|Fast Break: LeBron James spoils Jeff Green’s career night||03.18.13 at 11:00 pm ET|
Jeff Green (career-high 43 points) became the first Celtics player not named Paul Pierce in more than 12 years to score 43 points in the regular season, and it still wasn’t enough to end the Heat’s winning streak, which LeBron James (37 points, 12 assists, 7 rebounds) extended to 23 games in a 105-103 thriller in the Garden.
WHAT WENT WRONG
Garnett loss: Considering they shot 62 percent from the field in the first half, the Celtics’ offense didn’t miss Garnett all that much — thanks to Green’s monster night. The defense? Different story. After building a 17-point lead, the C’s allowed five straight second-quarter layups. Doc Rivers quickly reinserted Avery Bradley — whose ridiculous chase-down block of Norris Cole gave the C’s a brief lift — but Miami responded with a 12-4 run to close the half, taking a more manageable six-point deficit into the break. That doesn’t happen with Garnett. Of course, neither do the Heat’s 8-0 run to start the second half nor the 18-4 string down the stretch of the fourth quarter, each of which erased comfortable Celtics leads.
LeBron being LeBron: Growing increasingly frustrated with his teammates — even showing up Chris Bosh when the Heat center allowed Brandon Bass to waltz into lane for an offensive rebound on a missed free throw — James took over. He showed again and again why he’s the game’s greatest player, even if for one night Green gave him a run for his money. When he wasn’t posterizing Jason Terry, he was drawing defenders and finding everyone from Ray Allen to Shane Battier for wide-open 3-point attempts.
Bench pressed: At some point, there’s a breaking point. Since Garnett’s absence moved Green into the starting lineup, the reserves featured only two players who started the season with the Celtics. Outside of Jason Terry, who knocked down four of his six attempts in 24 minutes, the C’s didn’t get much from the rest of the roster. For the most part, Jordan Crawford (8 points) seemed lost, Chris Wilcox racked up the fouls and the China trio of Terrence Williams, D.J. White and Shavlik Randolph didn’t see the floor.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Green lantern: Either James and Green switched jerseys, or Green played his best basketball in a Celtics uniform. The C’s closed the first quarter on a 17-0 run, including 12 points from Green, to take a 31-19 lead after one. That momentum carried into the second, as Green scored 22 points in a span of 10:43, nearly playing the Heat to a standstill (24-22) through the games’s first 15 minutes. What’s more, he grabbed six boards in that same span — twice his season average. Basically, Green unlocked God mode for 15 minutes.
Truth matters: You can bet Rivers took mental note as his starting combination of Green and Pierce gave the Heat fits. While Miami attempted to guard one of the two with Udonis Haslem (and for some reasonn Chris Andersen), Green and Pierce took advantage. As the former enjoyed a career night, the latter submitted another retro performance, quietly approaching a triple-double (17 points, 8 assists, 8 rebounds) in tandem.
Quality Lee: Courtney Lee followed up perhaps his most complete performance of the season (13 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks against the Bobcats) with another solid effort against the Heat. He contributed 13 points — including a huge fourth-qaurter triple to snap a 9-0 Heat run — to go along with four assists, three rebounds and three steals. His performance helped offset a mostly underwhelming night for fellow pitbull Avery Bradley, who struggled in the face of fullcourt pressure from Miami’s Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole.
LeBron James rattled home the game-winning basket with 10.5 seconds left in the fourth quarter and finished with 37 points and had 12 assists to lead the Heat to their 23rd straight win, a 105-103 decision over the Celtics Monday night at a crazed TD Garden. The win streak is now alone as the second-longest in NBA history with only the 33-game streak of the Lakers in 1972 surpassing it.
The James shot spoiled one of the greatest single-game performances in Celtics history as Jeff Green finished with 43 points in a losing cause. In a season of unparalleled regular season drama, Green nearly single-handedly ended the second-longest winning streak in NBA history. Green, starting for Kevin Garnett, had a career high 43 points on 14-of-21 shooting.
The Celtics learned before the game they would not have Kevin Garnett in their quest to end Miami’s 22-game winning streak as the superstar was sent home by coach Doc Rivers with flu-like symptoms. Filling in was Green, making his third start of the season, and he put on one of the most spectacular single-game performances in Celtics history.
In a remarkably fast and furious first half, the Heat shot out to a 19-14 lead thanks to seven points from James. But Green led the Celtics on a stunning 17-0 run to end the quarter and put the Celtics up, 31-19, after 12 minutes.
Green and the Celtics continued their run in the second quarter, twice building the lead up to 17 points in the first three minutes of the period.
Green finished the first half with 26 points on 9-of-12 shooting in 20 minutes. The Celtics, as a team, were blazing hot in the first half, hitting 23-of-37 shots (62.2 percent) from the field.
The highlight of the surreal first half came with just under six minutes left. Dwyane Wade stole the ball from Jason Terry just before midcourt and fed Mario Chalmers. Norris Cole took the dish from Chalmers and lobbed a pass up near the rim and James, trailing the play, finished in authoritative style, dunking viciously over Terry, who tried in vain to block it. Terry was called for a foul and James for called for a technical for taunting Terry on the court.
