Green Street
NEED TO KNOW
Don't forget to follow Ben on Twitter.
A WEEI.com Celtics Blog
WEEI.com Blog Network
Posts related to ‘Preview’
Preview: Celtics-Rockets 04.02.10 at 11:05 am ET
By   |  No Comments

When the month of March began the Celtics were coming off a loss to the Nets and looking at 17 games in 31 days and 10 of those 17 at home. This was a chance for them to reassert themselves at TD Garden as well as get some of their pride back after struggling through January and February.

The Celtics went 11-6 in March and 7-3 at home, which are both solid marks, but not particularly noteworthy. They swept the Texas teams, but blew a halftime lead in Utah. They beat the Nuggets, but lost by 21 to the Spurs. They handled sub-500 teams on their schedule, but got crushed by Memphis. And, once again, they couldn’t hang with the Cavaliers for 48 minutes.

Have the Celtics improved over the last month? Absolutely. Have they inspired any more confidence that they have a serious postseason run in them? Not really. They are still in fourth place in the East and ninth in point differential. They remain good, maybe even dangerous, but outside the ranks of the top contenders.

ROCKETS (37-37, 4-6 last 10)

Points Per Game: 101.5

Points Allowed: 101.9

Differential: -.4 (16th)

Offensive Efficiency: 107.0 (17th)

Defensive Efficiency: 107.4 (16th)

Pace: 93.8 (8th)

Likely Starters: Aaron Brooks, , Trevor Ariza, Jermaine Taylor, Chuck Hayes, Luis Scola

Injuries: Yao Ming (Foot surgery), Shane Battier (Knee), Jared Jeffries (Achilles), Kevin Martin (Shoulder, questionable)

CELTICS (47-27, 6-4 last 10)

Points Per Game: 98.6

Points Allowed: 94.5

Differential: +4.1 (9th)

Offensive Efficiency: 107.1 (16th)

Defensive Efficiency: 102.6 (2nd)

Pace: 91.7 (20th)

Likely Starters: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins

Injuries: Pierce (Shoulder, probable), Perkins (Knee, probable) Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, Preview, Rockets, Print  |  Email  |  Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
Preview: Celtics-Thunder 03.31.10 at 10:07 am ET
By   |  2 Comments

Is there a more interesting team in the NBA right now than the Oklahoma City Thunder? They are not yet a championship contender and Kevin Durant is not yet the best player in the league, but as Doc Rivers has said several times this season, “It’s coming.”

Durant is almost too good to be true. A legit superstar with a likable game and personality to match, he and the Thunder will be the story on the league during the first round of the playoffs and for however long they can stick around.

There is ample anecdotal evidence to suggest that if the Celtics had been fortunate enough to get the top pick in the 2007 draft they would have selected Durant. It is already one of the great what-ifs for the franchise. Had they taken Durant, would they still have gone after Kevin Garnett or would Danny Ainge have stuck with the a young nucleus of Durant, Rajon Rondo and Al Jefferson? And if he had, would Paul Pierce have wanted to hang around through yet another rebuilding phase?

We’ll never know, and things did work out fairly well for the Celtics. Banners are forever, after all, but one can’t help but feel a tinge of wonder at the thought of Durant in a Celtics jersey for the next dozen years.

THUNDER (45-28, 6-4 last 10)

Points Per Game: 100.3

Points Allowed: 96.6

Differential: +3.7 (11th)

Offensive Efficiency: 107.3 (15th)

Defensive Efficiency: 103.5 (6th)

Pace: 92.8(14th)

Likely Starters: Russell Westbrook, Thabo Sefolosha, Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Nenad Kristic

Injuries: None.

CELTICS (47-26, 7-3 last 10)

Points Per Game: 98.6

Points Allowed: 94.3

Differential: +4.3 (9th)

Offensive Efficiency: 107.0 (17th)

Defensive Efficiency: 102.4 (1st)

Pace: 91.7 (20th)

Likely Starters: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins

Injuries: Pierce (Shoulder, questionable), Perkins (Knee, probable) Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, Preview, Thunder, Print  |  Email  |  Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
Preview: Celtics-Kings 03.26.10 at 11:23 am ET
By   |  3 Comments

John Schumann of NBA.com recently broke down the numbers and made an interesting observation about the Celtics that has generated much discussion around the Internet. Schumann’s main finding is that the Celtics are a poor second-half team, particularly in the third quarter. This was most clearly seen against Utah earlier this week when the Jazz rallied from a five-point halftime deficit and turned a Celtics lead into a blowout loss.

