|Celtics-76ers Preview||11.24.09 at 10:28 pm ET|
At 7:30 p.m., the Celtics (10-4) will play host to the 76ers (5-9) in a collision of two teams that have been struggling of late – though Philly’s struggles suggest more far-reaching problems than do Boston’s. Despite the skewed skill levels, records and anything else that might separate a 10th-place Philly team from a playoff-bound Boston club, Friday night’s game carries a decent amount of intrigue – especially from the Boston perspective.
Of late, the Celtics have seemingly lost some of the swagger that they displayed during a 6-0 start. After dropping two straight to the Hawks and Pacers, Boston seemed to get back on track against Golden State in what was a pretty convincing win. But another slip-up against the Magic and an overtime buzzer-beating win against the 3-10 Knicks have made it appear that the Celtics are not in sync.
Center Kendrick Perkins attributed it to a lack of focus. But regardless of what’s been plaguing them, the Celtics need to improve – and what better team to straighten things out against then the 76ers? Read the rest of this entry »
|Danny Ainge on The Big Show||at 6:09 pm ET|
Celtics Executive Director of Basketball Operations and GM Danny Ainge joined the Big Show on Tuesday to discuss the Celtics’ recent play, the development of Rajon Rondo, the three-point difficulties of Rasheed Wallace and Kevin Garnett’s recovery from injury. To listen to the interview, visit the Big Show’s Audio On Demand page.
Do you think the team’s recent play has anything to do with the fact the players are getting older?
I don’t think so, no. I think our team has played well in a lot of scenarios and I just think that we haven’t been as consistent. But, shooting the ball accounts for a lot. We haven’t been hitting a lot of fairways but we have been hitting a lot of puts. Right now we are a shot of two shots away from winning these games and we have been shooting the ball very poorly from the outside.
You can’t be happy with the defense thus far though?
No, I have been happy with the defense we’ve played in a lot of the stretch but I think we get sloppy and we get lazy and we lose our focus a little bit. Defensively, statistically we were doing well defensively.
Two things that are worrying about Rondo: lack of defensive pressure at the point and that he is not breaking down the defense quite as much. Is this the same guy we saw last year?
I think he is playing better than last year. I think his defense is significantly better than last year. I think he is not getting to the line as much but I think part of that is that we are getting the ball inside more to our post players and not relying on his penetration as much but he is shooting a much better percentage than he did last year which says he is getting to the basket more, he is just not getting to the line more. Read the rest of this entry »
|Magic know formula to beat Celtics||11.21.09 at 12:05 am ET|
BOSTON – It has been nearly a year since the Magic faced a healthy Celtics squad. On Friday they proved they can beat the Celtics with or without Kevin Garnett.
“It’s very important especially when they are full strength to show you that we’re still a good team,” Rashard Lewis told WEEI.com after the Magic’s 83-78 victory (Recap). “You know they’re a great team. This is only one game, it’s early in the season and I definitely would not count them out at all. Every time we play the Boston Celtics it’s going to be a tough, tough game.”
The Celtics were 0-2 last regular season against the Magic without Garnett and were eliminated from the Eastern Conference Semifinals by the Magic without him. But the truth is, the Magic have held their own against the Celtics in recent years. They improved to 5-3 against the Cs since the 2007-08 regular season.
“I think the biggest thing playing their team is not allowing them to get a lot of second chance points, hold them to one shot, and then run,” said Dwight Howard.
The Celtics actually outshot the Magic 87-to-70 from the floor, but the Magic shot 10-for-22 from three-point range while Celtics were a mere 2-for-19. Vince Carter attempted 29 field goals — “All of them weren’t open, I’ll be the first to tell you that,” he said with a laugh — the same number as Ray Allen and Paul Pierce combined. Stifling the Celtics offense was a must-do for the Magic.
“You’ve got to play defense,” said Lewis. “I think every time we play this team we really buckle down on the defensive end and we try to take their main guys out – Ray Allen at the three-point line, and we try to crowd Paul Pierce and make other guys beat us. Tonight I think we did a good job of that.”
The Celtics lost their lead just three minutes into the first quarter, and the Magic held off a 17-12 fourth quarter run after Rasheed Wallace tied the game at 78 apiece. Lewis said his team regained their composure after coach Stan Van Gundy called a timeout and buckled down, realizing how easily the Celtics can fight back from a double-digit deficit. The Magic diminished the Celtics homecourt advantage and held on in the TD Garden’s playoff atmosphere.
“We’re not going to do that [back down] to anybody,” said Jason Williams. “I mean, we feel that we’re just as good as anybody else. So if we come out and do what we’re supposed to do, we’re going to win more times than not.”
On Friday night, like they have so many times in recent games against the Celtics, the Magic came out on top. Neither team can read too much into this victory, though. While the Magic know how to beat the Celtics, but they also know either team is capable of winning at any time.
“I don’t want to say we got their number because anything can happen on any given night,” said Lewis. “Tonight the ball kind of bounced our way and towards the end of the game we were able to get away. It’s not like we blew them out. We won by like four points so it could have easily gone the other way.”
|Kevin Garnett on D&H, 11/19||11.19.09 at 4:01 pm ET|
Celtics forward Kevin Garnett joined the Dale & Holley Show on Thursday. The Celtics star discussed his health, the challenge of returning from injury, the impact of Rasheed Wallace on the Celtics and the state of this season’s team.
