|Postseason lessons learned the hard way||04.15.09 at 9:38 pm ET|
Last season, the Celtics realized the hard way that the playoffs are where ‘Game Sevens happen.’ After 26 postseason games and two trips of the brink of elimination en route to their championship, the Celtics will enter this weekend against the Chicago Bulls with valuable lessons learned.
Check your swagger at the door
The Celtics looked indestructible in Boston … and then they hit the road. They failed to win in Atlanta and Cleveland before pulling out a victory in Detroit. Last season they were saved by homecourt advantage but this time around they have no choice but to win away from the Garden.
Ray Allen: ‘Those three series that we played, we were up 2-0 and I think losing that first game in the other team’s building, you almost have too much swagger going into a building. I think Doc said it last year, ‘If you show up thinking wearing the green is going to be good enough, that’s when you end up losing.’ And I think that’s what happened to us. That preparation that we have at home has to carry over on the road, so it has to be even more intense and we have to be even better. So that’s where we don’t look at ourselves as targets. We look at other teams that we have to beat because now we have to go in Cleveland and win.’
Take care of your body
Postseason schedules can be unforgiving, especially when they involve cross-country trips that put players in different time zones from day to day. It is easy to get rundown, and one of the most important tasks a player has is staying healthy during the playoffs.
Glen Davis: ‘You’ve just got to get your rest, basically. You can’t do things like going out, staying out late nights. You have to make sure you’re ready to perform. Get a lot of treatment if you’re hurt, eat right most definitely, and the most important thing is sleep. So if you just stay focused on that because you can’t do anything about the traveling, you’ve got to work around it.’
Avoid the hype
Aside from basketball analysis, personal stories are often highlighted during the playoffs. During the NBA Finals, Leon Powe captivated a nation when ABC told the tales of his troubled childhood. Powe had to avoid the instant spotlight to stay focused on the task at hand.
Leon Powe: ‘I tried to block everything out, especially during our playoff run because I had the story, I had a lot of family members calling me about the story, about this, about that, what are you doing, can I come over. No, no. I wasn’t having any of that because I wanted to keep my head and keep my focus on the game … I think I just do a good job of doing that because I keep my focus on the game and know what I’m here for. I’m here to play basketball. Whatever else is going on around me, that can wait because you’ve got a job to do and go out there and prepare for a game and prepare to win the series.’
|Another injury for Celts||03.29.09 at 8:39 pm ET|
Midway through the third quarter Glen Davis was hit in the head, inadvertently, by Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant and taken back to the locker room. He was replaced by Mikki Moore. The Celtics are playing tonight with only three available big men.
UPDATE: Davis returned to the Celtics bench toward the end of the third quarter. The Celtics had a lineup on the floor with Bill Walker essentially playing the four spot. Davis received 10 stitches.
|Big Baby gets ‘paroled’||03.18.09 at 7:31 pm ET|
Glen Davis was asked about seven different ways if he was returning from his ankle injury because of all the other injuries that the team has suffered recently, but he wouldn’t bite. “I’m coming back because I can play,” he said.
But then somebody asked him what it was going to feel like to get back out on the court. “It’s like jail,” he said. “I’m ready to get out. Let me out! I’m ready for parole.”
His return is a big relief for Doc Rivers who admitted he had no idea what he can expect from Baby tonight. “We haven’t seen him play,” Rivers said. “So I’m going to start him.” Then the coach laughed . What else could he do?
Baby is off to strong start tonight with four points and three rebounds through the first nine minutes, but the most important number for him is one, as in fouls. With only three big men in uniform (Davis, Kendrick Perkins and Mikki Moore) none of them can afford to be in any kind of foul trouble.
|Celtics-Cavs Game Blog: Second Quarter||03.06.09 at 8:39 pm ET|
– 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.
– 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
|Powe making a comeback||02.12.09 at 12:03 am ET|
It’s not often that an NBA power forward can be compared to a Major League pitcher, but in this case, Celtics head coach Doc Rivers thought it was fitting. For two seasons, Leon Powe was a relative unknown in the league. A breakout performance in last year’s NBA Finals changed that. Since then, opponents have been paying more attention when scouting the low post player.
With that comes struggles, said Rivers, who has not been overly concerned by Powe’s inconsistency in his third NBA season. The better an opponent knows a player, the more effective they can be in slowing him down. After a cold streak during January in which he went scoreless in three consecutive games, Powe is finding his place again on the court.
‘I told myself to be aggressive,’ he said. ‘Sometimes in the past, I wasn’t that aggressive when I got it because I missed a couple shots. So then I stopped being aggressive and became a little passive. Then, the coaches told me the other day, ‘If you’re going to go out there on the floor, just go out there and play and be aggressive.”
