|Fast Break: Austin Rivers wins bragging rights over Doc||01.16.13 at 10:29 pm ET|
Austin Rivers scored just eight points in 22 minutes against the Celtics, but he walked out of TD Garden with bragging rights against his father. C’s coach Doc Rivers watched as his team blew an early double-digit lead and snapped a six-game winning streak in a 90-78 loss to the Hornets.
Five Hornets (12-27) reached double figures, led by Robin Lopez‘s 17 points, and New Orleans won the rebound battle, 47-33. Greivis Vasquez (15 points, 11 rebounds) and Anthony Davis each had double-doubles.
Kevin Garnett‘s 15 points led the Celtics. Paul Pierce (10 rebounds) and Jason Terry each scored 12. Rajon Rondo had 11 assists but just seven points.
WHAT WENT WRONG
First-half lapse: Mainly behind the starting five, the Celtics built a 21-10 lead in the game’s first nine minutes. Mainly against the C’s reserves, the Hornets slowly chipped away until a four-minute stretch midway through the second quarter, when the Celtics committed four turnovers and missed three jumpers. That’s when the young New Orleans squad snatched their first lead of the game, eventually taking a 44-43 advantage into halftime.
Painting a poor picture: The Hornets’ first lead, 33-32, came after a pair of layups from Greivis Vasquez and Austin Rivers and a Jason Smith dunk. That was quickly followed by an Al-Farouq Aminu dunk. The point? The Celtics allowed a whole lotta points in the paint (48 to be exact), and 22 of those first 33 points came in the key.
Too many freebies: Doc Rivers doesn’t want to see his team give up more than 14 turnovers, and he definitely doesn’t want them to allow more than 14 points off those giveaways. They turned the ball over 15 times, gifting the Hornets 21 points. Garnett, Rondo and Pierce were the biggest culprits, committing 10 between them. Of course, the C’s 6-of-16 free throw shooting didn’t help, either.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Bass first: It’s been five games since Brandon Bass last scored 10 points, and after his first half, he seemed prepared to snap out of the drought. Bass made four of his first five shots, including a trio of jumpers, to score nine points by the break, but he attempted just one shot after the half and failed to reach double figures. He’s already lost minutes to Jared Sullinger, and he’ll need more stretches like he had in the game’s opening 24 minutes in order to keep Chris Wilcox from taking even more.
Terry time: Likewise, Terry reached double digits after his first scoreless game of the season on Monday night. His performance was the lone bright spot off the bench, and it couldn’t have come at a better time, as he scored 10 of his 12 points on 4-for-4 shooting in the third quarter to keep the Celtics within five … against the Hornets.
3-point defense: The Celtics held New Orleans to just 2-for-17 shooting from beyond the arc, including 1-of-5 by former Magic sharpshooter Ryan Anderson. It might’ve helped had the C’s shot better than 4-for-18 from 3.
|Celtics stung by Hornets in an upset||at 10:22 pm ET|
In a game that was billed as the father-son contest, it was a twin brother who spoiled the night for the Celtics and put an end to their season-high six-game winning streak. Robin Lopez – the twin of Brooklyn’s Brook Lopez – scored 17 points while Al-Farouq Aminu added 16 points and eight rebounds to lead the Hornets to a 90-78 win over the Celtics Wednesday night at TD Garden. The Hornets pounded the Celtics on the glass, 48-33, and outscored them, 48-32, in the paint.
Austin Rivers, the son of Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, entered the game late in the first quarter, played 22 minutes and scored eight points. His highlight was drawing a foul on Paul Pierce with 0.4 seconds left in the third quarter. He made one of two free throws while the crowd booed.
Kevin Garnett had 15 points while Pierce had 12 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Celtics, who fell to 20-18 on the season. The Hornets, who were just 6-13 on the road coming in, improve to 13-26.
For the second straight night, the Celtics jumped out in front of an inferior opponent and appeared to be in for an easy night. But for a second straight night, the Celtics went mysteriously cold at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half, allowing the Hornets back in the game.
The Celtics opened up a 21-10 lead in the first quarter as Brandon Bass had seven points in the opening period as the Celtics took a 25-20 into the second quarter. But the Celtics went cold in the second quarter and were dominated on the board by rookie Anthony Davis and the Aminu. With the Celtics leading 29-22, New Orleans went on a 16-3 run to take the lead. The Celtics responded to take the lead on a Pierce three with 28 seconds left in the half. But Ryan Anderson answered with his own 3-pointer to give the Hornets a 44-43 lead at the half.
