Tag:Celtics
Posted on: November 11, 2010 5:22 pm
 

5 Things to Watch: Boston at Miami

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 11, 2010 10:17 am
Edited on: November 11, 2010 1:06 pm
 

Shootaround 11.11.10: Decisions abound

Durant doing fine at the bank, Knicks decide to love Lee still, and is Splitter a good defender?
Posted by Matt Moore

  • Apparently being in small-town Oklahoma City (which is actually big-town Oklahoma if you've ever been to the Sooner State) isn't slowing down Kevin Durant's endorsement opportunities . It may be time to really stop feeding into this myth that you need to be in a big market to be able to make great money through endorsements. If Melo would come to realize that, maybe he wouldn't still be in Denver where he's essentially spinning his wheels for no reason.
  • Knicks fans gave David Lee a terrific ovation last night . There's been a lot of positive regard this season for returning players who now play on different teams. Why do I have a feeling Cleveland will not be continuing that approach?
  • A great throwback interview with Moses Malone. With all this talk of Chris Bosh after he was discussed as a top player in the league this summer and now with his struggles in the paint, you think about what it would have been like if Moses Malone had joined a team like the Heat. Then again, you could make the argument that Dr. J's Sixers were pretty Heat-like in terms of talent.
  • Tim Varner of 48 Minutes of Hell contends that Tiago Splitter is playing incredibly well on the defensive end, the box score just doesn't capture it . I would argue he needs to watch Splitter's weakside defense and ability to hedge effectively, but I'm a stickler for such things.
Posted on: November 8, 2010 7:56 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2010 11:05 am
 

Kevin Durant and Kevin Garnett are not playmates

Durant  and Garnett not buddy-buddy, you guys.
Posted by Matt Moore




Kevin Durant gets along with everybody. He's a sweet guy, well-liked by all. Leader of Team USA, of the upstart Thunder team (that's failing to start up much this season so far), and respected by players near and far. LeBron James considers him a friend, Ron Artest speaks glowingly of him, everyone loves the guy.

Well, almost everyone.

You'll remember a game last season the Thunder won in Boston where Durant went to the line a few too many times for Boston's sake, prompting KG to make a post-game comment about it being like "Michael (expletive) Jordan out there." Turns out, whle KD appreciated the compliment, he and KG are not exactly buds.

From the Boston Herald :

"KG is a top 50 greatest ever to play the game and for him to say that about me is kind of flattering. That's when people started recognizing me a little bit. But I couldn't let that affect how I play or our team. I appreciated it, but it was time to move on." When asked if he talked to Garnett since then about the topic, Durant said, "Nah man, I don't talk to KG."

Probably just a coincidence that the two aren't buddy buddy, considering the age difference and all.

Or it could be that Kevin Garnett is hyper-abrasive like corrosive acid and scares people. Hey, at least KG's for real, and KD's not making up stuff about how much Garnett has helped him.

Have I mentioned how great a playoff series would be between these two teams? Stupid conferences.

Posted on: November 8, 2010 9:23 am
Edited on: November 8, 2010 12:10 pm
 

Shootaround 11.8.10: Right and Wrong

J.O.'s knee not quite right, Kevin Garnett not quite wrong in the head, and a murder suspect busted in Charlotte, all in today's Shootaround.Posted by Matt Moore
  • Oh, those sneaky Celtics. It seems they snuck a Jermaine O'Neal surgery under our very noses . J.O. certainly has seemed a step behind in terms of explosiveness and strength in the paint. But to be honest, we just chalked it up to age. Apparently there was an actual reason, which means he could improve, which means the Celtics could get stronger, which is just terrifying.
  • A Minnesotan discussion of Kevin Garnett's behavior, in which it's argued he's the most genuine athlete alive . I'm not buying it. Garnett isn't driven to these things out of passion, they're calculated maneuvers. That's why he doesn't end up in fights, instead walking away with his hands up after starting something. Intense, sure, but just as deliberate as the outraged opera star on stage.
  • A murder suspect was captured in the VIP section of the Bobcats game against Orlando Saturday. Seriously. Pretty scary because there were so many people around in the public event. Pretty funny because of all the jokes you can make of "Well, if you want to be hidden from people..."
  • Brandon Jennings with some disturbing comments about the locker room chemistry in Milwaukee that's helped lead to the 2-5 start they're off to. Jennings is still learning how to be a vocal leader, but he needs to take the step and say to his teammates what he's telling the press.
Posted on: November 5, 2010 9:37 am
Edited on: November 5, 2010 9:38 am
 

Shootaround 11.5.10: Like That

Posted by Matt Moore

  • The Sonics mascot showed up with a sign that said "Homeless" last night. Which is adorable. I do wonder where the sign is that reads "Homeless because people didn't think it was a good idea to build me a new home" but I'm a stickler for accuracy like that.
  • Mikael Pietrus and Stan Van Gundy got into a shouting match over Pietrus being yanked in the third quarter against the Wolves. One would think in a 40 point annihilation that everyone would be happy. It's also bizarre that SVG continues to have trouble with Pietrus considering that he's been a big part of the team's success and I don't see any yelling or screaming at Vince Carter, but I'm a stickler for fairness like that.
  • Twitter has not been kind to the Celtics. Twitter is a remarkably easy interface to control, you just have to be sure to think about what you're posting before you post it. Then, if you do post something that isn't great, you need to be prepared to take responsibility for it. Or blame it on hackers. You know, either one.
Posted on: November 4, 2010 11:12 am
Edited on: November 4, 2010 1:05 pm
 

Game Changer 11.4.10: Can't Stop Dirk

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 DENVER

The 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.

VIDEO-A-GO-GO



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.

Richard Jefferson hits four 3-pointers in the 4th quarter to beat Suns from 48 Minutes of Hell on Vimeo .

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.

Too late.



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.



Too easy.

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
 

Pierce sets record as Garnett tussles with Bogut

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 1, 2010 3:41 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2010 3:42 pm
 

Video: Rajon Rondo is good at assisting

24. Are you kidding me? 24 assists. Video thereof.
Posted by Matt Moore

Only 7 point guards in the NBA have 24 or more assists this entire season. Rajon Rondo got that amount in one game versus the Knicks Friday. An absolutely stunning performance, which was of course captured by Celtics fans on video .



Even if some of those were questionable, and some of them were, it happens all the time and I'm willing to give the man more than one for a few of those dishes. Rondo has such confidence, such touch, and combines it all with both bravado and patience. Chris Paul is still the best point guard in the league. Rajon Rondo deserves some talk. He just does. If you don't believe so, take another look at the video.

24.

Are you kidding me?

 
 
 
 
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