|Celtics-Wizards Preview||12.10.09 at 11:18 am ET|
What to make of the Washington Wizards? They started the 2009-10 season losing seven of their first nine games, which pretty much knocked them out of sleeper contender status in the Eastern Conference. Then Antawn Jamison returned from an injury and the Wizards went 5-5, which gets them back into playoff contention. (Hey, it is the Eastern Conference). When healthy — they are also without Mike Miller — the Wizards are probably a playoff team and they have played the Celtics tough over the last few years.
The Celtics have their own health issues with Marquis Daniels expected to be out for up to two months after wrist surgery. Tony Allen made his return Tuesday and provided the usual Tony Allen delights — a couple of hustle plays, a turnover on a pass to a guy in the courtside seats, a charging foul that a bull in Pamplona would have avoided. But not even the return of TA could derail the Celtics express. The C’s have won eight straight and are sure to be gracing the top of various power rankings shortly.
CELTICS (17-4, 9-1 last 10)
Points Per Game : 100.0
Offensive Efficiency: 109.4 (8th)
Points Allowed: 90.5
Defensive Efficiency: 99.0 (First)
Pace: 91.0 (25th)
WIZARDS (7-12, 5-5 last 10)
Points Per Game: 96.7
Offensive Efficiency: 103.8 (24th)
Points Allowed: 100.4
Defensive Efficiency: 107.8 (20th)
Pace: 92.6 (15th)
Key Matchup: Perkins vs. Haywood. The Celtics are not a good rebounding team. Doc Rivers and the players have pegged it as a team-wide issue. The bigs have taken responsibility. The guards have taken responsibility. That’s all good from an Ubuntu perspective, but it wouldn’t hurt if players started putting bodies on their opponents. The Wizards don’t do a lot of things well, but they do hit the offensive glass, particularly Haywood who is one of the best in the league. Also keep an eye on Andray Blatche and Rasheed Wallace when the second units are on the floor.
The Wizards in a Paragraph: We’ve gone this far and we haven’t mentioned Agent Zero. Possibly because it seems that Gilbert Arenas doesn’t know who Gilbert Arenas is anymore. He started the year being all business, then he dropped that for his “old” persona which now seems as dated as Windows XP. Ernie Grunfeld made a bold move in the offseason bringing in Miller and Randy Foye to compliment his veterans and intriguing collection of young talent. It was always going to take time, but injuries have set back the timetable and the Wizards don’t have much time left.
The Celtics in a Paragraph: The C’s are back on the road for three straight, which brings up an interesting point. Did you know the Lakers have played 16 of their first 20 games at home? To put it another way, the Celtics played as many road games last week as the Lakers have played all season.
What to Watch For: This seems simple. Keep the Wizards off the offensive glass. Now that Daniels will be out for a significant chunk of time, who takes his minutes? Tony Allen gets first crack. Can he handle the job?
|Daniels has surgery on left thumb||12.09.09 at 10:42 am ET|
Marquis Daniels could miss up to two months following surgery this morning at New England Baptist Hospital to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb. The procedure was performed by Celtics Team Physician, Dr. Brian McKeon and Dr. Drew Terrono.
Daniels has appeared in 19 games for the Celtics averaging 5.7 points, 2.0 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game
Daniels confirmed the surgery on Wednesday and expressed his appreciation for support on his twitter account.
“Thanx 4 everyones prayers my surgery went well, I’ll be back better than before I had been, I’d like to say thanks to all dat prayed 4me,” Daniels tweeted.
Head coach Doc Rivers said Tuesday that Tony Allen and Brian Scalabrine are expected to pick up the minutes for Daniels, who was second off the bench behind Rasheed Wallace. Daniels posted a season-high 10 points against Utah on Nov. 11.
|C’s trying to get the point of rebounding||at 12:02 am ET|
Celtics coach Doc Rivers knows his team, even in the midst of an eight-game winning streak, can’t go on rebounding like they are if they are to have any chance of hanging an 18th banner from the rafters.
On Tuesday night, the Celtics went on a very late 7-0 run to pull away from the Milwaukee Bucks, 98-89, for their eighth straight and a very gaudy 17-4 record.
What’s not so gaudy are their rebounding numbers.
