|Doc: ‘Those are the basketball gods punishing you’||02.27.10 at 5:34 pm ET|
Doc Rivers has been preaching to the Celtics all season long to avoid taking shortcuts on defense and to play with energy and purpose.
He warned that if they didn’t, eventually it would catch up to them.
Well, on Saturday — in a 104-96 stinker vs. the Nets — it didn’t just catch up to them, it barreled them over in stunning fashion on their home court in the form of a 5-52 team beating them soundly and thoroughly.
Perhaps most troubling from the final box score were the 41 free throws the Nets attempted, compared to a measly 11 for the Celtics.
Afterward, there was no hiding for the Celtics coach.
“Like I said before, I still believe in this team,” Rivers said. “I just know for a fact we’re not playing well. But I do believe in this team. But I don’t think you change just to change. I don’t think we need it. I think we need to change our approach and the way we play.
“And tonight you could see it early, even though [at the] beginning of the game we jumped out and after that you just — you know, we had that sense that ‘we’ll get back into it.’ And you know what happened? They actually did try. I thought our guys gave a great effort in the second half, but then they started making shots, and then we’d have the defensive breakdown with three seconds on the shot clock over and over again. Every time we got it down to six or four, a guy would make a 3, a bobbled ball would go to it. I talk about it a lot with our guys: ‘Those are the basketball gods punishing you; you have no right to get back in this game. I thought all those little breaks went to them, and I thought the basketball gods were saying that they deserve to go to you.’ … If you believe in that.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Third quarter wrap: Celtics vs. Nets||at 2:55 pm ET|
The third quarter featured the first energy moment of the game.
With just one second remaining on the shot clock on an inbounds play, Rasheed Wallace caught and fired a three-at the basket that just missed.
Brian Scalabrine rebounded and fired to an open Nate Robinson, who drilled a three of his own with 1:35 remaining and the crowd came to its feet. Moments later on missed shot by New Jersey, Robinson came down and put pack a missed shot and the Celtics were within nine.
But the quarter ended on a sour note as Scalabrine airmailed a three and the Nets led, 74-64. The combination of Courtney Lee and Brook Lopez is killing the Celtics. They have a combined 44 points.
|Movie critics||at 2:45 pm ET|
There was plenty of hype surrounding the debut of the HBO movie, “Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals.” Our own Jess Camerato summarized it.
On Friday, Celtics coach Doc Rivers thought his team could learn something more from that film rather than tape of their meltdown on Thursday against Cleveland.
“I just thought it was a good thing to watch,” Rivers said. “I saw it in L.A. the night before the Laker game and I loved it. I thought there were a lot of great things in it for our team, not just for our team but anyone who plays basketball or anybody who likes sports actually.
“I thought [Friday] was a good day. I didn’t think we needed work. I thought we needed to be together. So instead of watching us play, and I don’t know if anybody wanted to watch that, instead of watching a horror film, I decided to watch a good film.”
It unfortunately did not have the desired impact – at least initially – as the Celtics came out and played one of their flattest games of the season. They allowed the 5-52 Nets to outscore them 44-24 in the first half and take command, leading by as many 14 midway through the third.
“I don’t know if it had any effect short term,” Rivers said. “But I just thought it was a good day for us.
“We’ll see. It’s really good. There’s a lot of team stuff in it and just a lot of good messages in it, and more than just the Magic-Bird thing. I thought Bird was phenomenal because I thought it captured him exactly as he was.”
|First Quarter Wrap: Celtics vs. Nets||at 1:40 pm ET|
The Celtics stayed true to form racing out to a 12-2 lead. Unfortunately, their second-half form also came out when they allowed the 5-52 Nets to go on a 16-6 run to tie the game at 18.
Like Thursday night, the Celtics were on fire from the floor, shooting a blazing 11-for-16 to start the opening quarter and finishing 12-for-19. Kevin Garnett made all four of his shots and finished with eight points.
Devin Harris, who is second on the Nets in scoring at 16.5 points a game, nearly had that many in the opening period, netting 11, including all six free throws.
Nate Robinson saw his most significant playing time in the first quarter in his third game with the Celtics. He came in for Rajon Rondo and played eight of the 12 minutes and scored four points.
