Has Marbury Lost His Swagger?
April 22, 2009

Came across this article about Marbury in Newsday:

Marbury should be an effective player for the Celtics. He should give them more scoring off the bench, when Ray Allen needs a breather, and another penetrating guard for those drive-and-kicks that Rajon Rondo has mastered. But the most noticeable issue with Marbury is, after sitting out for over a year, his trademark first step isn’t what it used to be (and the second one is even less explosive). Perhaps more concerning for Rivers than anything Marbury is showing physically is what you see from him mentally. He looks like he’s trying too hard. Hesitating. Second-guessing.

I felt that Marbury was coming around. He had developed some chemistry with Eddie House and was starting to pile up the assists (averaging about 4.5 apg in his final six games).

The shot has not been there consistently. He’s just 1-6 from the field in the playoffs with a combined -19 +/-.

Maybe its rust, maybe its a problem establishing a rhythm off the bench. Your thoughts?

Other news: Derrick Rose will be named Rookie of the Year

Calling All Lip Readers
April 21, 2009

Anyone know what the hell KG said after Ray’s game winner? And how about that snarl?

(Courtesy SI.com’s Extra Mustard)

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 |

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.


Why The Bulls Have No Shot
April 18, 2009

I wrote this up for Dimemag.com. Figured I’d share…:

No KG, no problem. At least for the first round. The Chicago Bulls are now facing a team with a chip on its shoulder, out to prove that it’s still pretty damn good even without Kevin Garnett. There’s no sneaking up on the Celtics now. Paul Pierce and Ray Allen will have the troops focused and hungry.

KG aside, the Celtics are fresh and relatively healthy. The schedule was extremely kind this month (three games in the past two weeks). Leon Powe is back to his bruising ways and ready to step into the starting lineup.

Chicago can shoot the ball, especially John Salmons, Ben Gordon and Kirk Hinrich. So the Celtics need to stay active on the perimeter. The return of Tony Allen who is one of their best wing defenders will definitely help.

Rajon Rondo (14 pts, 55% FG, 10-to-1 TO/assist ratio) has owned Derrick Rose (14 pts, 42% FG, 2-to-1 TO/assist ratio) in the three head-to-head matchups this season. Rose may get his points, but the Celtics have and will continue to prevent him from distributing the ball.

I will admit the Bulls have individual talent. But the Celtics are the better team on both sides of the ball. Not to mention, the best two players in this series are wearing green (R. Allen and Pierce).

Prediction: Celtics in 5

Here are some exerpts from the Bulls Blogger Andrew Wamboldt of DaBullz.com:

This fearsome duo (Gordon and Rose) should wreak havoc on the Celtics’ guards….

Without KG in the mix, the Bulls’ athletic young big men, Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah, will run rampant and should be enough to push the series in the Bulls’ direction.

Wreak havoc? Seems to fly in the face of my “Rondo has owned Rose” argument. And I’m sure Perk, Powe and Baby will have something in store for Noah and TT.

According to the Globe, Scal will miss the first two games of the playoffs but is expected to practice Tuesday and Wednesday and could play Thursday in Chicago

John’s right (I don’t often type those words together) – the media is running wild with the “KG is finished” stories. And some (you Michael Felger) are stirring up things by saying this is KG’s decision not to play and insinuating the pain is something he could/should play through.

Unfortunately, I will not be able to join you all for a pre-game call-in show. And I’m also stuck with Max and Grande for the game. Prior to the release of the playoff schedule, I committed my afternoon to giving piano lessons to blind orphans.

Today’s Links: Globe – Bullish on their Chances| Rondo’s Red Bull Car | C’s Up a Day After Downers | Ainge Recovering Nicely | Herald – KG’s Tutelage a Perk of a Job | KG Down, Out

Where’s the Enthusiasm?
April 16, 2009

Are you ready?(clap,clap) To play(clap) Say go team(clap) Go team(clap) Celtics all the way!

Are you ready? (clap,clap) To play (clap) Say go team (clap) Go team (clap) Celtics all the way!

The Celtics get the Bulls instead of the Sixers in the first round of the playoffs. Let’s get right to the schedule:

  • Game 1 Sat. at Bos. (ESPN) 12:30
  • Game 2 Mon. at Bos. (TNT) 7
  • Game 3 Thu. at Chi. (TNT) 8
  • Game 4 April 26 at Chi. (Ch. 5) 1
  • (if necessary)
  • Game 5 April 28 at Boston
  • Game 6 April 30 at Chicago
  • Game 7 May 2 at Boston (TNT)

After reading the online papers, I feel like there’s a lot of negative energy in Celtics Nation, at least from the local media’s perspective. Dire predictions about KG’s health. Hype for the Cavs and Lakers. And that’s just from Shaughnessy. There’s plenty more.

In the last few days, Doc Rivers has softened his stance on KG and the playoffs. There is a lot of uncertainty about Garnett’s status:

“We don’t know how it’s going to turn out tomorrow,” the coach said. “And if it does [go well], we don’t know how it’s going to feel the next day. So we’ll wait and see.”

I gotta believe the C’s are playing possum here. Messing with their oppponents and tweaking the media.

I think Chicago will be a tougher out than Philly. They have better shooters (Gordon, Salmons) and a better inside presence (Noah, Thomas, Miller). After the trade for Miller and Salmons, Chicago went 17-11. The Celtics won the season series 2-1.

On ESPN’s Bulls/Celtics playoff page, everyone picks the Celtics to win. Not surprisingly, two writers, Chad Ford and Chris Sheridan pick the series to go…7. Bahahahaha… I like the Celtics in 5, with or without KG.

