|C’s plan to stop Varejao’s ‘dirty work’||05.05.10 at 1:32 pm ET|
Anderson Varejao is far from a Celtics fan favorite. He isn’t a flashy scorer, nor is he a finesse player. But that’s not what his game is about.
‘The man does one thing, and he does it well, and that’s what he gets paid for,’ Kevin Garnett told WEEI’s Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell following the C’s Game 2 victory (listen to the audio here). ‘And you know what? He doesn’t score a lot, he feeds off LeBron [James], he picks up the garbage, he does the dirty work. He’s out here trying to get guys rattled, trying to get technicals, the dumb stuff. You know, the stuff that shouldn’t even be in basketball, but it is.’
Even though Varejao does the dirty work for the Cavs, he still makes an impact on the scoreboard. He entered the series averaging 13 points and nine boards against the Celtics during the regular season, including a 17-point, 10-rebound performance in March.
In response, the C’s have turned to their bigs to combat Varejao’s energy and keep him away from the glass. They have limited him to a total of 12 points and 13 rebounds in Games 1 and 2 combined. Half of those points have come at the line.
‘We watched a lot of tape, we focused, we understand we’ve got to block him out,’ Garnett said. ‘He’s pure energy, he is a momentum changer, and we understand that. Baby is our momentum changer. And I think not just Kevin Garnett, but Rasheed Wallace, Big Baby Glen Davis, Kendrick Perkins, Shelden Williams, everybody’s been getting a body on him, we’ve been conscious of where he is. And we’ve been helping and trying to foul him and make him score at the free throw line. And it’s been working so far. Knock on wood.’
|Sheed takes heed from Garnett||05.04.10 at 11:46 pm ET|
Turns out, Rivers wasn’t the only one who wanted to see Wallace step up. Kevin Garnett also believed Wallace was critical to the Celtics postseason success, and he made it a point to tell him that.
‘After the first game, I went to him in the shower and I said, ‘In order for us to beat this team, man, it’s going to take not just the starting five. It’s going to take Rasheed, it’s going to take Tony Allen, it’s going to take Marquis (Daniels), Big Baby (Glen Davis), Shelden Williams, everybody, Nate Robinson. It’s going to take everybody who’s on that bench,’ Garnett told WEEI’s Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell following the C’s Game 2 victory on Monday (listen to the audio here).
Garnett has known his teammate long enough to understand his receptiveness ‘ or lack thereof ‘ to feedback. But fortunately for Garnett, who was in the 1995 NBA draft class with Wallace, he is on that short list.
‘I went to him personally, you know, he don’t really listen to a lot of people,’ Garnett explained. “Sheed sort of goes by his own tune and he only respects a few, and I’m one of the very few that he listens to and that he respects. And I went to him and I said, ‘If you give us 10 and 10, we’re going to not only beat these Cavs, but we’re going to blow them out.’ I said, ‘I need 10 and 10 every night with you, at least in this series right here.’”
Wallace shot just 1-for-5 and recorded more fouls than points in Game 1. But Garnett knew what Wallace was capable of, in spite of a disappointing regular season in which he averaged nine points, four rebounds, shot 28 percent from 3-point range, and was assessed numerous technical fouls and fines. He wanted Wallace to put that behind him, focus on the postseason series at hand, and provide the Celtics with a solid contribution off the bench.
‘I said, ‘I don’t care what you’ve been going through. To hell with what the year is. So what? You can make it all up right here,’’ Garnett recounted. ‘And I got into him a little bit. I rubbed him the wrong way a little bit. And then later on we talked. He said, ‘You’re right.’’
Whatever the driving force may have been, Wallace stepped onto the court in Game 2 and gave one of his best performances in a Celtics uniform. He scored an efficient 17 points (7-for-8 on field goals and 3-for-4 on threes) in 18 minutes. Even though Wallace didn’t do anything fancy, it was just what the Celtics needed.
‘It was just good to see results,’ said Garnett. ‘He’s a gutty veteran, he knows how to play, and it was just big. He was big for us.’
|Cavs don’t rest on off day||at 9:47 pm ET|
The team elected to watch film in Cleveland Tuesday, even though they had a scheduled off day. Cavs coach Mike Brown ripped his team’s effort after Game 2 in which the Celtics evened the series with a decisive 104-86 victory.
“We have to decide if we are going to take the fight to them and take these games,” Brown said. “Ain’t a [expletive] thing is going to be given to us at all in this series. Plain and simple, they kicked our behind. This series is one to one. We are going to see what we’re made of in Game 3.’
