|Injuries could impact Eastern Conference standings||04.07.10 at 12:47 am ET|
Andrew Bogut’s gruesome arm injury was the first of many to hit the Eastern Conference over the last few days. Joe Johnson will miss at least two games with a sprained thumb and Chris Bosh’s status is unclear after suffering a facial fracture on Tuesday against the Cavaliers.
With just over a week left in the regular season, these injuries could impact playoff seedings, including that of the Celtics.
Aside from the Washington Wizards, whom the C’s will play on Friday, their remaining competitors are vying for postseason positions. Johnson’s injury opens the window of opportunity for the Celtics to close in on the third seed (currently held by the Hawks), but their opponents will be trying to secure their own place in the playoffs as well.
Toronto Raptors (currently 8th)
Wednesday, April 7 @ Toronto
The Raptors were dealt a devastating blow on Tuesday when Bosh suffered an unintentional elbow to the face from Antawn Jamison. According to reports, Bosh will remain in Cleveland overnight. His status is unknown.
Milwaukee Bucks (currently 5th)
Saturday, April 10 @ Milwaukee
Wednesday, April 14 @ Boston
The Bucks posed problems for the Celtics when healthy, and now this team is on a mission without Bogut. The young squad still has plenty of weapons and will challenge the Celtics even if they don’t have their big man in the middle.
Chicago Bulls (currently one game out of 8th)
Tuesday, April 13 @ Chicago
If there is any team with something to play for right now, it is the Bulls. They were already edging toward the eighth spot. Now the injury of Bosh has created an opportunity for them to grab it if they can win enough games down the stretch.
|Celtics are caught in the middle||03.15.09 at 3:28 pm ET|
The Boston Celtics knew securing homecourt would not be the only challenge in the second half of the season. They also have to fend off playoff-hungry teams that are staying alive one win at a time.
‘Being the defending champ,’ Ray Allen said prior to the All-Star Break, ‘Teams are in our building thinking this in an opportunity for us to beat this team. And if we can prove that we can beat this team, we can beat anybody and we’ll make it into the playoffs, and who knows from there. So we always have to be aware of what we possess.’
On Sunday afternoon, the Bucks affirmed that concern with an 86-77 win over the Celtics in Milwaukee. (RECAP HERE) With that victory, the Bucks reclaimed hold of the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference. This is not the last time the Celtics will be caught in the middle of a tug-of-war for a playoff berth.
March 17: @ Chicago Bulls (30-37)
Season: Celtics 2-0
The Celtics have not faced the Bulls since they added veterans Brad Miller and John Salmons, a move that recently helped them beat the New Orleans Hornets by 18 points. The Bulls lost hold of the eighth spot with the Bucks win over the Celtics, and there is there is no better place for them to get to take it back than on their home court. They have earned 20 of their 30 victories in Chicago, tied for sixth in home wins in the Eastern Conference.
April 1: vs. Charlotte Bobcats (28-38)
Season: Tied 1-1
In spite of their record, the Bobcats have been a thorn in the Celtics side. Last year they beat the Celtics in Boston and this season snagged an overtime win in Charlotte. Even though the Bobcats have struggled with consistency, alternating winning and losing streaks, they step up their game against the Celtics. They’ll come to Boston with less than 10 games left in the regular season, an opportunity to bolster their playoff hopes.
April 8: vs. New Jersey Nets (28-37)
Season: Celtics 3-0
The Celtics blew out the Nets twice without Kendrick Perkins and beat them again in March without Kevin Garnett. While Devin Harris and Vince Carter are backcourt threats, the Celtics already know how to win without their bigs. The Nets seemed to lack any motivation on their first trip to Boston in January. With a postseason berth on the line, they will stand no chance of making a push if they show up with the same level of energy in April.
|Celtics-Bucks Game Blog Fourth Quarter||11.07.08 at 7:34 pm ET|
|Take a mental picture of the Bucks||at 7:15 pm ET|
Take a good look at the Milwaukee Bucks because there are very few chances to see them during the regular season. The team doesn’t come back to Boston again (the Celtics go to Milwaukee twice) and, as Andrew Bogut pointed out, they don’t get much national coverage either. The Bucks are ok with that, though.
‘Going under the radar a little bit is something we’re obviously used to,’ Bogut said. ‘We never really get attention, even when we had winning seasons back in the early 2000s. Milwaukee isn’t a big city and we don’t get that much attention nationally. I think we only have one ESPN game this year. But regardless of that I think it’s better for us.”
Charlie Villanueva, who played college ball in the spotlight at UConn, doesn’t thrive on the attention either.
‘That’s the way we want it. We want to be under the radar,’ he said. ‘Not a lot of people are talking about the Bucks or us acquiring (Richard) Jefferson and Luke Ridnour. But that’s the way we want it. We want to be under the radar and at the end of the season we’ll see where we stand and I think we’ll be in a good position.’
Considering the way the Bucks are keeping it close with the Celtics tonight, it wouldn’t be out of the question to see them back in Boston for the early rounds of the playoffs.
|Celtics-Bucks Game Blog Second Quarter||at 6:20 pm ET|
|Keep an eye on: Ramon Sessions||at 5:24 pm ET|
Pregame: Celtics vs. Bucks
His name is Ramon Sessions (pronounced Rah-mawn) and chances are you’ve never heard of him.
Sessions is one of the those good players hidden by a losing record. Up until this summer, you didn’t get much press in Milwaukee unless your name was Michael Redd and even then the coverage was limited. But Sessions began to come into his own last season and has carried that progress over into his sophomore year. Now his ball handling is earning him shout-outs on the BottomLine and recognition as a sleeper in fantasy keeper leagues.
He may have a ways to go before he earns full-time starter status (he’s headed back to the bench now that Luke Ridnour is healthy), but in the meantime Sessions is a promosing PG worth keeping an eye on.
- Averaged 8.3 assists in 38 minutes in first three games of the season
- Last season became first rookie in over 15 years to have a 20 point, 20 assist night
- Has been mentored by Charlie Villanueva and earned early praises from new head coach Scott Skiles
The Bucks will play the Celtics twice in two weeks when the Cs travel to Milwaukee on November 15. Stay tuned for more on Sessions and his teammates then.
|Live from the Garden: Celtics vs. Bucks||at 5:20 pm ET|
Join Paul Flannery and me tonight as we bring you the latest as the Celtics take on the Bucks tonight at the Garden. Paul will keep you posted on the first and third quarters and I’ll have you covered for the second and fourth. So check back for the latest action from the game and news and notes from both locker rooms.