|C’s trying to get the point of rebounding||12.09.09 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.
|Baby could be trippin’||at 7:52 pm ET|
“I don’t know,” Doc Rivers said when asked what his expectations are for the defensive backcourt specialist. “Tony hasn’t played in so long. I’m looking for him not to do too much. Defensively is where we need help and need his help.”
Meanwhile, Rivers said Glen Davis is making progress in healing his right thumb, adding that Davis will “probably be on the trip,” referring to the team’s West Coast trip at the end of the month.
Rivers did not speculate as to his availability and whether he would be activated.
|Celtics-Bucks preview||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.
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