree of difficulty) before getting blitzed in a first-quarter barrage in a loss against the Nuggets.
In other words, a lot can change in two weeks.
In the games since the All-Star break, Ray Allen has rediscovered his shooting touch, Kevin Garnett has looked more athletic than he has since December and Rasheed Wallace looks like he cares. That last part is a cheap shot, but it accurately encapsulates how a lot of people feel about this Celtics run.
The question is: Are the Celtics capable of turning it on and off whenever they want, and is this what happened over the first half of the season when uneven performances and second-half collapses became the norm? The showed out west just how good they can be even with Paul Pierce dealing with his various injuries. Now they just have to do it consistently before everyone can believe it again.
KNICKS (19-36, 1-9 last 10)
Points Per Game: 100.9
Points Allowed: 104.1
Differential: -3.2 (21st)
Offensive Efficiency: 106.6 (15th)
Defensive Efficiency: 109.7 (24th)
Pace: 94.0 (7th)
Injuries: McGrady (knee, questionable)
CELTICS (35-19, 6-4 last 10)
Points Per Game: 98.5
Points Allowed: 93.6
Differential: +4.9 (4th)
Offensive Efficiency: 106.8 (13th)
Defensive Efficiency: 101.5 (1st)
Pace: 91.7 (21st)
Injuries: Pierce (thumb, questionable) Read the rest of this entry »
|Third quarter wrap: Celtics-Blazers||02.20.10 at 12:36 am ET|
The defensive effort that the Celtics rode in the second quarter carried over to the third as they maintained a 73-61 lead despite struggling on offense. The Celtics scored just 17 points in the quarter, but they have held Portland to 34 percent shooting through three quarters.
Rajon Rondo and Rasheed Wallace both picked up technical fouls in the quarter. Wallace had his technical from Thursday night rescinded. Assuming he keeps this one, he now has 13 technical fouls this season. His 16th would trigger an automatic suspension.
Portland got two cheap points late in the quarter as Brian Scalabrine threw an errant inbounds pass under his own basket that was picked off by Jerryd Bayless, who then converted a layup.
|Halftime wrap: Celtics vs. Blazers||02.19.10 at 11:43 pm ET|
After a hot start offensively, the Celtics put the clamps down defensively, holding the Blazers to just three field goals in the quarter to take a 56-38 lead into halftime.
Portland scored just six points in the first six minutes of the quarter as the Celtics built a 45-31 lead with their second unit. The starters picked it up from there as Kevin Garnett knocked down his first 3-pointer of the season on a desperation heave as the shot clock expired. Garnett followed that with a length-of-the-floor layup off a feed from Rajon Rondo.
Rondo capped off the quarter with a buzzer-beating 20-foot jump shot. He has eight points and nine assists, while Garnett leads all scorers with 13 points and seven rebounds.