|Celtics riding momentum to Cleveland||04.10.09 at 11:31 pm ET|
When the Boston Celtics arrived in Cleveland in January, they had just dropped their third consecutive game and were in the middle of their longest losing streak since last season. The following game, the Cavaliers blew them out by 15 points.
But thanks to a grind-it-out victory over the Miami Heat on Friday night in Boston, the Celtics are riding the momentum of a six-game winning streak into Sunday’s game in Cleveland. (Click here for a recap) They will try to make a dent in the Cavs’ four-game lead of the top spot, and while head coach Doc Rivers conceded the number one seed weeks ago, the Celtics are looking to build on their two-game lead over the Orlando Magic for the second spot.
‘Every game is a big game for us,’ said Paul Pierce. ‘We’re trying to lock up the number two seed. I think Cleveland locked up the number one seed tonight, so we’re trying to lock up the number two seed. So every game is big for us. We’re only [two] games in front of Orlando, so these last three games we feel like we have to win them all.’
With less than a week left in the regular season, the Celtics have to tackle Sunday’s game as if it were a Game Seven situation. The Cavaliers are sure to as they battle against the Los Angeles Lakers for the number one overall seed.
‘Everybody we play from here on out is basically trying to achieve something,’ said Tony Allen. ‘So each game is playoff-like. We’re going in there with a clear focus that we need to win just as badly as they do because they’re competing with L.A. We’ve got to take it as a must-win game that we need because we’ve got goals that we need to achieve too. It’s going to be a tough fight.’
The Celtics will turn to their bench to help carry the team without Kevin Garnett. Friday’s win against the Heat was a confidence-booster for the reserves.
‘You play a little looser. You play with a little more confidence,’ said Mikki Moore of playing on a winning streak. ‘But we just have to concentrate on the defensive end. We’re pretty sound on the offensive ends. As long as we don’t have too many turnovers and we play solid defense, we’re alright.’
As for Ray Allen, he is simply looking forward to putting a blemish on the Cavaliers’ near-perfect 38-1 home record.
‘They take care of what they have to take care of, we take care of what we have to take care of,’ he said. ‘I think we know where we stand, but as a team it will be a great win on the road for us and that’s what we’re looking forward to.’
The Celtics and Cavaliers will face off at 3:30pm EST on Easter Sunday.
|Pierce Playoff Ticket Giveaway||at 5:56 pm ET|
Paul Pierce has been in the giving mood lately, offering up tickets to Boston Celtics fans on several occasions. This time he is running a contest on his website (www.paulpierce.net) for a chance to watch the Celtics second home playoff game in his private suite. The winner will be given 12 tickets and a $500 food and beverage credit. It costs $10 to enter — $2 for five chances to win. The deadline and drawing is Friday, April 17. Click here for more details.
|How to dine like a champ||04.09.09 at 1:00 pm ET|
Paul Pierce credited his notable weight loss to a change in diet after the Boston Celtics championship run. Now he is lending his dining tips to Zagat Survey for, ‘A Spotlight on Boston Restaurants: Paul Pierce’s Favorites for Healthy Dining.’
This guide includes Pierce’s advice for staying healthy while eating out at Zagat Survey’s Most Popular restaurants in Boston, which were selected by nearly 7,000 local diners in Zagat’s 2009/10 Boston Restaurants Survey.
Pierce also worked with Zagat on another guide to benefit his Truth Foundation. In addition to healthy dining tips at Zagat’s Most Popular Restaurants in Boston, this guide offers general tips for eating out and fitness advice. Pierce also includes his favorite pre-game meal of grilled salmon, a baked potato, and broccoli.
Information on this pocket-sized guide (for convenience) will be available on paulpierce.net.
|NBA Playoffs hit Facebook, Twitter||04.08.09 at 1:02 pm ET|
In promotion of TNT’s ‘40 Games in 40 Nights,’ Turner Sports is rolling out a multiplatform marketing campaign via Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
Just as Paul Pierce and Stephon Marbury have already done, TNT and NBA TV personalities including Craig Sager, Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, Chris Webber, Steve Smith, Eric Snow, Gary Payton, and Rick Kamla will regularly update Twitter pages starting on April 14.
