Archive for April, 2009

The Little Engine That Could
April 21, 2009

“And so when I walked to the locker room I told Rondo that he had the keys to the team – and just go play. And stop asking me questions.”

That’s Doc Rivers on our budding superstar point guard Rajon Rondo. He secured a triple double by the 3rd quarter. He had:

  • More assists than Rose and Hinrich combined
  • More rebounds than Joakim Noah
  • More steals than the Bulls starting five

All this on a sprained, swollen ankle. He was every bit as important as Ray Allen in last night’s win.

Like a proud father, I feel like I can’t mention Rondo without including Glen Davis and Kendrick Perkins. Big Baby firing up jumpers like Danny Ainge. And Perk playing with a controlled ferocity on the boards. I give Perk immense credit for not snapping Noah in half.

Let’s step outside the 2009 playoffs for a moment. Rondo, Davis and Perk showed me there will be life after the Big 3.

On the injury front, Leon sprained his left knee last night. I wouldn’t expect to see him the rest of this series. Fortunately Scal should be back for Thursday’s Game 3 in Chicago (Did I actually type that sentence?).

If you want proof that the Celtics bench play was hideous, check out the +/- in the box score.

The Truth has been anything but Superman in this series. But there’s a bright side to that:

“I think we feel very confident because we feel like we haven’t played good basketball yet,” Pierce said. “We win [Game 2] and we feel like we should have won Game 1 and we just say, ‘I feel like this is pretty much our ‘C’ game. We are not a team that gives up 100 points in consecutive games. I think our best is yet to come.”

Today’s Links: Globe – Bulls Had No Answer For Rondo | Allen Helps Bring C’s Even | More KG Speculation | Dual Went Down to Last Shot | Herald – C’s Dodge Bullet | Bulpett – Ray Stuck in Dream | Buckley – Rondo Makes His Point | Leon’s Other Knee Acts Up | Del Negro and Doc Good Friends |Shootout Marks Anniv. of Jordan Explosion | Fox – Allen to the Rescue |WEEI – 5 Things We Learned |

Ray Ray!!!!!
April 20, 2009

Check out Noahs reaction to Rays game winner.

Check out Noah's reaction to Ray's game winner.

Ray’s three with 2 seconds left gives the Celtics a 118-115 win over the Bulls. It was the final shot in a magnificent duel between Ray (30 pts, 28 in the 2nd half) and Ben Gordon (42 pts, 6-11 3FG).

Ray’s three pointer with 25 seconds gave the Celtics a 115-113 lead, but a Gordon jumper tied it back up with :12 left.

What a ballsy effort/performance by the kids. Rajon Rondo (19 pts, 16 assists, 12 reb, 5 stls), Kendrick Perkins (16 pts, 12 reb, 2 blks and Big Baby Davis (26 pts, 9 reb) all played great games.

The Bulls blocked 14 shots and it seemed like 12 of those were on Paul Pierce. The Truth (18 pts, 8-19 FG, 8 reb) did not play well tonight. In the postgame presser, Doc said it appears as if Paul is looking for a double team that isn’t coming and that is making him tentative.

The Celtics just can’t shake the injury bug. Leon Powe sprained his left knee (it was the right knee that kept him out for several weeks) in the first half and did not return in the 2nd half. He went to the hospital for an MRI. Rondo took a nasty fall in the first half and sprained his ankle.

Perk and Noah (13 pts, 8 reb) mixed it up several times tonight. Noah caught a T for yapping at Perk in the 3rd quarter. It’s clear to me Noah is trying to make his bones as a “tough guy” in this series.

Box Score | Recap

More game photos after the jump…

(more…)

“Prediction: Pain” In Game Blog
April 20, 2009

No way we go down 2-0 to this Bulls team.

To partake in our live in-game blog – Click Here

Cs Eye Game 2 Redemption
April 20, 2009

1 @ 0
Monday, April 20, 2009
7:00 pm ET
TD BankNorth Garden (Boston, MA)

The Celtics didn’t begin the 2009 NBA Playoffs as well as they would’ve liked. Granted, Game 1 was extremely intense and showcased a marvelous head-to-head battle from point guards Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo, but you never want to allow the road team to steal Game 1 from you in your building. Especially in overtime, as the defending champions, at the expense of an unstoppable (at least on that day) rookie.

