|Fast break: A quick take on Celtics-Cavs||10.27.09 at 10:20 pm ET|
CLEVELAND — More than anything Tuesday night, the Celtics showed they can take the best an opponent has to offer and respond strong.
Not just any opponent on any court. The Celtics beat the Cavaliers, 95-89, on the home floor of one of the teams that’s expected to challenge Boston for Eastern Conference supremacy.
‘¢ Player of the game: Paul Pierce. His jumper in the final minute cemented a 23-point virtuoso performance for the captain and Boston’s first win of the season. He added 11 rebounds for good measure. Runner up: Rajon Rondo ‘ On a night when Danny Ainge said he continues to talk with Rondo’s agent on a new deal, Rondo set the tempo. With chaos swirling around the team in the wake of the Glen Davis debacle and a double-digit deficit early, Rondo restored order on the court.
‘¢ Turning point of the game: LeBron James gave the Celtics a gift when a Boston turnover with 4.7 seconds left in the third put the ball in his hands. He drove past Rasheed Wallace and had an easy lay-up, but the ball rimmed out and that seemed to give the Celtics a big reprieve. It also kept the crowd from exploding. Runner-up ‘ With 5:32 to go in the fourth. James hit one of two free throws to cut the C’s lead to four, 80-76, but Kendrick Perkins converts a three-point play to answer.
‘¢ The Celtics fell behind early by 14 twice, 19-5 and 21-7, but they closed the gap to 28-21 after one. Rasheed Wallace, Marquis Daniels and Shelden Williams, filling in for Glen Davis, all played significant minutes in the first quarter as the Celtics found their legs.
‘¢ The Celtics turned up the defensive pressure in the second quarter. The team preached in the preseason that they will go only as far as their defense takes them, and it showed in the second, where they went from a seven-point deficit to a six-point lead, 51-45. They held the Cavs to 5-of-16 shooting from the floor. More impressive than the 31 percent they held the Cavs to from the field was the fact that Cleveland could only manage five field goals on their home court.
‘¢ Thanks in large part to the above, the C’s completely took the raucous Q crowd out of the game until a LeBron James three with two minutes remaining in the third.
‘¢ Bench belief. With the Celtics holding onto a seven-point lead heading into the fourth, the Celtics took the court with Wallace, Daniels, Eddie House and Shelden Williams. Those four joined Ray Allen as Doc Rivers was able to rest his big guns. Wallace hit a big jumper from the right wing to extend the lead to nine with 11:25 remaining. Daniels drilled a three moments later and the lead was an even 10.
‘¢ The Celtics took advantage of Cavalier play. Twice in the final two minutes, the Cavaliers turned the ball over and twice they forced up quick three-pointers trailing by just six when a two-pointer would have been the better play. Isn’t this why they got Shaq?
‘¢ James got his. LeBron finished with 38 points and eight assists but just four rebounds.
|Doc: ‘Baby is not a bad person’||at 8:00 pm ET|
CLEVELAND — Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge both sounded like upset brothers before Tuesday’s game when they spoke of Glen Davis‘ indiscretions that resulted in a fractured thumb and a team-mandated suspension.
“Baby is not a bad person,” Rivers said before the game, speaking at length for the first time since details surfaced about Davis’ Sunday scuffle. “He made a bad mistake and he made a bad judgment. Unfortunately, it only takes one second or five seconds to make a mistake and then you have to live with it at times. And right now, he has to live with that mistake.
“But he’s not a bad kid. He’s growing, he’s maturing. Obviously, he has some ways to go. But we want to help him do that. I really feel that’s part of my job as a coach to help him as a person and not put him in ways like that.”
|Ainge: Rondo talks continue||at 7:43 pm ET|
“I won’t talk about that other than to say we’re just having discussions with Rajon and Bill Duffy, his representative and we’ll continue to have discussions with them, probably all the way up until the 31st [of October],” said Ainge, who also denied reports that contract talks had broken off.
