Posted on: November 12, 2010 12:40 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:41 pm
Boston forward Paul Pierce makes fun of Miami's LeBron James's "Decision" on Twitter after the Celtics beat the Heat on Thursday night. Posted by Ben Golliver.
Nothing tastes sweeter than a big win in a rivalry game, and the Boston Celtics are surely exuberant after dominating the Miami Heat in their own house on Thursday night in front of a national television audience. Pierce finished with 25 points on the night, and turned to Twitter for some post-game trash talking after the game. "It's been a pleasure to bring my talents to South Beach, now on to Memphis," Pierce tweeted. The tweet is a clear reference to "The Decision," a televised special in which Miami forward LeBron James announced to the world that he would be leaving the Cavaliers to join the Heat using the phrase, "I'm taking my talents to South Beach." James' arrival in Miami was supposed to establish a Heat dynasty, one capable of overcoming Boston's aging Big Three of Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. It hasn't worked out that way so far, as the Celtics are up in the season series 2-0, thanks to fantastic play from point guard Rajon Rondo and some unorganized, inefficient and inconsistent offense for Miami. Pierce has every right to throw this jab, as James opened himself up completely to criticism and jokes by making his free agency decision in such a public manner. And because Pierce has won an NBA title, whereas James has not. Call this one of the spoils of being a victor. For James, silence is the best response. It's time for James to join his Heat teammates in licking their collective wounds and to start figuring out how to stack up some Ws, given their 5-4 record on the season is well below their own lofty expectations. As Pierce mentioned, the Celtics conclude their current four-game road trip against the Grizzlies on Saturday night in Memphis.
Posted on: November 11, 2010 11:04 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:41 pm
The Boston Celtics defeated the Miami Heat, 112-107, in Miami on Thursday night. Posted by Ben Golliver.
The Boston Celtics are significantly better than the Miami Heat right now. There's no question about it, now that the Celtics have downed the Heat both in Boston and in Miami during the first two weeks of the NBA season. That could change by the the time the playoffs roll around, but right now the chemistry, experience and mental toughness edges all go to Boston, who rushed out to a huge first-half lead on Thursday, leaving Miami looking discombobulated on offense and passive on defense. The biggest key for Boston was the play of point guard Rajon Rondo, who looked like the best player on the court despite scoring only eight points (including this amazing dunk). Rondo carved up Miami's defense time after time, dishing out 16 assists and finding Ray Allen for open 3-pointers ad nauseam. Allen put up with 35 points on 7-9 shooting from distance. Celtics forward Paul Piece also chipped in 25. For Miami, forward Chris Bosh no-showed during the first quarter, which is no great surprise given his recent stretch of uninspired play, but more troubling was guard Dwyane Wade's inability to get things going. Wade finished with just eight points and was 0-5 from distance, leaving Heat star LeBron James -- who had 35 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and three steals -- to carry nearly the entire offensive load for Miami single-handedly. The Celtics let the Heat creep back into the game during the second half, and the game really tightened up in the closing minutes. But, from start to finish, this was a dominant thumping by Boston, one that solidifies the Celtics as the early class of the Eastern Conference. With the win, Boston improves to 7-2. With the loss, Miami falls to 5-4. Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra, who lectured his team about "ego" at halftime will undoubtedly be a target of criticism with such a talented group of players barely playing above .500 basketball.
Posted on: November 11, 2010 8:53 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:42 pm
Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo throws down a spectacular dunk against the Miami Heat. Posted by Ben Golliver.
During first quarter action on Thursday night, Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo threw down a one-handed dunk with authority against the Miami Heat. Have a look at the video.
Rondo blows by Heat reserve guard Eddie House at the top of the key and Heat forward Chris Bosh just watches as Rondo elevates to the rim. The force of the dunk caused Rondo to crash to the floor. The emphatic dunk put Boston up 22-10 in the first quarter and led Miami's LeBron James to take a timeout on the ensuing Heat possession.
Posted on: November 11, 2010 5:22 pm
5 Things to Watch in Celtics-Heat. Posted by Matt Moore
With Boston visiting South Beach to meet the suddenly-reeling Miami Heat, it's time to look at this game and it's importance. The opening night game? Sure, you're new to one another. These things happen. Boston had a bloodthirsty home crowd, the Celtics like to set examples, and you still almost pulled it out. The Hornets loss? Hey, when you're hot, you're hot, and the Hornets are jalepeno right now. But the loss to the Jazz? After being up 20? That's a bad sign. Three losses in less than three weeks of the season and you're looking at a Heat team that looks nothing like the juggernaut it was supposed to be. And now? The Celtics come calling again. Not even the friendly confines of South Beach look so comfy after the Jazz stole one earlier this week.
So what's the story with this game? Here are five things to keep an eye on as the Heat face the Celtics for the second time this season.
