|The Revitilization of Rajon Rondo||11.20.08 at 10:10 pm ET|
It was early in the game and Rajon Rondo found himself driving to the basket with a clear lane to the hoop. His options: Finish the move and take it strong, or pass it out for a jump shot. As he has several times this year Rondo elected to exercise Option Two–pass it out to the perimeter. The decision elicited audible gasps from the Garden crowd, disappointment really, and a missed jump shot. That’s not what getting Rondo’d is all about.
But the most picked over, scrutinized and dissected player on the Celtics roster does not lack for confidence, and the next time Rondo found himself in the same position (clear path, decision time), Rondo elected for Option One: Take it strong to the goal.
Again and again Thursday night against the Pistons, Rondo took it strong to the basket en route to an 18-point, eight-assist performance that stands as his best game of the young season in a 98-80 win over Detroit. Read the rest of this entry »
|Celtics-Pistons Game Blog: Second Quarter||at 6:53 pm ET|
SECOND QUARTER WRAP: The Celtics second unit was hot early in the second and pushed the lead up to 38-27. But the Pistons got physical and are within nine half. They’re looking to battle and the Celtics will have to come out hot in the third quarter to stave off a comeback.
Halftime Notes and Numbers:
- Iverson leads all scorers with 12. Rondo and Tony Allen lead the Celtics with 9 apiece.
- Both teams have 16 points in the paint and the rest of the stat lines are very similar.
- The Pistons are outrebounding the Celtics 18-16 while the Celtics have one more assist, 11-10.
Paul has you covered after a entertaining halftime performance by the Bucket Boys.
- At the half, Celtics 49, Pistons 40
– Two days after saying KG is “crazier” than him on the court, Perk got T’ed up at the end of the second after Maxiell fouled Pierce at the hoop.
– There is talk of a heated relationship between UConn alums Ray Allen and Rip Hamilton, but few details are known. We’re getting a glimpse into that tonight with Hamilton knocking Allen over for an offensive foul. Hamilton had something to say about it as they ran down the court.
– A little kid dressed in an oversized Bill Walker jersey just won Sarah Brightman tickets in a tot-sized road race. What are the chances he has her songs on iTunes?
– The Celtics have their starters back on the court and the Pistons have all but Wallace out there.
– Both Ray Allen and House have missed free throws this quarter. It was House’s first miss of the season and Allen’s fourth.
– Eddie House is feeling it. After Powe swatted away a Prince drive, House nailed a three on the fast break. He drained another trey on the next possession, prompting the Pistons to call a timeout down 38-27.
– Rip Hamilton completely faked out Tony Allen at the top of the key. TA has learned from his mistakes and didn’t get tricked into fouling him on the shot a la last season against Chauncey Billups.
– During a timeout the Celtics played their first “slow dance” of the year on the Jumbotron. It was a slo-mo of awesomely bad dance moves from the Garden set to the awesomely bad Lonestar ballad, “Amazed.”
– Now Aaron Afflalo is guarding Powe (??) … now Afflalo’s on the ground. Powe’s at the line shooting two.
– Scal for three. And the crowd goes wild.
– I was hoping for a physical match up between Powe and Maxiell considering the trouble the Pistons big man gave Perk last season. But Big Baby is on Maxiell and Powe has Prince. Powe should be able to back Prince down in the paint.
– For the first time in a while, Doc is going with an entire second unit. Usually he leaves PIerce or Ray Allen on the court with the reserves, but now he’s giving the lineup of Scal, Powe, Davis, Tony Allen, and House a look. Michael Curry’s going with Iverson, Stuckey, Prince, Afflalo, and Wallace.
