|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.’
|To Tweet or Not to Tweet?||at 1:07 am ET|
“first 5 people who meet me at the garden in the players parking lot entrance at 445 with my jersey on get free tickets password is truth”
Less than a week ago, Paul Pierce started a frenzy in Boston when he began offering up Celtics tickets on Twitter. Since then, fans have been heading to the TD Banknorth Garden in hopes of snagging a hand delivered gift from Pierce. This was no joke ‘ five lucky fans watched the Celtics beat the Oklahoma City Thunder from Pierce’s personal suite.
In just three days, Pierce’s invitation blew up all over the Internet. But on Wednesday, after tweeting about tickets for the Celtics-Charlotte Bobcats game, he had to renege his offer with this announcement: Do to the ammount in traffic and responce we r gonna to pospone this givaway for fridays game.
While Pierce has created a tweeting phenomenon in the Celtics community, not every player wants to put their lives out there for anyone to simply ‘follow’ with the click of a mouse. How do other members of the Celtics who are not on Twitter view the social network?
‘I wouldn’t say that I would be against it,’ said Ray Allen. ‘I think when we do something, it becomes habit forming. So when you do it over and over again, you somewhat have to stick to it because people expect it. It’s like if you score 20 points in your first NBA game, they expect it the next game and the next game after that. So it becomes a ritual that you somewhat have to perform. But I wouldn’t be against it.’
There are dozens of NBA players on Twitter. Phoenix Suns center Shaquille O’Neal was one of the first to publicize his profile. More recently, Milwaukee Bucks forward Charlie Villanueva brought tweeting to the forefront when he was punished for sending updates from the locker room during halftime of the Bucks-Celtics game.
Celtics guard Stephon Marbury is also part of the Twitter community. He already posts personal videos on his website, starbury.com, but saw this as another outlet to spread his own message with statements like: i like the direct connection to the fans. no espn, no local news, just me and twitterland.
Allen agrees there are benefits to putting the words back in the players mouths.
‘I think a lot of times when we do what we do around here, speaking to the media before and after games, we have no control where it goes and how it goes,’ he said. ‘A lot of times you could break the words up, they could be taken out of context, you never know. I think when you set forth your own agenda, you can put it out there the way you want it to be out there.’
For every player who has a legitimate account, there are even more whose identity is falsified. Take Leon Powe: According to Twitter, he has more than 300 followers who he keeps updated on his knee injury and even the weather. But as it turns out, Powe didn’t even know what Twitter was, let alone manage a profile.
‘I don’t even mess with the computers like that. If I did, it would be cool, but nobody has come to me and talked to me about anything like that,’ he said, adding, ‘I think being an athlete, it could be a positive but sometimes it could be a negative, too. Being an athlete, you’re always out there and people are always going to find stories and find what you did eight years ago. So it’s basically the same thing.’
Powe is in favor of using Twitter for a good cause, such as giving away tickets as Pierce does. But it feels invasive to him when people know the miniscule details of his daily life.
‘That’s weird to me,’ he said. ‘I don’t do that. I don’t do that. I think that’s weird, but that’s just me. I wouldn’t do it like that. But some players probably like doing that stuff. It’s based on what you like.’
Social networking sites also pose challenges for young players in the league. Rookie Bill Walker is still going through the process of figuring out what he should and should not say to the media. At least in the locker room he can rely on the watchful ear of a media relations team. His words would not be monitored, though, if he joined Twitter.
‘You don’t know how much you can put out there and what to keep back. Right now it’s kind of just learning my way, what we can put out there and how much of ourselves we can show,’ said Walker, adding, ‘If it sounds wrong to you, you shouldn’t say it. That’s what I believe. If you say something, just make sure it’s your opinion, your thought, and you stand by it.’
While other players weigh the options of tweets and twittering, Pierce and Marbury continue to keep everyone up to date on the Celtics. Welcome to, as Marbury puts it, ‘Twitterland.’
|Ray for Hall of Fame||at 12:39 am ET|
It should be pretty obvious to everyone who watches the NBA that Ray Allen will be headed to Springfield and the Basketball Hall of Fame after his career is over.
Wednesday night’s game-winner is just another moment in a career filled with game-winning heroics.
Listen to the praise of his teammates.
Paul Pierce: ‘That’s Ray. He’s a future Hall of Famer, and great players find a way. When Ray shoots and misses shots, it doesn’t discourage him. You know this from great players. His confidence is through the roof regardless if he’s missed two, three, or four hundred shots in a row, he always feels like the next one is going to go in. I’ll proclaim Ray the greatest shooter in the history of the NBA that I’ve ever seen.’
Eddie House, who actually gave advice to Ray when he noticed he wasn’t getting lift in his shot earlier in the game: ‘It just takes one. I told Ray, I told him don’t worry man you’re going knock it down when we really need and he did exactly that. Shooters aren’t afraid to take the next shot, always got confidence in self. Even when he had some air balls he came back and found himself. That’s just a hall of fame player right there.’
|Time out||04.01.09 at 9:22 pm ET|
10:34 to 36.7. No, that’s not a remake of Chicago’s 25 or 6 to 4.
