|Celtics-Bucks preview||12.08.09 at 11:48 am ET|
Fresh off their four-game road trip, the Celtics entertain the Milwaukee Bucks tonight at the TD Garden in a game featuring two teams heading in opposite directions. The Celtics swept their road trip and have won seven straight, while Milwaukee has dropped seven of its last eight after starting the season 8-3.
CELTICS (16-4, 8-2 last 10)
Points per game: 100.1
Offensive Rating: 109.4 (8th in NBA)
Points allowed: 90.6
Defensive Rating: 99.1 (1st)
Pace: 90.9 (26th)
BUCKS (9-10, 3-7 last 10)
Points per game: 98.3
Offensive Rating: 103.4 (24th)
Points allowed: 98.3
Defensive Rating: 103.5 (8th)
Pace: 94.0 (9th)
Key matchup: Rondo vs. Jennings. The Bucks offense revolves around its rookie guard, particularly with Michael Redd battling a knee injury. Jennings is far and away Milwaukee’s most dominant player, using almost 30 percent of the team’s possessions. The key for Rondo will be to try to keep Jennings in front of him and to challenge his 3-point shot on high pick and rolls. Jennings is in a shooting slump, but he is still shooting 3-pointers at a rate of almost 45 percent.
Milwaukee in a paragraph: Despite their recent struggles, the Bucks have been one of the surprise teams in the Eastern Conference this season. General manager John Hammond began the process of breaking up a team that was over the luxury tax but not producing wins on the court by cutting ties with Charlie Villanueva and Ramon Sessions in the offseason. He will have to wait out the contracts of Redd, Charlie Bell and Dan Gadzuric before making any more drastic changes, but he hit a home run with the selection of Jennings, and coach Scott Skiles knows how to coach competitive defensive-minded teams.
Boston in a paragraph: The Celtics are rolling, but Marquis Daniels is expected to miss time with a wrist injury. That could allow for Tony Allen to make his season debut tonight. If there is a concern for the Celtics it has been their play at home, where they are 7-3 and have been plagued by slow starts in recent games.
What to watch for: This is the Celtics’ only home game before they head out on a three-game road swing. The only piece of unfinished business for them is to earn a convincing win at home. A reeling Bucks team should provide that opportunity.
|Fast break: Celtics-Thunder||12.04.09 at 10:24 pm ET|
Before the Celtics went on their four-game road trip the mood around the team was one of unease. They were winning games, mostly, but they were making things very hard on themselves. The double-digit blowouts were just a distant memory.
One week later the Celtics will return to Boston as the hottest team in the Eastern Conference, winners of seven straight and proud owners of a four-game road sweep. They capped it off with an impressive 105-87 win over the young and exciting Oklahoma City Thunder, a day after gutting out a win over the San Antonio Spurs.
On the trip the Celtics returned to their dominant defensive roots and played smart, efficient basketball on the offensive end. They will have a well-earned three days off before their next game back at the TD Garden against Milwaukee on Tuesday.
Player of the Game: Kevin Garnett. You could have picked any number of Celtics for the coveted Green Street Player of the Game award, but KG gets the nod for scoring 23 points on 10-of-11 shooting with eight rebounds and a couple of tasty dunks. It’s impossible to say at this point if KG is back to being the KG of old, but he sure looked like it on the road trip.
Turning Point: Oklahoma City made it clear early on that it was going to try to run. A good strategy by coach Scott Brooks considering his team’s youth and the Celtics long road trip. There was only one problem: The C’s wanted to run as much as the Thunder did and they did it much, much better. A 15-5 run erased an early three-point lead and put the Celtics in the drivers seat.
* The worst thing that could happen to the Thunder was foul trouble and Nick Collison lived in it all night long. Without Nenad Kristic, the Thunder simply didn’t have enough size to match up with the Celtics inside.
* Garnett got free for a number of easy dunks and he finished strong on each of them. He looks positively rejuvenated on this trip.
* After a slow start Rajon Rondo turned it on in the second half finishing with 15 points and six assists.
* Paul Pierce and Kevin Durant put on a good show in the first half with Durant scoring 22 and Pierce going off for 21 points. Durant is a phenomenal offensive player, but his defense has a long way to go before he can join the upper echelon of stars.
|Fast break: Celtics-Bobcats||12.01.09 at 9:34 pm ET|
Coming into Tuesday night’s action, the two hottest teams in the Eastern Conference were Boston and Charlotte. Despite their inconsistent play the Celtics had reeled off four straight wins. Despite being the Bobcats, Larry Brown’s crew had also won four straight, including a decisive victory over the Cavs.
Additionally the Celtics came in with the best road record in the league, while the Bobcats owned a 6-1 mark at home. But what looked like an intriguing matchup quickly turned into a rout as the Celtics played their best game since the first week of the season in a 108-90 win. Ray Allen broke out with 27 points, while Kevin Garnett continued his hot shooting, scoring 16 points to go with seven rebounds and five assists
Player of the Game: Kendrick Perkins. The Celtics center has very quietly put together a strong season, but he may not remain a secret for much longer after scoring 21 points to go with 12 rebounds. It was Perk’s second double-double in as many games and his third in the last six. He scored easily and efficiently against Tyson Chandler, showing a nice variety of low-post moves.