Boston wasn’t the only higher-seeded club to blow a Game 1, however. Portland got romped by Houston on Saturday night, while Dallas played tough in San Antonio and Philadelphia pulled off a late 18-point comeback to steal one from Orlando.

Regardless, what’s in the past stays in the past, and there is still plenty of basketball to be played. As Tyson Chandler said last night after New Orleans’ 113-84 Game 1 loss to Denver, you’ll take yourself out of a series quickly if you dwell on previous outings. If you lose a game, you lose a game. From there, you’ve got to move on and try to get the next one.

Tonight, the Celtics will look to redeem themselves back at the TD BankNorth Garden in Game 2. Should Chicago manage to somehow pull off back-to-back victories, the defending champs would be knee-deep in trouble. On the same note, this team is more than capable of taking care of business tonight and taking homecourt advantage back in either Game 3 or 4.

Get your popcorn ready.


Regular Season Record: 62-20
Eastern Conference Seed: 2

Projected Starters
G G F F C

Series Leaders
PPG: Rajon Rondo (29.0)
RPG: Rajon Rondo (9.0)
APG: Rajon Rondo (7.0)
SPG: Ray Allen (3.0)
BPG: Glen Davis/Kendrick Perkins (2.0)

Primary Focus: Play Celtics Basketball
Simply saying “play Celtics basketball” is very vague. There are two things we should look for our beloved Celtics to do tonight. First and foremost, they need to close off penetration and refuse to allow Derrick Rose to dominate the paint like he did in Game 1. One of the keys in doing this is Rajon Rondo making the mental decision to move his feet and stay in front of him (easier said than done), as opposed to gambling and hoping that he can poke the ball free from behind. Take away as many lanes as possible, and make the Bulls shoot as many jumpers as possible. Even Tyrus Thomas. Trust me, he will not go 8/12 every night.

On the other side of the floor, the Celtics need to do what they have done since 2008 training camp: play as a team. Move the basketball. In Game 1, Doc Rivers and the Celtics fan base were very disappointed with all of the one-on-one play and lack of ball reversals, swings, and draw-and-kicks. As Doc noted, it seemed as though everybody was trying to be “the man.” If the Celtics want to win games and advance in these playoffs, they’re going to have to move the ball and work for better shots.


Regular Season Record: 41-41
Eastern Conference Seed: 7

Projected Starters
G G F F C

Series Leaders
PPG: Derrick Rose (36.0)
RPG: Joakim Noah (17.0)
APG: Derrick Rose (11.0)
SPG: 5 Tied (1.0)
BPG: Joakim Noah/Tyrus Thomas (3.0)

Primary Focus: Own the Glass
Prior to Game 1, I noted that it was important for Chicago to make their presence felt on the glass. They did just that, as they held a 54-45 rebounding advantage and even got 17 out of Joakim Noah by his lonesome. If Chicago can continue to hit the boards like they did in Game 1, they’ll continue to give Boston problems.

Injury Report
Luol Deng (anterior right tibial stress fracture – out)
John Salmons (strained groin – will play)
Jerome James (ruptured achilles tendon – out)
Kevin Garnett (right knee – out)
Brian Scalabrine (post-concussion syndrome – out)

Keys to Victory

  • Close Off Penetration, Protect the Paint
  • Ball Movement
  • Control the Defensive Glass
  • Get Something Out of Ray Allen

Danny’s Back
April 20, 2009

The Globe has this update from the morning shoot around:

Celtics president Danny Ainge was at the team’s practice facility in Waltham during the team’s shootaround today and received a warm greeting from the players.

While Ainge was not available for comment, coach Doc Rivers said Ainge might attend Game 2 of the Celtics’ first-round series against the Bulls tonight.

Ainge suffered a minor heart attack last Thursday and wasn’t allowed to watch the Celtics’ Game 1 loss Saturday from his hospital room. He was released from the hospital last night.

Even though he said he wouldn’t speak about KG anymore, Doc had this to say:

While Rivers still seemed doubtful, he did hint there was a slight chance that injured Celtics forward Kevin Garnett could return to action in this postseason. Garnett, however, seemed a long way away as he walked with a noticeable limp at shootaround this morning.

“If he gets healthy, he gets healthy,” Rivers said. “But I don’t see it. If he does, it will be phenomenal. But that’s not anything I’m focused on at all.”

Is KG Scared?
April 20, 2009

Anyone who listened to WEEI this morning got an annoying dose of Michael Felger and Jon Metaparel questioning KG’s threshold for pain.

