|Ray on tough week: ‘It an us project right now’||01.24.10 at 5:03 pm ET|
The Celtics host the Clippers on Monday night, a team that beat them in late December. They have two days off and then play at Orlando and Atlanta on Thursday and Friday, respectively. Then they welcome the defending champion Lakers on Sunday the 31st to the Garden, followed the next day by a game in Washington.
The tough stretch ends with a game at home against Miami a week from Wednesday.
“From a schedule prospective, it looks daunting because we’re playing some of the better teams in the league,” Allen said. “Right now, it’s an ‘us’ project, just focusing on the small, little things that we’ve done to be successful, the things we’ve done to build this team to where it is right now.”
Rivers did acknowledge that his only concern with playing Garnett in the next two weeks are in the second game of back-to-back contests.
“The games that I’m concerned with Kevin will be the Atlanta game because it comes off a tough back-to-back with Orlando and then the Washington game because it comes off a tough Laker game,” Rivers said. “Those the only two games in the next eight or nine days I have concern.
Rivers repeated on Sunday following practice that Garnett looks strong in practice and he has no concern about the health of Garnett’s right knee. Rivers said his only concern is Garnett’s conditioning.
The Celtics are comfortably ahead in the Atlantic Division with a mark of 28-13. They have nine games before the All-Star break.
“We look forward to the whole week,” Allen said. “We know we’re winding down to the All-Star break.”
|Ray Allen: ‘The ball needed to go in’||01.23.10 at 12:27 am ET|
Ray Allen said the key to overcome his sluggish night from the field and the free throw line was keeping mentally focused.
And that seemed a might tall order considering he had missed 11-of-13 shots before the biggest shot he took of the night. It came with 41.3 seconds remaining in overtime and the Trail Blazers leading, 95-93.
“I knew I was close,” Allen said. “There wasn’t anything wrong with my form or my mechanics. It was just the ball needed to go in. I had a shot where I hit the glass [on bank shot] and it just kinda hit the glass and rolled off and it was like, ‘Geez.’ It just wasn’t working for me.
“Mentally, I had to whatever I could to help this team win and just be prepared because you never know when that ball drifts in your direction and you’ve got to be ready to shoot.”
The fact that the shot found the bottom of the basket surprised no one. After all, he was due. And less than a minute earlier, he nearly had a shot rattle home but it ‘toilet bowled’ out as Allen himself described it.
To hear Allen talk about his night, click here.
|KG speaks: ‘Old 76 Pinto got banged up’||01.22.10 at 11:55 pm ET|
Kevin Garnett was in a jovial mood following his first game since Dec. 28.
And for good reason. He just passed the first significant test of his right knee, which was hyperextended during the ill-fated West Coast road trip.
He had 13 points, two rebounds and three assists in 30 minutes.
After the Celtics finally found a way to dispatch of the short-handed Trail Blazers, 98-95, in overtime, Garnett spoke about how he felt.
To hear Garnett, who was born in May 1976, compare himself to a ’76 Pinto and talk about how he felt, click here.
|KG on his Celtics: ‘It’s accountability, man’||01.21.10 at 1:33 pm ET|
WALTHAM – If Kevin Garnett is indeed cleared to play Friday against Portland by the Celtics‘ medical staff and head coach Doc Rivers, the team might be getting the kick in the pants a lot of observers – including their head coach feel they need.
There’s no reading between the lines necessary when interpreting Garnett’s comments about what’s been missing, especially in a team that has blown double-digit first-half leads on their way to losses to Dallas and Detroit this week.
‘Slippage man, some of the hardest games are between 30 and 55 of the season and those are the grind games and at this stage, we have to grind all these out,” Garnett said. “It’s a good time for everybody to be coming back and coming back strong.
‘It’s accountability, man. I’m telling you, our defense is built off grit and effort. You either you can do it or you don’t want to do it. The man behind you having your back, that’s what it is, nothing more, nothing less than that.’