They were outrebounded 44-35 by a younger, quicker Milwaukee team, including 14-5 on the offensive glass. The Celtics entered the game 29th in the NBA, or next-to-last, in rebounding. They are dead last in offensive rebounding.
|Fast Break: Celtics-Bucks||12.08.09 at 10:01 pm ET|
It’s apparently not going to be easy for the Celtics at home, where their inexplicable trend of playing sub-.500 teams close on the Garden floor continued Tuesday night against the Bucks. At various points, it looked like the Celtics would run away with the game, only to have the Bucks close the gap.
A fourth-quarter surge finally put some distance between them on the scoreboard and the Celtics were able to prevail with a 98-89 win, their eighth straight. The Bucks have now dropped eight of their last nine. Kevin Garnett scored 25 points and added nine rebounds to lead the scoring. Bucks center Andrew Bogut had a huge game with 25 points and 14 rebounds.
Player of the Game: Rajon Rondo. In a game where all five Celtics starters (and Rasheed Wallace) scored in double figures, credit must go to the distributor. Rondo recorded a near triple-double with 11 points, nine rebounds and 13 assists. Rondo also harassed super-rookie Brandon Jennings into an uneven 17-point performance. If Jennings wants to lay claim to the point guard throne he has a long way to go to match Rondo.
Turning Point: It wasn’t so much a turning “point” as it was a slow change in play. With the score tied at 86-86, the Celtics slowly began to put some distance between themselves and the Bucks outscoring them 12-3 down the stretch.
‘¢Garnett continued his string of strong outings with 25 points and nine rebounds. He took the ball aggressively to the basket early in the game, which helped set the tone and made a huge basket late in the game. He also forced Ersan Ilyasova into a 6-for-17 shooting night.
‘¢Milwaukee guard Luke Ridnour appeared to injure his wrist late in the third quarter. He has had problems with the wrist before. He didn’t return to the game.
‘¢Tony Allen made his debut and played five rather eventful minutes. He made a number of hustle plays and also threw the ball out of bounds and barreled into a Buck defender on his way to the basket for an obvious charging call. The Celtics went 10 deep even without Marquis Daniels. Brian Scalabrine saw the majority of minutes ahead of Shelden Williams.
‘¢Wallace had a superb shooting night making five of eight shots and hitting three of four from 3-point range. His shooting was a big reason the Celtics were able to scratch out a lead to start the fourth quarter.
|Pagliuca falls short in Senate bid||at 9:44 pm ET|
Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca’s bid to secure the Democratic nod for the open U.S. Senate seat came to an apparent end on Tuesday night when Martha Coakley won in a runaway.
Pagliuca and Alan Khazei were neck-and-neck for third behind Coakley and Democratic runner-up Michael Capuano.
On the Republican side, Scott Brown, whose daughter Ayla is a senior on the Boston College women’s basketball team, cruised to victory in his primary.
Coakley will square off against Brown on Jan. 19 to fill the seat held by the late Edward M. Kennedy.
|Daniels to get MRI||at 8:06 pm ET|
“It’s been hurting for a good three weeks but that [Oklahoma City] game someone re-hit it and that’s just the way it is,” Rivers said.
“We’re not sure yet,” Rivers said. “We’re going to wait till [Wednesday]. I don’t think he’s going to play in the next couple of games for sure.
“A lot of things. I don’t think he’s been able to hold onto the ball. I think it’s affected Eddie [House] because early in the year, especially in preseason, Eddie was getting great shots off Marquis’ passes. He hasn’t had the ability to pass and I think that’s affected Eddie a lot.”
Rivers noticed something in practice on Sunday when Daniels was told to take a seat.
“The other day in practice, I blew the whistle and told him to sit down and let’s do something else because we could see it just wasn’t working,” Rivers said. “Honestly, I’ve been watching him in practice. He tried to get a rebound with one hand when he needed both and you could see him protect it. He wouldn’t say anything, which is why he probably kept going. He kept saying it’s a little pain, it’s nothing big. So, we’ll find out. Hopefully, he’s right.”
|Take that Tim Donaghy||at 7:56 pm ET|
Rivers was asked for his reaction to Donaghy’s claims on Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday that Rivers tried to intimidate younger NBA officials.
“I’ve been trying to get on younger players for a long time to persuade them to do things as well so I don’t know,” Rivers joked at first, before adding, “I’m so sick of that guy right now, I really am, for our league. I love our league and I hate what’s going on, that we’re giving a guy like that credibility.”
Donaghy ejected Rivers from a game back in April 2005. Rivers then lodged a complaint with the league, accusing Donaghy with personal bias against the Celtics coach.
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