Beginning on April 19, sponsored ads will run on Facebook inviting users to ‘Become a Fan’ of the TNT Facebook page. That same day TNT will also run ads on Yahoo! Sports to promote their playoff coverage. On April 20, YouTube will run videos from NBA players promoting that night’s games.
|More Twitter analysis||04.03.09 at 3:46 pm ET|
There is no ignoring the speculation and discussions surrounding Twitter. This week we posed the question of the Celtics, To Tweet or Not to Tweet? Today Athlete Interactive, an online sports marketing company, analyzed the implications of professional athletes using the social networking site:
“It’s not difficult to imagine any number of scenarios where an athlete’s instant access to the world backfires because of bad judgment or a simple mistweet: an athlete tweets a prediction that fails to come to pass; an athlete tweets during a game that he later is responsible for losing; an athlete tweets something he fails to recognize as offensive, and in seconds, irrevocably undoes years of work.”
|Time for TA||at 11:38 am ET|
“Kevin is going to play tonight and that’s April Fools a couple of days late,” Rivers said before quickly qualifying as a joke.
While Garnett is still out, Tony Allen could see his first action since spraining his left thumb in early February. Allen made it to the scorer’s table in the fourth quarter but never entered the game on Wednesday against Charlotte.
“We are going to try and ease Tony in,” Rivers said, indicating that tonight would likely be a chance for Allen to return to action. “It was game situation and Eddie (House) had it going. They stayed small, which is unusual for them. They usually go big and they stayed small. They had (D.J.) Augustine and (Raymond) Felton in a lot together and that allowed us to keep Eddie on the floor, and that was good for us because the way he was shooting we wanted to keep him on the floor.”
“Think about it, we went two overtimes and Paul and Ray still only played 47 and 48 minutes, and that’s with an extra 10 minutes added to it,” Rivers said. “Thank goodness we got them that rest because I don’t know if the overtimes would have worked out.”
|Allen continues to burn Bobcats||04.02.09 at 9:44 am ET|
Stopping Dell Curry was never easy for Ray Allen. Dale Ellis and Ricky Pierce were tough match ups too. They were dangerous players, the type who, if let open, always knew how to sting Allen and his teammates.
After Wednesday night’s double-overtime thriller, consider Allen the Charlotte Bobcats‘ version of Dell Curry.
His three-pointer with seconds left iced another dramatic victory for the Celtics over the Bobcats. (Click here for a recap of the Celtics 2OT 111-109 win.)
‘He’s a pure shooter,’ said Bobcats guard Raymond Felton. ‘He got a good look, he knocked down the shot. It’s not like those were easy shots. Those were contested shots.’
This wasn’t the first time Allen has burned the Bobcats. In November of 2007, he drained a game-winning three after Eddie House picked off Jason Richardson‘s inbound attempt with less than five seconds to go. The Celtics won 96-95. The image of Allen being carried away by his teammates in celebration is still a Garden favorite.
But Allen says credit goes to the Bobcats, too. He wouldn’t be in the situation to hit last-second shots if they didn’t test the Celtics. Last season the Bobcats stunned them at home and snapped their attempt to become the fastest team to reach 30 wins. This season they beat the Celtics in overtime.
‘It’s not anything that I’m doing. Really it’s the team plays us so tough,’ Allen said. ‘They always have a great match up against us, and in the fourth quarter it’s just an opportunity for us to win games. Every day we drill fourth situations, so whether I get the shot, Paul (Pierce) gets the shot, Eddie (House) has a shot, we all kind of know.’
While it is easy for Allen to get overshadowed by Pierce and Kevin Garnett, the Bobcats have learned the hard way cannot be forgotten. He was left wide open to hit the game-winner when they tried to triple-team Pierce.
‘You can’t exclude him out because he’s a guy who could come in and give you 40, 30 points any time,” said Felton, adding, ‘He’s a big time player, big time scorer, he hits some big shots.’
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