Posted on: January 4, 2012 5:29 pm
Edited on: January 4, 2012 5:32 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Kevin Garnett does things his own way. He's intense to a level that's borderline crazy doing things like talking trash, yelling at everyone and taunting opponents.
But he also takes it out on himself. By throwing water in his own face.
Garnett's water splash is good enough by itself, but Ray Allen's reaction is what makes it so very good. He's likes, "Wait, what was that? Did KG... did he just throw that water on his own face? Why is it all wet back there?"
Posted on: December 28, 2011 1:56 pm
By Matt Moore
Theory: The Celtics are in trouble despite their comeback effort against the Heat and tough opening schedule.
Proof: Paul Pierce was out. It was a road game. The calls didn't go their way. And they still managed to come back from 20 down to put the knife to the Heat's throat Tuesday night. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com says that the reports of the Celtics' demise are greatly exaggerated. And he's right. But a further examination of this team's performance through two games reveals that it's not all smoke and mirrors that show cracks in the green facade.
For starters, well, you know, they lost both games. A great comeback effort doesn't mean much if the result is still a pair of L's to playoff opponents gunning for you on national television. The Celtics dug themselves holes they couldn't get out of despite long second-half runs in two games, especially Tuesday night, and the result is an 0-2 mark to start a season they need to rack up wins early in order to rest later in.
But beyond the obvious losses, there's a serious trend coming to light that looks awful bad. The Celtics have been one of the best defensive teams in the league for the past four years. They've been about as reliable as it gets in terms of cracking down on the opponent. But they surrendered a 112.7 defensive efficiency (basically the rate they would have scored at in an average pace game) against the Heat after givig up a 112.8 mark to the Knicks. They allowed the Knics to shoot 47 percent on Sunday, and the Heat to shoot 56 percent on Tuesday. This despit stellar third and fourth quarters, respectively, in those games. The Celtics' defense has been just plain bad. Has the copetition been high? Absolutely. But the same style that worked for so long, slowing it down, grinding it out, isn't working well so far.
Then there's the offense. The C's managed to close the Heat's lead to 3 late in the fourth quarter against the Heat, but consider what they needed offensively. With Paul Pierce out, the Celtics wound up running a huge chunk of their offense throught he perimeter. The shots fell. They were 12-19 from the arc against the Heat, a ridiculous mark. Would Keyon Dooling (18 points, 4-6 shooting from 3) have had as many minute with Pierce available, even with Keyon Dooling playing minutes at the 2. The Celtics were downright Magic-ian in shooting all those threes. That was the only way they were able to hang so long. That kind of shooting obviously isn't sustainable. The argument can be made that the Heat's clip won't stay that high either, and it's a valid one. But the Heat ran a smoother offense and created easier opportunities in transition.
This isn't to say that the Celtics won't figure it out, they will. Pierce will help. Continuity will help. Understanding lineups better and getting Bandon Bass more minutes will help. But the Celtics have issues as they showed in the first three quarters against the Heat. There are problems that the Celtics need to resolve quickly.
Posted on: December 26, 2011 4:45 pm
Edited on: December 26, 2011 6:04 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett choked New York Knicks wing Bill Walker after a nationally-televised Christmas Day game.
He won't pay any price for it.
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that Garnett "will not face any disciplinary action" in relation to the altercation, which involved Garnett shoving Walker's throat after he missed a potentially game-tying buzzer-beater.
Punishment or no, at least Garnett had the decency to shake hands after the fact.
ESPNNY.com reports that Garnett and Walker were able to make amends following their postgame altercation which ensued immediately after Walker challenged Garnett's potential game-tying basket in the game's final second.
"When I was leaving the arena I talked to him," Walker said on Monday. "It's no hard feelings or nothing like that. We're both competitors and wanted to win. Emotions run high when you're playing at that type of level."Kudos to Walker for being the bigger man. Garnett is a one-of-a-kind monster and his frustration level is going to be off the charts this season as the Celtics struggle to deal with injuries and aging. His emotions clearly got the better of him -- something that seems to be happening increasingly often in recent years -- and Walker's gesture serves to deflate some of the tension that is sure to continue brewing between the Atlantic Division's top-2 teams.