Seconds later, Avery Bradley block Cole on a dunk attempt and that led to a Paul Piece 3-pointer in transition, sending the Garden crowd into pandemonium and putting the Celtics up 52-38. The Heat made a key run at the end of the half, outscoring Boston 15-6 to close to within six at halftime, 59-53. Read the rest of this entry »
|LeBron James posterizes Jason Terry||at 9:22 pm ET|
Terry was making his way up the court in transition when he was picked by Dwyane Wade, who flipped the ball under his arm to Mario Chalmers. Chalmers dished to Norris Cole under the basket who spotted James trailing the play and lobbed it up. This is what happend to Terry:
This was Jordan posterizing Brandon Knight of the Pistons back on March 10:
|Kevin Garnett (sick, adductor) out against Heat||at 6:54 pm ET|
The Celtics will not have Kevin Garnett available as they try to end the 22-game winning streak of the Heat on Monday night at TD Garden. The Celtics made the announcement just over an hour before their game against LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Heat, who with a win on Monday night will establish sole possession of the second-longest winning streak in NBA history.
Doc Rivers confirmed the decision about 45 minutes before the game but said the actual reason for Garnett missing the game is not the adductor strain but rather flu-like symptoms. Garnett reported to the Garden for the game but was told by Rivers to go home and not play Monday. Rivers said Garnett would have played if he were not sick.
Rivers said Garnett will travel with the team as it begins a three-game road trip in New Orleans on Wednesday night.
Only the 1971-72 Lakers, with a 33-game streak, would have a longer one in league history.
Garnett suffered a strained adductor (groin) in his left leg last week and missed Saturday’s win over the Bobcats. This means the Celtics will not have Garnett or Jared Sullinger (back surgery) for their rematch of the double-overtime game won by the Celtics on Jan. 27 at the Garden. Both Garnett and Sullinger played in the game.
Garnett did not practice on Sunday and was not at the team’s shootaround Monday morning in Waltham.
For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.
|Celtics: Kevin Garnett a game-time decision vs. Heat||at 12:37 pm ET|
Suffering from an adductor (groin) strain, Garnett sat out Saturday’s 105-88 blowout of the Bobcats, Sunday’s practice and Monday morning’s shootaround at the team’s practice facility in Waltham.
As a result, the C’s may face the daunting task of ending Miami’s 22-game win streak — on the five-year anniversary of halting the Rockets’ 22-game string — without the heart of their defense. The Celtics are riding an 11-game home winning streak that began against the Heat on Jan. 27, when news of Rajon Rondo‘s season-ending injury spread like wildfire throughout the Garden.
Miami has lost 10 straight regular-season games in Boston since April 6, 2007, including all five games during LeBron James‘ tenure.
|Paul Pierce is not counting on Kevin Garnett for the Miami Heat showdown||03.17.13 at 10:35 am ET|
To Paul Pierce, Saturday night was good preparation for playing without Kevin Garnett. And the way the Celtics captain looks at it, he’s not expecting Garnett back on Monday when the competition gets tougher – a lot tougher.
“It was like, we just gotta step up and get the win,” Pierce said. “KG had another game where he didn’t play, we played quite well, everybody stepped up. That was my reaction [Saturday] morning when I found out he wasn’t playing.
“Right now, we don’t expect him to be back. Right now, that’s the mindset we have to take. If he’s back, that’s just an added bonus for us to play Miami. So, right now, as of today, we have to get in our minds that this is the team that will [play] against Miami and we have to get ready to play.”
The last time they played the Heat, they found out they were losing Rajon Rondo for the season with a torn ACL. They went out and beat LeBron James and the Heat in double-overtime. They then lost Jared Sullinger a week later.
Pierce says the Celtics have the kind of team that can handle adversity because of the leadership at the top, starting with coach Doc Rivers.
“That comes from the top, coaches and trickles down through the veteran players, just to ensure everybody is focused and understanding that regardless what kind of adversity we go through, we still have to go out there and we have a job to do,” Pierce said. “Go to practice every day and help us win as many basketball games as we can.”
Rivers summed up Garnett’s availability for Monday this way: “If he’s healthy, he’ll play. If he’s not, he won’t.”
So with captain Paul Pierce again left to be the man to keep things together, that’s exactly what he did in a fashion so routine, it was a thing of beauty to his coach.
Pierce was as efficient as ever, scoring 14 points on 4-of-7 shooting in just 23 minutes, adding eight assists and six rebounds in a 115-88 win over the Charlotte Bobcats at TD Garden.
‘He’s always been underrated,” Doc Rivers said. “I think he’s been underrated his whole career. I underrated him. When I coached in Orlando every time he scored I mean, I was so upset because I thought this slow, non-athletic guy, you look at him, you think. ‘How the hell was he scoring on you?’ And then when you coach him you realize he’s not slow, he plays at a slow pace. He’s athletic as heck, he’s stronger than most small forwards in the league, and he just surprises you with his fundamentals. You know he’s so fundamentally sound he actually looks un-athletic. And it’s a heck of a compliment to a player.
“He just plays to what he feels. He’s a professional scorer, he really is. He just knows how to play basketball. I think every young kid should watch him play because he can do it above the rim but he chooses not to. He’s just so fundamentally sound with his footwork, it’s just really nice to watch.
“I think he’s going to be able to play for a long time if he wants to. He can get his shot off. He plays at a great pace.”
Pierce led all five starters in double figures, as the Celtics proved picking up the slack for Garnett was truly a team effort. He pointed to a play Pierce ran several times in the first half that had different teammates involved.
“Yeah, we ran a play that just kind of matured into that,” Rivers said. “First time he came off I think he got Brandon (Bass), the second time he got the picker, then he just ‘ the same play just kept building and building. I love ‘ we call it ‘feed the pig’.”
For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.
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