|Preview: Boston Celtics vs. Indiana Pacers||12.03.08 at 9:25 am ET|
On Wednesday night the Boston Celtics (17-2) will take on the Indiana Pacers (7-10) at the TD BankNorth Garden. The Pacers already upset the Celtics once this season and are riding the momentum of stunning the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday. It will be up to the Celtics to halt this series of shockers.
What Went Wrong
On November 1 the Pacers defeated the Celtics 95-79 in Indiana. It was the Celtics first loss of the season, quickly proving their championship didn’t make them immortal. The Pacers jumped out to a 10-point first quarter lead and went up by as many as 25 in the fourth. The Celtics looked sloppy on the road (24 turnovers) and were off the mark all night (34.6% FG, 4-for-20 3PG, 60% FT). Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce‘s combined 33 points and 24 rebounds were not enough. Kendrick Perkins went scoreless while Rajon Rondo hit just one basket. Danny Granger scored 20 points, Marquis Daniels posted 13 points and 11 boards, and T.J. Ford contributed 19 points. When asked to explain the 18-point loss, Garnett told the media, “I don’t even know what to call it.”
In the Last Five Games …
The Celtics have the offensive edge over the Pacers, stretching their margin of victory up to 14.2 points per game over the last five contests while the Pacers have been losing by an average of 4.4 points. Their offense is back on pace with their defense (51.4% FG, 40.3% 3PG) as the Pacers have ranked in the bottom half of the league (43.8% FG, 34.8% 3PG). But in spite of the Celtics stifling D, the Pacers are the best rebounding team in the NBA and average nearly 10 more boards (49.0 to 40.0 rpg). The Pacers have also been the better ball handling team (23.0 to 21.8 apg) as of late despite Rajon Rondo‘s impressive play.
More than Meets the Eye
The Pacers 7-10 record is deceiving. This team has individual talent and has proved they can be threatening when playing together. Danny Granger is one of the hottest players in the league today and he and Paul Pierce will challenge each other on the perimeter all night. Force him behind the arc, though, and the Celtics could stifle his game. He is shooting just 24% from long range on no days rest. The Pacers traded Jermaine O’Neal for T.J. Ford this summer for backcourt leadership. Ford is just as dangerous as Ray Allen from the line and is capable of dropping 20 points on any given night. Troy Murphy (11.0 ppg, 11.8 rpg) will challenge the Celtics on the glass as one of the league’s underrated big men. Marquis Daniels is also having a breakout season (16.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg) after recovering from a foot injury.
Hitting the Bench
While Jeff Foster and Jarrett Jack have been reliable for the Pacers off the bench, the Celtics reserves have the advantage. The Cs bench is filled with championship winners whereas the Pacers bench includes inexperienced rookies and unproven journeymen. Tony Allen has been explosive at the basket and scored 14 points in the first game against the Pacers. After suffering their first loss in Indy, the Celtics starters will look to come out swinging and that intensity will trickle down the bench.
Check back tonight for WEEI’s Live Celtics Game Day Blog from the TD BankNorth Garden.
|Being Tony Allen||11.26.08 at 9:21 pm ET|
It was early in the fourth quarter and the Celtics had just surrendered a lead, again, against the Golden State Warriors. The pattern, if there can be something so structured as a pattern when talking about Don Nelson’s quirky team, had gone something like this: Boston starters establish the lead, bench gives it up.
After having played 55 of the available 60 minutes in the third quarter, every one of the starters with the exception of Paul Pierce was justifiably getting some rest. But still, the lead was disappearing, and big picture thoughts are often far from the minds of the paying customers.
Someone in the stands called out, “C’mon Doc! Call a timeout. Put the stahtahs back in.” But, of course, Rivers couldn’t do that yet. This was still Game 16 of an 82-game season, and as it was, Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen were on track to log almost 40 minutes apiece, well above the prescribed court time Doc had intended.
