|Welcome to the Garden||11.14.08 at 5:26 pm ET|
This is the Celtics first look at Chauncey Billups in his new uniform since the Allen Iverson trade. Doc Rivers called Billups “terrific,” noting his size (6’3″) and basketball IQ. He also praised how clutch Billups has been over his career in down the stretch, something the Celtics know a thing or two about after this week’s buzzer-beating wins.
Another Nugget who is big at his position is Carmelo Anthony. Before the game Melo talked about his counterpart Paul Pierce, calling him one of the best players in the league. “I respect his game a lot, especially on this team right now,” Anthony said. Pierce is averaging 35 points over the last two games.
Patrick O’Bryant will be activated tonight for the Celtics, with Rivers saying he’s earned it in practice. For the Nuggets, Steven Hunter underwent arthroscoping surgery today and will be out a minimum of 12 weeks.
|Sounds of the game… Celtics 103, Hawks 102||11.13.08 at 7:09 am ET|
Let’s hope that Wednesday night was just the beginning… the beginning of what could be the best rivalry this year in the Eastern Conference. Anyone attending the Cs encounter with the Atlanta Hawks could tell almost immediately that these Hawks, who nearly dashed the Celtics‘ hopes last spring in the first round, are no fluke. And those same Celtics fans who were shocked when Marvin Williams hit a three-pointer with 7.4 seconds were were overjoyed when Paul Pierce’s rainbow fell through with half a second to go, handing Atlanta their first loss in seven games and improving Boston to 8-1.
|Playoffs? Is it the playoffs?||11.12.08 at 5:53 pm ET|
Did you hear that?
It’s the boos resonating from the crowd on Mike Bibby’s first possession.
There was a postseason atmosphere before tip-off which was only heightened by Kevin Garnett’s encouragement of the crowd. Only this time, the Hawks have come out swinging first. Joe Johnson is still out to beat the Celtics on the offensive end and is leading his team to an early lead.
Doc Rivers called a timeout down 17-11 with six minutes to go in the first quarter. Yes, another first quarter deficit. This is becoming the norm for the Cs, echoing Rivers comments of inconsistency from the starting five.
So far Monday’s hero Paul Pierce is scoreless. Let’s see if the Celtics can get it going …
|Celtics Starting Lineup Named to All-Star Ballot||11.11.08 at 1:24 pm ET|
All five members of the Boston Celtics starting lineup will be named to the 2009 All-Star ballot today, presented by T-Mobile. The ballot will be unveiled today during a special kick-off ceremony in Phoenix, Arizona.
Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, and Kendrick Perkins are all up for spots on the Eastern Conference team. The Big Three participated in last year’s game (Allen was a replacement for Caron Butler) while Rondo and Perkins have never been named to the team.
The All-Star Game will be held February 15 at the US Airways Center. Voting will begin on Thursday, November 13 and run through mid-January. This season fans will be able to cast their votes in every NBA arena, online at NBA.com in several different languages, and via cell phone.
|O’Neal Struggling to Achieve Celtics Success||at 9:58 am ET|
Garnett and Allen were able to hit the ground running in their first season with the Boston Celtics, starting off 20-2 en route to the first NBA Championships of their career. For O’Neal, his debut season with the Toronto Raptors has anything but a joyride.
‘It’s been kind of a roller coaster for me,’ he said. ‘And it’s been hard.’
This summer O’Neal was traded to the Raptors from the Indiana Pacers, a year after Garnett’s blockbuster trade to the Celtics. The move paired O’Neal with dominating big man Chris Bosh and positioned the Raptors as an Eastern Conference contender. Like the Celtics, the Raptors united unfulfilled All-Stars in hopes of winning a title.
‘You try not to base your career and your success off of somebody else’s,’ O’Neal said. ‘A lot of people can say, ‘I want it to be like this,’ but it’s not necessarily like that. [The Celtics] definitely have put together a format on how to do it, for sure. Sometimes you’re not able to go that route. You’ve got to take another route and that’s the route that I’m on.’
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|Sounds of the game… Celtics 94, Raptors 87||11.10.08 at 9:34 pm ET|
Monday night had all the makings of a back-to-back letdown. And for all the world in the first half, it looked like an emotional and dominant win in Detroit 24 hours earlier had taken its toll, as the C’s trailed by as many as 16 in the second quarter and 48-36 at halftime. Then the Celtics woke up in the third before Paul Pierce took over in the final 15 minutes, scoring 25 of his game-high 36, including 22 in the final quarter to match the ENTIRE Raptors team.
The end result was a stunning win for the Green and a demoralizing, head-scratcher for Toronto.
What they said about it…
Jason Kapono: ‘We felt we could have had them down a tad bit further, especially at the end of the second quarter. They made a couple of shots there and they got to the free throw line. It’s our job to keep it going and build a lead, but obviously they are a quality team, a world championship team, and you know that their best run (of the game) is still coming.’
Jermaine O’Neal: ‘Those guys in the third quarter shot a lot of free throws. In the fourth quarter, they did a good job of making shots. Ray (Allen), Paul and the others have an incredible comfort level with each other. We’ve got to figure a way to keep those guys down, especially when we’re up 15 or 16 points in a game, especially in the second half.’
|Celtics-Raptors Game Blog Second Quarter||at 6:15 pm ET|
Ok so that wasn’t pretty. The Celtics are down 48-36 at the end of the first half and are basically getting beat by one player … Jermaine O’Neal. JO has 19 points and eight rebounds in just 17 minutes. Next in line is Joey Graham with eight points and Chris Bosh has six. The Celtics have not had an answer for JO on either end of the court. Kevin Garnett has 11 points and 4 defensive rebounds while Perk is scoreless with one board. If the Celtics are going to get back into this game, they are going to have to step up their low post game to counter JO’s assault. Adding insult to injury, the Celtics are shooting 32%.
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