Tag:Boston Celtics
Posted on: May 7, 2011 9:57 pm
Edited on: May 7, 2011 10:13 pm
 

Rajon Rondo suffers arm injury vs. Heat

Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo suffered a left arm injury against the Miami Heat in Game 3. Posted by EOB staff.

Update 10:11 p.m.: Rondo returned to the bench at the end of the third quarter, and appears to be trying to flex out his arm. Ken Berger of CBSsports.com reports that Rondo dislocated his elbow, but it was popped in. He wants to play. Which is a little insane and impressive.  

In the third quarter of the Celtics' Game 3 vs. Miami, Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo were tangled up on a possession. Rondo was half wrapped around Wade, and when Wade tripped/fell his arm wrapped around Rondo and carried him to the floor underneath him. Rondo attempted to catch himself with his right arm, and landed with full weight on the arm, which popped out in a manner that very much suggested a break, or at the very least a hyper-extended elbow. It was ugly.

Rondo was helped off the floor by Celtics' staff. We'll update with any information as it comes available. 

Here's video of the incident.



Posted on: May 7, 2011 9:25 am
Edited on: May 7, 2011 2:35 pm
 

Playoff Fix: The Celtics' line in the sand

The Celtics need someone to step up in a big way, and for Shaq to make an impact, and to create more turnovers, and... you get the idea. 
Posted by Matt Moore




One Big Thing: The time for equal contributions has past. The Celtics need a hero. Someone has to step up and lead the way for Boston, because for the first time, Ubuntu may be outmatched. Offensive distribution and suffocating defense are both great plans in 99 percent of all matchups, but for whatever reason, the Heat have stormed the barricades in this series. Now the Celtics are going to have to fight them out and, to do so, someone's going to have to set the example. Whether that's Paul Pierce having a game befitting his status as one of the greatest true Celtics ever, a bully-in-the-schoolyard rampage by Kevin Garnett, or Rajon Rondo getting back to being the brilliant distributor and triple-double machine he can be, someone's going to have to put in a special type game. It's not that the other Celtics can't contribute. It's that they have been and the Celtics are still losing. It's time for someone on Boston to make a statement that says "We're still here, and we're not going down like this."

The X-Factor: Shaquille O'Neal is expected to play Saturday for the first time in the playoffs and what feels like the first time in a decade. O'Neal isn't going to save the Celtics. But he can come out and set the tone. In reality, O'Neal's no longer the defender or rebounder he once was. But he can, surprisingly, score. And there's no one on the Heat that can handle his girth. O'Neal's going to take more possessions than he really needs to, but if he can bring out the old bull in a china shop act for a few drop hooks, that could get the crowd, the energy, and the momentum on the Celtics side. O'Neal can't lead the Celtics through the gate. He can bust the gate open with his backside, though. 

The Adjustment: The Celtics' defensive principles all revolve around position. Get to the spot before your man does. Get a hand up where he wants the ball to go. Contest, contest, contest. But with the Heat having turned the ball over on less than 15 percent of all possessions in this series, the time may have come to start attacking the ball. The Celtics need to disrupt the Heat's offense and get easy buckets of their own. In short, things have got to come a little easier for the Celtics and be a little more frustrating for the Heat. 

The Sticking Point: The Heat are doing it. They're winning with huge contributions from the Triad, playing great defense, and getting the wins. We've yet to see a Heat team really close when down in the 4th to a great team, but the Heat are starting to change the narrative about them in regards to their ability to step up in big situations. Game 3 in Boston will be the stiffest test yet. 
Posted on: May 6, 2011 10:15 am
Edited on: May 6, 2011 10:20 am
 

Championship teams suffering emotional issues

Lakers, Celtics dealing with emotional upheaval in the midst of biggest playoff challenge outside of Finals. 

Posted by Matt Moore




You'd think that being the older, more experienced teams would grant them some perspective on the ups and downs of the NBA playoffs. You'd think having walked through the fires of the championship forge would grant them a solidarity. You would think that all the talk of chemistry and how much the team members like one another wouldn't be affected by a few losses or some bouts of poor play. 

You'd be wrong. 

