|Fast break: Celtics-Sixers||11.03.09 at 9:26 pm ET|
The Celtics improved to 5-0 on the young season with a 105-74 win over the Sixers Tuesday night in Philadelphia. It was the Celtics first game against an Atlantic Division foe and while they struggled offensively at times they remained dominant defensively, holding Philly to 36 percent shooting and 1-for-16 from 3-point range.
The Celtics broke it open in the fourth quarter with 23-5 run, which gave Lester Hudson, JR Giddens and Brian Scalabrine ample time to work on their games. The trio scored 13 points. Philly’s leading scorer, Andre Iguodala scored 17. It was that kind of night.
Player of the game: Rasheed Wallace. Philly’s favorite son shot the Celtics into the lead with three first half 3-pointers and broke it open with three more in the second half. Wallace finished with 20 points and 6 rebounds in 24 minutes of action.
Turning point: It was late in the first quarter and the Celtics were having a miserable time of it offensively. They had scored points on just two of their first 15 possessions and weren’t running anything resembling an offense. That’s when Rajon Rondo popped a 20-foot jumper. The second unit came in soon after that and the hot shooting of Wallace, Eddie House and Marquis Daniels opened up a double-digit lead.
Rondo’s shot was a minor blip in that run, but further confirmation that he has more confidence in his jumper.
* According to the early box score, Marquis Daniels was an unadjusted +21 for the Celtics. What that means in layman’s terms is that the Celtics were 15 points better than Philly when Daniels was on the floor. Unadjusted +/- is not a very reliable indicator of performance over time, but it helps reveal Daniels’ contribution in a way that six points, three rebounds and four assists never will.
* In theory you don’t need a true point guard to run the Princeton offense that new Philly coach Eddie Jordan is employing. That’s good news for Philly because Lou Williams is a lot of things, but a true point isn’t one of them. What you do need are willing passers, good shooters and movement away from the ball. The Sixers had none of that.
* The Celtics opened the fourth quarter with a 69-54 lead. That’s a comfortable margin, but it wouldn’t have been a surprise to see the starters back on the floor at some point to finish it off. Instead, the bench pushed the lead to 33 points and the starters never had to take off their warmups again. Those kinds of unexpected gifts are invaluable over the course of the season.
|Making it official: Rondo re-ups with Celtics||11.02.09 at 8:48 pm ET|
WALTHAM, Mass. — While Rajon Rondo spoke earlier in the day about the long-term security his new deal would provide, the Celtics waited till every detail was in place before announcing Monday night that they have re-signed their All-Star point guard to a contract extension, thus avoiding restricted free agency next summer.
WEEI.com’s Jeff Goodman confirmed through NBA sources that the extension is worth $55 million over five years.
The following was the release from the team:
The Boston Celtics announced today that the club has signed point guard Rajon Rondo to a multi-year contract extension. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
‘We are extremely pleased to be able to extend Rajon’s contract,’ said Celtics President of Basketball Operations, Danny Ainge. ‘We believe that he is one of the elite point guards in the NBA and has a tremendous future ahead of him.’ Read the rest of this entry »
|Rondo: ‘I’m thankful for what I’m signing for’||at 2:22 pm ET|
“I’m thankful for what I’m signing for,” Rondo said.
[To hear Rondo answer questions about his new deal, click here.]
The deal between Rondo’s agent Bill Duffy and the team has yet to be finalized but Rondo acknowledged it’s a formality.
The team made Rondo available following Monday’s practice as the team will fly to Philadelphia for Tuesday’s game against the 76ers.
“Nothing changes,” Rondo added. “Still have one goal in mind. It’s great to have security but we’re still focused on winning a championship.
“No, it’s not, necessarily, happiness is. I couldn’t deal without my teammates,” Rondo said. “I’ve had great teammates for the past four years. When it’s all said and done, we’re still going to have relationships on the court, regardless of whatever certain guys make. The relationships you build with one another in the NBA, you can’t compare it to money.”
Rondo also added that he’s grateful that his young daughter will be taken care of. Read the rest of this entry »
|Rondo on Hornets: ‘It was intense’||11.01.09 at 10:31 pm ET|
After Rondo and Paul traded verbal barbs and even a double-technical midway through the second quarter, the two star point guards of the Celtics and Hornets got into it even more at the end of the fourth, with both teams needing to be separated.
“It was very intense,” Rondo said. “I think it was our first close game. I think we handled it well. We didn’t play extremely well tonight but when they made their run, we got stops and then we scored offensively.”
Ray Allen played next to Rondo all night and he liked what he saw from the intense tete-a-tete between Rondo and CP 3.
‘Yeah, they’re both feisty,” Allen said. “Both aggressive, in your face. They take the ball to the hole. Put you on your heels all game long. So I’m pretty sure it can get pretty chippy out there.’
