|Sounds of the game… Celtics 118, Nets 86||01.15.09 at 10:37 am ET|
When the Celtics were in the midst of a slump that had them losing seven of nine, captain Paul Pierce said they needed to get their swagger back, especially on defense.
Well they can thank the Toronto Raptors and New Jersey Nets for helping them to regain some of the confidence that was on display when they opened the season 27-2.
Pierce hit all five of his three-pointers in the third quarter as the Celtics romped to their thrid straight win. This looked more like the romps that were common place in the first two months of the season. The defense forced 20 turnovers and even without Kendrick Perkins, the Green dominated the glass. And on the offensive side, Rajon Rondo, when he wasn’t throwing in half-hooks, dished out 12 assists helping the Celtics ease to their 32nd win, by 32 points.
Next up for the Celtics, after a day off on Thursday and practice on Friday, a rematch with the Nets in New Jersey on Saturday afternoon.
|Destination Championship: Why Boston has become a hotspot for NBA vets||01.03.09 at 9:53 pm ET|
Come to Boston and win, that’s how the Celtics organization is seen by many around the NBA. It has become a paradise of victory, a hotspot for veterans who want a legitimate shot at a championship. But it is also a place where selfishness and egos are checked at the door. Personal accolades mean nothing unless the team wins.
So what makes the Celtics, who downplay individual achievements, so much more appealing to vets than other teams who celebrate superstardom? Why settle for blending in when you could stand out next to Kobe Bryant or LeBron James? For those who have made the sacrifices, the explanation is very simple.
“Coming here you get to fit in and be a cog in the wheel,” Ray Allen said. “It’s not about any one individual here on this team. We play together and we beat teams together. We lose together. Everything is together.”
Over the past few weeks the Celtics have been named as possible destinations for veterans Stephon Marbury, Robert Horry, and Dikembe Mutombo, among others. Even though they could have a legitimate shot of winning all with the Los Angeles Lakers or Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston has been a primary destination in the rumor mill.
“I think what’s appealing is that we play together. We have three stars and they actually play together and I think that shows more,” said head coach Doc Rivers. “But honestly I think they would play with Kobe as well and I think they would play with LeBron as well. We may be more aggressive in the market, let’s say, than some of those teams. And maybe we’re not. I think they would play for any of them. At least I would if I were the player.”
Eight-year vet Eddie House, who has signed two contracts in two years with the Celtics, can understand why these players would be interested in Boston. The journeyman had already played with plenty of big names before — Elton Brand, Steve Nash, and Jason Kidd, to name a few – and was lured back by selflessness rather than headliners.
“When you’re playing with one guy then the ball’s dominated by one guy,” House explained. “Here, you’ve got a group of guys who like to share the basketball, who can take the load if they’re asked to take the load. They aren’t depended on the take the load, but if they are asked to take the load that night they will do it.
“But for the most part, it’s very unselfish and it’s not a ‘me’ attitude. With those guys (Bryant and James) it’s more so they have to dominate the ball and you have to play off of them. To where these guys will get you the ball and play with you, instead of you playing off of them.”
The Celtics are set apart from the rest of the league by more than just their trophy. The success of Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce sent the message that being the superstar doesn’t guarantee being the best. It was only when these vets took a step back that they won it all.
“The point of us coming together last year, we were at a point in our lives, in our careers where we were somewhat content with what we had done individually,” Allen said. “We could continue at that pace and finish our careers out that way being a great scorer on a team that never won. But if we didn’t [let go] of our egos and come together, we would have been doing that for the rest of our careers. That’s why, at that time, it seemed like it was a great moment for all of our careers. And I think there’s that progression for most athletes.”
Should the Celtics make any mid-season moves, they already know how to adapt to new additions. Last season veterans P.J. Brown emerged from semi-retirement and Sam Cassell accepted a buyout from the Los Angeles Clippers for the prospect of a ring. These acquisitions could have rattled the Celtics, but those already on the team didn’t see less playing time. They saw a better shot at the title.