Wednesday night, the Lakers were dealing with what Andrew Bynum referred to as "trust issues." This from a team that won the title eleven months ago. What, did the reality show really change Lamar all of a sudden? Is he just not the down-to-earth player he was when he was younger, as in, 12 months before? Maybe Pau Gasol's let the bright lights of Los Angeles change him from his small town ways. You know, Barcelona, Spain being such a quaint little village. Regardless, apparently it's an epidemic of championship-caliber teams needing some therapy and special quality time. 

From the Boston Herald:
The effect can be so disruptive, Doc Rivers even has a name for those times when squabbling and finger pointing mar one of his timeouts. 
“Emotional highjacks,” the Celtics [team stats] coach said after yesterday’s practice. “And they always happen when you’re down or in the Heat of battle. It always happens, but once you let it get to a point where it highjacks your team, then it’s never good. But it’s part of the game, in every sport and on every team.” 
The Celtics, though, looked as if they had been boarded and highjacked by Captain Jack Sparrow’s entire crew during several timeouts on Tuesday night.In perhaps the most blatant instance, Rajon Rondo [stats] stormed away from Paul Pierce [stats] as the Celtics captain attempted to make a point at the end of a timeout. Not long after, Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen appeared to be holding their own conference outside the greater team huddle.
via For Celtics, outbursts no shock - BostonHerald.com.

Ray Allen told the Herald that it's nothing new for the team, that they've always argued and "debated" more than any other team he'd been on. But it certainly comes off differently when the team is down 0-2 and looks largely helpless to counter the talent in the red and white unis. 

Emotion is a good thing. But bickering and squabbling isn't going to help a team that has a heavily rumored fracture in its chemistry since "the trade" to get itself back together. The Celtics have always fed off their emotion, but right now it needs to be aimed at increasing their intensity and intimidating the Heat, not punishing one another over pointless arguments. There's a thin line between fiery and disruptive, and the Celtics are dancing all over it right now. 
(HT: Red's Army)  

Posted on: May 5, 2011 6:33 pm
Edited on: May 6, 2011 10:13 am
 

The Lakers, the Celtics, and a question of change

Are we seeing a changing of the guard? We discuss whether the conference champs of a year ago have seen the present pass them by, and reach a strange conclusion. The body is willing. The hunger? That we're not sure about. 
Posted by Matt Moore



Few saw this coming. Sure, you could have said the Celtics didn't look like themselves after the Perkins trade, or that L.A.'s penchant for blasé, uninspired play would eventually bite them on the back end. But to think both conference champions from a year ago would face not just must-wins, but "No, for real, lose this game and you might as well forfeit Game 4 and start enjoying your lockout" games in the semifinals? That's just preposterous. How could that happen? The Celtics took three straight from the Heat this season. The Lakers are two-time defending champions. 

And yet, here we are. So the question we ask now, in advance, is whether we're witnessing a changing of the guard, a one-year slip for two teams formed in the iron of the industry, or the setting of the stage for the two most successful and blessed franchises in professional basketball to once again take the shovel from those would bury them and brain them with it.

More on the Lakers and Celtics
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Royce Young Royce Young
History isn't on the side of the Lakers right now. Read More >>
Ben Golliver Ben Golliver
The Dallas bench came up big in Game 2's Mavs win. Read More >>
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Video: Wade crosses up Ray Allen
Message Boards: Mavericks | Lakers
There's ample evidence to support all three theories. But why waste time with it? Why not just wait to see how Games 3 and 4 go? We're not just providing filler or overreaction to add volume to headlines, I assure you. It's that if this is the end, we need to acknowledge it while it's happening so we're not left in stunned silence, shellshocked by the absence of the teams most lauded over the past three years. If it's a slip, we need to examine why, and if any changes need to be or can be made going forward. And if they're setting us up for the rope-a-dope, well, we should take note of that as well.  If we want to watch these playoffs, we should try and suss out what's happening. After all, the first round left us struggling for comprehension as the top seed fell in one conference and struggled with a playoff bottom feeder in the other. So let's begin with the defending champs. 

Lakers

Most concerning for L.A.? The fact that both losses were not the same. Their deviation from success and development of bad habits in the pattern of failure are indicative of a team that not only is struggling, but is failing to recognize that. 