The bench, which has been generally good this year and at times excellent was not having a stellar evening. It wasn’t until Big Baby Davis finished off a three-point play with nine minutes and change left in the fourth quarter that any of the reserves had actually converted a shot from the floor.
But then, Nellie Ball, came into play. Nelson’s lineups are always a mystery from one game to the next and for the stretch run he elected to play CJ Watson, Jamal Crawford, Stephen Jackson and Corey Maggette together as a unit. None of those four could even charitably be considered a “big” forward, and with such a quick, trigger-happy bunch on the floor, Doc countered with his own version of small ball. All of which is a very long way of getting around to Tony Allen. Read the rest of this entry »
|Celtics-Pistons Game Blog: Second Quarter||11.20.08 at 6:53 pm ET|
SECOND QUARTER WRAP: The Celtics second unit was hot early in the second and pushed the lead up to 38-27. But the Pistons got physical and are within nine half. They’re looking to battle and the Celtics will have to come out hot in the third quarter to stave off a comeback.
Halftime Notes and Numbers:
- Iverson leads all scorers with 12. Rondo and Tony Allen lead the Celtics with 9 apiece.
- Both teams have 16 points in the paint and the rest of the stat lines are very similar.
- The Pistons are outrebounding the Celtics 18-16 while the Celtics have one more assist, 11-10.
Paul has you covered after a entertaining halftime performance by the Bucket Boys.
– At the half, Celtics 49, Pistons 40
– Two days after saying KG is “crazier” than him on the court, Perk got T’ed up at the end of the second after Maxiell fouled Pierce at the hoop.
– There is talk of a heated relationship between UConn alums Ray Allen and Rip Hamilton, but few details are known. We’re getting a glimpse into that tonight with Hamilton knocking Allen over for an offensive foul. Hamilton had something to say about it as they ran down the court.
– A little kid dressed in an oversized Bill Walker jersey just won Sarah Brightman tickets in a tot-sized road race. What are the chances he has her songs on iTunes?
– The Celtics have their starters back on the court and the Pistons have all but Wallace out there.
– Both Ray Allen and House have missed free throws this quarter. It was House’s first miss of the season and Allen’s fourth.
– Eddie House is feeling it. After Powe swatted away a Prince drive, House nailed a three on the fast break. He drained another trey on the next possession, prompting the Pistons to call a timeout down 38-27.
– Rip Hamilton completely faked out Tony Allen at the top of the key. TA has learned from his mistakes and didn’t get tricked into fouling him on the shot a la last season against Chauncey Billups.
– During a timeout the Celtics played their first “slow dance” of the year on the Jumbotron. It was a slo-mo of awesomely bad dance moves from the Garden set to the awesomely bad Lonestar ballad, “Amazed.”
– Now Aaron Afflalo is guarding Powe (??) … now Afflalo’s on the ground. Powe’s at the line shooting two.
– Scal for three. And the crowd goes wild.
– I was hoping for a physical match up between Powe and Maxiell considering the trouble the Pistons big man gave Perk last season. But Big Baby is on Maxiell and Powe has Prince. Powe should be able to back Prince down in the paint.
– For the first time in a while, Doc is going with an entire second unit. Usually he leaves PIerce or Ray Allen on the court with the reserves, but now he’s giving the lineup of Scal, Powe, Davis, Tony Allen, and House a look. Michael Curry’s going with Iverson, Stuckey, Prince, Afflalo, and Wallace.
– After another slow start, the Celtics enter the second quarter tied 21-21 with the Pistons.
|Celtics-Knicks Game Blog: Second Quarter||11.18.08 at 6:11 pm ET|
Trailing 35-32 with eight minutes left in the second quarter, the Celtics outscored the Knicks 25-12 to take a 56-47 lead at the half.
