|Game 6: First quarter update||04.30.09 at 7:51 pm ET|
After one, the Celtics quest to finish the Bulls got off to a rough start, with Chicago using a 10-0 run to take an early 21-11 advantage and ultimately building a 37-26 lead. The big drama came at the end of the quarter when Rajon Rondo and Kirk Hinrich squared off. Rondo was assessed a Flagrant 1 foul, while Hinrich received a technical. The difference is huge. A Flagrant 2 would have led to Rondo’s ejection.
The refs are calling this one tight. Joakim Noah picked up two quick fouls, but the Celtics couldn’t capitalize because Kendrick Perkins also got two fouls–two more than Perk got in 48 minutes+ of Game 5. Ben Gordon and Brad Miller also picked up two fouls. Without Perkins in the middle, the Bulls attacked the inside of the C’s defense, and when they kicked the ball out John Salmons was there to make six of seven shots and score 16 points.
|Ref assignments for Game 6||at 3:45 pm ET|
As part of the NBA’s new transparency in the wake of the Tim Donaghy fiasco, the league has been posting referee assignments in advance of games. Here’s the crew for Game 6 in Chicago:
Crawford is known throughout the league as the official you most want to have if you’re on the road in a big game, although San Antonio would probably disagree. (He also once threatened to give me a technical in a media 3-0n-3 tournament but that’s neither here nor there. I’m telling you, it was a charge.)
|Doc: We’ll let Brad Miller make a big deal of it||04.29.09 at 2:44 pm ET|
WALTHAM – Doc Rivers stood by his starting point guard at a brief shootaround this afternoon prior to the team’s departure for Chicago and Game 6 on Thursday.
“I don’t think Rondo fouled to hurt him or anything like that,” Rivers said. “I thought Rondo was clearly trying to go for it and then couldn’t reach hiand then was just trying to grab anything he could grab. But Brad Miller clearly wants to make a big deal of that so we’ll let him.”
|Pierce: I’ll be ready for Game 6||at 2:43 pm ET|
WALTHAM – Paul Pierce admitted on Wednesday before leaving for Chicago that the grueling Game 5 on Tuesday night took a bit of a toll on him. He suffered a bruise when he was kicked in the left calf.
“I’m a little sore but I’ll use today to recover, get a message, rest and I’ll be ready for (Thursday),” Pierce said. “It’s nothing more than a light bruise on the calf muscle so some ice and stuff should be able to take care of it.”
The bruise clearly didn’t affect his late-game performance as he drilled three jumpers in the final 90 seconds of overtime to help lift the Celtics to a 106-104 win over the Bulls, and a 3-2 series lead.
|Doc fined $25K for defending Perkins||at 1:36 pm ET|
Rivers made the comments on Monday, one day after the Celtics lost 121-118 in double overtime to the Bulls in Chicago.
The team is leaving this afternoon for Chicago following a brief film session at their Waltham training facility. Game 6 is Thursday night in Chicago, with the Celtics leading the best-of-seven series, 3-2. A win sends them into the second round to face either Orlando or Philadelphia.
|Ray: All game the whistle was battling me||at 1:17 am ET|
Now Ray Allen knows what it feels like to sit on the bench as someone else plays the hero.
Allen was again “Johnny On the Spot” when he drained a three on Sunday afternoon in Chicago to force Game 4 to overtime.
But with 5:27 remaining in the fourth quarter, Allen was whistled for his sixth foul, running into a screen set by Brad Miller, of all people. Miller would have his own issues with the refs later.
“There’s been a lot of talk about Perk getting called for that same play but I was just trying to fight through and they called it on me,” said a frustrated Allen, who fouled out for just the second time in 72 playoff games and the first since June 15, 2008, a loss to the Lakers in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
And this time it would have to be someone else to the rescue. How ironic since Allen had just drained a long three from the right baseline to bring the Celtics to within three, 83-80, and it looked for all the world he was about to work his magic again.
That is until he got called for his sixth foul.
“I was extremely upset,” Allen said. “I was disappointed. I thought all game the whistle was battling me. But I didn’t want to be that isolated guy that was over on the sideline and pouting and worrying about himself. Of course, I was angry but we had to win the game. Those were the cards we were dealt so we had to figure out the best way, whether it was Tony (Allen) Steph (Marbury) or Eddie (House), who was going to have to come in and do the job.”
It was Pierce who nailed back-to-back jumpers in overtime to put the Celtics up, 104-101, and then Pierce who hit the game-winner with 3.4 seconds to go in overtime.
“I guess now I know what it feels like to sit on the sideline and not be able to do anything and not have control,” Allen said. “For me, it was toughest feeling I’ve had to deal with. But Paul and Rondo came through for us. I figured as mad as I was, it wasn’t going to do us any good trying to figure out what happened in the game.”
|All beat up and nothing to show for it||at 12:46 am ET|
Brad Miller stood in front of his locker following Game 5 much the same way he stood at the free throw line with 2.0 seconds remaining in overtime-dazed and confused.
He had just been raked across the face by Rajon Rondo, who tried desperately to keep Miller from making the game-tying layup after Miller found a wide-0pen seam in the middle of the Celtics defense. From the top of the key to the basket, there was only green paint in the lane — until Rondo showed up at the last moment.
“It’s a play we’ve run,” Miller said. “Two or three guys went to bed and I understand why. It just left an opening just a tad.”
The fact that a flagrant wasn’t called was hardly shocking to Miller.
“We’ve got a lot of guys getting head shots this series, I mean a whole lot of them and it hasn’t been a flagrant,” Miller said. “We’ve had to shake off a lot of these high hits they’ve been putting on us.” Read the rest of this entry »
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