Game 1: The "we let it slip through our fingers" game. This obviously was the less damaging of the two. A few plays here or there and the Lakers win. Make more than a couple and it's a comfortable win. Surrendering the game in the manner they did, however, was about as "un-Laker-like" as you're going to get. They didn't close out the game. They didn't finish with poise. They did collapse, and the Mavericks did take it from them. This game actually looks worse in the aftermath of Game 2. They not only gave the Mavericks confidence, but it was the kind of loss that allowed the Lakers to pass it off as nothing to worry about.  That laziness was fine in previous years. The Lakers were younger, the competition not as fierce, and the matchups were avoided. They needed to respond after Game 1 with a ferocity befitting of a team of their talent, their payroll, their legacy. Instead they simply came into the game with the same lack of urgency they went into so many regular season games and even playoff games in previous years (the Rockets, the Nuggets, the Suns). Only this time, it turns out the other team not only wanted it more... they were just better. 

Game 2: The "well, they just kicked our face in" game. That's a 12 point loss, kids. At home. And in reality, it could have been worlds worse.  The Mavericks only shot 42 percent from the field. You can argue that the Lakers defense was what kept that number low, except that same defense allowed a 106.9 defensive efficiency. That's not great. But it's not terrible, and had a few more shots fallen, you had a much more significant loss. The Mavericks played with urgency, with fire, with a killer instinct. You know, everything you associate with championship play. The Lakers on the other hand felt that they had no reason to execute with purpose. A few passes, a few dunks, and the Mavericks would fold. In many ways, it was a reflection of the crowd, which was first discontent, then frustrated, then downright glum. There's no shock, just petulance at the fact the Mavericks not only didn't roll over, but took it to the Laker's front door, then kicked in the frame. 

The post-game comments from Game 2 give us an insight into where the Lakers' heads are at. Andrew Bynum says there are trust issues. Phil Jackson is concerned. But Kobe Bryant? Kobe Bryant is calm as Hindu cows. It's an interesting reaction from the one player who most often calls out his teammates. Either this is the confidence that breeds his indomitable will, or it's an arrogance that is keeping him out of the reality. And the reality is that the Lakers face a challenge only three teams in history have ever overcome. 

So which is it? Are the Lakers done? Clearly not. Pau Gasol didn't age overnight to the point he's no longer useful. Kobe Bryant's largely the same guy he's been this season. Older, less explosive, occasionally brilliant, occasionally way too confident in his abilities. Derek Fisher's not any worse than he ever has been. Lamar Odom's reverting back to his space cadet persona, but you had to expect that at some point. The bench, though? The bench certainly seems to have wandered by a mirror and remembered, "Oh, yeah, I'm Steve Blake/Matt Barnes/Shannon Brown and not Robert Horry/Brian Shaw/Rick Fox." And those aren't great names to start with. But you can't look at this team the way we saw the Spurs fall because the Spurs tried to tell us all season they were not the defensive stalwarts they've been in the past. The Lakers have been the same team that won the title, just lazier than usual. 

So is Bryant right, and this is just a blip, nothing to worry about? No. The Lakers didn't lose these games because of fluke shots.  L.A. faced their own mortality and their response was to throw up 3-pointer after 3-pointer when they couldn't hit water from the sunken remains of the Titanic, instead of giving it to Andrew Bynum, who was actually playing well. The Lakers were lazy, that's certainly true. But the big key here is so much simpler, and so much more frightening. 

The Mavericks outplayed them. Just as we learned Memphis was simply a better team than San Antonio this year, the Mavericks have showed the same pattern in the first two games. That can just as easily be reversed with a flourish from the Lakers. But we can't simply walk past these two games, confident Los Angeles will right the ship. 

The good ship Mamba is not sunk. But it's taking on water, while the Lakers are arguing over silverware and Kobe Bryant is playing the violin. 