They insinuated that Garnett might be  scared to play on the injured knee because of the fear of further injury. He’s been relatively healthy his entire career and never had to play through major knee pain. Make sense?

Felger kept coming back to this quote by Ainge early last week:

“When Kevin plays is his decision,” Ainge said. “But I think Kevin plays once the playoffs start. Ultimately, it’s just his decision.”

Is it possible? Maybe (how’s that for straddling the fence?).

This theory could explain the latest revelation that the Celtics want Garnett to hold off on surgery.

FYI – We plan on having an in-game live chat for tonight’s battle.



Just Do What You Do
April 20, 2009

Copyright 2009 NBAE (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

It’s a very simple message to the Celtics if they’re going to shut everyone up and get back on track.

Aside from Rondo cutting back on the gambling on Derrick Rose (something he admits to) there’s no special defense to play on the Bulls rookie.  Just make the rotations.  Play defense like you’re used to playing defense.  On offense, you play like you’ve always played.  We’ve been saying since the final buzzer on Saturday… and the Celtics, and Paul Pierce, were saying it after practice yesterday

“After watching tape, we didn’t play well at all and still had a chance to win. I thought we had a real good practice and had a chance to clean up some things. Just really stick with our game plan, we aren’t going to change up our game plan.

Paul pretty much stuck to the same message when talking about getting Ray open

“Our job is to get him open.  He’s one of the deadliest shooters to ever play the game, so we have to do a better job of get him open. Despite all that, we still had our chances. The bigs and even myself have to set screens for him, because that’s what we’ve done for him all year. It has to come from all of us.”

Pretty simple stuff.  Do what you’ve done all year and you’ll beat the Bulls.  Then maybe all the people panicking can shut up.

Herald:  Doc’s orders: Wait, KG Celtics ready to reboundC’s hope help on the way with RoseAinge out of the hospital Case closed, get Ray open |  Globe:  Little LeBron, big problemOffensive plan is to get Allen involvedBulls old college try successful |  Camerato:  They call him “Big Cuddly”Philly upsets OrlandoLakers win Nuggets beat Hornets Hawks destroy Heat

Is KG Teasing Us, Or What?
April 19, 2009

The Herald has this little tidbit from today:

Just a short time ago, Garnett walked onto the Celtic practice floor with strength coach Bryan Doo. While trainer Ed Lacerte sat at the far end of the court, Garnett, in practice gear, dribbled as he walked around the perimeter of the court.

The entire visible process took less than four minutes, after which Garnett, Doo and Lacerte walked through a door that leads to the weight room here at the team’s facility.

Though none of the involved was offering any comment, the simple exercise came after Doc Rivers commented to the Herald today that he and the Celtics would like Garnett to hold off on surgery to his right knee.

I don’t know what to make of this.  I just don’t know anymore.

(Thanks to Mike for the tip)

“I should have played him more”
April 19, 2009

That’s what Doc said about Stephon Marbury after practice today.

“Steph’s going to be fine. He should have been more aggressive but I should have played him more,” Rivers said after practice on Sunday. “I don’t think I played Steph enough last night to get him going. I thought in the first half the second unit actually had a nice little rhythm going, and in the second half I didn’t play him as much.”

Meanwhile, Ray Allen ended today’s practice with a three pointer… showing that *gasp* he can still shoot!  Rondo had some thoughts about making life easier for Ray and Paul.

“Probably get him shots in transition,” Rondo said of Allen, “that’s how he gets his jump shots. He didn’t get any layups — he missed a dunk — the way our team is built, especially with KG (Kevin Garnett) out, we need to get out on the break a little more, get Ray and Paul easy shots, get them to the free throw line. That way, their jump shots are flowing easier.”

Easy shots will be nice.  But it’s really simple.  Run your offense, make your rotations on D, and you’ll win.  They can’t hang when you do that.

Tough Talk
April 19, 2009

roseperkins

Kendrick Perkins had this to say about Derrick Rose:

“He’ll never have another game like that against us again.”

I wanna believe Perk. But after watching (or in my case – listening) to the C’s come out inexplicably flat in the home opener of a playoff series, I’m not sure what to believe.

Hey Perk: You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?

Reminder to our regular readers: Dropping f-bombs in the post will get you in the spam filter. Since we don’t have time to check the filter regularly, your posts may never see the light of day. Thanks.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.