|Fast Break: Rajon Rondo’s triple-double can’t keep Celtics from five-game skid||01.24.13 at 10:43 pm ET|
Give them this: At least the Celtics played with heart, but the Knicks still handed them their fifth straight loss, an 89-86 defeat made even more discouraging by J.R. Smith‘s wide-open 3-pointer and Paul Pierce‘s turnover with several chances to tie the game in the final minute. Here’s what else went wrong (and right).
WHAT WENT WRONG
Terry dry: Since his return to the bench, where he’s been most comfortable during his career, Jason Terry continues to slump. He entered the game shooting under 40 percent from the field and 30 percent from 3-point range in 22 minutes a night this month, and those numbers didn’t get any better. After getting off to an 0-for-4 start in his first six minutes, Rivers limited his playing time. Terry finished 1-for-6 in 14 minutes, including a costly fourth-quarter turnover.
Brain farts: As well as the Celtics played in stretches, they still took their foot off the pedal at times. The Knicks started the second quarter on a 9-0 run made up of a couple Amar’e Stoudemire buckets around the basket, a J.R. Smith layup and a Pablo Prigioni 3-pointer. In the third quarter, the Celtics committed five turnovers, including three that directly led to layups and New York’s 72-66 lead after three quarters.
Off the mark: While the C’s defense held the Knicks below 40 percent shooting on the night (38.6 percent FG), their offense wasn’t much better (40.8 percent FG). Despite getting a ton of open looks, the Celtics missed jumper after jumper. They combined for 3-of-18 shooting from beyond the arc, including an 0-for-5 night for backup guards Terry, Courtney Lee and Leandro Barbosa. Compounding that fact, the C’s didn’t tally a single point off their misses, getting outscored 16-0 on second-chance points.
Carmelo Anthony scored 28 points to lead the Knicks over the Celtics, 89-86, Thursday night at TD Garden. Rajon Rondo had 23 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in collecting his 27th career triple-double and his fourth this season for the Celtics, who lost their fifth straight. The Celtics lost five straight twice last season before rallying at the end of the season for a 37-29 record and the Atlantic Division title.
They might not be as lucky this season, as the Atlantic-leading Knicks improved to 26-14, seven games ahead of the 20-22 Celtics in the division.
There were no war of words or trash-talking incidents between Kevin Garnett and Anthony, who greeted each other with a fist-pound at the beginning of the game. Anthony even helped Garnett up from the floor after Garnett hit the deck early in the third quarter.
The Celtics managed a 24-20 lead after one quarter, despite shooting just 10-of-26 (38.5 percent) from the field. The Knicks started the second quarter on fire, opening on a 9-0 run and scoring 11 of the first 12 points in the period to take a 31-25 lead. But the Celtics answered as Paul Pierce started to dominate.
The Celtics went on a 15-3 run to take a 40-34 lead. The Knicks rebounded and managed a 50-48 halftime lead on a pair of free throws with 7.1 seconds left by Amar’e Stoudemire. Rondo missed a layup just before the buzzer that would’ve tied the game. Still Doc Rivers pounded his fist in the air and appeared happy with his team’s effort.
Rivers was particularly pleased with the fact that the Celtics held Anthony to just 4-for-13 shooting in the first 24 minutes. Read the rest of this entry »
|LeBron James thinks Paul Pierce got All-Star snubbed||at 8:14 pm ET|
Count Heat superstar LeBron James of all people as the first NBA player to count Celtics captain Paul Pierce among the Eastern Conference’s All-Star snubs. Pierce was left off the team for the first time since 2007, when he missed 35 games due to injury; the 35-year-old 10-time All-Star also made the East roster from 2002-06.
|Doc Rivers reiterates: ‘I have to figure out a way’||at 8:10 pm ET|
Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said before Thursday night’s game with the Knicks that he still believes his team has what it takes to overcome the doldrums that have seen his team lose four straight after winning six in a row.
Rivers was asked if he had any changes in store for a big weekend of basketball that includes the Knicks, Hawks and Heat on Sunday.