There are many conclusions one can draw from that bit of information, but what it really seems to boil down to is that the Celtics have done a poor job of executing after halftime. Whether it’s age, focus or some other factor, Schumann’s analysis helps bring this whole nebulous conversation about their struggles into sharper focus.

As the Celtics continue through the regular season pay close attention to their play after halftime during their final 11 games. That might help tell us if they are actually becoming a contender again.

KINGS (24-48 3-7 last 10)

Points Per Game: 100.4

Points Allowed: 104.5

Differential: -4.1 (24th)

Offensive Efficiency: 105.4 (21st)

Defensive Efficiency: 109.7 (23rd)

Pace: 94.2 (6th)

Likely Starters: Beno Udrih, Francisco Garcia, Donte Greene, Carl Landry, Spencer Hawes

Injuries: Tyreke Evans (Concussion), Jon Brockman (Knee)

CELTICS (46-25, 6-4 last 10)

Points Per Game: 99.0

Points Allowed: 94.4

Differential: +4.6 (8th)

Offensive Efficiency: 107.4 (14th)

Defensive Efficiency: 102.4 (1st)

Pace: 91.8 (20th)

Likely Starters: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins

Injuries: None. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, Kings, Preview, Print  |  Email  |  Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
Preview: Celtics-Nuggets 03.24.10 at 10:58 am ET
By   |  No Comments

In some ways, the Denver Nuggets are the Bizarro World version of the Celtics. The Nuggets win games with their offense, and their defense is just good enough to be able to do it at a very high level. Their offensive attack has balance between shooting 3-pointers and scoring inside, and they live at the free throw line, where the lead the league in attempts.

When the Nuggets are clicking, as they were in the first quarter in their earlier meeting with the Celtics, they can be devastating. Carmelo Anthony and his 29 points a game get a lot of attention, but Chauncey Billups is having a career season in terms of shooting efficiency and J.R. Smith remains one the of the league’s great X-factors.

As the Celtics begin a stretch of six straight home games against some of the best teams in the league, this is perhaps the most compelling matchup they will face.

CELTICS (45-25, 6-4 last 10)

Points Per Game: 98.8

Points Allowed: 94.4

Differential: +4.4 (9th)

Offensive Efficiency: 107.2 (14th)

Defensive Efficiency: 102.4 (1st)

Pace: 91.7 (20th)

Likely Starters: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins

Injuries: None.

NUGGETS (47-24, 7-3 last 10)

Points Per Game: 107.5

Points Allowed: 102.4

Differential: 5.1 (6th)

Offensive Efficiency: 112.4 (2nd)

Defensive Efficiency: 107.0 (15th)

Pace: 95.1 (12th)

Likely Starters: Chauncey Billups, Arron Afflalo, Joey Graham, Carmelo Anthony, Nene

Injuries: Kenyon Martin (Knee), Ty Lawson (Shoulder, Questionable) Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, Nuggets, Preview, Print  |  Email  |  Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
Preview: Celtics-Jazz 03.22.10 at 12:09 pm ET
By   |  No Comments

How many times have you written off the Celtics this season? The official count varies, but there have been at least five times when people have begun writing their obituary.

Jan. 20: After losing to a dreadful Detroit team on the road, the banged-up Celtics began to look old and possibly disinterested.

Jan. 31: Capping off three straight heartbreaking defeats against the best teams in the NBA, the Celtics collapsed in the fourth quarter against the Lakers.

Feb. 10: The All-Star break can’t come soon enough as the Celts sleepwalk through a game with New Orleans.

Feb. 27: New Jersey.

March 14: One game removed from getting crushed by Memphis at home, the Celtics can’t keep up with the Cavaliers.

Here they are, back from the dead again, winners of four straight and a Texas sweep. The Celtics defy easy characterization, or maybe they just enjoy making things hard on themselves. Either way, no mater how things turn out in the final month of the regular season, we really will have no idea how they are going to perform once the playoffs start.