Turning point: Midway through the second quarter the Bobcats had cut the Celtics lead to 12, 42-30, when the starting five came back on the floor. They proceeded to go on an 11-1 run, highlighted by deft passing and great defensive work. The Bobcats never got back in the game.
* The Celtics were 17-for-17 from the free throw line in the first half. Among the encouraging signs: Garnett had six free throws and Rajon Rondo and Perkins were a combined 5-for-5.
* The Bobcats racked up 13 offensive rebounds but that number is a little deceiving. Most of them came on just a handful of possessions so it wasn’t like the C’s were getting beat on the boards all night and a few of them were, shall we say, generously awarded.
* Hard to say that the Celtics played “great” defense because the Bobcats looked so disorganized offensively, but they held Charlotte to 41 percent shooting.
* Once again things got testy between these two teams. Garnett and Nazr Mohammed had to be separated and Rondo and Chandler picked up double fouls away from the ball.
|Celtics looking for bonding on trip||11.28.09 at 3:36 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Doc Rivers laughed when asked to characterize the upcoming road trip through Miami, Charlotte, San Antonio and Oklahoma City.
“It’s an important trip because it’s four good teams, unfortunately all four teams are playing well,” Rivers said. “But that’s what you have to expect when you go out on the road.
Indeed, the four teams have a collective record of 32-28, with only Charlotte (6-9) under .500.
“This is a time where where you have to concentrate more,” Pierce said. “We understand what being a successful road team is about in the past. It will give us more focus time. I think we understand being on the road, we have to focus a lot more. You can’t play the way we’ve been playing at home on the road because you won’t get those wins.”
|Ray Allen rejoins team||at 3:11 pm ET|
WALTHAM — After spending time with his ill son on Friday night at a local hospital, Ray Allen re-joined the Celtics for their plane trip to Miami and should be available for Sunday night’s game in Miami in the opener of the team’s four-game road trip, according to the team.
Allen was not at Celtics practice on Saturday. Walker Allen, 2, was diagnosed with diabetes during the 2008 NBA Finals and Allen spent the night with him on Friday night after getting word after the game that he was not feeling well.
“There really is no update,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said after Saturday’s practice. “It’s more his son. He’s [caring for] Walker, obviously. That’s why he’s not around.”
|Ray Allen misses practice to be with ill son||at 1:55 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Ray Allen is spending time with his ill son and may not be available for Sunday night’s game in Miami in the opener of the team’s four-game road trip. Allen was not at Celtics practice on Saturday.
Walker Allen was diagnosed with diabetes during the 2008 NBA Finals and Allen spent the night with him on Friday night after getting word after the game that he was not feeling well.
“There really is no update,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said following practice. “It’s more his son. He’s [caring for] Walker, obviously. That’s why he’s not around.”
Rivers then was asked if he’d be available for Sunday in Miami.
“We don’t know yet,” Rivers said.
The team left for Miami following their Saturday practice at the Sports Authority complex in Waltham.
|Baby to have hard cast removed||11.27.09 at 6:23 pm ET|
BOSTON — Glen Davis will have the hard cast on his right hand removed on Tuesday and receive a soft cast, the next step in his rehab from a fractured right thumb.
“It’s going to be soft so I can be able to move, be able to shoot, and rehab and get some flexibility back in my hand,’ he told WEEI.com on Friday prior to the Celtics-Raptors game. ‘That’s about it. Then after that, it depends on how I feel.’
Davis injured the thumb two days before the Celtics‘ season opener and had surgery to repair it. Since then his mobility has been limited. He has been grabbing putting and squeezing it with his fingers to prevent losing muscle in his fingers. Davis will continue touching one finger to the other to increase his strength.
‘It feels great to get out of this cast,’ he said. ‘Then I can at least work to something else. It’s like I’ve been in this cast for so long I haven’t been able to work on anything. But now it’s like upgrading it and it depends on how I feel.’
Davis anticipates it will be a few weeks before he can begin shooting with his right hand and has not been given a timetable for his return to the court. In the meantime he will continue improving his left-hand skills, something he believes will help his game in the long run. Davis has already seen the benefits as Rasheed Wallace shoots with both hands.
‘Oh most definitely, most definitely, most definitely. Now I know how important my left hand is, you know? I always realized it was important but when you don’t have your right hand, you understand how important your other hand is,’ he said. ‘It’s going to help me a lot, especially on both sides of the floor, using your hands, hand-eye coordination, and things like that.”
He added, ‘It’s just been really weird. Every time I’ve used my left hand it just feels so natural now. Like you know sometimes you use your left hand and it’s like ugh. Now I’ve been using it so much and been working on that, it feels natural.’
Davis has been working out with the team and staying in condition for when he is ready to resume basketball activities. He says he is not worried about finding his way back into the Celtics’ system and believes being mentally prepared will help him ease back into playing with his teammates, many of whom joined the Cs this offseason.
‘You know, I’m not even worried about that. As long as I’m in shape and mentally I’m ready to play, I think I’ll be fine,’ he said. ‘But one thing is it’s different when you’re on the court. Like you know, different conditioning. So when I get a couple of practices in with the coaches, with the team, probably travel with them, get some more conditioning and hopefully be back again soon.’
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