Keyon Dooling drilled a three just before the first-quarter buzzer to give Nets a 29-27 lead.
|Perk: ‘Sometimes maybe we do get bored’||at 1:09 pm ET|
Kendrick Perkins confirmed before Saturday’s game what many observers have felt about the Celtics for a while now. They are bored with the process.
“It’s different because I think guys are really anxious to get to the playoffs,” he said. “You have your veteran guys, Sheed, KG, you could tell that this regular season really don’t excite them, seriously. Even with Paul and Ray, you still have to go out here and compete, and it’s not an excuse for losing but you can just tell guys just want to get to the crunch time, get to the playoffs.”
Then Perkins made reference to fact that the Celtics were swept this season in four games by Atlanta, one of the teams they’re battling with for playoff seeding in the Eastern Conference.
[Click here to hear Perkins tell it the way it is.]
“Even like the Atlanta series, when they swept us, we took it to heart but it wasn’t like a big deal like how everyone else tried to make it,” Perkins admitted. “I don’t know if that’s a bad thing but it’s just like we come into games focused and we’re not trying to lose games but you can see that sometimes maybe we do get bored with the process and we can’t do that.
“That first year we kept harping on trying to get that best record so we could have home court advantage through playoffs. I think now guys are [realize] last year we won a couple of games on the road, we won a lot more on the road this year, our road record is pretty decent and guys are comfortable and guys are really like we don’t care where we fall in the playoffs let’s just play so I don’t know if that’s a bad thing or good thing. I do hate losing, whether it’s the regular season or playoffs.”
Perkins said there was no panic in the Celtics locker room after blowing a 13-point lead to Cleveland on Thursday night and losing by 20.
“After the Cleveland game, I never got a bad vibe from the team, period,” he said. “Guys said what they had to say about why we lost but one thing about this is we’re always together. There’s never guys straying apart. Guys always stick together, whether we lose or win so that’s the good thing about our team.
“We’re always consistent on how we act we with each other. We never overreact to a loss or anything somebody may write about us. We always stick together. I guess that’s where ‘Ubuntu’ comes in.
|Pierce will travel, could play Tuesday||at 12:50 pm ET|
Doc Rivers said before Saturday’s game against New Jersey that Paul Pierce would miss his third straight game with a sprained right thumb but the coach is hopeful Pierce could return by the team’s next game on Tuesday in Detroit.
|LeBron: Rondo has made ‘The Board’||02.26.10 at 2:39 pm ET|
Before every game, NBA coaches and their assistants place the names of players to contain on a board as part of the game plan.
LeBron James said there was a time – just two seasons ago when his Cavaliers came to Boston – that it was the big three and that was it.
But it’s obvious now that they need to add a fourth name: Rajon Rondo.
He showed why in the first quarter on Thursday night, with 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the floor and six assists as the Celtics raced out to a 31-21 lead. James stopped short of saying Rondo has become the most important Celtic but not by much.
“I don’t know if I can say that,” James began. “When you scout for Boston, there are certain guys that make that board before the game, these type of guys you have to stop and he’s one of those guys.
“First couple of years here in Boston, he wasn’t on that board. He was fast point guard, you have to get back but other than that you didn’t talk about him, you didn’t talk about Rondo.”
[Click here to hear LeBron talk about Rondo.]
Rondo earned his first All-Star berth this winter and players like King James have taken note.
“Last year, he made a name for himself and he makes that board when you’re talking about, ‘This is what we’re doing again Paul, this is what we’re doing against Ray and this is what we’re doing against KG and this is what we’re doing against Rondo.’ When you make that board, you’re definitely a very good player.”
As for whether Rondo can get the Celtics back in gear and challenge the 45-14 Cavaliers, that remains to be seen. But James isn’t taking the Celtics lightly, even after a 20-point win on Thursday at TD Garden.
“They’re a very good team,” James said. “No one doubts Boston. No one who ever comes into this building or plays Boston on the road doubts that team. They have too many weapons, they’re too experienced. They have a good coach, a good coaching staff. No one ever doubts them and you better play well or they can embarrass you.”