|Postseason lessons learned the hard way||04.15.09 at 9:38 pm ET|
Last season, the Celtics realized the hard way that the playoffs are where “Game Sevens happen.” After 26 postseason games and two trips of the brink of elimination en route to their championship, the Celtics will enter this weekend against the Chicago Bulls with valuable lessons learned.
Check your swagger at the door
The Celtics looked indestructible in Boston … and then they hit the road. They failed to win in Atlanta and Cleveland before pulling out a victory in Detroit. Last season they were saved by homecourt advantage but this time around they have no choice but to win away from the Garden.
Ray Allen: “Those three series that we played, we were up 2-0 and I think losing that first game in the other team’s building, you almost have too much swagger going into a building. I think Doc said it last year, ‘If you show up thinking wearing the green is going to be good enough, that’s when you end up losing.’ And I think that’s what happened to us. That preparation that we have at home has to carry over on the road, so it has to be even more intense and we have to be even better. So that’s where we don’t look at ourselves as targets. We look at other teams that we have to beat because now we have to go in Cleveland and win.”
Take care of your body
Postseason schedules can be unforgiving, especially when they involve cross-country trips that put players in different time zones from day to day. It is easy to get rundown, and one of the most important tasks a player has is staying healthy during the playoffs.
Glen Davis: “You’ve just got to get your rest, basically. You can’t do things like going out, staying out late nights. You have to make sure you’re ready to perform. Get a lot of treatment if you’re hurt, eat right most definitely, and the most important thing is sleep. So if you just stay focused on that because you can’t do anything about the traveling, you’ve got to work around it.”
Avoid the hype
Aside from basketball analysis, personal stories are often highlighted during the playoffs. During the NBA Finals, Leon Powe captivated a nation when ABC told the tales of his troubled childhood. Powe had to avoid the instant spotlight to stay focused on the task at hand.
Leon Powe: “I tried to block everything out, especially during our playoff run because I had the story, I had a lot of family members calling me about the story, about this, about that, what are you doing, can I come over. No, no. I wasn’t having any of that because I wanted to keep my head and keep my focus on the game … I think I just do a good job of doing that because I keep my focus on the game and know what I’m here for. I’m here to play basketball. Whatever else is going on around me, that can wait because you’ve got a job to do and go out there and prepare for a game and prepare to win the series.”
|Pierce, Ray get the night off||at 8:58 pm ET|
Celtics coach Doc Rivers was true to his word that Paul Pierce and Ray Allen would sit out tonight’s season finale against the Washington Wizards at TD Banknorth Garden.
Pierce was officially designated “inactive” while Ray Allen was active as each team is only allowed to deactivate three players a game. Allen was also in a suit next to Pierce on the bench.
Rivers added that Rajon Rondo will start the game but play only limited minutes, “definitely the first (quarter) and maybe the third (quarter)” as the team gets ready to take on either Philadelphia or Chicago in the first round of the playoffs this weekend.
Rivers threw out a starting lineup of Rondo, Marbury, Perkins, Powe and Tony Allen, who started at the three spot.
|Allen to file grievance for suspension||at 7:22 pm ET|
Celtics guard Ray Allen will file a grievance with the NBA in response to his suspension for elbowing Cleveland Cavaliers big man Anderson Varejao in the groin on Sunday. He sat out Tuesday’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers.
“I talked to Stu Jackson (Executive Vice President, NBA Basketball Operations) and he really didn’t give me a great explanation, or one that I thought rationalized why I was suspended out of the game and there was no infraction on the other guy,” he said prior to Wednesday’s game against the Washington Wizards. “I felt as though it was unjust but I can’t do anything about it.”
Allen’s strict pregame routine was interrupted around 12:30pm on Tuesday afternoon by the news of his suspension. He had just finished ironing his suit and was getting ready to order room service when he got the word that he could not play. The explanation — and interruption — did not sit well with him.
“He (Jackson) said that it looked like I hit him in the groin and that hitting a player in the groin is an automatic suspension,” Allen said. “And I told him I wasn’t, if you could tell by my body language — and I didn’t see the play until the game last night — but from what I was told, I didn’t land where you said I landed because if the guy didn’t cringe or he didn’t bowl over, obviously I didn’t hit him. It was just my reaction being thrown to the ground. And I told him, I said that if somebody’s on you for a rebound, the first thing you do is throw your elbows up. That’s just how you protect yourself. It wasn’t intentional.”
The suspension comes a week after being presented with the Red Auerbach Award, which exemplifies what it means to be a Boston Celtic.
Allen pointed out, “I said, ‘My track record is of one that hasn’t been intentional to do anything of that nature, so I thought all of those things should have been taken into account and obviously they weren’t.”
|Allen reveals favorite five shooters||04.12.09 at 4:59 pm ET|
ABC revealed Ray Allen’s five favorite all-time shooters during Sunday’s game against Cleveland:
No Celtics? Allen’s list includes players who have burned him in the past, just as he has done to so many other teams during his career.
|Celtics riding momentum to Cleveland||04.10.09 at 11:31 pm ET|
When the Boston Celtics arrived in Cleveland in January, they had just dropped their third consecutive game and were in the middle of their longest losing streak since last season. The following game, the Cavaliers blew them out by 15 points.