– After another slow start, the Celtics enter the second quarter tied 21-21 with the Pistons.
|Lil Wayne: KG is Best Trash Talker||11.19.08 at 7:29 am ET|
After hitting the charts, rap megastar Lil Wayne is now hitting the internet in his own ESPN the Magazine blog. Turns out he has a little bit of Spike Lee in him and has spent plenty of time talking trash from his courtside seats, including getting into the head of Houston Rocket Rafer Alston. As much as he likes talking trash, he claims no one does it better than Kevin Garnett:
“Back when I had those courtside seats I would hear everything those guys ever said, and KG was by far the best trash talker. That dude was creative. Even though he was on a terrible team in Minnesota all those years, he came in and was talking every night, intimidating people. He could get away with it because even though his team would usually lose, everyone knew KG’s game was at a different level. Most people would back down because it was KG. But then once in a while you’d have a guy who’d go back at him. I remember one game he got into it with Kareem Rush and he didn’t back down.”
Those also mentioned in Lil Wayne’s blog include:
LeBron James: “When you watch the Cavaliers games please be sure not to get up during the commercials ’cause you will see me on the Nike LeBron commercial. Yes. It’s kind of funny because he does that little thing where he throws the dust up and it gets on me and my new shoes so I’m upset about it.”
T-Mac: “Tracy McGrady? Come on. This is the same guy who said he wasn’t coming to New Orleans if the All-Star game was there. That guy? Come on. So then when the All-Star game came around who all of a sudden gets an injury? Tracy McGrady. Yeah.”
Dwyane Wade: “We live on the beach, but the funny thing is some guys in his entourage have a place in another building and my entourage lives directly across from them. So my entourage and his entourage are always out playing basketball together. D-Wade’s a cool guy, but I’ve never really been invited to his games. I guess I need tickets.”
… and even Manny Ramirez: “There are only a few teams that can afford to pay the man, and I would be heartbroken if he ends up in pinstripes. Manny as a Yankee would upset a whole lot of people, so I hope it doesn’t come to that.”
|Richardson Still Unimpressed by Celtics||11.18.08 at 8:56 pm ET|
This time last year Quentin Richardson wasn’t buying into the hype surrounding the Big Three. To him, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett were just another handful of players who hadn’t won a championship. Despite their hot start to the 2008 season, Richardson wasn’t in awe.
“It’s not that big a deal to us,” the New York Knicks forward told the New York Post last year. “It’s like the media makes more of The Big Three and all of them. We’re not in awe of them. They ain’t won no championships. They have a good record right now, but that don’t matter.”
At the time, Pierce shrugged it off.
“You know what? I really don’t get caught up in all that talk,” Pierce said. “He’s going to say what he’s going to say to try to motivate his team. We don’t need to be motivated. We’re a self-motivated team and we’re going to go out there and take care of business.”
Fast forward 12 months. The Knicks faced off against the Celtics on Tuesday night in Boston for a heated battle that included plenty of trash-talking and technical fouls to go around. This time the Knicks were playing the defending NBA champions. This time … was no different than the last for Richardson.
‘I think a few of those guys know they can’t just say anything to us,” he said following the Celtics tension-filled 110-101 victory. “I’m just real curious to see what those guys will be saying if we weren’t in a basketball league and didn’t have referees. I mean it wouldn’t be the same story. I mean they are the World Champions and rah-rah-rah, but the tough part I don’t factor. I come from a neighborhood where you can say what you want to say, but til you do something, it don’t mean nothing. Some of those guys are happy to get a ring, but you ain’t been in the league long enough to talk to people like that. I don’t have a lot of respect for that. Like I said, I’d be curious to hear what they have to say in a different setting, I’d be very curious to see that.’
A year later, Pierce is still shrugging off Richardson’s rants.
‘We just have to keep our composure,” the Celtics captain said. “The Knicks try to get you to play their game with the talking and the small ball. We can’t get caught up in the way they’re playing. We have to play our game and take advantage of what we do out there well.’
Don’t expect this to be the last heard from Richardson. The Celtics and Knicks will see each other again three times this season. Next up, December 21 at the Garden.
|Just ‘ridiculous’…||at 5:54 pm ET|
“I was just surprised. I thought it was a ridiculous suspension, I really did,” Doc said. “Anybody who’s been around the game long enough, whether you’ve played it or not, you’ve got your head sideways and someone strikes you not once but twice, your reaction… your reflex is to flail. And I guess that constitutes a punch. Clearly, he’s not a good fighter if that’s the case if that’s a punch.