The quarter was anything but calm with runs, drives, hard fouls, and even a scuffle at the hoop …
– It’s ironic that I talked to Leon Powe before the game about what KG has taught him about maintaining his composure in heated game situations. Powe and Randolph were just given technical fouls for a tussle under the Knicks basket. The two had to be separated by their teammates and have been exchanging frozen stares at each other down the court. Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck was spotted giving the “eject him” sign to the refs. “He always talks to us about that, especially me, just about keeping my composure even when i’m mad and if I want to go back at somebody, you go back at somebody by taking your time and really doing it in the game and the team concepts,” Powe said of Garnett. Hmm …
– There is a life-sized Nutracker walking around the Garden. The costume is part of the Boston Ballet’s halftime performance, but for those who are unaware of the entertainment, it just looks creepy.
– Timeout with six minutes to go and the Celtics second unit has taken over with a 45-37 lead. So far they have knocked the Knicks down to 44% field goal shooting while boosting their own to nearly 70%. The reserves are playing with a fiery intensity that has Pierce clapping and encouraging them in the huddle.
– Two smart moves by Tony Allen: the first, an aggressive drive to the basket that he finished off with a layup and the second, a drive and dish to Big Baby for the jumper that he’s been perfecting.
– The question tonight was, who will make up for Garnett? While KG is irreplacebale, it’s Powe who is stepping up in the post. He has eight points in eight minutes of play and he could easily wind up with 15 tonight.
– Rivers has Ray Allen playing with the second unit (Eddie House, Tony Allen, Glen Davis, Leon Powe). They give up a lot of size with this lineup but are going for defensive stops. It also helps the Celtics that the Knicks leading scorers, Quentin Richardson and Wilson Chandler, are taking a breather.
– The Celtics looked like they had control early on but enter the second quarter allowing the Knicks to shoot 52% from the field. Seven turnovers haven’t helped the Cs either. Let’s see what they can do …
At the start of the second quarter … Knicks 28, Celtics 26
… Paul brings you the action for the third …
|Celtics-Raptors Game Blog Second Quarter||11.10.08 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%.
|Celtics-Bucks Game Blog Fourth Quarter||11.07.08 at 7:34 pm ET|
|Destination: Enemy Territory||11.01.08 at 2:46 pm ET|
Before even winning a championship last season, the Boston Celtics were targets every time they hit the road. The hype surrounding the Big Three was enough to make every game significant for their opponent and one in which they amped up their intensity.
After spending last week in the comforts of the TD BankNorth Garden, the Celtics are shipping out for their first road trip of the regular season. The three-stop tour will take them from Indiana to Houston and end in Oklahoma City on Wednesday night.
The defending champs don’t expect to be welcomed with open arms and explain why:
Kendrick Perkins: ‘This first game (of road trip) is key. I think we need to go out there and establish ourselves early and don’t give a chance for the fans to get involved and just go out there and play Celtics ball and we’ll be alright.’
Glen Davis: “My guess is that we’re the champs. We’re last year’s champs. We have a reputation to hold on to and the odds are going to be against us but hey, what do you expect?”
Leon Powe: ‘We’re just going to go out and play well and set the tone early. We are just going to stay within our rules and hopefully we can pull the game out. But we’ll come out with the same intensity we came out with tonight (Friday against the Chicago Bulls) and get the win.’
Eddie House: “I expect the same thing we’ve been expecting since last year. Everybody was gunning for us last year because people pretty much crowned us the champions before we actually went out and did it. People were gunning for us because we had the Big Three and stuff like that so I think that by us winning it, people are going to come out a little bit harder and I think we’re ready for that. One thing about that is they’re going to come harder but we’re going to come even harder.”
Tony Allen: “I ain’t really worried about that. We’ve got to go out there any play any how. They were tough last year, they were gunning for us last year so it’s going to be times two.’
Head Coach Doc Rivers: ‘Not very well, I would say (of the expected reception). But that’s fine. That makes the games better. I didn’t think we were received well last year in retrospect. Teams wanted to beat you and they should. That’s what it’s all about and that’ll be nice, that’ll be fun. It’ll be a new experience for our guys and it’ll be a challenging experience for our guys.”
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