On the court, the Knicks served notice that they belong next to the Celtics in the division race. After the buzzer and, later, off the court, Walker showed Garnett that he is above cowering at petty intimidation tactics. New York wound up leaving with both the victory and their dignity.
Garnett leaves the scene lucky to not have cost himself some money or his team an important rotation player for Tuesday night's game showdown against the Miami Heat.
Posted on: December 25, 2011 5:19 pm
Edited on: December 25, 2011 9:41 pm
By Matt Moore
Theory: The Knicks are still learning defense but they have a path to it.
Proof: For a quarter it certainly looked like the Knicks were the same team they always have been under Mike D'Antoni. But excepting the third quarter 35-17 meltdown by the New York Knicks, the home team put in the effort and technique on the defensive end, and that's what led to their two-point win over the same team who swept them in last year's playoffs, the Boston Celtics. Well, that and Carmelo Anthony.
But outside of that horrific run to start the second half, the Knicks showed what you want to see if you're a New York fan. They were active defensively, especially when Tyson Chandler was in the game. They repeatedly attacked the Celtics at the rim (11 blocked shots). They held a huge advanteage on the offensive glass until the third quarter which accounts for a signifianct portion of Boston's advantage on the glass.
There was a different feel for the Knicks, who wound up winning the game by defending a Kevin Garnett fadeaway jumper well enough. The Knicks also flashed a new attitude, repeatedly standing up to Boston's bullying approach, concluding with Bill Walker getting in Garnett's grill after his miss, then taking a shot to the throat from Garnett. This is an ugly, tense, rivalry that gets nastier with every game.
And for once, it looks like the Knicks are ready to bow up to the bullies. Throw in the best scoring frontcourt in the league and the Knicks have their season off to the start they wanted. Even despite that third quarter.
Posted on: December 25, 2011 3:09 pm
Edited on: December 25, 2011 3:17 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
A spectacular down-to-the-wire season opener ended in ugly fashion.
The Boston Celtics and New York Knicks played four quarters of thrilling basketball at Madison Square Garden on Christmas Sunday, but Celtics forward Kevin Garnett swooped in to steal the headlines in the game's final moments, for all the wrong reasons.
With New York leading 106-104, Boston inbounded the ball from the sideline to Garnett, who found himself wide open for a potential game-tying buzzer-beater when Knicks wing Bill Walker barreled into Knicks center Tyson Chandler as he chased Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo towards the top of the key. Walker's inadvertent pick left Garnett with a clean look at a 16-foot jumper -- although Walker closed late to contest -- but he was too strong, and the shot rebounded off as time expired.
The Knicks therefore escaped with the victory, but Garnett wasn't done. Walker and Garnett jawed at each other as the other Knicks celebrated, and injured Knicks point guard Baron Davis attempted to step in to separate Walker and Garnett. That move was too little, too late, as the always feisty Garnett used his left hand to grab Walker's neck and shove him backwards. Davis and others were then finally able to send the combatants back to their corners and the court eventually cleared.
There's a decent chance Garnett faces some disciplinary action from the NBA league office for his action, given both the aggressiveness and the proximity to his opponent's head. Will he get fined, suspended or neither? We all wait with bated breath.
Here's the video of Celtics forward Kevin Garnett going at the neck of Knicks wing Bill Walker after New York beat Boston on Christmas Day.
Posted on: December 22, 2011 7:20 pm
By Matt Moore
We're less than a week away from the start of the 2011-2012 NBA season. After an interminable lockout and a rushed free agency period, here's a first look division-by-division preview at how the league is shaping up. We finish with the Atlantic Division.