Highlights are transcribed below. To listen to the complete interview, click here.
Last week Rasheed Wallace said he might not have an outside range. What’s yours, 75-feet?
Well, if you want to take that shot last night, probably about 80 to 75-feet, yeah, that’s about accurate, yeah.
You called it in the air didn’t you?
I called it when I let it go, and then Don Nelson sort of said something to me. That’s why my reaction was the way it was, because I knew when I let it go, it felt good, but you never know in those situations. I let it go, it felt good, ooh, went in.
I’m wondering if fear is the right word to use when you had a major injury for the first time in your career. When you didn’t know what was going on, were you fearful at all about what was going on in there?
I fear God and I fear my mother, that’s about the only thing in life, other than that it was just straight up pain. At one point I thought it was something that I could play through, I knew when I got home and when I was in my own personal space, that’s when I knew it was something serious. Walking up steps, sitting down, laying out on the floor, stretched out on the floor, my leg was constantly bothering me.
And you’re talking about a lot of activity, so when I really started to take it serious and the more I got educated on what was going on, that’s when I started to make decisions health wise, what was best for me. I was running like I was running with a peg leg, and Doc in practice was like, this is terrible to watch. My effort, I pretty much through was there, I tried to come back, play a couple games, I knew that I was hurt, I knew that I was really hurt, but I was trying to grind through it, trying to give Paul and the rest of these guys some support.
But I just knew at the same time I was probably making it worse by playing. I had a very, very, very rare injury, obviously bone spurs but the size of the spur was pretty irregular, and pretty dramatic. It wasn’t until I got to see it then I took it a lot more serious, but until that point I was built off hard work and dedication to your craft. I haven’t changed that since I got here, I’ve always felt like mind over matter, you know the mind tells the body, but at some point the mind has to listen to the body. Read the rest of this entry »
|Can Celtics finish?||11.18.09 at 8:45 pm ET|
In their two losses to Atlanta and Indiana, the Celtics have been jumping out to quick leads but unable to put away teams in the fourth quarter.
That’s a trait they perfected in 2008. And in three blowout wins against Utah, Charlotte and Philadelphia, it wasn’t even an issue as they built leads of over 20 points in each case, turning the final 12 minutes in each case into prime time for the bench.
But against Atlanta, they were outscored 25-16 in the fourth and lost 97-86. In Indianapolis the next night, they were outscored, 61-43, by the younger, fresher Pacers, losing 113-104. The Celtics have led in the fourth quarter in each of their three losses entering Wednesday.
“I’m concerned about bad finishes than slow starts, honestly,” Rivers said before Wednesday’s contest. “I think all three of the games, we’ve had a lead in the fourth quarter. I said it [Tuesday], I don’t think we’re a 48-minute team yet.”
On Wednesday, the Celtics took a 49-48 lead to the locker room, somewhat deflated by the waving off of Kevin Garnett’s 3/4-court heave that hit nothing but net.
But the real question remains – Can the Celtics finish?
Stay tuned now and for the rest of the season.
|KG: ‘Rondo and I have a connection’||11.12.09 at 4:10 pm ET|
WALTHAM – Kevin Garnett had a polite warning following Thursday’s practice for all of those who think he might have lost a step and is not as dangerous on his patented alley-oop play with Rajon Rondo.
Just try us.
“Rondo and I have a connection where I don’t think you can really play that play because if you go back it’s a pick and roll and if you go up too far, it’s an oop,” Garnett said of the highlight below that happened with three minutes remaining in the third quarter of Wednesday night’s blowout win over the Jazz.
Paul Millsap was the Utah player caught in defensive no-man’s land, as he pinched up. Garnett gave a shake as if he were cutting in front and went behind.
“Then if the guy on the bottom [post] wants to stick his nose in there, he ends up like that guy last night,” Garnett said. “It’s not even a play. It’s more of a read in playing basketball than anything.”
That guy, by the way, would be Kyrylo Fesenko, the player who came from the weak side and appeared to foul Garnett on the play, but none was called.
“It was a foul,” Garnett said. “You don’t have to say it. I’ll say it for you.”
|Celtics generous in win over Jazz||11.11.09 at 11:00 pm ET|
There is a reason why the Celtics entered Wednesday’s game leading the league in assists. It isn’t only because of Rajon Rondo — point guards Steve Nash, Chris Paul, and Deron Williams are all ahead of him in dimes per game. It’s because the Celtics as a team look to pass, and that ball movement and selflessness were determining factors in their win over the Jazz.
“Doc [Rivers] and Coach [Armond] Hill were just saying move the ball,” Rondo said after the Celtics 105-86 victory. “It started in practice. We kept getting each other involved and we made plays for each other.”
The Celtics dished out 30 assists to the Jazz 18. Rondo accounted for 11, which totals more than Jazz starting guard Deron Williams and Ronnie Brewer combined.
They looked for not just one or two extra passes on Wednesday. One of the most significant possessions of the game involved four in the third quarter — Rondo to Ray Allen, Allen to Kendrick Perkins, Perkins behind the back to Kevin Garnett, Garnett back to Rondo for the lay in.
That sequence was memorable to many, but Rondo is so accustomed to sharing the ball that it was just another trip down the floor for him.
“I don’t even remember the play,” he said. “I think it was like five passes maybe, but I don’t remember how I got there.”
If the Celtics continue to see each other on the court like they did against the Jazz, they will remember how they ended up in the win column throughout the season.