|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.
|Fast break: Celtics-Thunder||12.04.09 at 10:24 pm ET|
Before the Celtics went on their four-game road trip the mood around the team was one of unease. They were winning games, mostly, but they were making things very hard on themselves. The double-digit blowouts were just a distant memory.
One week later the Celtics will return to Boston as the hottest team in the Eastern Conference, winners of seven straight and proud owners of a four-game road sweep. They capped it off with an impressive 105-87 win over the young and exciting Oklahoma City Thunder, a day after gutting out a win over the San Antonio Spurs.
On the trip the Celtics returned to their dominant defensive roots and played smart, efficient basketball on the offensive end. They will have a well-earned three days off before their next game back at the TD Garden against Milwaukee on Tuesday.
Player of the Game: Kevin Garnett. You could have picked any number of Celtics for the coveted Green Street Player of the Game award, but KG gets the nod for scoring 23 points on 10-of-11 shooting with eight rebounds and a couple of tasty dunks. It’s impossible to say at this point if KG is back to being the KG of old, but he sure looked like it on the road trip.
Turning Point: Oklahoma City made it clear early on that it was going to try to run. A good strategy by coach Scott Brooks considering his team’s youth and the Celtics long road trip. There was only one problem: The C’s wanted to run as much as the Thunder did and they did it much, much better. A 15-5 run erased an early three-point lead and put the Celtics in the drivers seat.
* The worst thing that could happen to the Thunder was foul trouble and Nick Collison lived in it all night long. Without Nenad Kristic, the Thunder simply didn’t have enough size to match up with the Celtics inside.
* Garnett got free for a number of easy dunks and he finished strong on each of them. He looks positively rejuvenated on this trip.
* After a slow start Rajon Rondo turned it on in the second half finishing with 15 points and six assists.
* Paul Pierce and Kevin Durant put on a good show in the first half with Durant scoring 22 and Pierce going off for 21 points. Durant is a phenomenal offensive player, but his defense has a long way to go before he can join the upper echelon of stars.
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