|Rivers: Rajon Rondo may be in more pain than Game 4||05.11.11 at 6:32 pm ET|
MIAMI — Rajon Rondo will play in Game 5 despite a painful dislocated left elbow, as expected, but Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he will keep a close watch on Rondo.
“In some way I think he’s in more pain than he was going into Game 4, but I think he at least has an idea on how to deal with it more,” Rivers said. “We’re hoping that he can give us something and if he can’t then we’ll have to make a decision on the floor.”
Rivers is most concerned about the defensive end where he feels the Heat took advantage by forcing him into difficult positions on help defense.
“A lot of times the guy that’s been in the help spot, that requires a physicality and he literally couldn’t do it,” Rivers said. “We thought it opened up too many driving lanes for them. We have to try a couple of things. First, keep him out of those positions if possible, and two he just has to do it, and if not then we have to make a decision.”
Rivers will turn to Delonte West if that’s the case who had a strong performance in Game 4. Carlos Arroyo is also active.
Shaquille O’Neal, Avery Bradley and Sasha Pavlovic are inactive for the Celtics. Even without Shaq there’s no guarantee that Nenad Krstic will see more playing time. He didn’t play in either of the last two games.
“We may shorten the rotation more,” Rivers said. “You’re always walking the fine line with Kevin [Garnett] because he’s the only guy that’s been on a minutes restriction the last two years. So, if we can keep his minutes to the right where he’s still effective we may shorten it, but if not you may see Nenad.”
For the Heat, Udonis Haslem is active again, although he may not have much of a role after his short, but eventful, stretch in his return in Game 4 when he badly missed a jumper, committed a pair of fouls and picked up a technical foul.
“The most important thing when I made the decision to activate him was because of his leadership,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
|Shootaround notes from the Celtics’ last stand||at 11:46 am ET|
MIAMI — There was much to discuss with coach Doc Rivers prior to Game 5 of the Celtics’ playoff series with the Heat, but the key question is: How will they perform facing elimination?
“They’ve got great pride,” Rivers said. “I think you’ll see that tonight. I think I’ll enjoy the way we play.”
Rivers won’t have Shaquille O’Neal, but he does expect Rajon Rondo to play. The coach said he will have a wait-and-see attitude with Rondo to see how he responds to his dislocated left elbow.
The first order of business for the Celtics is to stop turning the ball over. They had 18 turnovers in Game 4, which led to 28 points for Miami, an enormous swing considering the way both teams payed defense.
“As poorly as we played we still had a shot to win the game in regulation,” Rivers said. “But when you gift a gifted team turnovers like we did, in the playoffs you’re usually not going to win that game.”
Rivers expects Kevin Garnett to recover from his disastrous Game 4, when he shot 1-for-10 and was involved in a pair of breakdowns on both ends of the floor late in the contest.
“I expect the same from Kevin every night,” Rivers said. “I expect him to be great. I also understand as a coach that we’re coaching humans. He owns up to everything. I said all the time you can coach one guy or work with one guy in your career, you should coach Kevin Garnett at some point. He’s a pro’s pro. He understands when he plays well, and when he plays well he comes back the next day to play better. That’s just who he is.”
As for Glen Davis, who has struggled throughout the playoffs, Rivers sounded less optimistic.
“We need him, but he’s been struggling for a while,” Rivers said. “It started before the playoffs and he’s still in it. He had an occasional light. We’ve just got to keep going to him and see if we can get anything out of him.”
Asked whether Davis’ impending free agent status may be affecting him mentally, Rivers said, “I have no idea what’s in his mind. I don’t even want to get in there. It’s safer where I’m at.”
|Shaquille O’Neal doubtful for Game 5||at 11:29 am ET|
MIAMI — Shaquille O’Neal is doubtful for Game 5, and even that may be too generous of a classification. Shaq didn’t play in the second half or overtime of Game 4 against the Heat, and it wasn’t a coaching decision by Doc Rivers. It was strictly health-related.
“It was physical,” Rivers said at the team’s shootaround prior to Game 5. “Don’t know yet today. I will say I doubt it. That little stretch of the game it got worse.”
Rivers said that Shaq’s condition worsened in the four minutes he played in Game 4 and it doesn’t sound like he will be able to play no matter what happens in Game 5 or beyond.
“It’s nothing he can do. It’s not like he’s not trying,” Rivers said. “He’s done everything you possibly can do to get healthy. Unfortunately for him, he just hasn’t been able to do it. When he originally got injured no one thought it was that serious. It just never healed and it still hasn’t, and now every time he plays it gets worse.”