The bigger story, however, is that LeBron James is scheduled to have another MRI on right elbow before Friday’s Game 3. He had one last week before the Cavs closed out the Bulls in their first-round series that revealed a bone bruise and a sprained elbow. James admitted that he started Game 1 tentatively and he faced questions after Game 2 when he attempted 15 shots (he also had 15 free throws).
Also, Anderson Varejao was examined by the team’s physician after back spasms took him out of Game 2. He is listed as day to day.Varejao was one of the few Cavs big men who played well in Game 2 and he was doing his best to try to rile up the Celtics.
[Go here to listen to Kevin Garnett's post-game interview with WEEI in which he talked about Varejao's play, as well as calling our Rasheed Wallace after Game 1]
This is a potentially huge problem for the Cavs who are getting minimal production out of Shaquille O’Neal and are also looking at big matchup problem with Antawn Jamison guarding Garnett. The Celtics believe they can exploit this matchup throughout the series and they have made a concerted effort to isolate Garnett on the left block against Jamison.
Rivers wants Garnett to look for his own offense more, which runs counter to his nature.
“He’s got to stay on that,” Rivers said between games. “He fights his own self because people don’t get that. They criticize him for being unselfish which is the craziest thing on earth, but that is who he is.”
Garnett has been aggressive. He tied a season-high with 20 shot attempts in Game 1 and shook off a slow first-half in Game 2 in which he went 2-for-9, by making his first three shots in the third quarter when the Celtics dominated play.
“Kevin was playing way too fast in the first half but he was still a concern on the post,” Rivers said after Game 2. “They’re trapping. They’re worried about him right now.”
Varejao is the key to the Cavs multiple frontcourt lineups because he can play both the four and five spots and is a much better defender than J.J. Hickson. Without him in the lineup, the Cavs have to either play small with James and either Jamison or Hickson up front, or go big with either O’Neal or Zydrunas Ilgauskus, which makes them much slower.
For their part, the Celtics took the day off and are scheduled to resume practice Wednesday.
|Kevin Garnett press conference||04.28.10 at 1:58 am ET|
|Pierce, KG, Rivers on Glen Davis||at 1:54 am ET|
|Return trip not in plan for C’s||04.27.10 at 2:01 pm ET|
WALTHAM — The next time Paul Pierce visits South Florida, he wants to be on a beach having fun in the sun.
“There’s a lot of urgency,” Pierce said. “We don’t want to go to Miami. Hopefully the next time I go to Miami, I’ll be on vacation.”
While there was a lot of focus on the 46 points Wade put up in Game 4 on Sunday, on 16-of-24 shooting from the field, Pierce said it’s Wade’s supporting cast of Quentin Richardson and Michael Beasley that must be contained. And that starts with him.
“Other guys like [Carlos] Arroyo and Beasley can’t have big games for them,” Pierce said. “Wade is going to have the ball most of the time. You have to expect him [Wade] to have big numbers because of that. It’s the other guys definitely we have to shut down.”
While Arroyo was held to just six points in 21 minutes, Richardson and Beasley combined for 35 points while making a disturbing 13-of-27 shots from the field. That’s the stat that concerned coach Doc Rivers afterward and it’s what the Celtics must be aware of in Game 5 if they are to avoid the pain of getting on a plane Wednesday for South Florida.
Kevin Garnett had a slightly different take on what will be needed against the Heat. Garnett wants everyone to remember they can’t win the game by themselves.
“I thought, for the most part, everybody wanted to get this settled in Miami and we were trying to do it with one shot instead of one pass,” Garnett said. “We were one step late on a lot of rotations. They threw a zone at us and we were all out of whack with that.”
|Pierce: It’s a must win||04.24.10 at 4:58 pm ET|
MIAMI – The Celtics elected not to hold practice Saturday afternoon after taking Game 3 from Miami on a dramatic buzzer-beater by Paul Pierce to take a 3-0 lead in their series, but don’t mistake that for over-confidence.
“I’m looking at it like it’s a 3-3 tie,” Pierce said. “It’s a must game for us. We want to be desperate for this win. We don’t want them coming back to Boston with any kind of confidence. You never know what can happen in this league. They’ve got a great player in [Dwyane] Wade and a team that played well down the stretch”
Ray Allen equated it to running a marathon.
“You don’t win anything if you get four in the first round,” he said. “Winning three games doesn’t mean anything either. You can’t go around and be fuzzy because you’ve won a couple of game. We have to make sure that we follow through because it is a process. It’s like running a marathon. You’re not done until you cross the finish line. So we have a finish line and we have to cross it.”
Kevin Garnett was asked if winning this series would give the Celtics some momentum going forward. Predictably, he did not bite.
“At this point right now, man, we’re focused on the Heat,” Garnett said. “We’re not looking past this game. I’m not even going to indulge in any of that conversation. The focus right now is trying to win this game in Miami.”