“As far as I’m concerned, I’m not aware of any discussions ending,” he added.
The Celtics have until Saturday to negotiate a new deal or Rondo becomes a restricted free agent at the end of the season.
|Ainge: ‘It’s no fun dealing with this stuff’||at 7:23 pm ET|
CLEVELAND — Celtics general manager Danny Ainge confirmed before Tuesday night’s opener in Cleveland that forward Glen Davis has been suspended indefinitely for fracturing a bone in his right thumb in a fight with a former LSU teammate on Sunday.
[To hear Ainge's comments before Tuesday's game, click here]
“We’ll suspend Glen for the game tonight and tomorrow night and we’ll have further discussions on how long that susupension [will last],” Ainge said. “We’ll probably keep it more internal but we will suspend him. It’s very disappointing and very unfortunate.
“He’s a big part of our plans right now and in a game like tonight, we’d love to have him. I think he let his team down by making a bad decision. I feel bad for the players in the locker room, I feel bad bad for the coaches and I feel bad Glen. It’s not a fun position to be in.”
Ainge said Davis has expressed his remorse to him and coach Doc Rivers but will address his teammates on Wednesday. Ainge said it will be six weeks before Davis is able to play.
“I’m really excited about this team and the events of the last 24 hours really hasn’t dampened that,” Ainge added.
|Rondo on contract talks: ‘It’ll take care of itself’||at 6:51 pm ET|
CLEVELAND — Rajon Rondo said he is aware of the ongoing effort to get his contract done by the end of the month.
But before the opener in Cleveland, he said his focus is all on basketball.
“The focus is on Cleveland,” Rondo said. “It’ll take care of itself. I just have to worry about doing my job tonight. Crazy timing, that’s all.”
|Celtics confirm injury, apology from Davis||at 5:32 pm ET|
CLEVELAND — The Celtics released their official statement on Tuesday regarding the injury to forward Glen Davis.
The team confirmed the injury and subsequent surgery on his right thumb. The statement, included below, also included an apology from Davis, who did not travel to Cleveland for tonight’s season opener.
The statement from the Celtics:
The Boston Celtics announced today that forward Glen Davis underwent successful surgery to reduce and fix a right thumb fracture. The surgery was performed by Celtics Team Physician, Dr. Brian McKeon and was assisted by Dr. Hervey Kimball and Dr. Drew Terrono at New England Baptist Hospital. Davis is expected to miss the next six weeks.
‘I would first like to apologize to my fans, teammates, coaches and the entire Celtics organization,” Davis said. “I am extremely disappointed that this incident occurred and that it will prevent me from starting the season with the rest of my teammates. My teammates and the entire Celtics organization are extremely important to me and I will do my best to expedite the healing process and be back on the court as soon as possible.”
|Leon will cheer on Cavs for now||at 2:11 pm ET|
CLEVELAND — It’s not hard to keep thinking what might have been if Leon Powe hadn’t torn the ACL in his left knee in that first round series against the Bulls in April.
Maybe it’s Powe who would have stayed and Glen Davis might have moved on – to someplace like Cleveland.
Instead, Powe had reconstructive surgery and signed on as a free agent in August with the Cavaliers. He is already working out lightly with his new team, including shootaround on Tuesday morning at Quicken Loans Arena, where the Cavs take on his old teammates, the Celtics.
“Almost identical,” Powe said of the two teams. “For the offense, they just call it something different and sometimes it’s the same thing, same motion. I should have no problem figuring that because that’s the same thing as Boston ran, defense, too.”
Powe said last week he is targeting a return just after the All-Star break in February, something he reiterated on Tuesday morning.
“I’m not in a rush to get back,” he said. “I wanted to get back tonight, actually. I told coach, give me 10 minutes and I’ll give you 10 [points] and eight [rebounds]. But he wasn’t going for it tonight so I’ve got to wait till February. There is no rush because this team is already good. I just want to come over here and flow right into things. Pick up energy, anything I can do to help them win.”