|‘Wild run’ continues for Celtics, Rivers||05.12.09 at 1:19 pm ET|
WALTHAM – Sunday night was just another ho-hum crazy, buzzer-beating, phenomenal finish for the Celtics and their head coach Doc Rivers, who has seen more than his fair share of playoff thrills in the last three weeks.
“It has been emotional,” said Rivers, who punched the air wildly after Glen Davis hit his game-winner at the end of Game 4 in Orlando. “It’s been a wild playoff run for us. We kind of anticipated it. I didn’t know it would be like this, I don’t think anyone did. Not having Kevin then losing Leon. We knew this would be tough. We knew every game would be a grind.”
Rivers said he suffered an ’emotional hi-jacking’ at the end of Sunday’s game but he has freed his psyche long enough to prep for tonight’s all-important Game 5 with the Magic, with the Eastern Conference semifinal tied, 2-2. Read the rest of this entry »
|Scal misses practice with flu||at 12:28 pm ET|
Brian Scalabrine missed this morning’s shoot-around/practice in Waltham with flu-like symptoms and was told to stay home and get ready for tonight. Meanwhile, Kendrick Perkins did practice but is nursing a sore left shoulder. Perkins will start tonight and Rivers expects to have Scalabrine available off the bench.
“Perk’s shoulder’s pretty good,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Tuesday morning. “Obviously, it’s not 100 percent but it’s good enough to play. He’s doing alright. Scal’s not here. He’s got the flu. We’re hoping he can make it to the game tonight.”
Perkins said he would prefer holding off until the off-season before going in and intensively examining the shoulder, which has been chronically sore for the last two seasons. No MRI was ordered to look at the shoulder.
“He didn’t need it,” Rivers said. “They know what it is. He’s got shoulder problems. No need to look at it. They might find something. That’s why we didn’t do it. We didn’t want to find anything, smarter that way.”
If Scalabrine weren’t available, it would have serious and unpleasant ramifications.
“If Scal’s not available, it puts us in a bind, obviously,” Rivers said. “It would force us to go small, at times with Paul (Pierce) at the ‘4’, and that’s absolutely not what we want to do. We would play Mikki (Moore) a little bit more, might even play Billy (Walker) some and Tony (Allen) at the four, clearly those are the things we don’t want to get to but if Scal is injured, someone else has to step up.”
|Big Baby: My intentions were harmless||at 11:36 am ET|
WALTHAM -Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis said on Tuesday morning that he has already put the biggest shot of his career in the past while also offering an apology of sorts to the 12-year-old boy with whom he collided moments after winning Game 4 at the buzzer.
“I’m a big guy,” Davis said at the Celtics shoot-around prior to tonight’s Game 5 at TD Banknorth Garden. “Imagine if my emotions are going so wild, and if I’m running by somebody, I don’t feel them. If I’ve hurt anybody or if I’ve done any harm to anybody, please forgive me because my intentions were just harmless.
“I didn’t see the kid,” he continued. “I’m a big guy and I’m emotional. If I had seen him, I would have picked up, rubbed his head and tried to make him feel better. I’m a big guy guy. I’m just sorry if I hurt anyone.”
Davis said he’s seen the highlight a couple of times but has moved on from it.
“You like to see it once or twice, but when you keep seeing it, you keep dwelling on it,” he said. “You keep yourself in la-la land and right now I can’t be in la-la land. We’ve got a game today. It’s how fast the quick turnaround is. That shot goes out the door. It’s history.”
As for the shot itself, Davis said he had never hit a game-winner like that one.
“That was my first,” Davis said. “That’s where dreams come true. That’s where good players turn into great players. Sometimes pivotal moments like that makes you understand the competitiveness of the game and just brings out the competitor in you. Hopefully, that’s a shot I can always look back on and a shot that not only boost my confidence and but also boost me playing in this league.”
|Game 4: First quarter update||05.10.09 at 8:42 pm ET|
After one the Celtics are down 28-25, but it has been a noticeably different Celtics team than the one we saw Friday night. Rajon Rondo has been aggressively attacking the basket and he is too quick for Rafer Alston to handle.
Dwight Howard picked up two early fouls, but the Magic got a lift from their bench, particularly Marcin Gortat who came in for Howard and scored six points. The Celtics got caught in a strange situation when it looked like Kendrick Perkins picked up his second foul for an illegal screen. Perkins went to the bench, but after the substitution had been made the refs changed the call to Paul Pierce. Without Perkins in the game, Gortat was able to get two offensive rebounds over the smaller lineup and converted the second into a score.
