|Fast Break: Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett win Celtics reunion||12.10.13 at 10:01 pm ET|
The pregame hoopla may have focused on Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce‘s first game against their former team, but Brook Lopez and Deron Williams stole the show on the court in Brooklyn’s 104-96 victory against the Celtics.
Williams (25 points) and Lopez (24 points) helped the Nets end the C’s three-game win streak and crawl within two games of Boston’s Atlantic Division lead. Garnett and Pierce combined for 15 points, 16 rebounds and six assists.
All five Celtics starters scored in double figures, led by Bradley’s 22 points. Brandon Bass (13 points, 11 rebounds) notched his first double-double of the season. Jeff Green added 19 points and six boards while Jared Sullinger and Jordan Crawford added 15 apiece. The Celtics fell to 10-13.
WHAT WENT WRONG
Babbling Brook: The Celtics had no answer for Lopez. The undersized frontcourt of Sullinger and Bass was no match for the 7-foot, 275-pound Lopez, who scored 22 points on 10-of-12 shooting through the first three quarters, when the Nets owned a 46-24 advantage in the paint and an 85-72 edge on the scoreboard. The Celtics made it a game in the final minutes, but couldn’t overcome a Nets lead as large as 17.
El Hombre Destructible: Celtics coach Brad Stevens attempted to counter Lopez with Vitor Faverani, but the Brazilian 7-footer finished minus-12 in four minutes with two personal fouls and zeroes across the stat sheet. In his last five games, Faverani is averaging 2.8 points and 1.5 rebounds. While Kelly Olynyk‘s return may help the front line, the C’s still won’t have a defender capable of matching up with a true center.
Bench press: Pierce came off the bench for just the fourth time in his career, anchoring a Brooklyn second unit that dominated their Celtics counterparts. While Pierce scored in the single digits, he added seven rebounds and three assists to give the Nets reserves a total of 22 points, 20 rebounds and six assists. Faverani, Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries all struggled, as the Celtics bench totaled just 12 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Second helping: Often matched up with Williams, who missed the previous nine games with an ankle injury, Bradley torched the Nets point guard in the second quarter, scoring 12 of his 15 first-half points to help the Celtics remain within nine, 56-47, at halftime. Bradley has now reached double-digit scoring in 15 games, a number he didn’t reach until mid-March last season.
Triple threat: The Celtics made eight of their first 14 3-point attempts, including their first three tries of the third quarter to tie the game at 60-60. Bradley started 3-of-5, Green made his first two and Sullinger connected on his first two tries after halftime, as the C’s erased a 13-point first-half deficit 2:22 into the third quarter.
KG greets his buddy Rondo during a timeout: pic.twitter.com/ZNi3GE4yRH
— Jay O (@MrTrpleDouble10) December 11, 2013
|Avery Johnson: ‘Rebuilding was the right move’ for Celtics||10.23.13 at 4:10 pm ET|
Johnson, who coached the Nets for 2½ seasons and was dismissed shortly after the Celtics trounced Brooklyn last Christmas, will be adding a very distinct voice to the ESPN airwaves this season, sharing his insight every Wednesday on “NBA Countdown.”
In a one-on-one interview with WEEI.com, Johnson shared his thoughts on the state of the Celtics, as well as the Nets’ decision to go all-in.
‘This is a totally different year for the Celtics,’ Johnson said. ‘A lot of the pieces that were there last year, those guys are pretty much in the twilight and near the end of their careers. They still had a lot of great basketball in them and can carry a team during the regular season, but that was an aging team.’
Johnson, known as the ‘Little General’ during his playing career, believes the Celtics were never the same after Ray Allen‘s departure to Miami as a free agent last offseason.
‘The loss of Ray Allen was too much,’ Johnson said. ‘They never really were able to fill his shoes in terms of the great work he did on the court for the Celtics over the years during their championship runs.’
Similar to the beginning of his run with the Nets, a team that only won 24 games in 2011, Johnson sees a team in Boston with an uncertain future.
‘This was a team that needed to change,’ Johnson said. ‘Obviously we didn’t know the change would occur with Doc Rivers not being a part of it, but everything’s changed. Now the Celtics have a lot of pieces they’re still trying to figure out. They’re still working on how they’re going to play defensively and offensively, and where they’re going, not only now, but in the future.’
|Kevin Garnett’s camouflage capris could be yours||10.17.13 at 3:00 pm ET|
In classic Kevin Garnett fashion, he didn’t even pack his clothes when he got traded from the Celtics. Just up and left. Probably showed up in Brooklyn with a pair of mesh shorts, a basketball and a scarf. Oh, those scarves.
Those scarves might be yours at SportsWorld, the local memorabilia shop charged with selling KG’s wardrobe for $50 an item. Of course, you could have his Concord home, too, but that $4.85 million price tag is a little steep.
Besides, think of all his memorable duds. That Gino t-shirt. The suits he wore for his introductory press conference, the ESPYs and yelling at Ben Gordon. That Hawaiian shirt. His professor jacket. Anyone for tennis attire? A feather boa. DJ Lance Rock costume. Camouflage capri pants. All those v-neck sweaters. And cardigans. And the Mr. Rogers look. All amazing. All potentially up for grabs.
Something tells me the fire sale doesn’t include his $2,000 chrome heart hipster glasses, five-figure diamond earrings or six-figure Aire’s Traveler watch, but I call the frying pan he used to make those famous tortillas.
|LeBron James doesn’t get free agency vs. trades||at 1:12 pm ET|
Apparently, LeBron James thinks leaving for free agency is the same as being traded, since he’s equating Ray Allen‘s defection to Miami to the trade that shipped Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn.