But thanks to a grind-it-out victory over the Miami Heat on Friday night in Boston, the Celtics are riding the momentum of a six-game winning streak into Sunday’s game in Cleveland. (Click here for a recap) They will try to make a dent in the Cavs’ four-game lead of the top spot, and while head coach Doc Rivers conceded the number one seed weeks ago, the Celtics are looking to build on their two-game lead over the Orlando Magic for the second spot.
“Every game is a big game for us,” said Paul Pierce. “We’re trying to lock up the number two seed. I think Cleveland locked up the number one seed tonight, so we’re trying to lock up the number two seed. So every game is big for us. We’re only [two] games in front of Orlando, so these last three games we feel like we have to win them all.”
With less than a week left in the regular season, the Celtics have to tackle Sunday’s game as if it were a Game Seven situation. The Cavaliers are sure to as they battle against the Los Angeles Lakers for the number one overall seed.
“Everybody we play from here on out is basically trying to achieve something,” said Tony Allen. “So each game is playoff-like. We’re going in there with a clear focus that we need to win just as badly as they do because they’re competing with L.A. We’ve got to take it as a must-win game that we need because we’ve got goals that we need to achieve too. It’s going to be a tough fight.”
The Celtics will turn to their bench to help carry the team without Kevin Garnett. Friday’s win against the Heat was a confidence-booster for the reserves.
“You play a little looser. You play with a little more confidence,” said Mikki Moore of playing on a winning streak. “But we just have to concentrate on the defensive end. We’re pretty sound on the offensive ends. As long as we don’t have too many turnovers and we play solid defense, we’re alright.”
As for Ray Allen, he is simply looking forward to putting a blemish on the Cavaliers’ near-perfect 38-1 home record.
“They take care of what they have to take care of, we take care of what we have to take care of,” he said. “I think we know where we stand, but as a team it will be a great win on the road for us and that’s what we’re looking forward to.”
The Celtics and Cavaliers will face off at 3:30pm EST on Easter Sunday.
|Preview: Boston Celtics vs. New Jersey Nets||04.08.09 at 12:03 am ET|
Boston Celtics (58-19) vs. New Jersey Nets (32-45)
TD BankNorth Garden
Season Series: Celtics 3-0
Last time they met: March 4, 2009
Playing without Kevin Garnett, the Celtics gave up a 13-point fourth quarter lead and found themselves down by three with just over a minutes to go. But Ray Allen kicked the Cs into high gear, scoring five points during a 7-0 run. Ultimately it was Paul Pierce’s jumper with 20 seconds left that iced the Celtics 115-111 victory. Pierce (12-14 FG) led the Celtics with 31 points. Vince Carter led all scorers with 34 points (13-21 FG).
Celtics Team Leaders
Scoring: Paul Pierce (20.5 points)
Rebounding: Kevin Garnett* (8.5 points)
Assists: Rajon Rondo (8.4 assists)
Hawks Team Leaders
Scoring: Devin Harris (21.8 points)
Rebounding: Brook Lopez (7.9 rebounds)
Assists: Devin Harris (7.0 assists)
Follow the latest news and updates from the Garden on Green Street.
|The lonesome shooter||04.02.09 at 1:22 pm ET|
With apologies to Adam Sandler, Ray Allen felt like the Lonesome Shooter on Wednesday night.
He had no lift or life in his jump shot in the fourth quarter and teammate Eddie House, who was on fire, gave him some friendly advice.
“It was like for a second, everything was flat,” Allen said. “I just needed to kind of back away from it and just get my legs back. I went out of the game and kind of clean-slated it. Eddie was telling me, obviously one of the best shooters in the NBA, he was telling me, ‘I don’t normally say anything to you but your shot, everything is flat.’ It’s all in my legs. There were two shots I took before I left the game. I think in the fourth quarter, it was just legs and I knew it once the ball left my fingertips. It’s a funky thing for me.”
Another teammate, Paul Pierce, called Ray Ray the best clutch shooter he’s ever seen.
“I’ll proclaim Ray the greatest shooter in the history of the NBA that I’ve ever seen,” Pierce said after Allen’s game-winner with 2.1 seconds to go in double-OT.
But Allen remained humble.
“He didn’t play with Reggie Miller,” Allen said. “I’m sure he would’ve seen heroics from him day-in and day-out. I think it’s all predicated on what you do in clutch situations. I think on a couple of buzzer-beaters I’ve hit, he’s been the passer. He’s been right there, personally. It’s odd because Paul’s the one that always has the ball but I’m the one who’s made a couple of buzzer-beaters the last two years. He’s hit a lot of big shots but it always somebody makes a mistake. Eddie’s out there, I’m out there, Kevin’s out there to make them pay for their bad rotations.
“In my mind, I always think the next shot is always the one that going to go in and the next shot after that is the going to be the shot to win the game. Regardless of what’s happened up to this point, my mind has to be ready to take that shot as if I’m in the gym myself.”
Just like Andre Kristacovitchlalinski, Jr.