|Halftime: Celtics vs. Nuggets||03.24.10 at 8:19 pm ET|
The Celtics rebounded nicely from their second-half fade on Monday night by claiming a 61-51 lead over the high-powered Denver Nuggets at the break.
The exclamation point on the outstanding play was a spectacular Tony Allen dunk on a beautiful feed from Rajon Rondo with 1:23 left and a layup with 0.1 seconds remaining in the half. Allen had 10 points off the Celtics bench.
This game was played at a breakneck tempo right out of the gate, with both teams executing their offenses at a high level.
The Celtics came out and appeared ready to make a statement against a Nuggets team that is expected to be the chief competition out West to the defending champion Lakers this spring. The Celtics made 13-of-21 shots from the floor and outscored Denver 20-8 in the paint to take a 30-27 lead after one.
Paul Pierce again showed he is ready to assume leadership of the team heading into the home stretch as he poured in a game-leading 16 points. That offset an equally impressive first half from Carmelo Anthony, who had 14.
The Celtics bench again saw a significant amount of playing time, bridging the first and second quarters effectively, and even building the lead up to nine points late in the second quarter. The down side to that was foul trouble.
In addition to the three first half fouls that sent Pierce to the bench early prematurely, Marquis Daniels also picked up three and Glen Davis two as 16 fouls were called on the Green in the opening 24 minutes.
But again the ball distribution was outstanding as the Celtics racked up 19 assists, led by seven from Rondo.
|Pierce named NBA Player of the Week||03.22.10 at 2:44 pm ET|
The NBA issued the following release on the NBA Players of the Week:
The Boston Celtics’ Paul Pierce and the Los Angeles Lakers’ Pau Gasol today were named the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played March 15-21.
Pierce led Boston to a 4-0 week, with wins over Detroit, New York, Houston and Dallas. Pierce averaged 24.8 points – 6.7 points above than his season average (18.1 ppg) – on .630 shooting in 26.4 minutes. Pierce also added 3.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.8 steals. On March 20, Pierce scored 29 points and added five assists, three rebounds and two steals in the Celtics’ 102-93 win at Dallas.
Gasol averaged 24.8 points on .685 shooting (third in the NBA), 11.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.0 block, leading the Lakers to a 4-0 week with wins over Golden State, Sacramento, Minnesota and Washington. Gasol recorded three point-rebounds double-doubles and on March 16, tallied 28 points, 14 rebounds and four assists in the Lakers’ 106-99 win at Sacramento.
Here is a recap of the week for Pierce and Gasol:
Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics
March 15 vs. Detroit: Posted 15 points, three assists and two steals in a 119-93 win over the Pistons.
March 17 vs. New York: Tallied 29 points and six rebounds in a 109-97 win over the Knicks.
March 19 @ Houston: Totaled 26 points, five rebounds and two steals in a 94-87 win over the Rockets.
March 20 @ Dallas: Collected 29 points, five assists, three rebounds and two steals in a 102-93 win over the Mavericks.
Paul Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers
March 15 @ Golden State: Posted 26 points, nine rebounds and four assists in a 124-121 win over the Warriors.
March 16 @ Sacramento: Totaled 28 points, 12 rebounds and four assists in a 106-99 win over the Kings.
March 19 vs. Minnesota: Collected 17 points, 14 rebounds and four assists in a 104-96 win over the Timberwolves.
March 21 vs. Washington: Tallied 28 points, 12 rebounds and three assists in a 99-92 win over the Wizards.
Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Atlanta’s Jamal Crawford and Al Horford, Cleveland’s LeBron James, Houston’s Aaron Brooks, Indiana’s Danny Granger, Milwaukee’s Brandon Jennings and Phoenix’s Amar’e Stoudemire.
|Rondo getting the point of Paul and KG||03.17.10 at 11:16 pm ET|
No one – not even Doc Rivers – needs to remind Rajon Rondo just how important it is to get Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett playing at their peak come April.
Rondo knows if Pierce and Garnett play like they did on Wednesday, whether it’s the lowly Knicks or the mighty Cavs, the Celtics become a whole different beast.
Even with two early fouls, Pierce finished with 29 points and Garnett added 22. Most impressive were the open looks Rondo was getting the pair – one major reason Pierce made 11 of his 17 shots and Garnett 9-of-his-11.
“I do [take pride in setting up],” Rondo said. “You know you can’t leave out Ray [Allen]. He’s a jump shooter, so you got to get them looks early. Paul and Kevin create their shots anytime on the court. Get them looks and transitions I think is key. Get them easy looks an going to the free throw lines, and aggressive. I think that both of those guys, talking to Paul and Kevin early on in the game.”
After the game, Rivers said it was Rondo who stepped up his scoring when he could, getting to the basket and taking more open shots.
That’s all changed now and Rondo said he is more than happy to revert to just running the show and getting the team’s scorers involved.
“When I feel like I need to score,” Rondo explained, “I try and do it but otherwise, you know we are rolling. Take shots that’s fine with me, as long as we win. Getting assists better for me than scoring.
“First and for most. Everybody is back by now, and guys are playing well. Paul played well tonight. You we are winning so be it, regardless of the outcome of how many shots I take, as long as we win.”
|Third Quarter: Celtics – Knicks||at 8:31 pm ET|
Paul Pierce scored 16 points in the third quarter to give the Celtics a 92-71 lead over the Knicks. He accounted for but eight of the Celtics points in the quarter.
The C’s are dominating the Knicks in the paint and have a 46-24 advantage. They are also outrebounding the Knicks, 33-26.
Kevin Garnett is behind Pierce with 22 points. Kendrick Perkins has 12 rebounds while Rajon Rondo has as many assists.
