|Fast Break: Paul Pierce, Celtics slay Kobe Bryant, Lakers to win 6th straight sans Rajon Rondo||02.07.13 at 10:29 pm ET|
Kevin Garnett scored his 25,000th career point, Paul Pierce outshined Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard showed up (but not really), Fab Melo scored his first NBA points and the Celtics won their sixth straight game without Rajon Rondo, 116-95 against the Lakers. All in all, not a bad night for the C’s.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Exclusive membership: With a fadeaway jumper 3:52 into the second quarter, Kevin Garnett became the 16th player in NBA history to score 25,000 points. He joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Moses Malone, Elvin Hayes, Hakeem Olajuwon, Oscar Robertson, Dominique Wilkins, John Havlicek, Alex English, Reggie Miller and Jerry West. Garnett became the first player to amass 25,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 5,000 assists, 1,500 blocks and 1,500 steals in his career. During the following timeout, after Doc Rivers drew up a play, the crowd saluted Garnett, who returned the favor.
Winter Green: For the sixth time in seven games, Jeff Green scored double-digit points. He entered the game averaging 13 points, four rebounds, three assists and two blocks in 26.3 minutes a night this month. That’s 17.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.3 blocks per 36 minutes. That’s good. He’s also played better defensively, assuming some of the load on Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant over the past eight games.
The sequence: The Celtics closed the third quarter on a 12-3 run that seemed more like an 83-1 run. The remarkable stretch featured the best of what these C’s have to offer: the Brandon Bass mid-range game (18-footer), Avery Bradley‘s defense (picked Bryant’s pocket), Jason Terry on the runway (a transition triple), Jeff Green‘s athleticism (a fast-break dunk followed by a block of Antawn Jamison) and both Paul Pierce‘s step-back jumper (from 19 feet) and his sense for the moment (a dagger of a 3). All that gave the Celtics a 95-69 lead after three, sent the Garden crowd into a frenzy and reminded just about everyone of Game 6 of the 2008 NBA finals.
WHAT WENT WRONG
Foul mood: In a span of 39 seconds — just two minutes into the game — the Celtics committed five fouls, including two by Kevin Garnett. Enter Jason Collins, who didn’t fare much better despite his reputation as the so-called Dwight stopper. Collins quickly racked up three personal fouls, giving way to Chris Wilcox. On the bright side, the Lakers missed 10-of-18 first-half free throws (Howard: 1-6 FT) and Garnett survived the first half with the two fouls.
Kobe being Kobe: It’s probably hard for Celtics fans to stop and appreciate Bryant’s offensive bag of tricks, but there’s something special about the fact that two natural born scorers like he and Pierce have played in L.A. and Boston for the entirety of their careers. Bryant’s best shot of the night — a ridiculous up-and-under — got waved off by a foul, but his jump shot along the baseline to close out the first half was classic Kobe. Keeping the Lakers within striking distance for most of the night, Bryant finished with 27 points on 9-of-15 shooting.
No Leandro: The Celtics scored 100 points, and somehow Leandro Barbosa wasn’t involved. He finished 0-for-4 from the floor in 16 minutes, but still managed to contribute four rebounds and three assists. This is nitpicking, for sure, but the Celtics ran the Lakers out of the Garden and won their sixth straight game without Rondo. There wasn’t much that went wrong.
|Paul Pierce, Celtics embarrass Kobe Bryant, Lakers||at 10:28 pm ET|
Paul Pierce 12 of his 24 points in the third quarter while Kevin Garnett scored 15 points and made NBA history as the Celtics embarrassed the Lakers on national TV, 116-95, Thursday night at TD Garden. Jeff Green added 19 points off the bench for the Celtics, who matched their season-best six-game winning streak while improving to 26-23 on the season.
Kobe Bryant scored 27 in the loss and Dwight Howard had little impact on the game, scoring nine points and grabbing nine rebounds in 28 minutes in his return from three-game absence due to a right shoulder injury. He fouled out with 5:07 left in the game. It was his first game since being called out by Bryant on Wednesday. The Lakers lost for just the second time in eight games and fell to 23-27 on the season.
The Celtics overcame early foul trouble as Garnett picked up two fouls in the first two minutes and found an early spot on the bench. Jason Collins picked up three fouls in five minutes and the Lakers were in the bonus before the first three minutes were in the books as Boston was called for five fouls in the first 2:22 of the game.
The Celtics finished the first quarter with 10 personal fouls while the Lakers had only three.
