|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.
|Davis: It was a ‘stupid mistake’||at 8:33 pm ET|
Even though he needed a little prodding from general manager Danny Ainge next to him on the podium stage, Glen Davis characterized his actions that resulted in a fractured last thumb last weekend.
“It was a stupid mistake, a stupid mistake,” Davis said, after Ainge helped him answer the initial question. “Like Danny said, it’s something I most definitely have learned from looking forward.”
Sporting a white cast on his right hand and forearm, Davis continued to express his remorse for getting involved in an altercation last Sunday that has put him out of action for the next six weeks.
Ainge said Davis has made his apologies to everyone, including his team and now it’s time to move forward.
“My teammates are my teammates,” Davis said. “They’re there for me, no matter what. I just am thankful that I have great teammates like that.
“It’s been tough watching those guys play and not being there and be able to experience those experiences with them. I just want to move on, work hard and stay in shape to make sure I’m ready to play.” Read the rest of this entry »
|No suspension for Glen Davis||at 8:09 pm ET|
Saying he wants Glen Davis around the team at practice and in meetings, Celtics general manager Danny Ainge announced before Friday’s game that the forward will not be suspended for his actions that resulted in a fractured thumb two days before the season opener.
“We have decided, as an organization, not to suspend Glen. We’ve levied a fine against him. We want him around the team, we want him with the team on the road. This was an unfortunate incident. Glen has apologized to owners and teammates and coaches and fans and everybody and it’s just time to move forward and put it behind us.”
Ainge had indicated 30 minutes before the season opener on Tuesday in Cleveland that Davis was being suspended, after owner Wyc Grousbeck indicated a suspension was “very likely.”
More from Ainge:
On why Davis was not suspended: ‘We want him around and he’s part of the team. And we have that option to either have him around or suspend him and not have him around and so its pretty simple. Glen is well liked by his teammates and I think the better chance of him coming back and being prepared to play when he’s healthy is being with the team..’
On whether he thinks Davis is still think out for 6 weeks: ‘Yeah we’re looking at six weeks, fast healer, maybe five.’
|Fast break: Celtics-Bobcats||10.28.09 at 10:06 pm ET|
If the Celtics opening night win over the Cavs was about their bench, Wednesday night’s 92-59 win over the Bobcats was all about the starting five. The unit that many feel is the best starting five in the league dominated the Bobcats early, regained control of the game in the second quarter and then blew their doors off to start the second half with a 15-0 run.
Every Celtic starter scored in double figures except for Kendrick Perkins who finished with nine points (and seven rebounds). Ray Allen led the way with 18 points and Paul Pierce had 15 including a thunderous tomahawk dunk that put an aesthetic cap on the C’s third quarter run.
Player of the game: Rajon Rondo. The young point guard is staring at a big week, and not just because the deadline to sign an extension is Saturday. With the Cavs and Bobcats in his rear view mirror Rondo gets his first shot at Derrick Rose and the Bulls since their epic playoff series when the two teams meet Friday. On Sunday, Rondo gets the reigning King of the Point Guards in New Orleans’ Chris Paul.
“Rondo has established himself as a guy that other players are going to get up for,” Doc Rivers said prior to the start of the game. “When you reach a level like Paul Pierce, there are no off nights because they’re going to try to make their name off you now.”
Rondo was brilliant against Charlotte with 10 points on 5-for-6 shooting and 11 assists (against only one turnover) as he outplayed both Ray Felton and DJ Augustin. Felton left the game in the second quarter after he hit the floor and had 15 stitches inserted into, and around, his mouth.
Turning point: With about seven minutes left in the second quarter the Bobcats had cut the Celtics lead to four points, 29-25. That’s when Doc Rivers put his starters back on the court. While the offense was still sluggish, the starting five held Charlotte to just six points the rest of that half and went into the locker room with a 42-31 lead.
The Celtics opened things up in the second half, but that stretch set the defensive tone.
* Rasheed Wallace is quickly on his way to becoming a folk hero. He received a loud ovation when he was introduced prior to the game and the cheers grew even more raucous when he knocked down a pair of 3-pointers in the first quarter. What really brought the house down? Sheed’s karaoke version of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler. All that and he’s got pipes.
* Rivers said he wasn’t overly concerned with managing minutes despite the team playing the second half of a back-to-back and a third game in four days looming with Chicago Friday. He was as good as his word as Ray Allen played almost the entire first half (mainly because of foul trouble for Paul Pierce and Marquis Daniels). Kevin Garnett also logged 18 minutes in the first half. It’s a situation that will be watched closely without Glen Davis.
* Speaking of Garnett, he took hard fall diving for a loose ball with about four minutes left in the third quarter. He appeared to be moving gingerly and Rivers quickly replaced him with Shelden Williams. By the time he got to the bench Garnett seemed to be fine, and while he didn’t return to the game he seemed to be in good spirits.
* Things got chippy in the third quarter between Perkins and Charlotte’s Tyson Chandler and Gerald Wallace. All three received technical fouls. You may remember Augustin saying last season that other teams weren’t intimidated by the Celtics anymore.
* Quote of the night came before the game when Pierce addressed the crowd following the introductions. “You see up there?” Pierce said gesturing toward the rafters. “There’s only 17 (banners) up there. We need another one.”
|Doc: Baby has plenty of time for apologies||at 7:41 pm ET|
Doc Rivers said before Wednesday’s game that Glen Davis had yet to address his teammates and offer up an apology for Sunday’s fight that led to a fractured right thumb, putting him out of action for at least six weeks.
“No, not yet. He’s got plenty of time,” Rivers laughed. “We’re not worried about that really. We had Cleveland last night, Charlotte tonight. That stuff will take care of itself.”
Rivers added that Davis, suspended by the team on Tuesday, was not in the building for Wednesday’s home opener. Danny Ainge indicated on Tuesday that he expected Davis to apologize to the team sometime on Wednesday when the team returned for the home opener.
|Rivers on Scal: ‘I think he’s close’||at 7:13 pm ET|
Celtics coach Doc Rivers said back-up forward Brian Scalabrine is getting close to returning to action. Scalabrine turned his right ankle when he inadvertently stepped on a camera at Madison Square Garden in the last week of the preseason.
“I don’t know the answer,” said Rivers, who has been talking to team trainer Ed Lacerte about his condition. “I know he’s going to dress tonight but he’s not playing. I didn’t ask Eddie. I knew he wasn’t playing in the first two. I think he’s close from the last talk I had with him.”
“Tonight would be a great game to have Scal because they play so many small lineups at the four [position], this would be perfect game for Scal,” Rivers added. “But he’s injured and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
|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.
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