Rivers was asked whether this could be the end for O’Neal, who has a player to option to return next season.
“I think it’s too early to talk about it,” Rivers said. “I’ve learned personally you never try to make any decision during the heat of the battle. Emotionally you’re always going to make the wrong choice, so I think he’ll walk away from it this summer and then decide what he’s going to do. I just know this has been emotionally draining to him, more than you guys would know. He feels awful about this because this is why he came here, to get to the playoffs. Not being able to do that has really hurt him.
Rivers does expect Rajon Rondo to play with his dislocated left elbow, but he’s going into the game with the same wait-and-see approach that he had in Game 4. “I don’t know how much better he’s going to be, he is what he is,” Rivers said. “He’s a little better, I would guess.”
|Game 5: Marbury comes alive||05.12.09 at 10:06 pm ET|
When Rajon Rondo went to the bench with his fourth foul midway through the third quarter, Stephon Marbury lasted just four minutes before he was yanked in favor of Eddie House.
Look who’s back. Marbury checked back in at the 8:49 mark of the fourth quarter and proceeded to score 11 points in just under three minutes. The problem for the Celtics is the lineup they have on the floor–Marbury, Eddie House, Ray Allen, Brian Scalabrine and Glen Davis hasn’t been able to keep Dwight Howard and Tony Battie from getting easy baskets on the other end.
With 5:55 left the Celtics trail 83-74 and Marbury will be going to the line for his 12th point.
|Game 5: Third quarter update||at 9:53 pm ET|
After three, the Magic have a 67-59 lead. We’ve played 36 minutes and the Celtics have yet to get into any kind of a groove offensively outside of Paul Pierce, who has scored 17 points and looks like the captain of old. Fortunately for the Celtics, the Magic have not been able to pull alway despite holding Boston to just 36 percent shooting.
It’s been a strange game to say the least. Rafer Alston is having his best game of the series by far with 16 points, five rebounds and five assists and Rashard Lewis has been able to score at will, and still Orlando can’t get any distance between it and the Celtics.
Other notes: With 6:32 left, Rajon Rondo picked up his fourth foul on a drive to the basket when Marcin Gortat stepped in to take the charge. Stephon Marbury replaced him but after missing two shots (including a wide-open 3-pointer) Doc Rivers subbed in Eddie House. Pierce was the nominal point guard, but it was another missed opportunity for Marbury.
The Celtics were able to get untracked a little after Dwight Howard went to the bench with his third foul. Howard has scored only six points, but he has 16 rebounds and has been a hulking presence in the lane. He has essentially been operating as a floating zone. He’s back out there to start the fourth.
Outside of Rondo, Rivers didn’t go to his bench once in the third quarter. Brian Scalabrine is in for Glen Davis, but Pierce, Kendrick Perkins and Ray Allen have gone the distance. Allen is still struggling (2-for-9).
|Game 5: Energy shift||at 8:47 pm ET|
Credit the Celtics bench, particularly Eddie House and Brian Scalabrine with getting them back in the game. Trailing 33-23 and shooting just 29 percent from the floor, the Celtics closed within five after Scalabrine knocked down a 3-pointer and House came up with a steal on the wing and a layup.
It’s been a struggle for Boston to get its shots off. The Magic are double and triple team everything that moves and the Celtics haven’t been able to make jump shots. Coming out of the timeout the Celtics have a small lineup on the floor–Rajon Rondo, House, Ray Allen, Scalabrine and Davis.
|Game 5: First quarter update||at 8:31 pm ET|
What can you say about a quarter in which the home team shoots 6-for-22 and the visiting team’s All-Star center grabs nine rebounds and scores zero points? The operative word here is “bizarre.”
The Celtics came out with a lot of energy and seemed a step ahead of Orlando, but after getting an early 8-4 lead, it’s been all Magic. Orlando has been aggressively helping on any and every Celtics drive to the basket and that has let to a lot of kick-out jump shots. Make that a lot of kick-out jump shot misses.
Ray Allen’s cold shooting has continued (0-for-4) and Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce are each 1-for-4. The Magic, meanwhile, have relied on Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu who scored 14 points and combined to go 7-for-9 from the floor.
The second unit is for the Celtics. Kendrick Perkins and Pierce are the only starters to start the second quarter with Brian Scalabrine, Stephon Marbury and Eddie House.