|Pregame: Celtics vs. Raptors||11.10.08 at 5:17 pm ET|
Greetings from the TD BankNorth Garden where the Boston Celtics are set to take on the Toronto Raptors. Paul and I have you covered tonight so check back regularly for news and updates.
The Raptors wasted no time getting ready for the game as nearly every player except for Jermaine O’Neal and Chris Bosh were warming up when I scoped out the court around 5:30. Leon Powe, Kendrick Perkins, and Brian Scalabrine were practicing on the Celtics end.
The Cs were loose in the locker room, with Powe, House, and Rajon Rondo crowded near Perkins’ locker. Perk turns 24 today and the big man is trying to downplay his birthday even though he is receiving some extra attention from his teammates.
Chris Bosh received treatment on the trainers table in the Raptors quarters while a handful of players wandered in and out of the locker room. Jamario Moon said the Raptors are a brand new team with O’Neal’s veteran leadership this season. They are also a better offensive team, ranking second in the league in both three-point shooting and free throws.
Tonight it was the bench who was receiving praise from Doc Rivers. The Celtics head coach said the starters have not been consistent with their offense and defense. He would not go as far to say the bench has exceeded his expectations but they are “playing well.”
The game will get underway shortly. Check back soon for more …
|Destination: Enemy Territory||11.01.08 at 2:46 pm ET|
Before even winning a championship last season, the Boston Celtics were targets every time they hit the road. The hype surrounding the Big Three was enough to make every game significant for their opponent and one in which they amped up their intensity.
After spending last week in the comforts of the TD BankNorth Garden, the Celtics are shipping out for their first road trip of the regular season. The three-stop tour will take them from Indiana to Houston and end in Oklahoma City on Wednesday night.
The defending champs don’t expect to be welcomed with open arms and explain why:
Kendrick Perkins: “This first game (of road trip) is key. I think we need to go out there and establish ourselves early and don’t give a chance for the fans to get involved and just go out there and play Celtics ball and we’ll be alright.”
Glen Davis: “My guess is that we’re the champs. We’re last year’s champs. We have a reputation to hold on to and the odds are going to be against us but hey, what do you expect?”
Leon Powe: “We’re just going to go out and play well and set the tone early. We are just going to stay within our rules and hopefully we can pull the game out. But we’ll come out with the same intensity we came out with tonight (Friday against the Chicago Bulls) and get the win.”
Eddie House: “I expect the same thing we’ve been expecting since last year. Everybody was gunning for us last year because people pretty much crowned us the champions before we actually went out and did it. People were gunning for us because we had the Big Three and stuff like that so I think that by us winning it, people are going to come out a little bit harder and I think we’re ready for that. One thing about that is they’re going to come harder but we’re going to come even harder.”
Tony Allen: “I ain’t really worried about that. We’ve got to go out there any play any how. They were tough last year, they were gunning for us last year so it’s going to be times two.”
Head Coach Doc Rivers: “Not very well, I would say (of the expected reception). But that’s fine. That makes the games better. I didn’t think we were received well last year in retrospect. Teams wanted to beat you and they should. That’s what it’s all about and that’ll be nice, that’ll be fun. It’ll be a new experience for our guys and it’ll be a challenging experience for our guys.”
|Pierce and the Second Unit||10.31.08 at 6:04 pm ET|
Paul Pierce spent some quality time with the second unit tonight. The captain played alongside Eddie House, Tony Allen, Glen Davis, and Leon Powe for 3:30 in the second quarter. It was Powe, not Pierce, who led this unit with four points. They outscored the Bulls 7-6 and pushed the lead up to 31-19 before every starter but Ray Allen subbed back in with seven minutes left. Pierce had also been scrimmaging with the second unit in practice.
|Celtics Go Small to Start Second Quarter||10.19.08 at 1:23 pm ET|
Up 30-18, the Celtics started the second quarter with an undersized lineup of Gabe Pruitt, Eddie House, Tony Allen, Glen Davis, and Leon Powe. Powe, playing the five spot, quickly earned his share of bruises by single-handedly taking on the Nets under the basket on two consecutive possessions.
Rivers subbed Bill Walker in for Pruitt around the seven-minute mark. The PG got his first rest after playing 16 minutes (6 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists). House shifted to the one and and Allen to the two, giving the Celtics more size on the perimeter.
|Celtics Lose, Cuts Loom||10.17.08 at 7:47 pm ET|
Final Score: Knicks 104 – Celtics 97
Eddie House rained threes but that wasn’t enough to fend off the Knicks in the Celtics seven-point loss. House shot 7-for-11 from long range and finished the game with 27 points. Nate Robinson carried the Knicks with 19. A few postgame notes:
- According to Doc Rivers, Rajon Rondo (sprained ankle) could have returned to tonight’s game. He left the young PG out, though, since “he knows how to play.” Rondo is still uncertain for Sunday.
- Cuts are coming, and maybe sooner than expected. Doc Rivers said he wants to cut down his roster sooner rather than later to give player(s) a shot at being picked up being another team. He wants to learn more about three or four players before making his decision.
- Who does Kevin Garnett have the best chemistry with? It’s not Paul Pierce. It’s not Ray Allen either. KG said he has “the best chemistry by far” with Kendrick Perkins. Even though Perk missed the beginning of preseason play with a shoulder injury, Garnett claims the two bigs never missed a beat when he returned and were in constant communication tonight.
The Celtics will hold an open practice for a select group of ticket holders tomorrow in Lowell before taking on the New Jersey Nets on Sunday afternoon in the Garden.
|McGrady Riles Up Celtics||10.11.08 at 5:17 pm ET|
There is still a minute to go in the first quarter and more tension is ensuing.
As Bill Walker drove on Tracy McGrady, T-Mac appeared to push off on the rookie. Down at the basket, words were exchanged between Walker, McGrady, and Rafer Alston after McGrady gave Walker a one-handed shove that sent him to the ground. The players were separated and order seemed to be restored. Seconds later, McGrady and Eddie House became engaged in a heated conversation. Just as Pierce, who had recently returned to the game, separated the players, Walker came back to get in a few last words, only to be held back by Luis Scola. McGrady and House were charged with technical fouls.
Looks like J.R. Giddens was right when he said there are two sides to Bill Walker.
|Battle Brewing in Manchester||at 4:57 pm ET|
Paul Pierce asked for the match up and he got it.
With just under 7:30 to go in the first quarter, Pierce drove the lane against Ron Artest. Artest welcomed him at the basket with a blow to the shoulder. No foul was called and the Rockets scored on the fastbreak. Artest pumped his chest as Eddie House and Kendrick Perkins rose to their feet on the Celtics bench to vocalize their disagreement with the no-call.
Moments later, Garnett blocked a Rockets shot that sent the crowd into a frenzy. The noise escalated when Artest dealt a hard foul to Ray Allen that sent the Celtics guard sliding into the front row.
Pierce has left the game with a bruised right shoulder but is expected to return.
All this tension and there is still five minutes to go in the first quarter.