“It is what it is. There’s nothing you can do about it. We have to play tonight so we have to move forward.”
Garnett’s one-game sit-out for his flailing against Milwaukee’s Andrew Bogut will cost him $200,000.
“I just want more consistency from our league. I think they have to look at things differently,” Rivers said. “I just looked at the Shaq thing, and I hate to call out Shaq, but that was a hard foul, where a guy was suspended in the air and comes down on his face and he gets $50,000 and Kevin gets $200,000 and misses a game. Those two things don’t go together and we have to pay the price.”
Brian Scalabrine got his first start of the season, taking Garnett’s place in the lineup.
“You don’t replace Kevin Garnett. Everyone just has to pitch in and do a little bit more,” Rivers said.
|Pregame: Scal to Start against Knicks||at 5:12 pm ET|
Brian Scalabrine will get the start on Tuesday night against the New York Knicks in place of the suspended Kevin Garnett. Doc Rivers went with Scal to keep in second unit in tact. This will be just the 51st start of Scal’s eight-year career and 28th with the Celtics.
Garnett’s suspension was the hot topic before the game for both teams. Rivers cited Shaquille O’Neal’s recent fine in comparison to Garnett’s punishment. “I was just surprised. I’m not going to get into this long because I thought it was a ridiculous suspension. I really did,” he said. Rivers also pointed out that KG isn’t even allowed in the building tonight.
Inside the Celtics locker room Garnett’s teammates were cautious when giving their opinion of the ruling.
“Ya’ll want me to say something bad, huh?” Kendrick Perkins said with a smile before adding, “I don’t know, it’s kind of crazy. But you know it’s something we’ve got to deal with. I think he’s handling it well but what can we do about it?”
Said Leon Powe, “Well I can’t really say but, you know, I wouldn’t have suspended him for that. But it’s the league and there are rules so whatever they decide, we’ve got to roll with. So now we’ve got to go out there with KG but we’ve got to still be a team and we’ve still got to go out there and fight and play together.”
As for the Knicks, they are looking to take advantage of the defensive void on the Celtics. “KG is pretty much the anchor defensively,” said Jamal Crawford. “He really gets after it defensively but they’re still a good defensive team without KG. But with him, he just takes them to a different level. It’ll be a lot of similar things that we were going to do before but you make minor adjustments.”
Paul and I will be bringing out the latest live from the TD BankNorth Garden, so tune in during the game for all the most up-to-date information.
|Celtics Know How to Beat Knicks without Garnett||11.17.08 at 7:11 pm ET|
On Tuesday night the Boston Celtics will take on the New York Knicks without Kevin Garnett as he serves a one-game suspension for his conduct on Saturday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks. Garnett was penalized without pay for striking Andrew Bogut in the face in the fourth quarter of the Celtics 102-97 overtime win. Bogut’s foul on Garnett was also upgraded to a Flagrant Foul Penalty One on Monday.
This isn’t the first time the team has been without KG since acquiring him nearly 16 months ago. Last season Garnett sat out nine games with an abdominal strain that he suffered on a game-saving play against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Celtics went 7-2 during that stretch.
This isn’t the first time the team will take on the Knicks without KG either. Last February 13 the Celtics defeated them 111-103 at Madison Square Garden.
So how did the Celtics get it done without Garnett?
(I know, I know, beating the Knicks isn’t earth shattering but the Celtics still have to make adjustments.)
That night Paul Pierce and Ray Allen combined for 45 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 assists. The duo hit 17-of-18 from the free throw line (Allen missed one). Rajon Rondo also shot 64% from the field to score 18 points. Garnett wasn’t the only starter out of the lineup that night. Kendrick Perkins was sidelined as well, so Leon Powe and Brian Scalabrine got the starts in their place. Powe chipped in 18 points while Scal lasted just under three minutes before James Posey took over.
On the defensive end, they limited the Knicks to 29% three-point shooting and held them to 20 assists (the Celtics dished 29). The Cs also blocked six shots to the Knicks zero.
The Celtics turned to their bench to get it done last time and Tuesday night will be no different.