1. Weapons Point Blank: Rajon Rondo. Chris Paul. Deron Williams. 38 points. 50 assists. Three wins. In the three losses the Heta have suffered, point guards have absolutely detonated them and them kicked dirt on the debris. And one of the arsonists is back in the house this eveining. Say that they're great players. They are. Say they made plays. They did. But if the Heat are going to have any shot against a Boston club that likely wants to put the foot down on the throat again, they're going to have to at least distract Rondo long enough so that he doesn't single-handedly rip them apart with his bare, headband-less head and hands. Which means that finally, maybe, it might be time for Erik Spoelstra to give Mario Chalmers some burn. Why? Because he can't do worse than Carlos Arroyo and some combination of LeBron and Wade have. Chalmers is young, hungry, and after being buried on the bench? Very angry.
Sick 'em, kiddo.
Even if Chalmers gets torched, at least you'll have your guys defending the other options on the C's while trying to make Rondo a scorer, which is in his repertoire and yet not his specialty. It's time to attempt desperate matters. And Mario Chalmers? That's pretty desperate.
2. Let The Big Dog Eat: This is going to sound nuts. But the Celtics need to allow, nay, encourage LeBron James to play point guard. Last time out, he wound up with 8 turnovers. And watching the other Heat games, instead of becoming the ultimate facililtator, against good defense, James is forced into bull-in-china-shop mode. And against the Celtics, that's preferable because they can close at the rim. Otherwise you're forcing Paul Pierce, Marquis Daniels and/or Rondo to chase James off screens and deter a monster in motion. Similarly Wade at point requires more pure speed and that's dangerous in and of itself. Pressuring James off-ball to get him on and then backing in will probably help the Celtics out. Just like it did last time.
3. No Cute Puns, Just Keep The Ball Out Of The Role Players' Hands In Crunch Time: "James Jones, for the tie!" CLANG. "Eddie House, for the win!" CLANG. Over and over, the Heat have provided what I can only describe as a disgusting number of opportunities to Eddie House and James Jones to step up and deliver and in the biggest games? They've whiffed. Well, okay, not whiffed. They got a whole lot of rim. If this one goes down to crunch time, the Heat need to let the guys they pay the big Bucks to earn them. No more role players. Let the stars shine. They're great players. Let them be great and quit telling them to jump pass to guys who haven't shown their ready right now, despite their history in the clutch.
4. Big Baby Gotta Eat: Glen Davis has been the most important bench player, arguably in the NBA not just the Celtics. He tore up the Heat in Round 1 with 13 points on 6 of 7 shooting. In doing so, he hammered them while also drawing charges on LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. The Celtics need that from Davis. The works: the mid-range jumper, the inside reverse that looks like a drunken seal trying to toss a ball over his head, the offensive tip-in, all of it. He can be the difference in this game, because so far, Udonis Haslem has been unable to be what he needs to be for Miami. Big night for the Big Baby.
5. Keep Up The Pressure, Stay In The Game: Both teams have surrendered big leads. Both teams have come back from behind. Whichever team establishes itself early has to stay in constant focus to be able to convert a lead into a win. Let up, start letting go, and the game will get tight again. The Heat have been bad in the clutch. But they also have a tremendous roster of guys that can deliver (if they don't jump-pass, see No.3). Focus and consistency will be the answer for whoever comes out with the win.
Posted on: November 4, 2010 11:12 am
Edited on: November 4, 2010 1:05 pm
Posted by Matt Moore
Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer .
THE BIG ONE: DIRK AND COMPANY GET IT DONE AGAINST DENVERThe trap we often fall into when evaluating great performances is that somehow, the defense was useless. That they were pathetically overmatched by the greatness we just witnessed. But in truth, it's often a great performance in the face of great defense. Great players hit tough shots and figure out a way to get it done. And that's what Dirk Nowitzki did against a surprisingly good defensive approach from the Nuggets. Rookie Gary Forbes and Al Harrington did everything they could, had position, got a hand in his face, and Nowitzki just kept working them over with the fadeaway. There were a few times when questionable switches and assignments doomed the Nuggets. J.R. Smith trying to defend Dirk? Aaron Afflalo? That's not going to work, kids. He may be "Euro-soft" or whatever (averaging 9.8 rebounds this season), but he's still 7 feet. And he took advantage of it.
But the Nuggets hung around, getting good perimeter contributions, and had a shot to win it with time expiring. Their offensive set of choice? Contested jumper for Carmelo in ISO. Clang. Ballgame. Don't get me wrong, Carmelo's a fantastic clutch scorer. But not even a post possession or a pick and roll or anything? Just, here, try and nail it over your guy, Melo? And that's why Dallas usually finishes with a better record than Denver.
GO-GO-GADGET LINES:Kobe Bryant: 30 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists, 1 turnover. Took 22 shots to get there, but who cares when he's producing that many points in total?
