|Powe knows when to put on a show||03.06.09 at 11:54 pm ET|
The bigger the spotlight, the bigger he plays. Leon Powe does not always see major minutes, but when he is put on a national stage, he always seems to make the most of his time. Powe tries to show the world – and his opponents – just what he can do when given the opportunity.
“Everybody knows their on TV, but you want to play well. You want to do your best,” he said following the Celtics 105-94 win over the Cavaliers (RECAP HERE). “I always focus every game, I prepare the same, but there’s just a certain feeling when you wake up in the morning like you know you’re playing a big game.”
On Friday’s ESPN-televised game, Powe posted 20 points and 11 rebounds in 26 minutes. He is averaging just 6.7 points, 4.5 boards, and 16 minutes on the season. Not only was Powe aware of the implications of the game in a close Eastern Conference race, he also understood the consequences of a poor showing.
“You’ve got to go out there and do well,” he said. “You don’t want to do bad because you’re family and people are probably going to call you, like ‘What were you doing? What happened on this play?’ So I try to be extra focused too and just try to make the right reads and the right plays. I think I did everything right tonight, so fortunately I did. And that was good because some nights you aren’t going to make them like that.”
Of course Powe’s performance wasn’t driven by ego. He had no choice but to come up big for the Celtics to counter LeBron James and crew. The Celtics were already playing without forwards Kevin Garnett and Brian Scalabrine before Glen Davis was ejected for a Flagrant 2 Foul against Anderson Varejao.
“There’s a lot of relying on me to go in there and try to hold the paint down and just get rebounds and just play defense and score when I got some opportunities,” he said. “And I think I did that cause we’re missing a lot of people right now so I try to just do my best.”
Powe officially introduced himself to the world during Game of the 2008 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers. Considering how well he plays when the spotlight is on, expect more encore performances.
|Celtics-Cavs Game Blog: Second Quarter||at 8:39 pm ET|
At the start of the second quarter … Celtics 21, Cavaliers 19
- The Garden kicked off the second quarter with a trivia contest for playoff tickets, hosted by Greg Dickerson. The contest pitted a Celtics and Cavs fan against one another. Despite being spoon-fed the correct answers, the Celtics fans still got the first question wrong. Needless to say he was booed.
- On the court: Celtics – Powe/Moore/Marbury/Pierce/House … Cavs – Gibson/Williams/Szczerbiak/Hickson/Smith
- It’ll be interesting to see how the Celtics bigs handle Joe Smith and J.J. Hickson. Smith has a mid-range jumper that can pull defenders out of the paint. The rookie Hickson was working on turn-around bank shots before the game.
- Mikki Moore had his first crowd-rousing moment at the Garden when he dunked through a handful of Cavs off of a Marbury pass.
- At the timeout: Celtics Karaoke courtesy of Big Baby, Ray Allen, and Leon Powe. Davis busted out into a solo performance that sounded like Simon Cowell’s worst nightmare.
- Rondo was welcomed back into the game with a standing ovation. The Cavs have most of their starters back in the game looking for an offensive spark. So far they have come up cold in the second quarter. The Celtics have all five starters in the game.
- LeBron’s posing after every shot like it’s a game winner. He’s shooting 2-for-7.
- Mo Williams has the Cavs back in this game with eight quick points. At the half … Cetlics 45, Cavs 43
|Best of Delonte West||at 1:19 am ET|
LeBron James steals the spotlight on the Cleveland Cavaliers, but former Boston Celtic Delonte West doesn’t shy away from the camera either. Here is a look at some of West’s most memorable moments upon his return to Boston for Friday’s Celtics-Cavaliers game.
Delonte Chats with Paul Pierce: Denzel Washington and Prudential Center Specials
Celtics Promo: Childhood dreams and wire hangers
Dime Magazine Photo Shoot: Tattoos and a lifelong sense of style
And who can forget his ESPN Page 2 Valentine’s Day interview: Popeye’s, yachts, and “Rico Suave-ing it”
|Cavs Wallace breaks leg||02.27.09 at 12:37 am ET|
Kevin Garnett’s injury could have created a window of opportunity for the Cleveland Cavaliers to pull ahead in the Eastern Conference. But now they too are down a starter. On Thursday night forward Ben Wallace broke his right leg during a 19-point loss the Houston Rockets. TNT’s David Aldridge reported Wallace will miss 8-10 weeks.
This injury is a blow to the Cavaliers front court. Wallace, 34, is one of the most experienced players on the team. Instead of having his veteran leadership down the stretch, the Cavaliers will have to rely on J.J. Hickson to step up in his rookie season. Wallace was averaging 6.7 rebounds, 3.0 points, and 24.3 minutes per game this season. Hickson is averaging 4.5 points and 2.9 boards in 12.2 minutes per game.
The Celtics will play the Cavaliers next Friday, March 6 in Boston.
|PP2 and his PS3||02.18.09 at 10:26 pm ET|
During All-Star Weekend Paul Pierce and a handful of NBA players, including LeBron James, received personalized, laser-etched PS3 consoles. On the Sony PlayStation Blog, Pierce shows off his green President Obama console. New York Knick Al Harrington and Philadelphia 76er Thaddeus Young were also given Obama-inspired systems. As for James, his console was fit for a king. Click here for more photos of the athletes and their personalized gaming gear from Gizmodo.
|Cs to be challenged by one of their own||01.08.09 at 11:42 pm ET|
Before Rajon Rondo was taking hard spills on the court, it was Delonte West who was sacrificing his body for the Boston Celtics. Two years after leaving the Cs as part of the Ray Allen deal, West has brought his hustle to the Cleveland where it has sparked LeBron James and the streaking Cavaliers. Those who played with West early in his career are not surprised by his success.
