|Paul Pierce: ‘I want to retire as a Celtic’||01.29.13 at 1:06 pm ET|
Since Rajon Rondo‘s season-ending ACL injury, there’s been plenty of talk about trading Paul Pierce, but the Celtics captain made his plea to the media before the team’s first practice since losing their All-Star point guard.
“I want to retire as a Celtic,” said Pierce. “That’s been my longtime goal, but it’s not under my control. The organization, they make their decisions, but it’s something I’ve desired since being here so long.”
While Pierce has $15.3 million on his contract next season, only $4 million of that deal is guaranteed, so Celtics president Danny Ainge will surely be fielding phone calls inquiring about the 35-year-old. Still, responding to a question about whether or not the Celtics are already looking to fill one of two open roster spots, coach Doc Rivers said Ainge “has not brought up anything” in terms of roster changes in the aftermath of Rondo’s injury.
The Celtics did call up rookie center Fab Melo from the Maine Red Claws. Rivers also confirmed that Courtney Lee and Jared Sullinger will remain in the starting lineup with Pierce, Avery Bradley and Kevin Garnett.
|10 options for Celtics to fill Rajon Rondo’s void||01.28.13 at 12:44 pm ET|
In the wake of Rajon Rondo‘s season-ending right ACL tear, the Celtics surely will be looking to add depth behind Avery Bradley, Jason Terry, Courtney Lee and Leandro Barbosa in the backcourt as soon as possible.
In all likelihood, that group offers the best four options for C’s president Danny Ainge and coach Doc Rivers to fill the void left by Rondo’s injury, and while nobody will replace the four-time All-Star’s impact, there are plenty of available players who could eat minutes in his absence. Here are 10 options.
NBA FREE AGENTS
Keyon Dooling: After abruptly retiring this past fall and accepting a player development role within the Celtics organization, Dooling told The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn he’d consider a comeback. This route probably makes the most sense, considering Dooling’s experience in the C’s system and his influence on the locker room. If he plays himself into NBA shape, his manic defense and 3-point shooting could also be useful weapons at the end of the bench.
Jonny Flynn: After a disappointing NBA career, the No. 6 overall pick in 2009 now plays for the Melbourne Tigers in the Australian National Basketball League. His contract reportedly includes a clause that allows him to return stateside should an NBA team come calling. Flynn’s averages of 5.2 points and 3.8 assists in 29 games for the Rockets and Blazers last season have translated into 16.8 points and 6.0 assists in the mediocre NBL.
Jeremy Pargo: The Cavaliers traded D.J. Kennedy for Pargo and a second-round pick, but they dropped the 26-year-old Gonzaga product after 25 games. He averaged 7.8 points and 2.6 assists in 17.9 minutes for Cleveland.
|Ray Allen: ‘I didn’t expect to get booed the whole time’||01.27.13 at 11:52 pm ET|
All the mind games Ray Allen went through in an effort to get ready for returning to Boston couldn’t prepare him for what he experienced Sunday each and every time he touched the basketball.
‘I didn’t know what to expect,” Allen said. “The one thing I was gonna do is come into it and just focus on being prepared and getting the guys ready that were playing, that were starting the game. Early game is always tough regardless of the circumstances. I didn’t expect to get booed the whole time, throughout the game, that I touched the ball. That was interesting.’
The day was the definition of surreal for Allen. There was walking into the visitors’ locker room for the first time since he was with Seattle in 2007.
‘It was very weird. And then going to the other locker room. It’s been a long time since I’ve been on that side of the hallway, and again, it was an adjustment. The whole year’s been an adjustment being in Miami after being in Boston for so long, so ya, it was definitely a weird feeling for me.’
There was the video tribute in the first timeout, when he was still on the bench. There were the boos reining down mixed with a standing ovation. And then there was the news breaking during the game of his former backcourt teammate Rajon Rondo out for the season with a torn ACL in his right knee. Ironic, considering how the two former teammates didn’t exactly end things on the best of terms in Boston.
He did appreciate the video tribute.
‘When you see something like that, you know when I saw it, just all those emotions came streaming back from all the great things we did here, and that’s why I say I’ll always remember the big games we played in and won, and I always know I’ll always be a Celtic in my mind, regardless of what anyone else says.”
As for the Rondo news, Allen was short and to the point.
‘I didn’t know until we got out onto the floor and he wasn’t out on the floor,” he said. “That was unfortunate.’
One of the many painful ironies of Sunday’s stunning news that Rajon Rondo is done for the season with a torn ACL is who will be asked to step up and play a bigger role.
Avery Bradley‘s season didn’t begin until Jan. 2 because of a pair of shoulder surgeries this past summer. One on his left shoulder ended his playoffs in May. Another in June on his right shoulder prolonged his downtime.
Now, it will be Bradley who will likely be the steadying force in the backcourt as the Celtics look to hold on in the final 38 games of the season for a playoff spot.
‘Whatever Doc wants me to play, that’s what I’m going to do,” Bradley said of playing either shooting guard or point. “I’m going to go out there and give it my all. No matter if it’s the ’2′ or the ’1′, I’m going to go out there and play as hard as I can.’
What the Celtics did Sunday to beat the mighty Heat in double overtime without Rondo will likely be the formula Doc Rivers calls upon to repeat itself down the stretch, tough defense from the likes of Bradley, Jeff Green and Courtney Lee.