That’s the time that elapsed on the third quarter clock between Celtic field goals. From a Ray Allen three pointer to a Paul Pierce three-pointer. In between, the Celtics couldn’t even hit a two-pointer.
During that near-10 minute span, Boston was outscored 24-5. Paul Pierce has scored 28 of his team’s 71 points through three quarters. But the Green trails 77-71 heading into the fourth.
|Pierce continues to fight for sick girl||03.27.09 at 4:14 pm ET|
Paul Pierce has been fighting to help save Jasmina Anema, a six-year-old girl who is in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant to battle a rare form of leukemia. In response, he is encouraging any compatible donors to take part in an upcoming blood drive. For more information visit www.paulpierce.net or www.oneforjasmina.com.
Sunday, April 5th
11:00 AM-4:00 PM
316 Huntington Ave
|A slump for Pierce?||03.23.09 at 8:06 pm ET|
Paul Pierce has been carrying the Celtics through the second half of the season, especially in the wake of injuries to Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, but after going 3-for-16 against the Spurs and 2-for-6 against Memphis a few of the writers wanted to know if anything was up with the Captain. “He’s human,” Doc Rivers said. “Sometimes the ball doesn’t go in. I was very in touch with that emotion when I was a player.”
Before that Pierce had gone off for 37 points against Chicago and 36 against the Heat, but the bigger number has been 40, as in the amount of minutes he’s been playing in the month of March. Rivers acknowledged that he has to get that number down.
|The puzzle changes shape||03.18.09 at 11:15 pm ET|
There are two ways to look at Doc Rivers‘ statement before the Celtics took the court against the Heat. “We’re not going to catch Cleveland,” Rivers told the press without being asked about whether they could catch the Cavaliers. “We have a chance to hold on to that second spot.” (Click here for a recap of the Miami game.)
The first is this. The coach is absolutely right. There are 13 games left in the regular season and the Celtics are down five in the loss column. It’s math.
Now that kind of unprompted candor, even from one of the more honest and realistic coaches in the NBA, is not generally expected. Someone who has been around competitive sports for as long as Rivers knows there’s always a chance, and to concede anything less is to admit to defeat on a certain level.
But admitting defeat is not in this team’s nature (and they have the championship banner to prove it) so clearly this was a different sort of message. After the game, which was as good a win as his team has had in almost two weeks, Rivers talked about a jigsaw puzzle. “It’s corny,” he said. “But we were talking about it today that the only way you can put a puzzle together is with the box. You have to have the picture. So we just don’t have all our pieces together right now. They’re kind of scattered but we’re going to have a chance to put them back together and we know that. And we know the picture and that’s what we want.”
The puzzle pieces are scattered throughout Eddie Lacerte’s training room. They have hyper-extended elbows, sprained ankles and strained knees. But the picture is clearer now after suffering losses to Milwaukee and Chicago and it involves getting the home-court advantage against Orlando in the second round. That’s the puzzle they will try to solve over the next 13 games: Get healthy and stay ahead of the Magic.
That’s a different picture than what was in place a few weeks ago when there was a realistic chance at catching the Cavaliers, but that was then and this is now. There were a lot of words spoken in the aftermath of their gritty win over the Heat without two of their stars and with only three able-bodied big men, but none of them were “Cleveland.”
“One, for us to get on the same page and two, to solidify that second spot,” was how Stephon Marbury put it. “Once everyone gets healthy I think this team will be totally different.”
“Either way, I still feel good about us winning a championship,” Kendrick Perkins said. “I don’t care if we play home or away.”
Say this for the Celtics, when the coach talks about something like this it’s not an accident and it’s not a sub-conscious slip of the tongue. The players were briefed about this subtle change in expectations and they are on board.
“That’s the one great thing about this team,” Paul Pierce said. “We’ve never been down. We never look at one another, point the finger at one another, and we understand that we just have to keep working. The situation is what it is and we have to go out there and put our hard hats on and our work boots on and continue to work, regardless of who’s out there.”
To that end, they milked 41 minutes out of Big Baby Davis, who has been out the last four games with an ankle injury. They had three (relatively) healthy big men and when Davis and Mikki Moore fouled out, they turned to rookie Bill Walker in the final minute of an overtime game.
It was, as they say, a good win. A win that clinched them the Atlantic Division, not that any of them cared because that’s not part of the puzzle they’re trying to solve.
“(The division) doesn’t really mean anything to the Boston Celtics,” Pierce said. “They don’t put that banner up. Maybe in other arenas they put that banner up, but here, it doesn’t really mean a thing.”
Getting healthy matters. Staying ahead of Orlando matters. That was the message the coach delivered Wednesday night and it was heard, and well-received by his team.
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