But the Lakers could not take advantage, missing 7-of-12 free throws and shooting just 8-for-21 from the field. The Celtics took the lead for good on a Jeff Green three-foot hook shot with 4:03 left in the first quarter. Bryant had eight points in the opening 12 minutes but Pierce went even further, scoring 10, as the Celtics grabbed a 27-23 lead after one quarter.
With 8:08 left in the second quarter, Garnett hit an 11-foot turnaround over Earl Clark to reach the 25,000-point plateau. He made history as the only player in NBA history with 25,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 5,000 assists and 1,500 blocks. Garnett had nine points in the second quarter as the Celtics began to pull away, outscoring Los Angeles, 31-21, to take a 58-44 halftime lead. The Celtics committed just two turnovers in the first half as they began to pull away.
In a throwback to Game 6 of the 2008 NBA finals, when the Celtics clinched their 17th title on the parquet, the Celtics blew out the listless and defenseless Lakers in the third quarter. Following a Steve Blake three that closed the gap to 81-66, the Celtics closed the quarter 14-3 spurt that featured a one-handed slam by Green and a 3-pointer from Pierce that sent the Garden into a frenzy. The Celtics led 95-69 heading into the fourth.
With chants of “Beat LA” ringing throughout the sellout crowd, the Celtics kept pouring it on, building their lead up to 32, 103-71, midway through the fourth.
Fab Melo checked into the game with just under five minutes left for Chris Wilcox and the Celtics up by 27. He scored his first NBA points on a layup with 1:22 remaining in the game.
The Celtics are off Friday and likely will not practice on Saturday either due to the blizzard forecast for Boston. The Celtics are next scheduled to play Sunday at 6 p.m. against the Nuggets at TD Garden. For more from the team of Mike Petraglia and Ben Rohrbach at the Garden, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.
|Kevin Garnett reaches 25,000 points in the NBA||at 8:59 pm ET|
With a patented turnaround jumper over Earl Clark with 8:08 left in the second quarter of the Celtics‘ game against the Lakers, Kevin Garnett became the 16th player in NBA history to reach 25,000 points. Garnett becomes the only player in NBA history with 25,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 5,000 assists, 1,500 blocks, and 1,500 steals.
During a timeout several minutes later, the Celtics honored him with a tribute on the TD Garden video board. The crowd gave him a standing ovation and Paul Pierce led the cheers in the Celtics huddle. As the Celtics came out of the timeout, Garnett tipped his hand to the crowd in appreciation.
Garnett scored a season-high 27 on Wednesday night in Toronto, making it a near-certainty KG would reach the mark on national TV against the Lakers, needing just six points to reach the 25,000-point plateau.
It’s the second time in three seasons a Celtics player has achieved an NBA milestone against the Lakers. In Feb. 2011, Ray Allen became the NBA’s all-time leading 3-point shooter, passing Reggie Miller in a Thursday game against the Lakers.
For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.
|Doc Rivers: Lakers ‘have more firestorms going on’||at 8:04 pm ET|
“We don’t have time for it to heal,” Bryant told ESPN on Wednesday, a day before the Lakers’ showdown with the Celtics in Boston. “We need some urgency.”
Howard responded Thursday.
“That’s his opinion; that’s it,” Howard told ESPN. “He’s not a doctor. I’m not a doctor. That’s his opinion.”
Doc Rivers, obviously aware of this dynamic, figured Bryant’s words would be enough to get Howard back in the lineup Thursday.
“He’s playing,” he said without hesitation. “We’ve only prepared for one way.”
Rivers was right as Howard returned from a three-game absence as he deals with a torn labrum in his right shoulder.
Just another turn in the NBA’s longest and most prestigious rivalry.
“They still wear that same color. And we wear the same color,” Rivers replied when asked about the current state of the rivalry before Thursday’s game. “Through all of it, it’s still the same thing, you enjoy the game because they are fun. Kobe [Bryant is] there; Kevin [Garnett] and Paul [Pierce] are there. It always will be fun.”
Then he threw a good-natured jab at the Lakers.
“It’s more, we’re just playing right now; we’re not dealing with anything,” Rivers said a week after losing Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger. “They have more firestorms going on. Give them credit, they’ve won six out of seven through it. In some ways, it may be helping them.”
Speaking of big men, Rivers said he’s not worried about Kevin Garnett‘s minutes after scoring 27 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in 32 minutes Wednesday in Toronto.
“It’s not a game-to-game thing with Kevin’s minutes, it’s more the accumulative of the year,” Rivers said. “We’ve had eight overtimes, I think, that hasn’t helped at all with him. So it’s just, we get through the year and try to keep him as fresh as possible.”