“Let’s hope we don’t [have to make changes],’ Rivers said. “If we start playing better then you don’t, obviously. If you don’t [start playing better], then we have to do something at some point. Again, I think we have what we need in the locker room. I’m just not getting it out of them and I have to figure out a better way of getting it out of them.”
Rivers also said he hopes his team is inspired by the Kevin Garnett-Carmelo Anthony incident the last time the two teams met in New York, a 102-96 Boston win. Anthony was held to 20 points on 6-of-26 shooting from the field.
After getting into a confrontation late in the fourth quarter, Anthony tried to meet with Garnett in front of the Celtics locker room and then in front of the Celtics team bus before Madison Square Garden security and police intervened.
|Paul Pierce left off Eastern Conference All-Star squad||at 7:43 pm ET|
For just the second time in 13 seasons, Paul Pierce did not earn a spot on the Eastern Conference All-Star squad as the reserves were announced Thursday night on national television prior to the Celtics‘ game vs. the Knicks.
Pierce is leading the Celtics in scoring at 18.9 points per game and has started all 41 games for the Celtics, but that wasn’t enough to win a spot on the team. Pierce didn’t make it in 2007 when his season was shortened due to a stress reaction in his foot. The last time a healthy Pierce was left off the All-Star team was 2001, just his third season in the NBA.
Joining starters Rajon Rondo, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Kevin Garnett and Carmelo Anthony are five first-time All-Stars, including Tyson Chandler (Knicks), Paul George (Pacers), Jrue Holiday (76ers), Kyrie Irving (Cavaliers) and Joakim Noah (Bulls). Miami’s Chris Bosh and Chicago’s Luol Deng, making his second consecutive All-Star appearance, round out the East reserves.
Joining Duncan as reserves in the West are LaMarcus Aldridge (Trail Blazers), James Harden (Rockets), David Lee (Warriors), Tony Parker (Spurs), Zach Randolph (Grizzlies) and Russell Westbrook (Thunder). It’s the first selection for Harden, in his first season with the Rockets. It’s the second All-Star nod for Lee, Randolph and Aldridge, while Westbrook earns his third consecutive trip to the All-Star Game. Parker is an All-Star for the fifth time in his career.
The 62nd NBA All-Star Game will be played at the Toyota Center in Houston on Feb. 17.
|Big Baby wants PB&J, and he wanted it yesterday||at 11:12 am ET|
Oh, Glen Davis, how do I miss thee? Let me count the ways … [thinking] … [still thinking] … on second thought, let’s not. Even if he has twice the production this season, I’m still taking Brandon Bass every day and twice on Sundays. Think of all the money the Celtics saved on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches alone?
|Was Avery Bradley firing a Twitter shot at Rajon Rondo?||01.23.13 at 3:08 pm ET|
After the Celtics‘ fourth straight defeat — a 95-90 loss suffered at the hands of Kyrie Irving (40 points) and the Cavaliers — guard Avery Bradley tweeted: “Nobody will score 40 on [me] unless they take 40 shots.”
Irving scored his 40 on 24 shots, although just three of those attempts came against Bradley; meanwhile, the Cavs point guard made 6-of-11 attempts against Celtics point Rajon Rondo, according to Synergy Sports (h/t @ESPNForsberg. That may not even include plays like Irving’s isolation drive past with 22 seconds left in the fourth quarter, when he blew by Rondo and got (questionably) fouled by Jared Sullinger on a three-point play.
So, why wasn’t Bradley — considered by many the best on-ball defender in the NBA — facing the surefire All-Star, particularly in that situation? While he’s recovering from a rib injury, Bradley played 26 effective minutes and was on the floor for the span from 2:31 to 0:22 of the fourth quarter, when Irving scored nine points on four layups.
When the C’s guard took to Twitter just minutes after the conclusion of the game, many considered it a veiled shot at Rondo, although Bradley quickly deleted the tweet and posted instead: “No shots at anybody. It’s confidence.”