And Allen didn’t mind seeing that, as long as the teams left the hard feelings on the court and controlled each other coming off, which was a bit of a challenge following Boston’s 97-87 win.
“Walk off the floor and say, ‘Way to compete tonight,’” Allen said. “For those 48 minutes, I cannot stand you. I wanted to fight you. I wanted to do everything I possibly could. And when you walk off the floor you say, ‘Way to battle.”
To hear what Chris Paul had to say for himself, click here.
|Turn up the volume: Rondo speaks out||at 8:54 pm ET|
Everyone wanted to hear from Rajon Rondo before Sunday’s game.
The NBA had extended their deadline to Monday evening for signing players before they can become restricted free agents at the end of the season and Rondo falls into that category.
No deal was announced but Rondo told reporters he’s not worried about the business aspect of his career. Smart move since he was getting ready to face Chris Paul and the Hornets.
Here’s what he had to say before the game.
|Ray Allen is not about to stop now||10.31.09 at 1:41 am ET|
With 3:58 remaining in the fourth quarter of a blow out win against Chicago, and right after the ‘Gino Moment’ when the crowd celebrates another home court win, Ray Allen was recognized for passing John Stockton and moving into 33rd on the all-time NBA scoring list with 19,715 points.
Next up is Tom Chambers with 20,049 at No. 32.
Allen had 20 points on Friday, moving him one point ahead of the man, who on Sept. 11, Allen witnessed head into Springfield and the Hall of Fame.
“I had no idea,” Allen said. “It definitely is a great feeling. Stockton played 18 years. He’s a Hall of Famer. I watched his induction. I was there personally.”
Of course, Stockton didn’t get there so much for his 19,711 points but rather his astronomical assist totals, 15,806 to be exact. That’s an NBA record, as are his 3265 steals.
Allen is a different story. He will be heading to Springfield as a Hall of Famer some day as the most prolific and deadly 3-point shooter in league history. But in his mind that certainly didn’t lessen the significance on Friday of the milestone.
“To be able to be in that company, you think about all the years, all the shots I’ve taken, and not the ones in games but off the court, in practice, it all seems worth it,” Allen said. “It stands for something at the end of the day. People look up, and you’re somewhere among greatness so I’d like to keep pushing.”
Someone who can appreciate Allen’s sharp-shooting skills is teammate Eddie House.
“That’s a big moment,” House said. “Hats off to Ray, a future Hall of Famer. I’m happy for him. But he’s not done. He’s got a lot more points to get.”
Allen’s 20 points also helped the Celtics to another easy win and a 3-0 start to the season.
“Winning any game, the day-and-a-half of preparation we put into it coming down from another game, it’s a lot more I think than people can see from the surface,” Allen said. “For us to go out there and the way we played tonight, moving the ball offensively, defensively we were all in the same accord, I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
|Fast break: Celtics-Bulls||10.30.09 at 10:31 pm ET|
The Celtics did it with defense and the bench in the first half and then they buried the Bulls under a 3-point barrage in the second half in a 118-90 win win. While the Celtics pushed the lead into the 30’s in the third quarter, this game was essentially over early. The Bulls shot just 5-for-20 in the first quarter and 29 percent in the first half.
The Celtics are now 3-0 and looking very much like the best team in the league.
Player of the game: Paul Pierce. You could make a case for Kevin Garnett (16 points, four rebounds) and Rajon Rondo (16 assists, eight rebounds) as well, but Pierce was solid throughout racking up 22 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
Turning point: At the 4-minute mark of the second quarter Garnett joined Ray Allen and Kendrick Perkins on the bench with two fouls. The Celtics had a 15-13 lead at the time. Over the next 10 minutes the second unit (and Pierce) built the lead up to 14 points, 35-21, and the Bulls never got back in the game. It was a slow, methodical dissection built entirely on defense.
* The Celtics made their first six 3-pointers of the second half, including four from Pierce. The 3-point barrage was just the icing on the cake for the C’s. Even though they made just 2-of-10 from beyond the arc in the first half they still shot an even 50 percent from the floor. They said after the Charlotte game that they had not played a complete game yet. Wonder if they still feel that way.
* It’s a little unfair to say that this is how the first round of the playoffs would have gone last year if Garnett had been healthy. After all, Rasheed Wallace and Marquis Daniels are now in the mix and the Bulls are without Ben Gordon and are trying to work Luol Deng back into the lineup. Also, Derrick Rose is dealing with an ankle injury. All that said, it’s probably a safe bet that the series wouldn’t have gone seven games
* Allen moved past John Stockton for 33rd place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Somehow seems odd to pass Stockton on any list that has to do with scoring.
* With about two minutes left in the game, Doc Rivers emptied the bench to play out the final string. Joining the five before they took the floor was Wallace who was dispensing advice to rookie Lester Hudson.
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