Tag:New York Knicks
Posted on: January 7, 2009 1:30 pm
 

Celtics Weekly: Positive Spin on recent 2-5

I know, I know. Since breaking the longest franchise winning streak the Celtics are only 2 up and a stunning 5 down. However, I am here to offer all of the Boston fans, who I know are beside themselves right now, a little positive food for thought. Here are a few reasons why there shouldn't be Basketball panic in Bean Town:

1) 29-7 is an amazing record. If you were asked before the season if you would be happy with the Celtics winning 29 of their first 36 games, I'm sure every one of you would say "yes!". When you're the defending champs, everyone comes out gunning for you, and to tell you the truth, I'm surprised the Celts didn't go on a losing streak long before this.

2) The other top teams are sliding as well. Although not on as grand a scale, the Cavs and Magic, who are the C's top competitors in the East, have hit their own rough patches. Orlando has lost 2 of their last 5 (Detroit, Toronto) and the Cavs have dropped 2 of 3, one of those loses coming at the hands of the lowly Washington Wizards who the Celtics spanked a week ago by 25. This just goes to show that good teams can lose.

3) There is only one thing consistantly going wrong for Boston: 3-point offense and defense. Over the last 5 games the Celtics have been at or around their season averages in rebounds, assists, steals, points in the paint, turnovers, and pretty much everyone other offensive and defensive stat except for 3-point percentage. Compare these stats to their season averages of 36.3% (offensive) and 32.9 (defensive):

1/28 @ Sacramento: Celtics 6-18 (33%), Kings 4-18 (22%) WIN

12/30 @ Portland: Celtics 3-14 (21%), Trail Blazers 6-15 (40%) LOSS

1/2 vs. Washington: Celtics 12-20 (60%), Wizards 2-12 (16%) WIN

1/4 @ New York: Celtics 6-25 (23%), Knicks 9-22 (40%) LOSS

1/6 @ Charlotte: Celtics 6-23 (26%), Bobcats 7-16 (43%) LOSS

When 3-point field goal percentage is down, look no further than Ray Allen, who is shooting well below is season average during the last two weeks. The C's struggled when Allen slumped last season as well, but one of the NBA's all-time best shooters will turn it around, and so will Boston. The three-point defense is also a product of Allen's shooting woes because when the C's don't hit shots, their opponents get leads, and when you have leads you can wait for the open shot more patiently and find guys that are open behind the arc. The most important thing is, when you only have one thing that is broken, your team is not hard to fix.

Posted on: December 18, 2008 3:22 pm
 

Celtics Weekly: 'Win out' for the Holidays

      

On December 8th during the producation of Pardon the Interuption, when Wilbon and Kornheiser were playing the percentages game, Tony Reali asked the two hosts what percent chance the Celtics had of making it to Christmas without losing a game. Wilbon said 40% and Kornheiser 60%, but both explained that the tough stretch for Boston would come when during a three game streak they faced the Hornets and Jazz at home and then went on the road to Atlanta. They added that If the C's could get by those teams successfully, then they would have a 100% chance of winning their next three games against Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia.

According to the PTI crew, chalk the Celtics up as 27-2.

Although the upcoming three games won't challenge Boston as much as the previos trio, they shouldn't necissarily be a cake walk either. Yes all three are at home against teams that currently have a losing record, but here's what we're looking at for matchups:

12-19 vs. Chicago: The Bulls, for the second straight year are underachieving. Two years ago they were seen as a positive example of what patience and player development could do; draft well, don't spend on big-time stars, and you'll be successful. Well, it's not working so well anymore. Yes, the Celtics should win this game, but if Ben Gordon shoots out of his mind (which he is capable of doing), Derrick Rose controls the offense, and Tyrus Thomas can somehow contain KG (unlikely, but who knows) the Bulls can make a game of it.

12-21 vs. New York: This is a totally different team than the Celtics saw a month ago in Madison Square Garden. The additions of Al Harrington and Tim Thomas give the Knicks a legitimate inside game that can match up with Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Garnet, not to mention that Chris Duhon has become well adjusted to the Knicks offense and is thriving. The name of the game is going to be score early and often. New York has 8 players (7 discounting the retired Cutino Mobley) who average double figures in scoring and the boys from the Big Apple were close to out dueling the Lakers two nights ago (losing 114-116). Don't be surprised if the Knicks make it close in a shootout.

12-23 vs. Philadelphia: After signing Elton Brand in the offseason to compliment Andre Iguodala and Andre Miller, The now 11-14 76ers were supposed to give the C's a run for their money in the Atlantic Division. With Philly already 12.5 games back and Brand sidelined with a dislocated shoulder the Sixers are fading fast. Boston beat the 76ers soundly in Philly 102-78 in November, now, playing at home in a tune-up game for a Christmas day matchup with the Lakers, and with the Sixers' best player wearing street clothes with his arm in a sling, I would expect the Celts to take this one by at least 20. What could make this a close game is if Boston uncharacteristically looks past the struggling Sixers to LA and somehow get caught with their pants down. Far fetched, but I've heard of stranger things.

While the Celtics don't have to go on the road and play in a brutal atmosphere like Atlanta (PA announcer starting all the cheers was really tacky), or go up against the NBA's best pointguard like New Orleans, the three upcoming Eastern Conference matchups shouldn't be complete blowouts. Hopefully Boston can give their fans a 20 game win streak for Christmas.

Posted on: November 19, 2008 4:41 pm
 

Celtics Weekly: Gettin the W minus the Big Ticket

After suffering the loss of Kevin Garnett due to a ridiculous suspention, the Celtics were forced to play host to the New York Knicks Tuesday night without their All-star power forward. Despite almost blowing a 14 point fourth quarter lead, the C's were able to escape with a 110-101 victory over the now 6-5 Knicks.

Keys to Victory:

Equal distribution of contributions: The five players on the Celtics who played the most minutes last night (all 28+ mins) were Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Leon Powe, Ray Allen, and Kendrick Perkins. All five took between 9 and 14 shots, 4 of the 5 had 14-16 points (Pierce, who had 22, was inside that domain until he handled all of the C's possesions late in the game and got to the line 7 times in the last 2 mins), and with the team's leading rebounder out of the game, 4 of the 5 grabbed 7 or 8 boards (the exception being Allen). When one of your big guns goes down, everyone else has to fill in the missing pieces, and that's exactly what Boston was able to do last night.

Size does Matter: The Knicks are currently missed the four tallest guys on their roster: Jared Jeffries (6-11), Eddie Curry (6-11), Danilo Gallinari (6-10), and Jerome James (7-1). This meant that last night Zack Randolph (6-8), a natural power forward, was forced to start at center and match-up against 7 foot Kendrick Perkins. Not only that, but the bench players who entered to man-up on Boston's big boy were David Lee and Malik Rose, both of whom are incredibly undersized, and they got absolutely toasted. The Knicks might as well have put Nate Robinson on Kendrik the way Perk was backing their "centers" down into the paint for easy layins. In the first half Powe was able to do much of the same (although he is only 6-8 himself).

Common Criticism:

The Celtics' defense suffered without Garnett: This statement is only somewhat true. While the 101 points allowed to New York was 12 points higher than their season average of 89.7 points per game allowed, that is also 4 points less than the Knicks PPG average of 105.2. So while you obviously want to see KG in the lineup every night, it is good to see that the C's can still function both offensively and defensively against a winning team (Knicks were 6-4 entering the game) without a key member of the big three.

 
 
 
 
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