|Fast Break: Al Horford (26 points), strong fourth quarter leads Celtics past Kings||12.02.16 at 10:40 pm ET|
For the first time in four games, the Celtics held their opponent to under 100 points, defeating the Kings 97-92 and snapping a 3-game home losing streak.
The Kings couldn’t get much going throughout the game, shooting 37.9 percent from the field, highlighted by a disastrous 6-of-26 from behind the 3-point line.
The Celtics weren’t much better, as they shot 40.9 percent from the field, but their 3-point shooting (39.3 percent) is what proved to be the difference.
Al Horford led the way for the C’s, scoring 26 points (including 4-of-7 from 3-point range), grabbing eight rebounds and blocking six shots, including the game-winner. Jae Crowder also played well, shooting 6-of-12 from the field for 16 points.
Despite shooting 10-of-26 from the field, DeMarcus Cousins was the only reason the Kings were in the game down the stretch, making several key plays, including scoring 5 points in the final minute of the game. Cousins took a nasty elbow to his face, resulting in a nasty gash above his right eye. He missed two minutes of the fourth quarter while he was being treated on the bench.
The C’s jumped out to a 29-16 lead, led by a 5-of-7 12-point first quarter from Al Horford—two more shots than he took all of last game.
The Kings responded with a 13-0 run to close the quarter however, and the margin would stay within 8 the rest of the game.
Down 2 coming into the fourth quarter, the C’s outscored the Kings 28-20 in the final period, with the biggest play coming from Horford: blocking a potential game-tying three from Demarcus Cousins with 5.8 seconds left in the game. Free throws from Isaiah Thomas and Horford helped seal the deal.
In an ugly game featuring 23 lead changes, the Celtics found a way to get it done.
For a complete box score, click here.
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|Rumor: Cavs offering Barnes the most money||07.19.10 at 3:03 pm ET|
The Celtics have previously shown interest in the 6-foot-7 30-year-old, but over he past few days Barnes has played his cards close to the chest on many different teams.
NBA insider Alex Kennedy has tweeted that the Cavs have offered Barnes the most amount of money out of all the interested teams, but Barnes may take less money to play with a contender.
In his seven-year career, Barnes has averaged 7.3 points, 1.7 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game. Barnes has said on his Twitter that he would reveal his decision for next season last Friday, but when more teams “jumped [into] the game,” Barnes decided to wait a few more days.
|NBA rescinds Perkins technical||05.27.10 at 1:04 pm ET|
The Celtics and Kendrick Perkins received a reprieve from the NBA Thursday when the league rescinded one of the two technical fouls Perkins received in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals, clearing Perkins to play in Game 6 on Friday.
Perkins and Marcin Gortat earned double-technicals early in the game and then Perkins was hit with a second one by official Eddie F. Rush with 36 seconds left in the half. Perkins was ejected after the second T, his seventh of the postseason, which triggered an automatic one-game suspension.
The league does review every technical foul that is called and they decided to rescind the second technical foul. Perkins still has six technicals against his name and would still be in danger of a suspension if he is hit with another one during the postseason.
In an eerie bit of foreshadowing, Doc Rivers spoke about the problems his team had with getting technicals, particularly Perkins, some two hours before it happened on the court.
‘I actually don’t like the rule, the suspension,” Rivers said. “I just don’t like it. I think the longer you are in the playoffs the more likely it’s going to affect your team. I think the fans want to see the best players on the floor. I just don’t agree with the whole suspension thing.’
Part of the problem, Rivers believes, lies in the process of issuing double technical fouls to players, a tactic used by officials to try to calm things down.
‘It’s the double tech thing that has to be resolved,’ Rivers said. ‘Sometimes the officials are just trying to clean the game up and an easy way to do it is give both guys techs and calm the game down. To me, those are the ones that we have to figure out a better way.’
The league also upgraded a personal foul on Paul Pierce to a Flagrant 1 after Pierce shoved J.J. Redick in the back in the fourth quarter. The NBA announced before Game 5 that they had upgraded fouls from Game 4 on Orlando’s Dwight Howard and Matt Barnes to Flagrant 1 status as well.
Players are assessed points for flagrant fouls (one point for a Flagrant 1 and two points for a Flagrant 2). If they hit three points, they are also subject to an automatic one-game suspension. Howard has two Flagrant Foul points.
|C’s anticipate changes, don’t care||05.21.10 at 2:50 pm ET|
The Celtics heard all that and frankly don’t really care how the Magic decide to match up with Pierce.
