|How C’s-Cavs are different now||02.25.10 at 1:00 pm ET|
And for both teams – who meet tonight at TD Garden at 8 p.m. – the perspective has changed.
The Celtics went into Quicken Loans Arena on Oct. 27 and came away with a 95-89 win and served notice that they were intent on reclaiming their perch atop the Eastern Conference with Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen back in full stride.
That night Pierce led a balanced attack with 23 points, overcoming a game-high 38 from LeBron James. But C’s coach Doc Rivers said beyond the final score, there’s not much to take from the result that night.
“Nah, they’re not the same team,” Rivers said. “We’re not the same team. We won. We can take that away from it but other than that, I think both teams have forgotten about that.”
Indeed. Since then, the two teams have taken different paths. The Cavs, after losing their first two and starting the season 3-3, have rebounded to claim the top spot in the East and the NBA at 44-14, despite a recent three-game skid.
[Click here to listen to Rivers explain how Cavaliers are different than opening night.]
The Celtics, who stood 23-5 following a Christmas Day win over Orlando, have battled injuries and inconsistency and stand 36-19, just ahead of fourth-place Atlanta by a game in the loss column.
Both teams made moves at the trading deadline to strengthen themselves. While the Celtics added firepower with Nate Robinson, Cleveland acquired more front court athleticism in Antawn Jamisoin, dealing away Zydrunas Ilgauskas. The Cavs lost their first three games following the trade with Jamison in the starting lineup before he scored 18 in Tuesday’s win over New Orleans.
“They are different, watching them on tape the last two games,” Rivers said. “The Jamison thing has changed them a little bit. It definitely makes it more difficult to guard them so we have to get ready for that.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Ainge on The Big Show: Nate played ‘nervous’||02.24.10 at 8:49 pm ET|
Celtics president Danny Ainge was a guest on The Big Show Wednesday afternoon (Click here to listen to the interview) and he addressed the health of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, Nate Robinson’s adjustment to the team and Ray Allen’s resurgence. Following is a transcript.
Are you expecting Paul Pierce to be out against Cleveland?
I’m not sure yet. It will be a game-time decision. You never know with Paul. We want to be cautious with that thumb because those things can get aggravated easily. I don’t think the injury is serious, but they can get aggravated over and over and over.
Do you have to hold him out for his own benefit?
Yeah, but again, we will just see how the treatment goes and how much stronger it is tomorrow. By game time we will make that decision.
If you were playing the Nets tomorrow as opposed to Cleveland, would you treat it differently?
I don’t think so. I think that Cleveland might be a temptation for Paul. We still have the big picture in mind and it makes more sense to rest all his minor ailments and get him healthy once and for all.
How did Nate Robinson look last night?
I thought Nate was playing a little bit nervous. I think the dynamic of coming into a good team is a tough one because you are trying to fit in. He hasn’t played basketball in 10 days. They had a shootaround, basically, was all they had to go through the offense and playing the Knicks. I think all those things going in, there was a lot of emotion going on. I could see he was trying to fit in. Doc was trying to tell him that we just want you to be aggressive and attack, because that’s when he is at his best. Being an aggressive offensive player looking to score, I think that’s when he plays his best basketball. Read the rest of this entry »
|Nate: Celtics ‘want you to be loud’||at 5:12 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Communicating would seem to come very naturally for Nate Robinson. But what the three-time NBA dunk champ learned Wednesday on the first full day of Celtics practice for him and Marcus Landry was a bit of a surprise.
The Celtics coaches told him they want him to “talk” and “be loud” – specifically when he’s on the court.
“Talking on defense,” Robinson said. “They want you to be loud and talking. I’m a loud person but sometimes in basketball some of the guys that talk a lot are not the ones who talk on defense. But they bring out the best in me and I’m looking forward to this.”
|Pierce, Daniels miss practice||at 4:04 pm ET|
Pierce was kept out of practice on Wednesday to protect his injured right thumb while Marquis Daniels was sent home with flu-like symptoms.
“I’m not going to say definitely but most likely not [Thursday],” Rivers said. “We’ll just evaluate it day-to-day. I didn’t want him to take a chance of getting his thumb hit at all in practice so that if he did feel good [Thursday] but if not, we’ll just wait. We’re just going to go a game at a time with him.”
Asked if he were concerned that Pierce’s thumb was anything more than a sprain, Rivers said likely not. “I would know if it’s something else and it’s not,” he said.
Also missing practice on Wednesday was Daniels. “We sent Marquis home. He looked awful so we’ll see [Thursday] and if not I have no idea right now so we’ll figure it out,” Rivers said.
|House: I still love Boston||02.23.10 at 11:36 pm ET|
The emotion ran both ways for Eddie House in his return to the same parquet floor where just last month he was raining down 3’s on opponents and bringing fans to their feet.
On Tuesday night, a very appreciative House thanked the fans at TD Garden following Boston’s 110-106 win over his New York Knicks.
House received a standing ovation from the fans following a video tribute during a first-quarter timeout.
“It was beautiful,” he said. “I love the fans for the way they showed their love me and I have just as much back for them. I loved playing here. It was a great place. What a great run I had, winning a championship and having a chance again last year.”
[Click here to hear from House and his reaction to his return to Boston.]
On going from team with goal to win championship to a team building: ‘It’s hard, just losing. That’s the hard thing, I’m not used to losing. I haven’t been on a losing team in quite a long time. That’s the toughest thing about it is taking these L’s. Keep competing man, as long as you’re playing hard and trying to do the right thing. You can never be upset with yourself or your teammates. Everybody is trying to do the right thing and playing hard but for whatever reason we’re falling short.’
On whether he was glad he returned to Boston was so quick after trade: ‘It was no big deal. I didn’t put any more weight on this game than I did my first game in Madison Square. Just play the game of basketball. It’s the same thing just different opponent and just happens to be guys I played with before about a week ago. Just no strain on this game at all. I didn’t try to come in and just automatically try getting my shots like it was something. I just played the game and let the game come to me. Just play the right way that’s all I’m trying to do all the time.’
On what can he bring to this Knicks team: ‘I’m just going to try to bring as much leadership that I can. As far as playing the right way. That’s all it’s about is playing the right way and competing. I’m not saying I’m the best defensive player, but we’re going to try to do the best we can to put ourselves in position to be successful and keep helping if you get beat, and help him if he goes, and help someone else. We just got to continue to compete and it’s about leading by example, not just talking about it.’
|Fast Break: Celtics-Knicks||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.”
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