|Celtics Community Roundup||01.01.10 at 3:27 pm ET|
The Celtics wrapped up 2009 by spending some extra time in the Boston community. See a few examples of how they ended the year with their fans:
– The Celtics brought cheer to patients from the Boston Medical Center’s Pediatric Hematology Program at Dick’s Last Resort. The C’s posed for pictures and signed autographs for the children, who also received a visit from Santa.
– Rajon Rondo and Glen Davis participated in a Stay in School assembly to honor high-acheiving students at the Thomas Edison Middle School in Brighton. They encouraged students to stay in school by using the acronym PRIDE (perseverance, respect, integrity, decisions, and education). Presented by Arbella Insurance, the Stay in School program is a collaboration of efforts from the Celtics, New England Sports Museum, Northeastern University Center for the Study of Sport in Society, and Boston Public Schools.
– As part of the Read to Acheive program, presented by Kia Motors, Davis, Paul Pierce, and J.R. Giddens read and played board games with children from the GRASP after school program at the Marshall Elementary School in Dorchester and the Orchard Gardens Community Center in Roxbury. Each child received a board game courtesy of the Highland Street Foundation.
– Rondo hosted the “DD Perks Rewards Pick-up on the Parquet” for six lucky Dunkin’ Donuts DD Perks Rewards Card holders. The winners received an opportunity to play round robin pick-up games with their five-person teams on the TD Garden parquet. Rondo also participated warm up drills and a shoot-around.
– Ray Allen hosted a giving tree at the Natick Collection and collected hundreds of gifts for children from the Boys and Girls Club of Boston’s Jordan Club in Chelsea and the Boston Centers for Youth and Families. The event was presented by Allen’s organization, the Ray of Hope Foundation.
|Celtics recall Hudson from NBDL||12.30.09 at 3:19 pm ET|
The Celtics recalled rookie Lester Hudson from the NBA Development League’s Maine Red Claws, the team announced on Wednesday. Hudson has played in five games for the Red Claws this season, averaging 14.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists.
|Report: Rondo and Garnett questionable||at 2:00 pm ET|
CSN New England’s A. Sherrod Blakely is reporting that Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett are both questionable for tonight’s game with the Suns. Per Blakely, Doc Rivers told the press after practice that of the two, Rondo is more likely to play. Rondo is dealing with a sore hamstring. Rivers also said that he may wind up sitting Garnett for the next week, specifically citing a game against Miami on Jan. 6 as a potential target date. That would mean Garnett would miss two games; tonight and Saturday against Toronto.
If Garnett can’t go, Rasheed Wallace would likely get the start in his place. Rivers has been reluctant to play Wallace and Kendrick Perkins together, preferring that each man the center spot, but Wallace started for Garnett against Philadelphia after Garnett came down with a thigh bruise
UPDATE: The Herald’s Steve Bulpett files from Phoenix that the Celtics are saying Garnett’s latest problem is not related to his surgery, but that he got kicked in the knee against the Warriors, Monday.
|Report: Davis Ankle Injury May Not Be Serious||at 12:18 am ET|
Glen Davis‘ right ankle sprain may not be as serious as first thought, the Boston Globe reported. The injury occurred during Monday’s loss against the Warriors when Davis got tangled up with Rony Turiaf and fell to the ground. He reportedly left Oracle Arena on crutches and wearing a protective boot following the game.
“I haven’t heard anything, which means nothing is serious,” Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge told the Globe. “I sent (trainer) Eddie (Lacerte) a text and I haven’t heard anything and usually that means it’s not much.”
In other injury-related news, Ainge told the Globe Paul Pierce will have his right knee evaluated this week, while no definitive date has been set for his return.
The Boston Herald also reported Kevin Garnett, who was kicked in the right leg against the Warriors, and Rajon Rondo, who tweaked his left hamstring, received attention from Lacerte on Tuesday as well. Both players are expected to play on Wednesday against the Suns in Phoenix.
|Fast Break: Celtics-Warriors||12.29.09 at 1:18 am ET|
Playing the Warriors can sometimes be as much an exercise in restraint as anything else. There are so many open shots and available fast break opportunities that it can be incredibly enticing to settle for the first good thing that presents itself. The Celtics, who play such a tightly controlled form of basketball, were easy marks most of the night, especially after dominating the first quarter.
In retrospect, the first 12 minutes may have been the Celtics’ undoing in a 103-99 loss. (Recap.) Playing one of their best quarters of the season, the Celtics destroyed Golden State and took a 35-22 lead. But while those easy looks remained there all night, the Celtics never settled down and played their game, with 24 turnovers one of the results.
Instead, they played way too fast and way too much like the Warriors wanted them to play at right around 100 possessions. The Celtics average a tick over 91.This is the second time they have succumbed to the temptations of playing run and gun. The Phoenix Suns performed a similar helter-skelter number on the Celtics earlier in the season, although that game was played at a pedestrian pace compared to Monday night’s sprint.