The Celtics are 34-8 when leading or tied after the third quarter.
|One year later: The tweet that impacted the NBA||03.15.10 at 11:22 pm ET|
One year ago Monday, then-Milwaukee forward Charlie Villanueva entered the locker room during halftime of the Bucks-Celtics game. He logged into Twitter and posted the following tweet:
@CV31: In da locker room, snuck to post my twitt. We’re playing the Celtics, tie ball game at da half. Coach wants more toughness. I gotta step up.
Those hundred-something characters opened the virtual book on social networking in the NBA. His midgame tweet was frowned upon, and it created a ripple effect: Before the start of this season, a league-wide policy was enacted. Among its guidelines included the restriction of cell phones and other communication devices 45 minutes before the game and prohibited it during halftime.
A year later, Villanueva, now a member of the Pistons, is still surprised by the impact.
“It’s funny, because Twitter wasn’t really that big of a deal, like nobody really knew too much about it,“ he told WEEI.com following Monday’s Pistons-Celtics game. “I didn’t know it was going to get that much attention. I just did it, fun for the fans and whatnot, and the next day it just blew up. The media just took it and ran with it.
“Obviously I didn’t mean for it to get that much attention, but hey, it put my name out there even more,” he added with a laugh.
As of Monday night, Villanueva had 73,685 followers. It is a huge jump from his following a year ago. In an instant, he went from a Twitter novice to one of the early faces of social media in the NBA.
“It was crazy because I had just started, too,” he said. “I probably had like 2,000 followers at first. It was probably a couple of months old, two or three months old, my account. After that, it rose to like 13,000 in two or three days. It was ridiculous. Ever since, it’s just been picking up.”
Villanueva has turned a potential negative into a positive by taking advantage of the benefits of social networking. He has raised awareness for charitable organizations, held contests for his followers to win game tickets, and spread well wishes to friends and fans alike.
“There are a lot of opportunities,” he explained. “You get to meet a lot of people. It’s very important for networking, just opportunities come abound, appearances, they can just work directly with you instead of going through a third party.”
Twitter has become the norm for many NBA players. On the Celtics, Paul Pierce (@paulpierce34) has over 1.5 million followers, Ray Allen (@greenRAYn20) has nearly 25,000, and Shelden Williams (@SheldenWilliams) is a frequent tweeter with over 10,000 followers.
Now a seasoned vet, Villanueva has some advice for his fellow NBA athletes who are starting out in the world of social networking.
“What the fans want to see is you being straight up and interacting with them as well,“ he suggested. “Showing pictures as well, they want to see what’s going on, what an NBA player does on a day-to-day basis.”
Tweeting has become something Villanueva does on a day-to-day basis. Except during halftime, of course.
|KG, Pierce get to heart of the matter||03.12.10 at 11:41 pm ET|
The two players Doc Rivers pointed to as the keys to the playoff fortunes of the Celtics were all business on Friday.
And it started hours before they dismantled the Indiana Pacers, 122-103, at TD Garden.
It began with a team meeting in which Doc Rivers spoke and then asked for any and all feedback from everyone in the room.
“We really had a heart-to-heart this morning. To tell you the truth it really left a bad taste in our mouth the way we played last game,” Paul Pierce said of Wednesday’s 111-91 stinker to Memphis. “Nobody wants to be booed at home by their home crowd seeing everybody leave early. That really sat with me that night to be honest. I think it sat with everybody. Today we just came in, talked to each other, we just played like a team that was on a mission tonight and hopefully it can carry over for the rest of the season.”
Kevin Garnett said Friday’s team chat was productive on many different levels.
“Just open dialogue this morning. Doc did the majority of the talking but he opened up the floor to everybody to give their two cents and we just spoke freely. It was the first time in a while that we’ve done that, we usually talk among ourselves and try to figure things out amongst the team without coaches or any other staff members. But today it included coaches and players, and just had open dialogue, it wasn’t anything negative, just general conversation about defensive schemes and things we can get better at.”
Rivers said before Friday’s game that the team did some old-fashioned film watching, reviewing whole parts of Wednesday’s horror show to let it sink in and let players understand the big picture of intensity and energy. Both were in high supply in Friday’s bounce-back laugher.
“We watched a little game film which is always good, that way as a whole we can sit there and critique each other,” Garnett said. “I think the best thing about this team since I’ve been here is that we’ve all been able to talk to one another and critique each other and be positive and get results out of it. It wasn’t just about the talking, I think what we talked about we actually did tonight. I think we played with 200 percent more energy tonight than obviously the other night.
“And to concur with what Paul said, you never want to be in a situation where you’re getting booed at home, home is supposed to be where you lay your head at and where you’re most comfortable at. We had to re-establish that here. I thought tonight, the results of us playing hard came out, obviously we hit some shots tonight. We watched the film from the Memphis game and what it came down to, pretty much our defensive energy was there, we just didn’t make any shots, and for that it’s almost like we weren’t doing anything on offense. It was determined by our energy on defense, and that can’t happen.”
|Doc on Pierce, KG: C’s need them at ‘their peak’||at 8:13 pm ET|
Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he is thinking of sitting Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, having them miss games and practice more to help them find their rhythm and conditioning as the playoffs approach.
“If that means working more in practice and missing games, then that’s what we have to do,” Rivers said. “Let’s just be honest, if they’re not at their peak, it’s going to be very tough for us to do anything. We have to have them playing at their peak.”
Pierce has been recovering from an injured left foot, while Garnett has continued to deal with his injured right knee. Yet both players indicated a strong desire following Friday’s game to continue playing and not occasionally sit out games along the lines of what Rivers suggested.
“I’m not really feeling that idea, but hey, this is the ‘Doc Rivers Show’ and we are just guests on it,” Garnett said. “So whatever he feels is best, you know Paul and I, I think I speak for both of us we don’t really feel that.”