“There were a couple guys who basically [expletive] on Ray for leaving, and now they’re leaving,” the four-time NBA MVP told ESPN.com. “That’s the nature of our business, man. I don’t know what Boston was going through at the end of the day. I know Ray had to make the best decision for him and his family and his career. Doc [Rivers], KG and Paul did that as well. You can’t criticize someone who does something that’s best for their family.”
Dwyane Wade said something similar, albeit more confusing. “People say things about people when they do something when they themselves would do the same thing. It’s about putting yourself in the best situation, and at the end of the day we all do that. You can’t really say anything about someone that does it for themselves.”
This whole things stems from Pierce’s failure to forgive Allen and KG’s “I don’t have Ray’s number anymore” comments. Rivers also chastised Allen for leaving, so I understand calling him out for wanting out of Boston, but given their druthers Pierce and Garnett would still be playing for the Celtics. The former wanted to retire a Celtic, and the latter wanted to retire if he wasn’t going to be a Celtic. They reluctantly accepted a trade to the Nets.
That’s different than choosing the Heat in free agency. Allen made a conscious decision to leave Pierce and Garnett last season. Pierce and Garnett were going to be separated against their will this year. But I don’t expect LeBron to understand that, since he’s basically still defending himself taking an expletive on Cleveland.
|Celtics at Nets: Paul Pierce in, Kevin Garnett out||10.15.13 at 10:18 am ET|
Paul Pierce is expected to play when his new team hosts his former team in the preseason on Tuesday night, but Kevin Garnett won’t be in the Nets lineup against the Celtics, and he’s none too pleased about it.
‘It wasn’t my decision, so that’s where I’m going to leave that,” Garnett, who already voiced his displeasure in coach Jason Kidd‘s plan to rest him on back-to-backs, told the New York media after Monday’s win in Philadelphia. ‘I’m trying to be as positive as I can. It’s not up to me. I’m being positive and go with the plan that was laid out for me and being positive with that. So I’m trusting Jason and the plan he has for myself. … I just feel like every day you have a chance to better your craft and be part of the group, I’d like to be a part of that.’
Pierce has already expressed to reporters that he will not be in the Brooklyn lineup when the Nets come to Boston for the final game of the Celtics preseason on Oct. 23. The same is expected to be true for Garnett.
Meanwhile, Jeff Green pulled a KG “I don’t have Ray Allen‘s number anymore” after Monday’s Celtics practice. ‘I haven’t spoke to none of them since they got traded,” he said. “Probably [Jason Terry] is the last person I talked to out of them. It just got to the point where it was time to move on for me. They’re gone. I can’t worry about how they feel or how I feel. The trade happened. When I see them, brief words and then I’ll get ready to play.’
Now, if only Green can back up that statement the way Garnett did in 2011-12. He’s currently shooting a team-worst 27.5 percent from the field on a team-high 10.0 field goal attempts per game and averaging fewer points in more minutes than Phil Pressey. Perhaps that’s what Brandon Bass was trying to say here: ‘We don’t have our OG’s anymore, so the young G’s got to step up and be old G’s now and go out and play. It’s sunk in.”
|Jeff Green: The [expletive] mentality is coming||10.08.13 at 12:35 am ET|
Jeff Green is embracing the mentality with which Kevin Garnett encouraged him to play. Just as he did on Media Day, the de facto Celtics star cut right to the point when a reporter approached the subject delicately.
“[Expletive]-hole? It’s coming. I didn’t bring it tonight, obviously, the way I played, but it’s coming. It’s coming.”
In his first game as the focal point in the Celtics offense, Green struggled in the C’s 97-89 preseason loss to the Raptors, scoring just six points on 2-of-7 shooting (0-4 3P) and committing as many turnovers (3) as he totaled assists (2) and rebounds (1) in his 23:17 on the floor. Did he sense the added attention from the Raptors?
“Most definitely,” said Green. “The rotations weren’t solid. It was tough to get a rhythm, but you can definitely sense where the attention is headed. So, I’ve just got to look at film and see where I can attack and take my shots.”
First thing he’ll notice: a lack of transition buckets. Of Green’s seven shots, five came from outside 20 feet. He took two shots from the paint — a miss 2:18 into the game and a fourth-quarter dunk that cut Toronto’s lead to 89-86 with 4:15 remaining. In other words, he played a span 41:03 without being an [expletive]-hole.
“Like I said, we’re still learning. It’s only been seven days and a couple practices. This is our first preseason games. We’ve got three more this week, so we’ve just got to continue to practice and continue to do better.
|Rajon Rondo isn’t shedding any tears over Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett||09.30.13 at 8:52 pm ET|
Addressing the Boston press for the first time since the Celtics traded Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett this summer, the rehabbing Rajon Rondo didn’t seem all that bothered by their absence at Media Day.
“It wasn’t difficult at all,” said Rondo. “I didn’t feel anything. I actually landed in L.A. the night of the draft, and I got about 45 text messages coming through my phone. I thought I was traded. You never know.”
Instead, the Celtics had dealt Pierce and Garnett, the face and the soul of the franchise that drafted him. So, Rondo traded texts with his longtime teammates, even talked to them on the phone, but beyond that?
Rondo has developed quite a poker face during his interactions with the media, so it’s no surprise he didn’t show any emotion when talking about two players he called brothers for the past six seasons. However, the anticipation in Rondo’s voice over the possibility of putting his own stamp on these new C’s was palpable.
“This is a fresh start for us, a new coach and an entire new team,” he said. “I’m excited about the fresh start. I’m excited every year for each team, but for me to get back on the court I just want to compete. I haven’t competed in a while, and I’m a very competitive player and a very competitive person, so I miss being out their on the court with my teammates and helping them win.”
And what about Doc Rivers, the coach who molded Rondo into a four-time NBA All-Star point guard?
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