Player of the Game: Rajon Rondo. It’s getting repetitive, but Rondo is the engine and the catalyst that makes the Celtics offense go. The Warriors went with various modifications of the “leave Rondo alone in the halfcourt” defense. Taking a page from the Knicks playbook (via Jared Jeffries), they sometimes utilized 6-foot-10 Anthony Randolph playing way off Rondo and inviting him to shoot. Most of the time, Monta Ellis just sagged off him and hung back in the paint. The result was a 30-point, 15-assist effort for Rondo, who will continue to see gimmick defenses the rest of the season. Better that he sees them now.
Turning Point: In the second quarter, C.J. Watson had six steals and seemed to live in the Celtics passing lanes. He, along with Ronny Turiaf, completely changed the momentum and helped the Warriors get back in the game.
* This was a night when the Celtics dearly missed Paul Pierce. As much as Rondo controls the offense, Pierce acts as the calming influence. Halfcourt calm was in short supply against Golden State.
* In a game that featured a lot of physical play, and some uneven whistles, Glen Davis got hammered going up for a shot and appeared to be in pain when he came off the floor in the fourth quarter. The initial diagnosis was a sprained ankle and he did not return. His comeback was put on an accelerated timetable for this trip and it remains to be seen if he was actually physically ready to return to the court.
* Doc Rivers played a limited rotation and Ray Allen logged 44 minutes. That’s entirely too many, but with the Warriors’ small lineups, it did make sense. Allen’s increased minutes are yet another function of Pierce’s injury.
* Give the Warriors credit for executing correctly in the final seconds. With a three-point lead and five seconds remaining, Golden State intentionally fouled Allen rather then let him attempt a 3-pointer. It remains a mystery why more teams don’t do that automatically.
|Troy Murphy gets it right on Rondo||12.23.09 at 10:50 am ET|
Not sure if everyone’s noticed an emerging trend in the NBA where a large number of players stop short of giving Rajon Rondo his props. Indiana’s Danhtay Jones spoke for many who have conveyed similar statements when he said Tuesday night, “They have a great team. He compliments the guys around him. He’s a part of a great machine.”
There’s a couple of things happening in that quote. One, the players meme is that Rondo is beyond lucky to be on a team like the Celtics with veteran superstars and two, he’s a complimentary player.
The first part may be true. The second part not so much. At the very least Rondo is the third-most important player on the roster and you can make a strong argument that he is actually the most important. That’s not to call out Jones. Lots of players have made similar statements, and some in harsher tones than what Jones said after a tough loss.
Troy Murphy, however, got it just about right.
“He just kills your whole gameplan because you don’t know where he’s going to be,” Muprhy said. “He’s all over the place. He’s taking chances. He just creates havoc out there. He’s tough.”
Rondo leads the league in steals, which is part of taking chances and creating havoc, yet he’s doing it while playing “more solid” as Doc Rivers has pointed out several times. There are no metrics for staying under control both offensively and defensively, but that’s what Rondo is doing this year, while still maintaining his creativity offensively and his gameplan destroying nature defensively.
In other words, he’s putting it all together. People will start to notice soon off. Even the other players.
|Fast Break: Celtics vs. Wizards||12.10.09 at 11:18 pm ET|
A 7-12 record can be deceiving when the team that carries it features Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler, and Antawn Jamison. The Wizards came to play on Thursday night, but ultimately it was the Celtics‘ chemistry and experience that prevailed, 104-102, in Washington.
The Celtics went up 14 at halftime but came out cold in the third quarter. The Wizards went on a 22-6 run to start the second half before the Celtics fought back, 13-2, to end the quarter. With both teams swapping buckets in the fourth, this game could have gone either way. It came down to clutch shots and free throws, with the Celtics ultimately claiming the two-point edge.
Player of the game: After being benched in the first quarter with two personal fouls, Rajon Rondo carried the Celtics to the win. Rondo posted 21 points (10-20 FG), 11 assists, and three rebounds. Six points and three assists came in the final nine minutes of the game. He recorded his ninth double-double of the season. Segue into …
Turning point of the game: With just over a minute to go and the game tied at 98 apiece, Kevin Garnett set a pick that opened up the baseline for Rondo. Rondo got up for a one-handed slam that made a statement and put the Celtics back on top.
– Ray Allen scored his 20,000th career point in the third quarter. He now ranks 33rd in career points all-time and fifth among current players behind Garnett (21,601). Click here for more on the milestone.
– The Celtics outrebounded the Wizards, the league’s third-best rebounding team, 40-34.
– The C’s improved to 10-2 both when leading at halftime and scoring 50+ points in the first half.
– All of the Celtics starters scored in double digits. Kendrick Perkins (16 points, 11 rebounds) and Rondo posted double-doubles.
– Tony Allen posted eight points and three rebounds in his second game back (ankle).
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