The Celtics were ice cold to open the third, as New Orleans went on a 8-0 run to open the period to build a 52-43 lead. Pierce finally ended the drought when he hit an 11-foot turnaround with 8:16 left in the third. New Orleans, behind Aminu and Robin Lopez, built their lead to 12 twice, leading 61-49 when Jason Terry sparked a 7-0 run with a jumper and a three.
The Celtics, who trailed 68-63 after three, closed to within three in the fourth quarter but could get no closer and faded down the stretch.
The Celtics conclude their season-long five-game homestand on Friday when they host the Bulls at 7 p.m. at TD Garden. For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.
It has been a predictably difficult transition from the college game to the NBA game for rookie Austin Rivers. The Hornets rookie is shooting just 32.8 percent from the field after getting off to a hot start in the first month of the season. He’s coming off the bench for the 12-26 Hornets.
But all he had to do was look across the floor at the Celtics bench for inspiration. Rivers was in the building when his dad’s Celtics beat the Lakers in Game 6 in 2008 to claim their 17th world championship. It had extra special meaning for him.
“When they won versus LA. I saw the emotion on my dads face,” Austin Rivers said of Doc Rivers. “That was probably one of the happiest times I’ve ever felt for someone else. I was so proud and so happy just becaue Ive seen my father go through season where he’s only one 15 game, 20 games, and I’ve seen people come to the stands saying ‘fire Doc’….you wanna talk about a tough time? You think I’m having a tough time…my father’s gone through stuff 100 times worse, and look where he’s at now. To have someone in my corner who has been through all that, I know if he can do it, I gotta work hard and I can do it too.”
Doc has given Austin plenty of advice over the years and now is no different.
“Just to never let times or situations change the way you play or what you do best,” the rookie said. “I think that’s something I really need to work on is going out there and doing what I do best, and not trying to be somebody I’m not. I think when I do that I play a lot better, so that’s the main thing hes really focused with me on, lately in the past couple weeks, so that’s what I’m gonna continue to work on.
“I talk to him just about every day, or every other day, and we have been talking the past couple. You know I haven’t really been playing well and haven’t played my best the past four or five games, so I’ve got to go out there and play my game and be confident in myself. When you go out there and try to do things you’ve never done before, ever, its not going to work for you, especially in this league. So I’ve just got to go out there and be confident and have fun and stop thinking too much. You know, if you go out there and give it your all and do what you do, and things don’t go well, that’s life, that’s basketball. But I know they will turn around, so that’s what I’ve got to do, I’ve got to go play basketball and have fun.”
Has he thought about what will happen when he first checks into game?
“I think ill probably just check into the game,” Rivers said. “It’s not just another game. People can say that, but it’s not. I’m just going to go in there and try to play, well I’m gonna play and have fun. I know there will be free throws where I might say something to him, just like I would do with other coaches I know in the league…and just have fun with this man, just go iut there and compete and just play has hard as I can, because those guys in the other locker room, there’s gonna come after us, especially me probably. So I’ve got to go out there and be ready and just have fun with this.”
Other highlights from the Austin Rivers press conference before Wednesday’s game: Read the rest of this entry »
|Carmelo Anthony likes Honey Nut Cheerios after all||at 11:09 am ET|
Carmelo Anthony appears to be putting his strange beef over breakfast cereal with Kevin Garnett behind him with, strangely, breakfast cereal over beef.
Anthony plans to break his two-week fast for “clarity” after hosting the rival Nets on Monday, when chefs from New York City’s Old Homestead Steakhouse will be chauffeured in a town car to the Knicks locker room to deliver a 40-ounce porterhouse steak covered in “a classic French Bordelaise sauce infused with pulverized Honey Nut Cheerioes,” according to the New York Daily News.
“They said after his fast they wanted to satisfy his urge of both and actually put these two things together,” a member of the restaurant staff told the Daily News.
Since rumors circled the internet that Garnett told Anthony his wife La La Vazquez “tasted like Honey Nut Cheerios” during the Celtics’ 102-96 win over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 7, everybody from KG to La La has denied that comment is what led to Melo’s confrontation with Garnett in front the C’s team bus.
Still, Anthony seems intent on discovering just how good Honey Nut Cheerios can taste.
“Only the owners and chef have tasted it, and the first one after them to taste it will be Melo. If he likes it, then it goes on the menu,” the staff member, who claims Garnett won’t be welcome in the restaurant, told the paper. “Melo was insulted, and we want to help him. Garnett’s messing with the wrong town.”
Of course, we all know Garnett is a master chef himself and probably has his own recipe for Bordelaise sauce that he will surely use as a metaphor for team chemistry sometime before the Knicks host the Celtics on Jan. 24.
|Danny Ainge: ‘Radically’ changing Celtics makes no sense||at 9:17 am ET|
While the Celtics have been linked to almost every big name on the market (DeMarcus Cousins, Marcin Gortat, etc.), team president Danny Ainge claims he doesn’t foresee a major trade before the Feb. 21 deadline.
