|Injuries could impact Eastern Conference standings||04.07.10 at 12:47 am ET|
Andrew Bogut’s gruesome arm injury was the first of many to hit the Eastern Conference over the last few days. Joe Johnson will miss at least two games with a sprained thumb and Chris Bosh’s status is unclear after suffering a facial fracture on Tuesday against the Cavaliers.
With just over a week left in the regular season, these injuries could impact playoff seedings, including that of the Celtics.
Aside from the Washington Wizards, whom the C’s will play on Friday, their remaining competitors are vying for postseason positions. Johnson’s injury opens the window of opportunity for the Celtics to close in on the third seed (currently held by the Hawks), but their opponents will be trying to secure their own place in the playoffs as well.
Toronto Raptors (currently 8th)
Wednesday, April 7 @ Toronto
The Raptors were dealt a devastating blow on Tuesday when Bosh suffered an unintentional elbow to the face from Antawn Jamison. According to reports, Bosh will remain in Cleveland overnight. His status is unknown.
Milwaukee Bucks (currently 5th)
Saturday, April 10 @ Milwaukee
Wednesday, April 14 @ Boston
The Bucks posed problems for the Celtics when healthy, and now this team is on a mission without Bogut. The young squad still has plenty of weapons and will challenge the Celtics even if they don’t have their big man in the middle.
Chicago Bulls (currently one game out of 8th)
Tuesday, April 13 @ Chicago
If there is any team with something to play for right now, it is the Bulls. They were already edging toward the eighth spot. Now the injury of Bosh has created an opportunity for them to grab it if they can win enough games down the stretch.
|O’Bryant wasn’t ready||02.20.09 at 3:12 pm ET|
‘I feel like I’m pretty ready,’ he said prior to the All-Star Break. ‘I never feel like I’m not ready, I don’t want to get down on myself. But I feel like I’m ready. In Doc’s eyes I might not be, so I’ve just got to take his advice and keep pushing forward.’
In spite of being a big man on a team in need of length, O’Bryant averaged just 4.2 minutes in 26 games this season (less playing time than everyone on the Celtics except for Sam Cassell and J.R. Giddens). Last summer an informed source questioned if O’Bryant would be able to shake his two-guard mentality in a seven-foot frame. His defensive abilities continued to be a cause for concern.
‘He’s been stressing Celtics D,’ O’Bryant said of Rivers. ‘It’s different than any other team’s expectations. They’re a championship team and you’ve got to be able to play at a championship level.’
O’Bryant was looking forward to growing as a shot blocker and rebounder in the second half of the season. He was eager to back up Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins off the bench. Now he can try to do the same for Chris Bosh.
|Eastern Conference trades begin||02.13.09 at 1:44 pm ET|
ESPN the Magazine‘s Ric Bucher has reported the Miami Heat have agreed to trade Shawn Marion and former Boston Celtic Marcus Banks to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Jermaine O’Neal and Jamario Moon. According to Bucher, the deal is pending league approval and would be announced Friday afternoon if it goes through.
So what could this mean for the Celtics?
This move could get the Raptors back to the playoffs, potentially as a first round match up for the Celtics. Even though they have the second worst record in the East (21-34), they are only five games out of the eighth spot. The problem was O’Neal could not figure out how to play a secondary role to Chris Bosh (as he told WEEI.com in November). Rather than clogging the post, Marion can spread the floor with his outside shot. This balances the Raptors lineup, one that certainly has the potential to make a push in the East.
The Heat (28-24) currently hold the fifth spot in the East. The addition of O’Neal gives them the big body they have been missing since Shaq left and a reliable option for Dwyane Wade to find down low. Suddently the Heat have a solid 1-2 punch.
The Celtics swept the Raptors 4-0 this season. They are 1-0 against the Heat and will face them next on March 11 in Miami.
|Rondo: Feels good to win||01.14.09 at 8:34 am ET|
In the latest edition of his Yardbarker.com blog, Rajon Rondo said he is happy to be back on the winning side of things. Back-to-back victories over the Toronto Raptors have the Boston Celtics point guard feeling good again.