“Obviously they want to play better defensively, probably on me,” Pierce said Friday. “Who knows what they’re going to do as far as trapping and different matchups. We’re going to make some adjustments ourselves. We still feel like we haven’t played our perfect game yet. We’re still in search of that. It doesn’t affect anything that I’m trying to do offensively when we play the Magic.”
Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy changed things up before Game 1 by having Barnes guard Ray Allen and Vince Carter on Pierce, who has turned Carter inside out by scoring 50 points on just 24 shots in the first two games.
“It doesn’t affect us,” Doc Rivers said. “When you’re down 2-0 you do make some changes. We have to anticipate that. But they’re not going to make many changes. We are who we are, they are who they are, they’re just going to try to do it better. Barnes or [Mikael] Pietrus will probably guard Paul. Vince will go to Ray. That’s how a lot of us thought it would start in the series and now they’re just going to back that.”
Rivers expects Orlando will try to go big with Dwight Howard and Marcin Gortat playing a Twin Towers look and possibly Rashard Lewis sliding over to the 3-spot. But the Celtics won’t vary their personnel much, mainly because they can’t.
“Some teams have the ability to go big, small or change,” Rivers said. “We unfortunately, or fortunately, do not. We’re just going to be who we are and just be the best at that.”
|Barnes wants to guard Pierce, calls him a flopper||05.20.10 at 9:56 pm ET|
On Thursday, the Orlando Sentinel reported that Barnes would like an opportunity to stop Pierce, who is averaging 25 points per game, the most among all players in the series.
‘I’d love to guard Pierce,’ Barnes told the Sentinel. ‘I got the chance to guard him a little bit the last game and felt that I did a pretty good job. But he’s really rolling right now, so we need to slow him down somehow.’
Pierce is shooting nearly 60 percent from the field in over 41 minutes per game, while averaging seven rebounds and five assists in the Eastern Conference finals.
It is a bounce-back from the Eastern Conference semifinals, in which he averaged 13.5 points off of 34.5 percent shooting from the field and 30.8 percent from 3-point range. His defensive numbers had also dropped to less than five boards and four assists against the Cavaliers.
But there is more to it than just trying to slow Pierce’s offensive attack. Barnes told the Sentinel Pierce has another skill besides scoring. He believes Pierce knows how to sell calls, too.
‘My third foul in the third quarter, when I tried to beat him over the screen, he fell down like I threw him,’ he said. ‘It was ridiculous. But the refs called it, so it was a good play. It was a flop, 100 percent, and that’s how some guys like to play. But if the refs call it, it’s effective.’
Pierce has shot 17-for-21 at the line in the first two games. He drew nine fouls in Game 2.
|Barnes or Carter, Celtics aren’t changing||05.16.10 at 2:58 pm ET|
This opens up a number of interesting questions such as: Does Van Gundy think Allen is a bigger threat than Pierce? Would the Celtics switch up their coverages? Then there’s the issue of Barnes’ health. He has been struggling with back spasms.
On the latter, Van Gundy said that Barnes is feeling better and will be ready to play. As for the other? “We’ll see,” Van Gundy said before Game 1.
The Celtics are unconcerned. They’re not going to change up their assignments.
“We’re not changing.,” Doc Rivers said. “We’re going the same way we’re going to go. Whenever there’s a switch like in the last series when [Anthony] Parker guarded [Rajon] Rondo, you’re always concerned about the cross matchup in transition because the guy you’re guarding is not in front of you. You have to resist the temptation to cross the court and try to find your guy and leave a guy open. That actually works both ways.”
Interesting, because Allen thinks this could play in the Celtics advantage.
“I would think that they’d be more worried about Carter getting back on defense, so maybe the cross matchup would probably work better in our favor,” Allen said. “If I’m guarding Vince he’d have to run back in transition on me. I’ve noticed throughout the year, Vince would be on one side running back with me and then the other man will run all the way back across the floor.”
Once again, the key for the Celtics is getting out on the break.
“Transition is big,” Allen said. “You get the rebound, push it up and Paul and I just run, they have to make a decision because sometimes you can’t get back to your guy. It does make you think.”
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