‘Like I always say, it shows what type of team we are,” Bradley said. “We have adversity, we overcome it all the time. We had two back to back overtime games, you know we’re tired. But we keep fighting, we play hard for each other no matter what. And it showed today when we got the win. Read the rest of this entry »
Paul Pierce hit the go-ahead jumper with 30.4 seconds left in double-overtime and earned a triple-double with 17 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists as the Celtics snapped their six-game losing streak with a heart-pounding 100-98 win over the Heat Sunday at TD Garden. It was Boston’s second straight double-overtime game.
LeBron James scored a game-high 34 points and forced overtime with a clutch 3-pointer while Ray Allen had 21 off the bench in his first return to Boston since leaving for Miami as a free agent, and help the Heat rally in the final minute of regulation. The Heat fell to 28-13.
Kevin Garnett scored a team-high 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Celtics, who could not protect a four-point lead in the final minute of regulation but managed to improve to 21-23 on the season.
The game was played under a cloud for the Celtics, as they found out in the second half that Rajon Rondo tore the ACL in his right knee and was done for the season. Rondo returned in the third quarter and watched the rest of the game from just behind the Celtics bench.
With Courtney Lee starting for Rondo and Jared Sullinger in the starting lineup, the Celtics stayed close in the first quarter, trailing by just four, 26-24, after 12 minutes. The Celtics managed to stay close in the second and forged a 45-45 tie.
WIth news breaking in the third quarter that Rondo had a torn ACL in his right knee and was done for the season, the Celtics managed to put up a fight taking a three-point lead. Garnett’s jumper 16 seconds into the second half gave Boston its first lead since early in the first quarter. Boston built the lead to 60-57 before Miami finished the period on a 11-4 run to take a 68-64 lead into the fourth.
Jeff Green drilled a three from the left baseline to bring the Celtics within one, 72-71, and then after James missed a three, Leandro Barbosa put back a miss to give the Celtics a 73-72 lead with 8:26 left in the fourth. Green’s one-handed slam over Chris Bosh with 7:48 left sent the Garden crowd into a frenzy and put the Celtics up, 75-72.
Pierce drove in for a go-ahead layup with just under six minutes left. Allen connected for a three with 4:38 left to put the Heat up, 78-77, and grabbed a rebound off a Pierce miss moments later. Jason Terry responded with a 15-foot step-back jumper to put Boston back up, 79-78, with just over four minutes left. James responded with a 12-foot fadeaway with three minutes left, putting Miami ahead, 80-79.
Garnett hit a pair of free throws with 2:40 left to put Boston back ahead, 81-80. Allen was fouled by Pierce with 2:19 remaining and Allen converted only one of two for an 81-81 tie. Pierce drove to the basket on a spinning move with 1:59 left to put Boston up, 83-81. After a missed three from Shane Battier, Garnett hit a mid-range jumper with 59.9 seconds left to give the Celtics their biggest lead, 85-81. Read the rest of this entry »
|Fast Break: Rajon Rondo-less Celtics defeat Heat||at 4:08 pm ET|
Ray Allen returned to Boston, and it wasn’t even the biggest story of Sunday’s battle between the Eastern Conference rival Celtics and Heat. While news of Rajon Rondo‘s ACL tear trickled out around halftime, the C’s submitted their most impressive performance of the season in a 100-98 double-overtime victory.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Starting Sully: Celtics rookie Jared Sullinger‘s production was finally too much for coach Doc Rivers to ignore. The C’s are 9.3 points better when he’s on the floor than when he sits, the best of any player on the team, so his replacement of Brandon Bass in the starting lineup was practically inevitable. His rebounding, ability to score on the inside and willingness to hit the floor for loose balls helped the Celtics remain tied going into halftime.
Brazilian Blur: Likewise, Leandro Barbosa gave the Celtics an energetic lift off the bench, scoring seven points in 10 first-half minutes. Entering the game, Barbosa’s 15.8 points per 36 minutes ranked third on the team behind only Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. While Jason Terry continues to struggle, there’s no reason Rivers shouldn’t give his minutes to Barbosa to kickstart a woeful Celtics offense.
“Pitbulls”: Apparently, that’s the nickname for the starting backcourt of Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee, who started in place of the injured Rondo. They lived up to the moniker, holding their Heat counterparts Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers to subpar nights. Even on a tough shooting night for both, their defense made a definite impact on the game. That’s what the Celtics will have to rely upon going forward.
Heart of a champion: With Rondo out for the season, Celtics veterans Paul Pierce (17 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists) and Kevin Garnett (24 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists) each came up huge in the final minutes of regulation and both overtimes, punctuating a valiant effort from a team without its brightest star. Pierce’s sweet spin move past Allen in the lane and Garnett’s 18-foot jumper gave the Celtics an 85-81 lead in the final minute of the fourth quarter. Pierce also fed Garnett for a pair of buckets to tie the game 93-93 with 1:14 left in the first overtime. And Pierce buried a jumper over LeBron James to give the C’s a 99-98 lead with 30.4 seconds left in double OT.
After getting a MRI at New England Baptist Hospital, the diagnosis was confirmed by team doctor Brian McKeon.
The Celtics said the star point guard would have surgery to repair the injury at an unspecified date.
Rondo returned to TD Garden in the third quarter in the warmups he was wearing when he left during pregame warmups, walking with a slight limp but no crutches. He walked down to the Celtics locker room on his own power.
Rondo came to the Garden Sunday morning for his normal pregame shootaround but went back in for more treatment on the knee as the pain continued in his right knee. He was taken to the hospital with a preliminary diagnosis of a hyperextended knee.