|King James finally holds court in Boston||02.26.10 at 1:20 am ET|
Before Thursday, LeBron James had pretty much mastered every opponent on every court in the NBA.
The lone exception was Boston. Including four games of the 2008 playoffs, the Celtics had beaten Cleveland nine straight on the parquet. And after one quarter, the Celtics certainly appeared headed for No. 10 with a 31-21 lead. But that’s when the Cavaliers, and specifically James and teammate Mo Williams, said enough was enough.
James had 36 and Williams canned four of his five 3-pointers in the second half as the Cavs ran away from the Celtics, 108-88, at TD Garden.
Afterward, he spoke to the great play of his team in the second half, what it was like to finally win in Boston and picking up the slack for the injured Shaquille O’Neal.
|Help defense on King James||02.25.10 at 8:57 pm ET|
Doc Rivers hinted before Thursday’s game with Cleveland that he planned to employ several different defensive strategies on LeBron James, including using one of his best big defenders on the big guard.
With Paul Pierce out for the second straight game with a sprained thumb and Marquis Daniels weakened with flu-like symptoms, Rivers was forced to get creative to come up with ways to defend the 6-8 swingman.
“Tony [Allen]is the other guy right now, and then Marcus [Landry] maybe, Scal maybe, maybe Kevin [Garnett],” Rivers said. “We’ll find that out. We don’t know what Marquis can give us so we’ll just have to wait and see.”
|Pierce out again, Daniels to start||at 7:34 pm ET|
Paul Pierce will miss his second straight game with a sprained right thumb while Marquis Daniels will start after missing Wednesday’s practice with flu-like symptoms. Doc Rivers made the announcement in his pre-game chat with reporters.
|How C’s-Cavs are different now||at 1:00 pm ET|
And for both teams – who meet tonight at TD Garden at 8 p.m. – the perspective has changed.
The Celtics went into Quicken Loans Arena on Oct. 27 and came away with a 95-89 win and served notice that they were intent on reclaiming their perch atop the Eastern Conference with Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen back in full stride.
That night Pierce led a balanced attack with 23 points, overcoming a game-high 38 from LeBron James. But C’s coach Doc Rivers said beyond the final score, there’s not much to take from the result that night.
“Nah, they’re not the same team,” Rivers said. “We’re not the same team. We won. We can take that away from it but other than that, I think both teams have forgotten about that.”
Indeed. Since then, the two teams have taken different paths. The Cavs, after losing their first two and starting the season 3-3, have rebounded to claim the top spot in the East and the NBA at 44-14, despite a recent three-game skid.
[Click here to listen to Rivers explain how Cavaliers are different than opening night.]
The Celtics, who stood 23-5 following a Christmas Day win over Orlando, have battled injuries and inconsistency and stand 36-19, just ahead of fourth-place Atlanta by a game in the loss column.
Both teams made moves at the trading deadline to strengthen themselves. While the Celtics added firepower with Nate Robinson, Cleveland acquired more front court athleticism in Antawn Jamisoin, dealing away Zydrunas Ilgauskas. The Cavs lost their first three games following the trade with Jamison in the starting lineup before he scored 18 in Tuesday’s win over New Orleans.
“They are different, watching them on tape the last two games,” Rivers said. “The Jamison thing has changed them a little bit. It definitely makes it more difficult to guard them so we have to get ready for that.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Nate: Celtics ‘want you to be loud’||02.24.10 at 5:12 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Communicating would seem to come very naturally for Nate Robinson. But what the three-time NBA dunk champ learned Wednesday on the first full day of Celtics practice for him and Marcus Landry was a bit of a surprise.
The Celtics coaches told him they want him to “talk” and “be loud” – specifically when he’s on the court.
“Talking on defense,” Robinson said. “They want you to be loud and talking. I’m a loud person but sometimes in basketball some of the guys that talk a lot are not the ones who talk on defense. But they bring out the best in me and I’m looking forward to this.”
|Pierce, Daniels miss practice||at 4:04 pm ET|
Pierce was kept out of practice on Wednesday to protect his injured right thumb while Marquis Daniels was sent home with flu-like symptoms.
“I’m not going to say definitely but most likely not [Thursday],” Rivers said. “We’ll just evaluate it day-to-day. I didn’t want him to take a chance of getting his thumb hit at all in practice so that if he did feel good [Thursday] but if not, we’ll just wait. We’re just going to go a game at a time with him.”
Asked if he were concerned that Pierce’s thumb was anything more than a sprain, Rivers said likely not. “I would know if it’s something else and it’s not,” he said.
Also missing practice on Wednesday was Daniels. “We sent Marquis home. He looked awful so we’ll see [Thursday] and if not I have no idea right now so we’ll figure it out,” Rivers said.
|House: I still love Boston||02.23.10 at 11:36 pm ET|
The emotion ran both ways for Eddie House in his return to the same parquet floor where just last month he was raining down 3′s on opponents and bringing fans to their feet.
On Tuesday night, a very appreciative House thanked the fans at TD Garden following Boston’s 110-106 win over his New York Knicks.
House received a standing ovation from the fans following a video tribute during a first-quarter timeout.
“It was beautiful,” he said. “I love the fans for the way they showed their love me and I have just as much back for them. I loved playing here. It was a great place. What a great run I had, winning a championship and having a chance again last year.”
[Click here to hear from House and his reaction to his return to Boston.]
On going from team with goal to win championship to a team building: ‘It’s hard, just losing. That’s the hard thing, I’m not used to losing. I haven’t been on a losing team in quite a long time. That’s the toughest thing about it is taking these L’s. Keep competing man, as long as you’re playing hard and trying to do the right thing. You can never be upset with yourself or your teammates. Everybody is trying to do the right thing and playing hard but for whatever reason we’re falling short.’
On whether he was glad he returned to Boston was so quick after trade: ‘It was no big deal. I didn’t put any more weight on this game than I did my first game in Madison Square. Just play the game of basketball. It’s the same thing just different opponent and just happens to be guys I played with before about a week ago. Just no strain on this game at all. I didn’t try to come in and just automatically try getting my shots like it was something. I just played the game and let the game come to me. Just play the right way that’s all I’m trying to do all the time.’
On what can he bring to this Knicks team: ‘I’m just going to try to bring as much leadership that I can. As far as playing the right way. That’s all it’s about is playing the right way and competing. I’m not saying I’m the best defensive player, but we’re going to try to do the best we can to put ourselves in position to be successful and keep helping if you get beat, and help him if he goes, and help someone else. We just got to continue to compete and it’s about leading by example, not just talking about it.’