Meanwhile… Celtics players presented Rivers with the game ball from his 400th regular-season win as Celtics coach on their flight home from Toronto on Wednesday night. Garnett and Pierce were among those to honor Rivers on the flight, something Rivers acknowledged Thursday.
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|Kevin Garnett to 4-year-old daughter: ‘Better have your ass in bed’||02.06.13 at 10:08 pm ET|
In the span of about 30 seconds after Wednesday”s 99-95 win over the Raptors, Kevin Garnett managed to say “consolidate” for the 10,000th time since Rajon Rondo‘s injury, call Leandro Barbosa “mi amigo,” proclaim the C’s “play hard as crap” (which is actually toned down from his similar, more expletive-laden comments last season) and tell his 4-year-old daughter, who he warmly refers to as Boo Boo, she “better have your ass in bed.” Good times. Garnett finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds and this wild shot over Andrea Bargnani:
|Kevin Garnett powers Celtics past Raptors||at 9:34 pm ET|
Kevin Garnett led all five Celtics starters in double-figure scoring with a season-high 27 points and powered a key run at the start of the fourth quarter as the Celtics outlasted the Raptors, 99-93, Wednesday night at Air Canada Centre in Toronto. His turnaround jumper with 46.6 seconds left put Boston up 96-91.
Garnett’s three-point play with 8:46 remaining capped a 10-0 run at the start of the final period as the Celtics overcame a sloppy third quarter to win their fifth straight game and improve to 25-23 on the season. Garnett was 11-of-18 from the field and added 10 rebounds in the win.
Paul Pierce had 12 points and 11 rebounds while former Raptor Leandro Barbosa chipped in 14 points off the Boston bench. Courtney Lee (15), Avery Bradley (11) and Brandon Bass (10) also scored in double figures. After dominating the previous four games, the Celtics bench was not a major factor Wednesday but still outscored Toronto’s reserves, 24-20.
The Celtics finished the first half on an 11-6 run to take a 50-45 lead. The Celtics scored first in the third quarter to increase their lead to seven, but Rudy Gay then came alive. Gay, who was 8-of-22 from the field, scored 13 of his team-leading 25 in the third.
The Raptors appeared ready to steal the game with a 17-4 run late in the third quarter. The Raptors would outscore the Celtics 34-19 to take a 79-69 lead heading into the final 12 minutes. The Raptors had five of their 11 steals in the quarter as Toronto took command.
But Garnett led a Celtics charge that saw Boston outscore Toronto 30-16 in the final 12 minutes to wrap up a fifth straight win. Barbosa had 12 of his 14 in the final period to help Garnett and the Celtics put the game away.
The Celtics will have little time to rest as they fly back to Boston and take on Kobe Bryant and the Lakers on Thursday at 8 p.m. at TD Garden. The Lakers will not have the services of Pau Gasol, as the Lakers big man was diagnosed with a torn plantar fascia.
For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.
|Lakers will take on Celtics without Pau Gasol||at 9:04 pm ET|
Following an MRI, the Lakers big man was diagnosed with a torn plantar fascia in his right foot Wednesday in Boston, sidelining the 7-footer indefinitely, just as the Lakers (23-26) were showing signs of turning around a season that right now has them on the outside looking in on the playoffs.
Gasol felt a pop in his foot Tuesday night late in the Lakers’ 92-83 victory over the Brooklyn Nets and Wednesday’s exam in Boston confirmed his fears.
While his teammates get ready to take on the Celtics Thursday night at TD Garden, Gasol will fly to Los Angeles to be examined by team physician Steve Lombardo and foot specialist Kenneth Jung. The Lakers announced Wednesday they will give a timeline for Gasol’s return after his LA exam. The injury could knock Gasol out for the season if he undergoes surgery.
— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) February 6, 2013
The Lakers are losing Gasol just as it appears they’re turning a corner. They come into Boston as winners of six of seven games, including three in a row on their season-long seven-game road trip. The Lakers have played the last three games without center Dwight Howard, who has a torn labrum in his right shoulder, and top backup big man Jordan Hill is out for the season with a bad hip.
Gasol has been dealing with tendinitis in both knees and fasciitis for two months. The four-time All-Star big man also missed five games in January with a concussion. Since then, Gasol largely has been coming off the bench. Gasol is averaging a career-low 13.4 points per game and 8.0 rebounds while playing in just 36 of his team’s 49 games.
For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.