Orlando started the game shooting 3-for-12, but with the second unit in the game, they made seven of 11.
|Game 4: Early update||at 8:26 pm ET|
At the first media timeout, the Celtics have come out aggressive and feisty and have a 13-10 lead. Two things are noticeably different from Game 3. First, Dwight Howard has been called for goaltending three times. The Celtics were adamant after Game 3 that several of his blocks should have been ruled interference.
The other difference is Orlando is not making shots at nearly the same clip. The Magic are just 3-for-12 and Howard in particular has been limited to his sweeping hook across the lane game, and not the catch and dunk.
Foul trouble will also be something to watch. Brian Scalabrine came in for Big Baby Davis after just 45 seconds but picked up two quick fouls. No offense to Scal, but a far bigger factor is that Howard also got two early and he is out of the game for now.
|To survive, or to grow||at 7:58 pm ET|
Stephon Marbury sat by himself in the Celtics locker room. At the other end of the room Rajon Rondo was seated in front of the TV watching film of Game 3. Between Marbury and Rondo was about 50 feet of stony silence. There was no time for idle chitchat in the hours before Game 4, and the mood was deadly serious, even for a locker room that is not exactly known for being a barrel of laughs.
During his pregame press conference Doc Rivers was short and to the point. Any defensive adjustments? “We have to stay in front of them,” Rivers said, not that he would have given away the gameplan in any event.
Across the way, Stan Van Gundy was waxing philosophical about the position his team finds itself in. It’s no secret that the Magic have developed a bad reputation for not handling success all that well. With his team just hours away from possibly taking a commanding 3-1 lead in its own building, Van Gundy addressed it.
“I don’t think confidence is, or ever will be, a problem at any point,” he said. “No matter what happens. being able to keep our composure when things get tough. That’s where we keep gaining a playoff maturity. As you go along every win gets tougher and tougher. You’ve got two wins in the second round against the defending champs. That’s great. The third one will be harder and the fourth one will be the hardest of all to get. We have to understand that.”
Van Gundy stopped for a second and continued, “I’ll be interested to see our approach tonight. We have been at our best, as I think Boston has, when things don’t look as good. At some point if you want to grab control of a series, you have to do it in back to back games.”
This is a crucial test for the Magic. Are they mature enough, grown up enough even to handle success? That’s the key question and from Van Gundy’s answer it seems that he’s not even sure about it himself. Across the way Rivers was asked about having a veteran team, but he didn’t agree with the assessment.
“I don’t know if this is considered a veteran team,” Rivers said. “Last year was a veteran team with Kevin (Garnett) playing and (James) Posey and PJ Brown. last year they just knew where to be. You kind of knew who you were going to be every night. Not that you knew that you would play well every night, but you knew what they were going to give you every night.”
And so for the Celtics this too is a crucial test. Can they rally themselves one more time and win a game on the road that while not technically a “must win” is as close as you can get to that distinction. Throughout the playoffs last year, and even the Bulls series, there has not been a point when the Celtics had to go into someone else’s building and win a game.
Those are the stakes as Game 4 tips off.
|Game 4: What to watch for||at 3:21 pm ET|
Is it too much to suggest that the Celtics are playing for their season tonight in Orlando? Probably, if only because two of the next three games would be back at the Garden, but NBA history is not kind on teams who find themselves down three games to one. Only eight teams have been able to pull off the trick and the Celtics would do well to avoid trying to be the ninth.
After finding so much success with a smaller, quicker lineup back in Boston, the Magic adjusted in Game 3 using rookie Courtney Lee as a counter and moving Rashard Lewis to the post where he took advantage of his size and scoring touch. Not even Dwight Howard’s foul trouble slowed down the Magic onslaught.
The Celtics caught a huge break when the NBA decided not to upgrade Kendrick Perkins‘ Flagrant 1 foul, but that was about the only thing that has gone right for them in Florida.
“It’s so easy for us to fall back on being tired, injured, all the that stuff,” Doc Rivers said. “But nobody cares about that. You’re on the floor and guys have to play. We have a chance to do some great things if we set our minds to it.”
How can the Celtics regroup? Here are three things to watch for tonight. Read the rest of this entry »
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