|Fast break: Celtics-Knicks||11.22.09 at 4:12 pm ET|
Depending on your point of view, the Celtics 107-105 victory over the Knicks in overtime Sunday at Madison Square Garden was either a gritty gut-check, or a further sign that things are not right with the C’s.
Kevin Garnett hit the winning shot, but was 4-for-15 for the game. Ray Allen made a huge 3-pointer late in regulation, but was 3-for-13. Rasheed Wallace continued his slump missing all six shots. And on the defensive end, the Celtics held the Knicks to 43 percent shooting, but allowed Al Harrington to drop 30 points on them off the bench, which contributed to the C’s blowing a 14-point lead in the second half.
Either way, it’s a win the Celtics will take after losing three of their last four.
Player of the game: Paul Pierce. The Celtics captain had been content to play distributor at times this season, but with the memory of so many slow starts in his head, Pierce elected to take over early and often. He scored 17 of his 33 points in the first half and lived at the free throw line, all while helping handle some of the point guard duties. There are lot of things that are “off” with the Celtics right now, but Pierce is not one of them.
Turning point: There were so many ebbs and flows that it’s hard to pick one moment as the turning point, but as big shots go it was hard to top Allen’s corner 3-pointer in transition that gave the Celtics a 96-94 lead late in regulation. New York came back to tie the game on a couple of occasions, but never regained the lead.
* It’s still too early to judge Garnett on his comeback, but the judgments will start to come after yet another lackluster performance, despite his game-winning shot. Doc Rivers has acknowledged that Garnett is still a work in progress but he continues to insist that KG is 100 percent healthy.
* Kendrick Perkins played the role of unsung hero with 16 points and 13 rebounds in what might have been his best game of the season. He also refused to get into anything extra with Eddy Curry who has returned to the Knicks a far more feisty player than when they banished him. Curry was sent to the bench, and assessed a flagrant foul, after whacking Rajon Rondo in the back of the head. That came after Perkins stymied him on the block.
* Where was Nate Robinson down the stretch? Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni did the Celtics a favor by keeping Robinson on the bench in favor of Chris Duhon, who is neither a good shooter nor a good creator with the ball in his hands.
|Sheed trying to keep Superman from lifting off||11.20.09 at 1:27 pm ET|
Don’t let Superman take off.
“Step on his launch pad,” Wallace said of his strategy. “He’s a big fella, he can jump. If you step on his launch pad before he can take off and make it a hard shot for him, it’s a 50-50 chance. He going to come with the hook and little jumper, just take that 50-50 chance.”
But just because he wants to make life miserable on Howard’s big feet, don’t get the impression he doesn’t try and help Howard when the two aren’t combatants in the low post.
Wallace actually gives Howard advice on how to become even more of a force than he is now.
“He doesn’t try to brush me off,” Wallace said. “He listens. That’s coming from him being raised well by his mom and dad. I don’t think he’s arroagant. He’s still trying to learn. I think he’s just tipping the iceberg because all we’re seeing right now is him dunking and catching the alley-oops. If he decides to go into the gym and get that little 12-to-15 footer down and they establish a good pick-and-roll with the three guys they’ve got, him and Jameer or him and Rashard, I think they’ll be pretty good.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Celtics savor shot at Magical redemption||11.19.09 at 10:26 pm ET|
He had to watch from the bench as his teammates lost Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
“I was [ticked] off. Really just [ticked] off,” Garnett admitted following Thursday’s practice.
“I’m not a miserable person,” Garnett continued. “I’m just looking forward to playing them. Obviously, they’re considered one of the best teams. I’m sure we’re going to rate ourselves and grade ourselves on that and try to play better. We’re a team that’s trying to get better so it should be a fun game.”
The Magic are tied with the Celtics with a 9-3, just behind Atlanta for early-season supremacy in the East.
“It’ll be nice to get to play them,” head coach Doc Rivers said. “They’re the team everyone is chasing in the East. They won the championship of the East last year. As far as we’re concerned, they’re the favorite, Cleveland’s the second favorite and we’re the third, based on the results of last year. It’ll be good to see where we’re at.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Raising Ray||at 3:03 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Following today’s practice, Ray Allen will be getting ready to host a special charity event to raise money for his big turkey giveaway next week.