Monta Ellis: 39 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 steals.
Deron Williams: 22 points, 8 rebounds, 14 assists
Dwight Howard: 18 points, 16 rebounds, 8 blocks in 23 minutes.
Tim Duncan: 25 points on 13 shots, 17 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 blocked shots, 6 turnovers
SO RISES A NEW POINT:Baron Davis is out because he is out of shape, which surprises no one. But what is surprising is that in last night's win, yet another membe of the Kentucky 5 showed up to make the case for being a legit NBA starter. Eric Bledsoe stepped in and dropped 17 points, 8 assists, and 2 blocked shots as the Clippers got their first win. The kid's got moxy, we'll give him that. Bledsoe at times elected to take contested 3s with time on the clock. But he also got things going, ran the offense, and was very efficient for a rookie starting. All this and the Clippers blew out the Thunder like they weren't even there. It's not a small element if Bledsoe can become the point guard of the future for the Clippers. That makes them a much more complete team and gives them a 1-2-3 punch with Gordon and Blake Griffin.
THE Jazz BAND IS BACK ON STAGE:Things looked bleak for the Jazz as the season started. But in their past two games, they've absolutely annihilated their opponents, as they did to the Raptors last night. The Jazz dropped 66 on the Raptors in the first half and that was all she wrote. Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, or as I like to call it, Aul Jeffsap, dropped 48 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists, and a block on the Raptors, on a night where Andrea Bargnani was actually rebounding. There were so many questions about how those two would work together, but at least early on, they're monstrous offensively. Jefferson's savvy and poise is offset by Millsap's explosiveness and tenaciousness. The Raptors had no return volley and that was it.
WHAT YOU MISSED:KB says KG can still make this right . Bogut and Garnett got into it . And Steve Nash is not retiring .
3-BALL, CORNER POCKET:Richard Jefferson nailed 4 three-pointers from the corner last night, and had himself a barrage from the arc.
RONDO DO WHAT RONDO DO:It's overtime. The Celtics need a bucket to get some space on the Bucks. So the Celtics go to their best option. Let Rajon Rondo create.
Rondo sets the play and moves to the left wing where KG is moving to set him a pick to clear baseline. Paul Pierce has his hands on his knees on the far wing, he's harmless. (HINT: He is not harmless.)
As Rondo comes off the pick, Davis is high, pulling defenders away from the basket. Ray Allen sets a pick low, and because it's Ray Allen, the Bucks rightly are concerned with keeping tabs on him. Meanwhile, they're trying to prevent the pick and pop from Garnett at 18 feet which is deadly. So you'll see three Bucks players creating a wall watching that pick and roll. The problem? There's no one behind the play to watch... the Truth, who has come hard off of that wing to the low cut. Rondo is dribble hesitating to pull Ilyasova out and freez him where he wants him.
Rondo's got one lane, over the top of the tall Ilyasova, to the bucket, without making Pierce go up too much. Pierce is nto really an alley-oop guy at this point, so Rondo's got to get it where Pierce can grab it and immediately go up to score. He's got a narrow lane, with a defender closing off the pick (and Garnett is still open if he want to opt for the pick and pop). Meanwhile, the Bucks have just realized they don't know where Pierce is.
Look at all the space Pierce has when he catches the pass from Rondo. They've managed to create space right under the basket and all they need is a great pass from Rondo. Which he delivers on target.
See you tomorrow on the Game Changer.
Follow F&R on Twitter at @CBSSportsNBA and check out our RSS feed . This has been your daily edition of the Game Changer.
Posted on: November 4, 2010 12:40 am
Edited on: November 4, 2010 12:48 am
Posted by Matt Moore
Truth stays true. At least, it did Wednesday night for the Celtics. Paul Pierce knocked down his 20,00th career point at the line against the Bucks, helping the Celtics to hold off the Bucks in overtime 105-102 . It was a brilliant game for both squads at times, and sloppy as all get-out at others. 31 turnovers between the two clubs. But still, great intensity, and twice when the Bucks seemed to be down for the count inside of a minute, they pulled back to pressure the club.
The difference? Rajon Rondo. An amazing stretch of play for Rondo with the only downside being a missed J to end regulation. Rondo was simply dominating in whipping passes. The Bucks tried hedging hard on pick and rolls, tried doubling, tried closing the baseline, forcing him baseline, bringing the weakside defender, staying home, nothing worked. But it was an emotional moment from, naturally, Cancer Man Kevin Garnett to get them going, as he started a mini-tussle with Bogut before, naturally, walking away when things got heated. Video via Jose3030 :
And that's really what kick-started the comeback for the Celtics as they surged ahead. But heady, consistent play, getting to the line helped the Bucks claw back into it. The Bucks managed to force overtime, but in the extra period, Rondo took over, getting easy buckets for Pierce and eventually pulling it out after Carlos Delfino turned the ball over on the inbounds pass down 3. This after Delfino nailed a monster three from the corner. It was that kind of a night for Delfino.