“The late in the season addition when you’re already the number one team, you could have some grumbles about that and guys might not welcome guys in,” House said. “But everybody knew this is a business and not only is this a business, but we were on a mission to a hang a banner in the rafters. So we had to accept what was going on for the greater good.”
39-year-old Cassell re-signed with the Cs fully aware that he could be inactive the entire season. At this stage in his career, he doesn’t need 20 minutes per game to be happy.
“It’s about winning,” he said. “For me, I don’t know what [other veterans'] agendas are, but for me it was about winning. I just got a nice taste of winning so I just wanted to win. This was the best opportunity for me to win again.”
As long as the Celtics continue to win with their unselfish play, Boston will stay on the map for veterans who want to capture a championship without having to do it all on their own.
“We welcome the help,” Allen said. “Our egos, we’re pretty selfless here on this team when it comes to playing basketball. We just want to win.”
The door is open for eager vets, just as long as they leave their egos behind.
|Sounds of the game… Celtics 108, Wizards 83||at 12:57 am ET|
The Celtics had just come off a rare stretch in which they not only lost three of four on the West Coast but didn’t play very well in the process. Well, nothing like the six-win Washington Wizards on your home court to serve as the perfect tonic. Friday night, Paul Pierce came out and made his first nine shots from the floor and the Celtics went from one-on-one basketball that cost them dearly in Portland to passing the ball around and sharing the wealth. Rajon Rondo had 14 of Boston’s 31 assists on the night and the big men help the Celtics outrebound the Wizards, 47-35, with Kendrick Perkins hauling in 10.
|Celtics-Pistons Game Blog: Second Quarter||11.20.08 at 6:53 pm ET|
SECOND QUARTER WRAP: The Celtics second unit was hot early in the second and pushed the lead up to 38-27. But the Pistons got physical and are within nine half. They’re looking to battle and the Celtics will have to come out hot in the third quarter to stave off a comeback.
Halftime Notes and Numbers:
- Iverson leads all scorers with 12. Rondo and Tony Allen lead the Celtics with 9 apiece.
- Both teams have 16 points in the paint and the rest of the stat lines are very similar.
- The Pistons are outrebounding the Celtics 18-16 while the Celtics have one more assist, 11-10.
Paul has you covered after a entertaining halftime performance by the Bucket Boys.
- At the half, Celtics 49, Pistons 40
- Two days after saying KG is “crazier” than him on the court, Perk got T’ed up at the end of the second after Maxiell fouled Pierce at the hoop.
- There is talk of a heated relationship between UConn alums Ray Allen and Rip Hamilton, but few details are known. We’re getting a glimpse into that tonight with Hamilton knocking Allen over for an offensive foul. Hamilton had something to say about it as they ran down the court.
- A little kid dressed in an oversized Bill Walker jersey just won Sarah Brightman tickets in a tot-sized road race. What are the chances he has her songs on iTunes?
- The Celtics have their starters back on the court and the Pistons have all but Wallace out there.
- Both Ray Allen and House have missed free throws this quarter. It was House’s first miss of the season and Allen’s fourth.
- Eddie House is feeling it. After Powe swatted away a Prince drive, House nailed a three on the fast break. He drained another trey on the next possession, prompting the Pistons to call a timeout down 38-27.
- Rip Hamilton completely faked out Tony Allen at the top of the key. TA has learned from his mistakes and didn’t get tricked into fouling him on the shot a la last season against Chauncey Billups.
- During a timeout the Celtics played their first “slow dance” of the year on the Jumbotron. It was a slo-mo of awesomely bad dance moves from the Garden set to the awesomely bad Lonestar ballad, “Amazed.”
- Now Aaron Afflalo is guarding Powe (??) … now Afflalo’s on the ground. Powe’s at the line shooting two.
- Scal for three. And the crowd goes wild.
