|Jackson: Celtics Earned My Respect||11.26.08 at 9:04 pm ET|
Last season on the night before Thanksgiving, Stephen Jackson scoffed at the hype surrounding the Boston Celtics. They were 9-1 at the time, including a 23-point blowout over the Golden State Warriors, but Jackson could care less.
“They won nine games. If you all want to hype up nine games so be it. I’m not,” he said at the time. “Like I said, they are just another NBA team just like everybody else. They’ll get praise when they win a championship.”
Exactly one year later, the now-defending champions came from behind the defeat the Warriors 119-111 in Boston. Jackson posted 30 points, six assists, and five rebounds, and looked like he was out for redemption.
So was he playing with a vengeance? His answer may surprise you.
“They definitely have my respect,” he said. “They have three great players and a great leader in (Rajon) Rondo. He definitely is a key to them winning games. Like I said, they have my respect now. If I said that year, I take it back. They’ve definitely earned it.”
The trio of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen have achieved the goal Jackson is working toward with Corey Maggette and the newly acquired Jamal Crawford. Now he is in the same situation and can appreciate what the Celtics accomplished last season.
“It’s hard to not respect them after the season they had,” Jackson said. “When you’re a team that signs three big guys and you haven’t won a championship, you have to earn the respect. And they’ve earned it.”
|Sounds of the game… Celtics 98, Pistons 80||11.21.08 at 12:03 am ET|
The Celtics showed no mercy on the weary Detroit Pistons on Thursday night at TD Banknorth Garden, demolishing them, 98-80. The first quarter was a wake-up call as the Green fell behind 13-2 in the first three and a half minutes. But for the final three quarters, this one belonged entirely to the defending champs. Rajon Rondo looked better than he has all season, scoring 18 and controlling Allen Iverson and the tempo all night. This was the second time this season the 11-2 Celtics have owned Detroit, beating them 88-76 back on Nov. 9. There are 69 games remaining but it’s hard to imagine anyone in the East knocking the Celtics out of the top perch. Next up tonight, Kevin Garnett gets to actually play in his return to Minnesota to take on the Timberwolves. Last year, he had to sit on the sidelines because of an injury.
|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.
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