”That doesn’t make a lot of sense to radically change the team when you’re trying to compete to win it all,” Ainge told Comcast in a preview of a 20-minute interview that will air prior to Wednesday night’s Celtics game against the Hornets. “We have been and will continue to look to upgrade our team, but I think it’s always more unlikely that that happens than likely.”
Based on those comments, Ainge either: a) changed his philosophy in the wake of the Kendrick Perkins for Jeff Green swap with the Thunder in 2011; or b) didn’t believe that trade would “radically change the team.” In which case, does he believe a deal involving Avery Bradley, Jared Sullinger or anybody not named Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo or Kevin Garnett radically changes these C’s?
Either way, his statements appear to be a vote of confidence in Doc Rivers and this season’s Celtics as the result of their six-game winning streak. But who’s to say he won’t change his mind over the next five weeks?
“You have to produce,” added Ainge, who has admitted urging Red Auerbach during the 1988-89 NBA season to trade Larry Bird for Chuck Person, Herb Williams and Steve Stipanovich in addition to dealing Kevin McHale to the Mavericks for Detlef Schrempf and Sam Perkins. And those were his friends. “It’s my job to look at the bigger picture. We have to live in the moment and try to win and help our team have success, but at the same time, if it’s not happening on the court, than there has to be changes made, absolutely.”
|Courtney Lee, Jason Terry swap Celtics fortunes||01.15.13 at 1:10 am ET|
After the Celtics defeated the Bobcats, earning their sixth straight victory, the generally jovial Jason Terry walked through the locker room, head down, repeating: “Tough game. Tough game.”
He had just finished the worst night of his Celtics career, a scoreless effort in 15 minutes. Heck, C’s coach Doc Rivers even played Leandro Barbosa over Terry in an eight-point game midway through the fourth quarter.
“Just a feel, honestly,” said Rivers. “I thought we needed energy, and he’s always ready.”
Energy? Terry’s made a living on energy, finishing among the top Sixth Man of the Year candidates for as long as some of his teammates have been in the NBA. Yet, on a Monday night against the Charlotte Bobcats in the middle of January, he couldn’t get on the floor. For the time being, the tides have turned against Terry.
In November and December, Terry didn’t entirely meet the expectations set by his three-year, $15 million deal, but at least he averaged double-digit scoring on near 40 percent 3-point shooting in 30 minutes a night. That was only supposed to improve once Avery Bradley returned and allowed Terry to find his comfort zone off the bench.
Instead, he’s played 16 or fewer minutes in three of the C’s seven games this month, including a combined 31 minutes over the past two games. In the seven games since Bradley’s return from shoulder surgeries, Terry’s averaging only 4.6 points on 34.9 percent shooting from the field (23.8 3-point percentage).
Courtney Lee, who struggled mightily to start the season, appeared to be the odd man out. In the game prior to Bradley’s return, Terry dropped 20 points for the first time all season while Lee went scoreless in 21 minutes, and that was a microcosm of what the Celtics had seen from them all season.
|Rajon Rondo: ‘I may have a mark on my back’ with NBA young guns||01.14.13 at 11:54 pm ET|
Rajon Rondo doesn’t need much to get motivated, so when he was asked by longtime Worcester Telegram & Gazette beat writer Bill Doyle before the game why his assist totals were down over the last 12 games, he had all the fuel needed to burn the Bobcats on Monday night. And burn them he did, recording his third triple-double of the season and 26th of his career, scoring 17 points, dishing 12 assists and grabbing 10 rebounds in Boston’s 100-89 win.
Doyle, to his credit, asked Rondo after the game if he were inspired by the pregame line of questioning.
“Because you told me my assists were down and I just wanted to just go out there and prove it to you that I can step up my game when need be,” Rondo said. “Greg [Dickerson] was asking me about Kemba Walker. I’m getting a little bit older and so the younger guys are coming in and I may have a mark on my back, being an older guy, made a couple of All-Star [Games], but I’m a target every night and I just want to go out and defend what I do best, and that is run the show. I made a lot of lucky shots tonight.”
And who are Rondo’s targets?
“Myself,” he said without hesitation.
As Doc Rivers pointed out pregame, he wasn’t that worried about Rondo’s assist totals. Rondo had just four double-digit assist games in his last 12 but was still averaging 8.9 assists in that stretch.
That changed Monday night when he had nine points, five assists and six rebounds in the first quarter alone.
“They made some shots and the ball bounced to me,” Rondo explained. “My bigs did a good job of blocking out and I was able to start quickly.” Read the rest of this entry »
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