“There’s no doubt that I thought before Delonte even went there, I thought Delonte was a perfect fit for LeBron James,” said Brian Scalabrine, a teammate of two seasons. “When he got traded to Seattle and he wasn’t playing for whatever, it’s just all about the place you go and where you fit in.”
West has fit in perfectly since being dealt from the Seattle SuperSonics last season. The addition of West, along with Mo Williams, is an upgrade to the Cavaliers backcourt that once relied heavily on James’ long-range game. Rather than compensating for the inconsistencies of Daniel Gibson and Sasha Pavlovic, James can play closer to the basket without worrying about their guards.
West’s gritty defense is also a factor in the Cavs’ NBA-low 89.1 points allowed per game (down from 96.7 last season). His intensity will be challenging for the Celtics to contain when they take on the Cavaliers on Friday night.
“D-West has helped them a lot,” said Kendrick Perkins, who played three seasons with West. “He puts another shooter out there on the court for LeBron to pass it to when he drives and penetrates. D-West can make plays. He’s a defender, he’s very feisty, and D-West helps their team a lot. We’ve just got to make sure we go out there and try to keep him under control, keep him off the offensive rebounding, try to get in his aspects a little bit, and just go from there.”
After losing for three years in Boston and inexplicably riding the bench in Seattle, West inked a multi-year deal last summer to stay in Cleveland. Even though his tough play could burn the Celtics this season, his former teammates know he’s in the right place.
Said Scalabrine, “I told him when he came here (with the Cavs), ‘Listen, you’re in a place where you can be, as long as LeBron is there, you can be there for the rest of your career and you can thrive in that situation.’”
|LeBron isn’t Celtics biggest competition||at 9:54 pm ET|
Ask the Boston Celtics who their toughest competition in the East is and they won’t say LeBron James. They’ll tell you it is themselves who stand in their way of another title, that only they can control the fate of their season. On Friday night when the suddenly skidding Celtics take the court against the Cleveland Cavaliers, their biggest challenge is not stopping King James. It is simply not getting beat by their own mistakes.
“I really don’t care who we play next,” Ray Allen said. “It’s just, I look at it personally as an opportunity to get back on track to do what I need to do to help this team. Every little thing that I look at that has my input or my stamp individually for this team, I’ve got to find out ways to do it better, to make it better out there.”
After winning 19-straight, the Celtics are on a three-game losing streak and have dropped six of their last eight contests. At this point they aren’t seeing Friday as a chance to beat an Eastern Conference rival but rather an opportunity to get back on track.
“The thing about our team is that we don’t ever look ahead. Now that we’ve got Cleveland, we’re concentrating on Cleveland. But we never once had just talked about beating Cleveland,” Kendrick Perkins said. “We need a win. We’re desperate for one right now.”
Even though winning on the road has been a struggle for the Celtics this season, spoiling the Cavs perfect home record is a test they are up for.
“We have an opportunity to go in down there playing one of the best teams in the league,” Leon Powe said. “They’re real hot at home too. I think they’ve won about 18 straight in their house. Man, it’s going to be a challenge. But we’ve got a wonderful opportunity to go in there and play well and hopefully pull out a win to give us a big confidence boost.”
A win in Cleveland would do more than get the Celtics back on the winning side. The Eastern Conference standings are so close this season that an early January victory could pay dividends in the playoffs.
“Really, we’re just trying to win all the games we possibly can and get homecourt advantage,” Perkins said. “That just would make it a little bit easier for us in the playoffs. But if we don’t get homecourt advantage I’m not saying we won’t win he championship, but it’d really be a whole lot harder.”
With an electrified crowd behind them, the Cavs will also look to avenge last season’s Eastern Conference Semifinals elimination. The biggest key is matching their intensity.
“It has the same sense of urgency,” Powe said. “We’ve got to go out there, play hard, it’s going to be just like a Game 7. They’re going to come at us and try to hit us in the mouth first. We’ve got to take it and then respond back. We haven’t been doing that as of lately but I think we should be alright going out there. Our captains and everybody on this team know what we’ve got to do to win the game.”
Playing hard is one thing, but the Celtics don’t have a panicked attitude toward the game. Allen added the team has not reached the point of frustration yet, and Sam Cassell, the only member of the Celtics who has won back-to-back titles, explained there’s no need to get flustered this early in January.
“When you’re repeating you’ve got all that stuff with big matchups, but it doesn’t matter,” he said. “You want to win every game possible but it doesn’t make you or break you. A team that got its rhythm in April going into the playoffs is a team that can win a championship … Why should we [worry]? We aren’t breaking .500. When I won a championship we were 10 games over .500, that’s all.”
The Celtics won 19 straight by focusing on one day at a time. After Friday night they have 44 more regular season games left and each one is just as important as a match up against LeBron James. It doesn’t matter who’s on the opposite side of the court. The Celtics have to take care of the five guys in green first.
“It wouldn’t have made a difference if it were Cleveland or Sacramento,” Allen said. “It wouldn’t have made a difference. We lost three in a row and that’s the mentality we have to have going into the game.”