Boston Celtics, 56-26, lost second round of Eastern Conference Playoffs to Heat, 4-1
New York Knicks, 42-40, lost first round of Eastern Confernce Playoffs to Celtics, 4-0
Philadelphia 76ers, 41-41, lost first round of Eastern Conference Playoffs to Heat, 4-1
New Jersey Nets, 24-58, NBA Lottery
Toronto Raptors, 22-60, NBA Lottery
Best team: Boston Celtics
One more year. That's what the Celtics get. One more year to rule the roost. The Celtics have one more ride left with this core and then it's a sail off into the sunset while the team tries to figure out how to rebuild around Rajon Rondo. But with the extra time off, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce should be in good shape to make one more run at a title in order to validate themselves as one of the truly great teams of this era. (Pierce is already questionable for Sunday's opener vs. the Knicks.)
Without a second title, the Celtics have to be considered a disappointment. Winning a championship is supposed to validate everything, yet the Celtics were supposed to win multiple titles when the Big 3 formed. Good enough for the rest of the league is not good enough for the Celtics. But injuries and then a slow fade has denied them, as well as improvements in star power for the Heat and Lakers. The Celtics are still a dominant team, built around defense and reliable offensive weaponry. Their veteran experience helps them dismantle younger teams and their toughness helps them outlast weaker, more explosive teams.
But there's no stopping age, and this team is at the end of its run. They've got once chance, with a phenomenally weak bench, tougher competition, and continuing injury issues to try and surprise everyone and go out on top. One more chance to ride off into the sunset. Saddle up.
Worst team: Toronto Raptors
The Nets are hanging above this spot by a thread. A thin thread. A very, very thin thread. They have questions at every position except point guard and coach Avery Johnson has not taken the team by storm. But Deron Williams and the possibility of getting Dwight Howard keeps them out of the bottom.
We know who the Raptors are. They don't rebound. They don't defend. They struggle with toughness. They don't have a star. They don't have any complete offensive players. But there's reason to believe they might shake this bottom spot. Dwane Casey comes from Dallas with a determination to change the culture defensively. DeMar DeRozan has the chance to take the next step. Ed Davis looks like a beast in the making. There are good players on this roster. Unfortunately, everything hinges on everyone's least favorite Raptor, Andrea Bargnani. The fans are done with Bargnani for his lack of defense and rebounding. Unless he comes out dominant in the paint, he'll continue to be the object of scorn. With no real center on the roster (Jamal Magloire is starting), it's hard to see any real improvement for the Raps. They'll likely be at the bottom of the division, but there's always a chance they can surprise.
Biggest surprise: New York Knicks
The Knicks are going to surprise one way or another. Because if they fail to secure a top-five pick this season, it will be a letdown. Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler can't make a top-four seed? And if they do make a top-four seed, it means that the Knicks have started to play defense, which is a stunner all its own.
The Knicks are at once a title contender and a non-factor in the Eastern Conference. It's just a matter of which side of the Hudson you're on. Melo is either going to be an MVP candidate, or fail miserably at point forward. Tyson Chandler is either going to make all the difference, or be an injury-prone non-factor who can't cover for all the other weaknesses. There's little in-between. But the Knicks in a full season together with a better combination of talent should take a step forward. This is a super-team that has not been built with a clean carving. It's rough, it's wild, and it operates for the most inventive head coach in the league. The Knicks may wind up exactly where they were last season.
But the ride should be full of surprises for someone, anyway.
Three Best Players: Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett, Amar'e Stoudemire
I couldn't win here. I left off Carmelo Anthony, which is going to drive Knicks fans batty. I included Amar'e Stoudemire, which is going to light the fires on half the people who read this. I excluded Ray Allen, the best pure shooter in the league. Paul Pierce isn't on here despite being the clutchest of the clutch. Kevin Garnett's on here, and some people think he's past the point of no return. Andre Iguodala is one of the best all-around players in the league and he's not even close to being on here. Deron Williams' team may win 20 games this season and he's on here. And Andrea Bargnani... no. Andrea Bargnani would not be on here. But the point is this division is long on players with top level ability. There are seven to eight names you can put on here as "the best."
Biggest Question: Can the Knicks gel?