Today’s Links: Globe – Celtics Finish on High Note | Nothing a Given for Garnett | Shaughnessy – Celtics Won’t Win It All | Herald – Celtics Roll | KG Still A Question for Opener |Garnett a Big ‘What If’ | KG in Men’s Fitness |

We’re #2, We’re #2
April 11, 2009

Ray holds the trophy given to the #2 seed in the East.

Ray holds the trophy given to the #2 seed in the East.

It’s not official yet, but it will take a major catastrophe for the Celtics (60 – 19) to fall out of that #2 seed in the East. As for their opponent, it’s too close to call at this point:

  • (6) Philly 40-39
  • (7) Chicago 39-40
  • (8) Detroit 39-40

The Globe has the scoop on the playoff dates:

The Celtics are set to play first-round home games Saturday April 18 and Monday April 20. If the Bruins meet Montreal in the first round, Game 2 of that series would be Saturday night to fill a “Hockey Night in Canada” time slot. That would set the Celtics’ playoff opener at 12:30 p.m. that day.

I’d love for the Celtics to put the Pistons out of their misery. I can see Rasheed Wallace quitting after falling down 2-0 and jawing with lame duck coach Michael Curry on the bench, can’t you?

SI.com’s Ian Thomsen spoke with some personnel execs and advanced scouts and got their take on postseason awards. The consensus – Paul Pierce is an All-NBA first teamer:

Pierce deserves to be a first-teamer, according to the panel. “He has done a great job of keeping that team in contention,” an admirer said. “You can’t stop him offensively, and he plays at both ends. At the end of the game, he’s playing defense against the best perimeter player. He has been their glue all year.”

And Rondo is first team All-Defensive first team:

Rondo was the surprise here. “Off the ball, he takes chances and he’s not solid,” a panelist said. “But I love his ability to get everybody on the team to defend. Garnett has the fanfare, and he deserves it, but when Garnett has been out, you notice that this guy [Rondo] is the guy who goes out to meet the ball. I love the way he gets over the screens, plays the 1 and 2 and at times he has even played Kobe Bryant on defense. When they have to have a major stop, it’s Rondo. He sets the tone out front and gets them to be good defensive team.”

This comes as no surprise to us. I value their opinions 500 times more than the national media which remains too busy sucking up to the biggest stars. The same media which thinks the Magic are better than the Celtics…bahahahahaha.

Today’s Links: Globe – C’s Turn Down Heat | Milestone Win | Herald – PP Shows Why He’s Mr Clutch | C’s Ride Pierce to Beat Heat | Ray Honored with Auerbach Award | MetroWest: Pierce Delivers at End | ESPN: Stein’s Award Winners | Blazers Beat Lakers |

After the jump….pics of Magic dancers.

(more…)

Getting Better
June 7, 2008

Paul Pierce says he’s feeling a lot better:

“I think it’s mostly my range of motion,” said Pierce. “Just being able to squat all the way down. I can’t quite do that yet. My walk is pretty good actually, but when I go down into a squat position, that’s when I feel it the most, when I bend it. Like if you look at the knee, if you bend it all the way, there’s some pain there. But this motion when I’m straight and I’m walking is pretty good.”

Pierce is treating the knee with ice, electronic stimulation and laser therapy. While he didn’t practice, he did shoot free throws and walk through some plays this afternoon. Kendrick Perkins remains a question mark. Doc said he’s more upbeat about Pierce than Perk.

B-B-Bye Bye, Dee-troit
May 30, 2008

I must admit, after Detroit dropped 31 on the Celtics in the 3rd quarter and Bennett Salvatore robbed Paul Pierce of a 4-point play by calling the worst offensive foul in the history of the NBA, I started preparing some negative rants for this blog. While I may have quit, the Celtics surely didn’t. A 23-6 run turned a 10-point deficit into a 7 point lead. Pierce (27 pts, 8 reb) dropped 13 huge points but there were so many key plays by different players.

-Rajon Rondo with a big steal off Rasheed Wallace with 5 minutes left and his 20-footer with 2:33 to go gave the C’s the 7 point lead, 83-76.

-James Posey stole the ball from Tayshaun Prince after Detroit gained possession down 4 with 1:39 left. This was the play that broke Detroit’s back.

-Kendrick Perkins swatted away a Chauncey Billups layup with 1:23 to go.

-Doc Rivers deserves credit for playing James Posey instead of Ray Allen for most of the 4th quarter.

-My favorite scene: Watching those lame-ass Pistons fans quitting on their team, leaving the arena with Detroit down just 6 points with :35 left.

Box Score | Recap

Here’s a few other pictures from the post-game celebrations:

Max Effort
May 26, 2008

Make no mistake about it, the Pistons manhandled the Celtics. They put forth one fierce defensive effort. Despite shooting 31% and getting horrendous performances from the Big 2 and Ray Allen (I will no longer consider him an equal to Pierce and Garnett), the C’s trailed by only 5 with four minutes left in the game. But the Celtics could not solve the Pistons defense down the stretch.

-For some reason I cannot figure out, the Celtics continue to leave Antonio McDyess (21 pts, 16 reb) open.

-Jason Maxiell (14 pts, 6-6 FG) was a beast. Just ask KG who had this breakaway dunk attempt swatted off the backboard.

-How’s this for ugly? Pierce, Garnett and Allen shot a combined 11-38.

-But wait, it gets worse. Check out the stats from the point guard position. Rajon Rondo – 4 pts, 4 asst in 30 minutes; Sam Cassell - 0 pts, 0 asst in 17 minutes.

-Had the Celtics brought anything but their absolute worst performance, they could have stolen this one. Even the refs helped out; the Celtics shot 39 free throws.

Box Score | Recap

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