I’m glad to say that we have won the last two games (knock on wood). I don’t want to jinx anything, but these past two wins have felt great. It is extremely tough to beat the same team back to back, but I’m glad that we did. Our defense was better and we were able to make shots-two things that we needed. We have another game tomorrow. Hopefully, we will be able to get the W.
Rondo averaged 11.5 points, 9.5 assists, and 5.5 rebounds in the last two wins. He will be tested tonight against the New Jersey Nets standout PG Devin Harris.
|Sounds of the game… Celtics 115, Raptors 109 OT||01.13.09 at 6:42 am ET|
Maybe Kevin Garnett is right. Maybe the Celtics should play the theme from Superman every time Paul Pierce steps on the court. On a bum right knee, or at least very ‘ginger’ as Pierce himself said, the Celtics captain made 13 of his 26 shots and totaled a season-high 39 points to lead the Celtics to a 115-109 overtime win against the Toronto Raptors Monday night at TD Banknorth Garden. With the Celtics already missing starting center Kendrick Perkins with a bad left shoulder and Tony Allen in a protective boot with a sprained right ankle, Pierce picked it up a notch for the entire game, even when Andrea Bargnani hit a three with one second remaining. Pierce did have a supporting cast, as Kevin Garnett scored 20, Ray Allen 12 and Brian Scalabrine, playing for Perkins, chipped in with 11, including three three-pointers.
|Moon Eyes Return to Dunk Contest||11.23.08 at 12:36 pm ET|
On Sunday Jamario Moon’s biggest concern is taking on he Boston Celtics. And while he is focused on each game at hand, the Toronto Raptors high-flyer can’t help but think ahead to February. That’s when Moon would like to redeem himself in the Slam Dunk Contest.
‘It was big to be on the stage with a lot of the greats like (Michael) Jordan and Dominique (Wilkins). So to be able to be part of that, man, it was something big,’ Moon said on a recent trip through Boston. ‘I would love to go back, love to go back because I feel like I’ve got something to prove.’
This past February Moon finished third behind Dwight Howard and Gerald Green during All-Star Weekend in New Orleans. He entered the contest as an underdog but later realized he was his biggest competition.
‘I just don’t feel like I gave it my all,’ he said. ‘I don’t know, I don’t know. I wasn’t nervous at all. I think I was holding back. I was trying to save my best for last when I should have just brought the best out and made it better at the end.’
Just as defending champ Howard did after losing in the 2007 Dunk Contest, Moon is already planning a comeback. He would like to return to the contest another year wiser.
‘Already, already,’ Moon said of drawing up new dunks. ‘You know what, I learned something about it. It’s really not too much about the dunk as it is the dramatics of it and what leads up to it. I learned a lot from it so if I go back, I know what to expect.’
The 2009 Slam Dunk Contest will be held during All-Star Weekend, February 13-15 in Phoenix, Arizona.
|O’Neal Struggling to Achieve Celtics Success||11.11.08 at 9:58 am ET|
Garnett and Allen were able to hit the ground running in their first season with the Boston Celtics, starting off 20-2 en route to the first NBA Championships of their career. For O’Neal, his debut season with the Toronto Raptors has anything but a joyride.
‘It’s been kind of a roller coaster for me,’ he said. ‘And it’s been hard.’
This summer O’Neal was traded to the Raptors from the Indiana Pacers, a year after Garnett’s blockbuster trade to the Celtics. The move paired O’Neal with dominating big man Chris Bosh and positioned the Raptors as an Eastern Conference contender. Like the Celtics, the Raptors united unfulfilled All-Stars in hopes of winning a title.
‘You try not to base your career and your success off of somebody else’s,’ O’Neal said. ‘A lot of people can say, ‘I want it to be like this,’ but it’s not necessarily like that. [The Celtics] definitely have put together a format on how to do it, for sure. Sometimes you’re not able to go that route. You’ve got to take another route and that’s the route that I’m on.’
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