- I was hoping for a physical match up between Powe and Maxiell considering the trouble the Pistons big man gave Perk last season. But Big Baby is on Maxiell and Powe has Prince. Powe should be able to back Prince down in the paint.
- For the first time in a while, Doc is going with an entire second unit. Usually he leaves PIerce or Ray Allen on the court with the reserves, but now he’s giving the lineup of Scal, Powe, Davis, Tony Allen, and House a look. Michael Curry’s going with Iverson, Stuckey, Prince, Afflalo, and Wallace.
- After another slow start, the Celtics enter the second quarter tied 21-21 with the Pistons.
|Celtics-Knicks Game Blog: Second Quarter||11.18.08 at 6:11 pm ET|
Trailing 35-32 with eight minutes left in the second quarter, the Celtics outscored the Knicks 25-12 to take a 56-47 lead at the half.
The quarter was anything but calm with runs, drives, hard fouls, and even a scuffle at the hoop …
- It’s ironic that I talked to Leon Powe before the game about what KG has taught him about maintaining his composure in heated game situations. Powe and Randolph were just given technical fouls for a tussle under the Knicks basket. The two had to be separated by their teammates and have been exchanging frozen stares at each other down the court. Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck was spotted giving the “eject him” sign to the refs. “He always talks to us about that, especially me, just about keeping my composure even when i’m mad and if I want to go back at somebody, you go back at somebody by taking your time and really doing it in the game and the team concepts,” Powe said of Garnett. Hmm …
- There is a life-sized Nutracker walking around the Garden. The costume is part of the Boston Ballet’s halftime performance, but for those who are unaware of the entertainment, it just looks creepy.
- Timeout with six minutes to go and the Celtics second unit has taken over with a 45-37 lead. So far they have knocked the Knicks down to 44% field goal shooting while boosting their own to nearly 70%. The reserves are playing with a fiery intensity that has Pierce clapping and encouraging them in the huddle.
- Two smart moves by Tony Allen: the first, an aggressive drive to the basket that he finished off with a layup and the second, a drive and dish to Big Baby for the jumper that he’s been perfecting.
- The question tonight was, who will make up for Garnett? While KG is irreplacebale, it’s Powe who is stepping up in the post. He has eight points in eight minutes of play and he could easily wind up with 15 tonight.
- Rivers has Ray Allen playing with the second unit (Eddie House, Tony Allen, Glen Davis, Leon Powe). They give up a lot of size with this lineup but are going for defensive stops. It also helps the Celtics that the Knicks leading scorers, Quentin Richardson and Wilson Chandler, are taking a breather.
- The Celtics looked like they had control early on but enter the second quarter allowing the Knicks to shoot 52% from the field. Seven turnovers haven’t helped the Cs either. Let’s see what they can do …
At the start of the second quarter … Knicks 28, Celtics 26
… Paul brings you the action for the third …
|Celtics-Raptors Game Blog Fourth Quarter||11.10.08 at 7:31 pm ET|
Once down by as many as 16 points, the Boston Celtics staged a fourth quarter comeback to beat the Toronto Raptors 94-87 on Monday night at the TD BankNorth Garden. Paul Pierce scored 22 points in the final 12 minutes alone and finished the night with 36 points, nine rebounds, and four assists. Kevin Garnett added 21 points and 10 boards. Jermaine O’Neal posted 23 points and 11 rebounds for the Raptors.
|Celtics-Raptors Game Blog Second Quarter||at 6:15 pm ET|
Ok so that wasn’t pretty. The Celtics are down 48-36 at the end of the first half and are basically getting beat by one player … Jermaine O’Neal. JO has 19 points and eight rebounds in just 17 minutes. Next in line is Joey Graham with eight points and Chris Bosh has six. The Celtics have not had an answer for JO on either end of the court. Kevin Garnett has 11 points and 4 defensive rebounds while Perk is scoreless with one board. If the Celtics are going to get back into this game, they are going to have to step up their low post game to counter JO’s assault. Adding insult to injury, the Celtics are shooting 32%.