Celtics

If the Lakers' big problem is that their opponent is playing better, the Celtics are facing an uncomfortable reality: the Heat really are better. Don't misunderstand, this isn't to say that the Heat will win. But the facts that we thought would be present in preseason that escaped us the whole year through have returned in stunning clarity. Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh play for one team. And that's just a ridiculous amount of talent. If the Celtics are going to win, they have to win with strategy, effort, and guile. Because the first two games have exposed a significant gap between the maximum gears both teams can operate on. Lakers fans can cling to a lack of effort and a series of bad games. But the Celtics don't seem to be playing badly or with poor effort. They're just getting beaten to the spot, beaten to the ball, and dunked over. Role players are wilting while James Jones hits from the outside, and Ray Allen's not getting the ball. 

There's age here. The Celtics knew this coming in. When the Big 3 were constructed, they knew the window was tight. The formation of the Heat, the formation of the Lakers' modern core, the rise of the Bulls all narrowed the window further, but the reality was always in the back of their minds. You can't compete into your late 30's in the face of the greatest rise of talent in the league, constantly teaming up with one another. You can, as long as you don't disrupt your chemistry. Which of course they did. 

The is not on the Perkins trade. But the advantages the Perkins team held in terms of chemistry, efficiency, comfort and continuity were questioned. And somewhere in the back of their minds, the players are aware: the front office decided to make a move in regards to a time when they were no longer in green. That has to shake your confidence, even if slightly. The Celtics still seem physically capable of making adjustments, playing at the level they need to, winning the games. But the overpowering swagger is gone, and the ferocity of play hasn't been there. They have given the vibe of exhaustion, of frustration, and of a restrained fear, which we've never seen before. 

The Celtics can respond. They haven't surrendered home floor. And the common theme in the NBA throughout the decade, throughout its history, has been that you can't count out the established teams until they're dead and buried. We could be looking at this column as one of premature exasperation or naivety in a week. But the signs are there. 

The Lakers and Celtics have been confident, and elite for the past three seasons. But now they both face a blood-draining possibility. The talent may be there. The experience may be strong. The execution may be possible. But the hunger? 

More and more it looks like the hunger lies in the ones across the floor.

Posted on: May 4, 2011 4:02 pm
Edited on: May 4, 2011 5:58 pm
 

Bill Russell statue to be built in Boston

Celtics Hall of Fame center Bill Russell will be honored with a statue in Boston. Posted by Ben Golliver.
bill-russel

It's been quite the year of awards for legendary Boston Celtics center Bill Russell. Back in February, Russell was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama. On Wednesday, the Celtics announced that Russell will be honored with a statue in his likeness in Boston.
The Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation in partnership with the newly formed Bill Russell Legacy Committee announced today they will erect a statue of Bill Russell in the city of Boston designed by a local artist. In commemoration of Russell’s accomplishments as the greatest champion in the history of professional sports, as a national leader in human rights and as a dedicated advocate for youth mentoring, the Bill Russell Legacy Project will also develop a Mentoring Grant program in Russell’s name to ensure his passion is carried on by expanding the resources for mentoring programs in the city of Boston.
“I am uncomfortable with honors such as this but my years as Captain of the Boston Celtics were the proudest moments of my career,” Boston Celtics Legend Bill Russell said. “Mayor Menino’s Boston has proven to be a City that embraces the diverse contributions of all its people and neighborhoods. I am thankful to the Celtics and all the contributors for the effort to create such a wonderful Mentoring program.”
Boston.com notes that other sports legends have been honored with statues and that Obama was one of Russell's advocates.
Many of Boston's sports legends, including Bobby Orr, Ted Williams, Red Auerbach, Doug Flutie and Harry Agganis, all have statues.
"I hope that one day in the streets of Boston, children will look up at a statue built not only to Bill Russell the player, but Bill Russell the man," Obama said.
Russell is regarded as basketball's all-time greatest champion, winning 11 NBA titles during his playing career, a gold medal with Team USA and two NCAA titles at the University of San Francisco. In addition to his five MVP awards, he was named to the All-Star team 12 times.

A lasting monument to Russell in the city of Boston has been the subject of much talk among media and fans in recent months. Honestly, you could build an entire Easter Island full of Bill Russell statues and it still wouldn't fully commemorate his contributions to the game of basketball and to the Celtics. 

