|Suns expecting big game from Shaq||01.19.09 at 7:38 pm ET|
The Phoenix Suns have the size advantage almost every game with Shaquille O’Neal. Take the Boston Celtics biggest player off the court and the Suns are feeling good about the mismatch.
“Any time we get an opportunity to have a size difference with Shaq in the paint, we always try to go to him,” Amare Stoudemire said prior to Monday’s game. “We try to feed it to him, see if he can take advantage of that. And if not, we go to our other options. So tonight will be a pretty good night for Big Fella if he can dominate out there and stay out of foul trouble.”
The Celtics have to alter their plan of attack without Kendrick Perkins (shoulder). Doc Rivers is looking for Kevin Garnett to use his quickness to outplay Shaq, while the biggest mission for back ups Leon Powe, Glen Davis, and Brian Scalabrine is keeping a body between O’Neal and the basket. The Suns, though, aren’t changing their gameplan.
“I think it changes the fact that having Scalabrine starting as opposed to Kendrick Perkins, that’s a bit of a difference. But as opponents we can’t look at it that way,” said Stoudemire. “We’ve got to attack it as if he were playing, so we should go inside to the big fella. Shaq should have a pretty good game tonight.”
The Suns are one of the few teams who figured out the key to beating the Celtics last season. Stoudemire scored 28 points off of 10-for-23 shooting and Steve Nash added 18 in the Suns’ 85-77 victory. Combine that with former Charlotte Bobcat Jason Richardson’s success against the Cs and the Suns think they know how to get it done tonight.
“I’m pretty sure he knows how to defend the guards out there,” Stoudemir said of Richardson. “As a team, we’ve just got to pull together. We beat them last year, Bobcats beat them. What we’ve got to do is just keep playing how we’ve been playing.”
|Celtics-Nets Game Blog: Second Quarter||01.14.09 at 8:14 pm ET|
FIRST HALF NUMBERS: Celtics lead 51-41 at halftime thanks to 52.6% shooting from the field. KG leads all players with 14 points (6/8 FG) and Ray Allen has 10. The Celtics have also attempted 12 treys (4/12 3PG) compared to the Nets four (1/4). They slowed down Devin Harris in the second quarter (5 points) and limited his passing to just two assists.
Second Quarter Notes
- The second quarter gets underway with Ray Allen … Paul Pierce … Big Baby smiling from ear-to-ear after draining a three from way past the arc. That was Davis’ first trey of his NBA career.
- Pierce is in with the second unit (Davis/Powe/House/Pruitt). Vince Carter, who threw himself on to the Nets bench earlier in the game, is on the court. He’s a little hobbled but still aggressive at the hoop.
- Kudos to Big Baby for his effort on the boards. He may not be grabbing every missed shot but he is in the mix each time the ball goes up.
- Back by popular demand (allegedly), Celtics Slow Dance 3. It’s another slo-mo video montage of memorable dance moves from the Garden set to LoneStar’s “Amazed.” I’ll give the prize to my personal favorite, Soulja Boy Junior.
- Brook Lopez is back in with Davis and Powe as the Celtics big men. Doc Rivers, who has been watching Lopez since high school, said the key to guarding him is keeping him off the glass rather than trying to get your own rebounds.
- No look pass from KG to Big Baby for a three-point play. I hope the fans sitting courtside were looking when Davis jumped into them chasing a loose ball. Davis has four fouls in 12 minutes, not including barrelling over spectators.
- Who said Rondo didn’t have a jumper? He drained a 20-footer as the shot clock expired. If only he could do that every night …
- KG ended the second quarter with huge “think about this at halftime” dunk.
- At the half … Celtics 51, Nets 41
|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 Second Quarter||11.10.08 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%.
|Celtics-Bucks Game Blog Second Quarter||11.07.08 at 6:20 pm ET|
The Milwaukee Bucks jumped out to a surprising first quarter lead and the Celtics are battling back to claim this game which they are favored to win.
|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.