[Listen to the Celtics' world according to KG by clicking here]
While not playing, Garnett sees the second-half defensive breakdowns everyone else watching the Celtics has witnessed during their 4-5 month of January so far.
‘Our defense is built off of trust,” he said. “It isn’t necessarily an assignment but it is a type of defense in which we hold each other accountable. Whatever the defense the calls for, for one person to do his job, the natural reaction is for his teammate to be there to help him and then so on and so on.” Read the rest of this entry »
|NBA Power Rankings, 1/21||at 9:22 am ET|
1. LA Lakers (2): It’s going to be hard for someone to knock the Lakers from this perch going forward. Of all the elite teams, they’ve looked the hungriest all year. I have no idea what’s driving Kobe Bryant ‘ the rings, Shaquille O’Neal, the Next Michael Jordan comparisons ‘ but he’s been an incredibly determined player the entire season.
2. Cleveland (1): Speaking of Shaq, he volunteered the legs of Kobe, LeBron James and Vince Carter to raise money for Haitian relief. I wonder if it ever occurred to ShaqStimulus that with his massive contract (and endorsements) he’s also well-positioned to do what he’s asking of others.
3. Dallas (4): Dirk Nowitzki was an innocent bystander when Rasheed Wallace and the NBA both lost their minds. Wallace, after running into foul trouble against Dirk, said the officials don’t like to see tough D played against the big man. So the league fined him 35 grand. Silly on both counts. Wallace has to admit that Dirk is a tough matchup, and the NBA has to stop being so insecure about criticism. Thirty-five grand for a comment like that? Come on.
4. Atlanta (7): As scary a team as you’ll see in the Eastern Conference. Before, the Hawks’ weakness was obvious: no bench. I see a team with few weaknesses now, and plenty of confidence ‘ especially when playing the Celtics.
5. Denver (9): The Nuggets are a great team when Chauncey Billups is healthy. Carmelo Anthony certainly can hold his own without Billups, but he’s a much more dangerous player with him on the floor.
|Rasheed Wallace fined by NBA||01.20.10 at 3:01 pm ET|
The NBA just released a statement to the press that Rasheed Wallace has been fined $35,000 for publicly criticizing game officials. The fine was a result of Wallace’s comments after the Celtics‘ 99-90 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Monday, January 18th.
|KG at practice but C’s still have work to do||01.19.10 at 5:52 pm ET|
WALTHAM – While the head coach and captain were very happy to see Kevin Garnett back at practice on Tuesday afternoon, they tempered their enthusiasm with a heavy dose of reality.
The Celtics have a lot of work to do, even when their defensive MVP returns to game action.
“He looked real fluid,” Paul Pierce said. “He got up and down the court, got him the ball in the post. It’ll be a positive to get him back whenver he comes back. We don’t know if that’s going to be tomorrow, later in the week or whenever. But it just good to have him out there, his presence. You feel it and you see it when he’s out on the court.
“We ain’t thinking about that but definitely we know we’re going to better when Kevin comes back, obviously. He makes a better team on both ends of the court. We have to take care of responsibilities while he’s out. If he’s going to play the next game or not, we still have to go out there and turn this thing around going into the All-Star break.”
Then there’s Doc Rivers‘ attitude.
“When Kevin gets back, we still have to grow as a team,” Rivers said. “The way I look at it, with him out, our growth has been stunted. When he comes back, it’ll continue our growth. It’s not the answer yet. We still have to grow as a team.”
While Garnett looked terrific, his conditioning wasn’t. And that came as no surprise to Rivers, who reiterated time and time again, KG will NOT return to game action Wednesday in Detroit.
“He actually looked really good,” Rivers added. “He played well. His conditioning was awful. That’s why I stopped [practice] because he was going well. I didn’t want to take him to the next step yet. He’ll do some running [Wednesday]. We may do something Thursday, or not, and then Friday, we’ll see.”