Look for a Shaquille O'Neal statue to be erected next to the Russell statue in the year 20never.
Posted on: May 4, 2011 3:20 pm
Edited on: May 4, 2011 3:24 pm
 

Paul Pierce is 'day to day' with Achilles strain

Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce is dealing with an Achilles injury. Posted by Ben Golliver. paul-pierce-game2

Here's the injury added to the insult of the Boston Celtics dropping both Games 1 and 2 to the Miami Heat in Florida: Forward Paul Pierce says he is "day to day" with an Achilles injury according to WEEI.com.
Paul Pierce strained his left Achilles tendon in the first quarter of Game 2 and had to go back to the locker room for a stretch. He returned soon after and scored 13 points in the Celtics’ 102-91 loss. “It’s day to day right now,” Pierce said. “We’ll see how it feels the next couple of days.” 
Pierce said he wasn’t sure how the injury happened, but it was a problem for him. “When you strain your Achilles, every step is like a slight little pain,” he said. “It actually loosened up as I got back in there and it didn’t really affect me the rest of the game.”
Is this just another sign that the aging Celtics can't keep up with the three-ring athletic circus that is the Miami Heat? Is this an early excuse seed-planting in the event Boston bows out of the playoffs in ugly fashion?  I'm not sure on either count. It's still too early to tell.

One thing is clear though: The Celtics need more from Pierce. His averages so far against Miami: 16 points, six rebounds, 1.5 assists just aren't going to be enough to get it done with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade going off as they have been. 

Pierce needs to get to the free throw line with more regularity and also hope that his 44% shooting in the series so far heads back towards the 49.7% mark he posted during the regular season. 

Posted on: May 4, 2011 12:10 am
Edited on: May 4, 2011 12:28 am
 

Dwyane Wade turns Kevin Garnett around backwards

Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade turns Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett around backwards with a eurostep. Posted by Ben Golliver.

The story of the first two games in this year's Eastern Conference semifinals has been Miami's athletic prowess stomping all over Boston's team-oriented, tough-minded approach.

If you're looking for a signature play from the first two games, both Miami victories, you need look no further than Heat All-Star guard Dwyane Wade's eurostep blow-by of Celtics All-Star forward Kevin Garnett during Tuesday night's 102-91 win. Wade approached Garnett with a full head of steam in transition on a two-on-two fast break with LeBron James to his right. Garnett was back and in solid defensive position, back-pedaling to stall the play a bit as Wade approached.

As Wade his the three-point line he angled into the paint, lunging forward as if to drive hard to his dominant right hand. Garnett bit on the move and Wade perfectly executed the crossover second step, shifting his entire body weight back to the left. Garnett had no idea what just hit him, and continued to turn towards the middle, before realizing his error. As he spun full circle to attempt to contest the shot, Garnett lashed out with his left arm, contacting Wade as he rose to scoop in a right-handed lay-up. 

The most remarkable part of the move? Wade took just 2.1 seconds to go from the three-point line to the rim.

Here's a look at the video of the must-see highlight from Tuesday night.



That play was the story of the first two games in a nutshell. Garnett, back on his heels, reacting as Wade carefully picked his path, executed too flawlessly and too quickly for one of the league's premier defenders to keep up. 

Not to be overlooked in the video is LeBron James' reaction. James is full of intensity, confidence and exuberance, as if the carefully-laid Big 3 plan had come to fruition right before his eyes. 
Posted on: May 3, 2011 1:12 pm
 

Shaq a game-time decision for Game 2

Posted by Royce Young

Doc Rivers already said Shaquille O'Neal will be ready for Game 3 against the Heat, but there's a chance he'll go tonight, reports WEEI. Shaq is being dubbed a "game-time decision" right now.

"He looked great yesterday," Rivers told reporters. "He went through the whole practice. He was phenomenal actually. He had one stretch that was phenomenal. Then by the end of the practice he was struggling walking. We’ll see but I would say Game 3 is becoming likely. Game 2, were not sure but I doubt it."

Shaq has yet to play in the postseason and hasn't seen meaningful minutes since February. He made a brief return in April, but only made it a few trips up and down the floor before straining his calf.

Shaq has been practicing however and even scrimmaged some. As Rivers pointed out above, the team is really encouraged with the way he performed and looked. Whether he's able to hold up in an actual game though, is yet to be seen.

The Celtics and Heat play Game 2 tonight at 7 p.m. ET.
 
 
 
 
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