They have shown just enough life to encourage optimism among the constant pessimism of the last half of the season, but we really won’t know just how good this team really is until May at the earliest.

CELTICS (45-24, 7-3 last 10)

Points Per Game: 98.8

Points Allowed: 94.1

Differential: +4.7 (8th)

Offensive Efficiency: 107.3 (14th)

Defensive Efficiency: 102.2 (1st)

Pace: 91.7 (21st)

Likely Starters: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins

Injuries: None.

JAZZ (45-25, 7-3 last 10)

Points Per Game: 103.6

Points Allowed: 98.0

Differential: 5.6 (4th)

Offensive Efficiency: 110.8 (6th)

Defensive Efficiency: 104.8 (10th)

Pace: 93.2 (12th)

Likely Starters: Deron Williams, Wes Matthews, C.J. Miles, Carlos Boozer, Mehmet Okur (Flu, Questionable)

Injuries: Andrei Kirilenko (Strained calf, Doubtful) Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, jazz, Preview, Print  |  Email  |  Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
Preview: Celtics-Rockets 03.19.10 at 9:26 am ET
By   |  No Comments

With three games in four days, all on the road, against teams from the Western Conference, the Celtics once again have a stretch of games that have been deemed “important.” Most people have concluded by now that the regular season means nothing to the Celtics and therefore will tell us nothing about how good they actually are.

Maybe so, but the players seem to believe that this trip would be an interesting barometer. They have won seven of their last 10, with most of that coming against teams with losing records. Their next eight games are all against teams from the Western Conference and seven of them have winning records.

With a month to go in the regular season, this is the beginning of the stretch run and if the Celtics were ever going to “turn it on” after tuning out for most of the last two months, now would be a good time.

CELTICS (43-24, 7-3 last 10)

Points Per Game: 98.9

Points Allowed: 94.3

Differential: +4.6 (8th)

Offensive Efficiency: 107.2 (15th)

Defensive Efficiency: 102.3 (1st)

Pace: 91.6 (22nd)

Likely Starters: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins

Injuries: None.

ROCKETS (35-31, 7-3 last 10)

Points Per Game: 101.9

Points Allowed: 101.5

Differential: .4 (16th)

Offensive Efficiency: 107.3 (14th)

Defensive Efficiency: 107.0 (15th)

Pace: 93.7 (8th)

Likely Starters: Aaron Brooks, Kevin Martin, Trevor Ariza, Chuck Hayes, Luis Scola

Injuries: Yao Ming (Foot surgery) Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, Preview, Rockets, Print  |  Email  |  Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
Preview: Celtics-Pistons 03.15.10 at 9:29 am ET
By   |  1 Comment

At this point in the season, where do the Celtics rank in relation to the other top teams in the NBA? They can no longer be considered one of the elite teams. Their record indicates that they are the fourth-best team in the East and their point-differential ranks eighth in the league. That’s good, but hardly championship-caliber.

The difference between the Celtics and the Hawks may not be that great, but the difference between them and Orlando is growing and the Cavaliers might as well be on another planet. This can all change of course, but while the Celtics are reeling, teams like the Magic, Nuggets, and even those old and gray Spurs are getting better.

Matchups will determine a great deal once we get into April and May, but right now, in mid-March, this team looks more like an outsider than a contender.

PISTONS (23-43, 2-8 last 10)

Points Per Game: 93.4

Points Allowed: 97.9

Differential: -4.5 (26th)

Offensive Efficiency: 104.5 (23rd)

Defensive Efficiency: 109.6 (21st)

Pace: 88.8 (29th)

Likely Starters: Will Bynum, Tayshaun Prince, Rip Hamilton, Jonas Jerebko, Jason Maxiell

Injuries: Rodney Stuckey (Dizzy), Ben Wallace (Knee, questionable), Chris Wilcox (Back)

CELTICS (41-24, 5-5 last 10)

Points Per Game: 98.4

Points Allowed: 94.2

Differential: +4.2 (8th)

Offensive Efficiency: 106.8 (17th)

Defensive Efficiency: 102.3 (1st)

Pace: 91.7 (22nd)

Likely Starters: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins

Injuries: None. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, Pistons, Preview, Print  |  Email  |  Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
Celtics Box Score
Celtics Schedule
Celtics Headlines
NBA Headlines