Powe did just that on Wednesday night against the New Orleans Hornets. With Ray Allen sidelined in the first half by a hyperextended thumb, the Celtics needed the bench to step up. Powe offered a fourth quarter surge, scoring seven of his 11 points in just under eight minutes. His hustle at the basket (5-for-6 from the line) helped the Celtics defeat the Hornets, 89-77 (RECAP HERE).
In the first six games of February, Powe is averaging 19.3 minutes, 8.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, and shooting 62.1 percent from the field. It’s an improvement after averaging 14.6 minutes, 4.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 38.3 percent from the field in 15 games last month.
‘I just wasn’t making my hook shots,’ Powe said. ‘My hook’s been off a little bit from game to game. But I work on it every day and that’s one thing I had to get better. I think that’s why coach said they’ve probably been scouting me harder. But my hook’s been off.’
The Celtics, though, cannot afford for anyone’s shot to be off. In a tight race for homecourt advantage where every game counts, Powe has been watching from the bench while Glen Davis has been getting the minutes. But he doesn’t compare his playing time to Big Baby’s. His best motivation is his next opportunity.
‘I’ve just been doing the same exact thing, just trying to work on my game and get my game better,’ Powe said. ‘[I’m working on] stuff on the block, one-on-one on the post moves, and just trying to keep my game in tact while I’m sitting down. Sometimes I get the minutes, sometimes I don’t, and I’ve got to make sure my stuff is sharp.’
Just because he is scouted doesn’t mean he can be stopped.
|Three’s Company||02.06.09 at 8:13 pm ET|
NEW YORK ‘ The New York Knicks have not held anything back from behind the arc against the Boston Celtics this season. In their first three match ups, the Knicks attempted 80 three-point shots, 22 more than the Celtics. On Friday night the Celtics were ready to counter the offensive assault.
Before the game Glen Davis extended his warm ups to the three-point line. Big Baby knocked down three consecutive shots from the top of the arc. Moments later, Ray Allen took target practice from the bench. In a close competition with Celtics assistant coach Mike Longabardi, Allen took shot after shot frim his seat. And not to be outdone, Leon Powe drained a three from the sidelines in front of a surprised Patrick O’Bryant.
The Celtics knew what they were in for. At the end of the first quarter alone, the Knicks had shot 4-for-10 from long range.
|Davis jumps into new role||02.03.09 at 11:28 pm ET|
While Ray Allen was the hero of the Boston Celtics dramatic win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night, the Cs would not have been in striking distance if it weren’t for one player stepping up in Kevin Garnett’s absence. For the second straight game, Glen Davis has thrived in his role as the Celtics starting power forward.
Davis posted 12 points (6-11 FG) and 11 rebounds against the 76ers (RECAP HERE). Of his six field goals, only one came in the paint. On Sunday, he added 12 points (5-12 FG) and six rebounds against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Davis isn’t just attacking the hoop like a traditional big man. Big Baby is getting the job done with his jumper.
‘I think it’s going to help my game tremendously,’ Davis said recently. ‘If I can spread the floor for my team … I can move up to the four, pick and roll to help out with Paul (Pierce), and hit the jumper. I kind of just train myself to be ready to hit that big shot.’
His preparation paid off when he hit knocked down a 17-footer with 1:30 left in the fourth quarter. The basket brought the Celtics back within three and sparked an 8-to-4 run to close out the game.
This season Davis has developed a knack for mid-range jumpers. Even though the majority of his baskets have come at the rim ‘ his biggest responsibility is attacking the glass ‘ he has been in the zone away from the paint. He entered Tuesday’s game shooting nearly 50% from just inside the arc and almost 40% from the top of the key. Davis has made it a point to fit his jumpshots into his training regimen.
‘It doesn’t take that long [in practice],’ he said. ‘I might go 30 minutes hard, just jumper, jumper, jumper, jumper, and get mine in for the day. I just try to do it every day.’
Davis’ shot has been a work in progress over the years, according to his childhood friend, Dallas Mavericks forward Brandon Bass. The two also played college basketball together at LSU. Bass has seen Davis transform from a banger to a finesse player. It’s a move that was necessary for the 6-foot-9 forward to adapt as an undersized big man in the NBA.
‘He never had a bad jumpshot,’ Bass said. ‘He always could shoot it, but he wasn’t necessarily a jumpshooter. He was more of a guy you could throw it to on the block and he could get you a bucket, or he’d eat the glass up and get an offensive rebound. When I left [LSU in 2005] he developed a jumpshot a little more.’
Garnett (flu) is expected to return for Thursday’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers. While Davis won’t get as many looks off the bench, this extra playing time has helped his confidence with his shot. The skills are there; now it’s just a matter of showcasing them when given the opportunity.
‘I feel like I always had the talent to do a lot of things,’ Davis said. ‘It’s just all about working on them and doing them. But I always in college had flashes of myself taking the ball up the court, playing at a smaller position than the power forward and the center. So I know I can do it. It’s just about going out there and doing it and having confidence and working on it consistently.’
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