Tonight’s event at The Lansdowne Pub will be open to the public for a minimum $20 donation at the door, with money raised to benefit the Ray of Hope Foundation’s efforts to purchase turkey dinners for the needy for Thanksgiving.
The vouchers for next Tuesday’s giveaway have already been distributed to pre-selected families at various Centers for Youth & Families around Boston.
A limited number of VIP tables are still available tonight for $1,000 by calling 617-247-1222.
|Can Celtics finish?||11.18.09 at 8:45 pm ET|
In their two losses to Atlanta and Indiana, the Celtics have been jumping out to quick leads but unable to put away teams in the fourth quarter.
That’s a trait they perfected in 2008. And in three blowout wins against Utah, Charlotte and Philadelphia, it wasn’t even an issue as they built leads of over 20 points in each case, turning the final 12 minutes in each case into prime time for the bench.
But against Atlanta, they were outscored 25-16 in the fourth and lost 97-86. In Indianapolis the next night, they were outscored, 61-43, by the younger, fresher Pacers, losing 113-104. The Celtics have led in the fourth quarter in each of their three losses entering Wednesday.
“I’m concerned about bad finishes than slow starts, honestly,” Rivers said before Wednesday’s contest. “I think all three of the games, we’ve had a lead in the fourth quarter. I said it [Tuesday], I don’t think we’re a 48-minute team yet.”
On Wednesday, the Celtics took a 49-48 lead to the locker room, somewhat deflated by the waving off of Kevin Garnett’s 3/4-court heave that hit nothing but net.
But the real question remains – Can the Celtics finish?
Stay tuned now and for the rest of the season.
|Donny Basketball||at 1:49 pm ET|
Doc Rivers has known Don Nelson a long time. When he arrived on the scene in the NBA, Rivers was a point guard on the Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta would have knock down, drag out bouts with Nellie’s Milwaukee Bucks when the Bucks were winning Central Division titles year after year.
This year though, the Warriors are tops in the league in scoring through 10 games, at 111.6 points. Note to Celtics, the Suns and Hawks are second and third and both beat Boston at the Garden.
The flip side of that is they’re allowing 113.7 points a contest, the highest in the league.
“He didn’t start out that way,” Rivers said. “Don’s been coaching a long time. He’s basically taken what he has and uses it and turns it into that.
“In Milwaukee, they might have been the slowest basketball team on Earth to play. They walked the ball up the floor, played slow and used the clock and you were in an 80-point game with them.”
Nelson broke into coaching at the age of 36 in 1976 with the Milwaukee Bucks. He is now 69 and has more wins (1312) than any active coach and is a three-time NBA Coach of the Year. Read the rest of this entry »
|Doc: ‘We’ve done a lot of things average’||11.17.09 at 4:23 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Doc Rivers knows his team hasn’t hit its stride yet.
He also realizes there’s 71 games left in the season.
But still, he, like everyone else, had to watch on Friday and Saturday as the Celtics dropped back-to-back games somewhat unexpectedly to the Hawks at home and the Pacers on the road.
The more alarming loss was Saturday when the weary Celts allowed Indiana to shoot 53 percent from the floor and score 113 points in a loss at Conseco Fieldhouse.
“It’s nothing big,” Rivers said following Tuesday’s practice. “We’ve done a lot of things average and we’re not an average team. When you play average on defense on certain things, and offense, you lose. It’s more of that. It’s nothing earth-shattering. It’s nothing we’re going to panic about. We know we have to get better.
‘To me, the way we’ve played so far, we’ve been a spurt team. We’re not ready yet to be a 48-minute basketball team, that’s just not what we’ve done yet. We’re working on it.’
Meanwhile, one of the Celtics best defenders of the last two seasons ‘ when healthy ‘ has been Tony Allen. The guard has been out with a right ankle injury since off-season surgery but could be getting closer to returning as he is now practicing with the team.
‘He did well actually,” Rivers said. “He moved and played great. He’s moving well. I’m not sure if he’s ready to play yet, honestly. I just don’t know yet because I do think he’s not sure of his injuries. There’s several times he’ll jump and you can see he’s clearly thinking about it and I don’t like putting players on the floor when they’re thinking about it because that leads to something else.’
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