Putting together a three-headed monster all in the frontcourt is a risky proposition. There's not a player to bind it all together. No creator. The absence of a viable point guard for the Knicks, at least until Baron Davis gets healthy, means that the frontcourt has to run an offense itself. It's like asking a plane to fly itself without navigation. The Knicks were up and down all season, including during the stretch with Melo and STAT, mostly on account of not knowing how to work with one another. But with one being a high-usage small forward and the other being a high-usage power forward, can they work together? Is this a combination of players that makes sense?
The Knicks can win with this group because stars win games. But can they win the big games, can they make the jump to an elite team? More importantly, can they establish an identity going forward? The Knicks have tossed together two of the best players in the game and then added one of the best big men in terms of rebounding and defense out there. But can talent alone spell greatness? And if not... what does that mean for Mike D'Antoni?
2012 Projected Standings:
1. Boston Celtics
2. New York Knicks
3. Philadelphia 76ers
4. New Jersey Nets
5. Toronto Raptors
Posted on: December 20, 2011 2:10 am
By Matt Moore
On Sunday, Kevin Garnett did what Kevin Garnett does. He unnecessarily taunted a European player in a preseason game in which his team won. See, look, video.
I know. Big shock.
And you can point to Bargnani having more points and rebounds, and more points-per-minute and rebounds-per-minute than Garnett, but of course, it was preseason, so that doesn't matter.
Garnett has been doing this so long, it's either a friendly, familiar tradition in your eyes or a worn-out act. It's Andrea Bargnani we're talking about here. Garnett doesn't need to pysch him out to get him to play badly or weakly. But for Garnett, it's not about that. He's not able to turn it off. And for some reason, we really love that.
It's probably because so many NBA players seem so disinterested all the time, versus Garnett, who genuinely seems to care about 75 percent of the time, down from 90 percent of the time two years ago. Garnett does coast through long stretches of the season, now, along with his Celtics teammates. And more and more often he's actually blown by and dunked on as age starts to diminish his impact. But mentally and emotionally, he's still the same lunatic he's always been, and he'll still be revered for that.
Posted on: December 13, 2011 8:16 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Most every player, coach and general manager is giving the stock answer when asked about how a shortened season and training camp affects their team.
"Everyone's got to do it," they'll say. Or something close to that.
But not Kevin Garnett. He's a bit angry. Via ESPN Boston:
"I think what you see, we're a rushed league right now," Garnett said. "Everybody is paying attention to the Chris Paul situation. But I don't know why everyone's shocked, because Stern has been pretty adamant about when he wants to do things and how he does things.
"Timing is everything. Chemistry is something that you don't just throw in the frying pan and mix it up with another something, then throw it on top of something, then fry it up and put it in a tortilla and put in a microwave, Heat it up and give it to you and expect it to taste good. You know? For those of you who can cook, y'all know what I'm talking about. If y'all can't cook, this doesn't concern you."
Most college students disagree, as putting anything in a tortilla makes it a quality meal. But that's beside the point. Garnett is frustrated with the hurried state of the NBA. I don't really know what else he wants, but that's the way it is. I suppose the season could start later and there could be fewer games, but that's less money for everyone and you know nobody is going to be for that.
Ray Allen and Paul Pierce feel the same way as their Big 3 teammate.
"I feel very rushed," Allen said. "I can't say that I've been particularly happy with the way things have transpired over the last two or three weeks, but I think everybody is in a situation where we just have to do the best with what we have. We have to adjust to the situation at hand, and it's a challenge for all of us. We're all going through it, so there's nothing more you can do about it but prepare yourself physically and mentally."
Pierce: "We talk about it. This is something that could have been avoided, especially when you see all the different trades falling through, the disorganization of rosters at this point. There probably should have been a period where you had a free-agent signing period and then training camp. Christmas Day was something that was really pushed amongst the players as a key day, and that's why we've rushed the way we've been rushing."
That just comes with the territory of a lockout shortened season though. There will be 66 games in a short amount of time and teams are going to pay the price. Fans will probably pay the price by having to watch bad basketball at times. In truth, some games might be sort of like a can of beans thrown in a pot mixed with Honey Nut Cheerios with a bit of cheese and cinnamon on top. In a tortilla.