Pierce becomes the third Celtic to reach 20,000 points alongside John Havlicek and Larry Bird. Not bad company. True company, even.
Boston finished to a 107 efficiency to Milwaukee's 104. Two good defenses being overcome by good offense.
Posted on: November 3, 2010 11:03 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:25 pm
John Wall dances during introductions, gets his first win as a pro and nearly notches a triple-double, Rajon Rondo does something that hasn't been done in more than three years, Cartier Martin goes hero status, and a bunch more. Posted by Ben Golliver.
Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.
THE BIG ONE: WASHINGTON STEALS ONE AT HOMEIn a night that was otherwise filled with double-digit victories around the NBA, the Washington Wizards staged one heck of a comeback to steal a 116-115 win at home against the Philadelphia 76ers. The Wizards, who blew a lead earlier in the fourth quarter, started fouling repeatedly in the last minute of regulation to extend the game. Up three in the game's closing seconds, Philadelphia elected not to foul, and Washington used a side inbounds play to set up a top of the arc 3-point attempt for forward Cartier Martin, who appeared to be the third option on the play. Whether he was meant to take the shot or not, Martin, who has attempted just 86 3-pointers in his 53 game NBA career, buried an off-balance, lean-in attempt in front of 76ers forward Andre Iguodala. He then joined a group hug celebration in front of the Wizards bench, before they all realized they still had to play five minutes of extra time. In the tightly-contested overtime period, Wizards rookie point guard John Wall was the difference, scoring four points, dishing out an assist to Andray Blatche and making two key defensive plays during the extra period, on his way to an eye-popping stat line: 29 points, 13 assists and 9 steals (which tied a franchise record) . But it was Blatche who provided the winning margin in a 116-115 come-from-behind victory, hitting a pair of clutch free throws with seven seconds left. The Sixers really stumbled down the stretch with some sloppy late-game execution. Jrue Holiday was the biggest culprit, finishing with six turnovers on the night, but multiple times in the closing minutes, they struggled to inbounds or outlet the ball in the backcourt under full court Wizards pressure. With the ball and seven seconds left on the block in overtime, the Sixers could only manage a difficult, contested, off-balance jumper for Iguodala. If not for yeoman's work from Lou Williams at the free throw line (15-17), it would have looked even worse. Philadelphia stays winless on the season and this one undoubtedly stings the worst, given the circumstances. Kate Fagan of Philly.com sums it up nicely in her discussion of Martin's game-winner...
It seems swingman Andre Iguodala gets caught for a second on the screen set to free Martin. Iguodala trails Martin -- as he's supposed to -- but he's too far behind to keep Martin from catching at the three-point line, and Iguodala is just not in a good position to take a good foul on Martin. There's no lack of effort from Iguodala (in watching the replays), it just seems like the kind of play that continually haunts the Sixers.
And so they remain winless.Philly joins the Detroit Pistons and the Los Angeles Clippers as the only 0-4 teams in the NBA, and the bad news gets worse. After the late Tuesday loss, Philly must return home for a rematch with the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night. While Philly is playing the away-and-home back-to-back, the Pacers have enjoyed two days off since defeating the Sixers in Indiana on Saturday.
GO-GO-GADGET LINE OF THE NIGHT:Rajon Rondo: 9 points, 3 rebounds, 17 assists, 4 steals, 0 turnovers on 3-7 shooting in 36 minutes. According to Basketball-Reference.com , the last time an NBA player had 17 or more assists and 0 turnovers in a regular season game was April 14, 2007. The man who did it? Steve Nash, point guard for the Phoenix Suns. Honorable Mention goes to... John Wall: 29 points, 2 rebounds, 13 assists, 9 steals and 8 turnovers in 45 minutes on 9-16 shooting.
Wall was just one steal shy of a triple-double in his third game as a pro. Michael Lee of the Washington Post notes on Twitter that "is just the second player in NBA history to get at least 70 points & 30 assists in his first 3 games. The other? Oscar Robertson."
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
DON'T MISS:The Knicks and the Magic were scheduled to play Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, but asbestos intervened . Surely Knicks center Eddy Curry can be blamed for this somehow. In way less sketchy news, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is in for the 2012 Olympics in London . Also, Miami won big again, thanks to 20 points and 12 dimes from LeBron James, who was reportedly playing through a minor leg injury.
WHIMSY:Washington Wizards point guard John Wall reacts with glee as the Wizards win their home opener in overtime at the Verizon Center on Tuesday night. Wall was huge, nearly notching a triple double, and his night began with care-free exuberance too: he danced "The Dougie" during his pre-game introduction .
HERO OF THE NIGHT: