Friday, December 28, 2012

Clippers 106 - Celtics 77 : Inconsistent Celtics Embarrassed in LA

The Clippers won their 15th straight game and improved on their best record in the NBA after blowing out the Boston Celtics last night. It was a blowout from the start as the Celtics came out flat and found themselves down 21-6 about mid way through the first quarter.

The Celtics who were coming off one of their biggest win of the year on Christmas, could not carry any momentum across country and let the Clippers walk all over them. If any one was using this as a measuring stick to see where the Celtics match up to the elite teams in the NBA, the Celtics definitely flunked that test.

They played awful defense letting the Clippers score 60 points by halftime. Also they had no answer for the Clippers reserves and sharp shooters. Matt Barnes actually was the games leading scorer with 21 points, hitting 5 of 9 from downtown. Also Jamal Crawford cemented himself as the front runner for 6th man of the year putting up 17 points and really slamming the door on any thoughts of a comeback in the second quarter.

At one point the Celtics were able to cut the lead to 4. Jason Terry and Courtney Lee hit rare three balls and it looked like the Celtics may have somewhat of a chance to make it a game. Crawford then went off, driving to the hole at ease and draining three pointers only he would dream of even taking. That really did it in for the C's and they never got the deficit after halftime to a respectable number.

Granted it was mainly garbage time by the time the fourth quarter started, it was a pitiful, embarrassing, shameful exposition by the Celtics. They managed to only score 10 points and had the bus started by the start of the quarter.

Usually this is where I would try and shed light on the good things the Celtics did in the game that may have been overshadowed by the loss. Yet today, I have nothing. Pierce, Garnett, and Rondo all had pedestrian games and everyone of the Celtics were a negative in plus/minus. The leader in the clubhouse was Jarvis Varnado who came in at -4.

Consistency has been a problem all year for the Celtics, who no longer can fall back on the 'working though early season problems' excuse to justify their play. The bottom line here is that the Celtics, right now, are not a championship contender. They simply don't have the ability to win against the elite teams in the NBA. They haven't been able to carry over momentum at any point this season and cant win more than 2 games in a row.

All this will need to be sorted out before we can seriously consider this team as a threat.  The return of Avery Bradley gains more importance as the losses pile up. He's no miracle worker but it could be the shot in the arm this team desperately needs.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Chris Wilcox out for 3-4 weeks due to thumb injury

Celtics coach Doc Rivers told the Boston Globe that center Chris Wilcox could miss up a month with sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb.

Wilcox sustained the injury last Wednesday night in Chicago against the Bulls while bracing his fall after taking a charge.
"Chris [Wilcox] is out; he's out for a while," Rivers said. "The report I got was three to four weeks. He'll be out."
Rivers went on to say that he will not be bringing up first round draft pick, Fab Melo. Despite Melo's 14 blocked shots in a recent NBDL game, he says he will not be playing for the Celtics anytime soon.

Instead, Celtics signed Jarvis Varnardo from the NBDL for frontcourt help. Varnardo, 24, averaged 14 points, 10 rebounds, and a league-leading four blocks for Sioux Falls of the NBDL.

Varnado is 6'9" and was the 41st overall pick in 2010 by the Heat but never played a for them. He isn't the tallest center but is able to block shots because of his athleticism and long wing-span. He currently holds the NCAA Division 1 record for most blocked shots in a season.

Celtics 93 - Nets 76: Celtics blowout Nets in Christmas showdown

The Celtics spoiled the Nets' first Christmas matchup in Brooklyn by blowing them out 93-76.

Nets started off the game red hot offensively and jumped out to an early 11-6 lead. But Celtics responded, and ended the first quarter with a two-point lead and took over in the second. Celtics put together the best offensive quarter of the season in which they scored 34 points and jumped out to an 56-42 halftime lead.

Pierce and Rondo, both led the way but switched roles for Christmas, as Rondo scored a game-high 19 points and Pierce dished out a game-high 10 assists.

The Nets also saw a great performance come from the bench of the Celtics as they put up a season's best 43 points, led by Sullinger's 16 and Green's 15 points.
"We moved the ball; we rebounded the ball," Rondo said. "They beat us pretty bad on the glass, so tonight we did an exceptional job on the glass, taking care of the offensive rebounds, and we got stops"
Celtics outrebounded the Nets 41-36. Garnett led the team with 10 boards and Sullinger grabbed seven.
"It was good to get off to this start. It was good to finally play from start to finish, especially with the way we've been playing against Brooklyn," Pierce said. "So it was a well-balanced game, but I'm happy with the start of the game." 
Things got chippy early in the fourth after Nets' forward Gerald Wallace was fouled and appeared to hold onto Garnett's uniform to balance himself and not fall. But Wallace then continued to hold onto Garnett's shorts as Garnett tried to push himself free. The altercation led to technical fouls for the two, along with Blatche and Lee. Garnett says he asked Wallace what he was doing but never got a response.
"I don't know where in America you can [yank] somebody's pants off, or shorts off. I don't know what the hell was going on," Garnett said.
Celtics made life easier for themselves because of two things: rebounding and lack of turnovers. Nets were outrebounded (which almost never happens) and Celtics forced 20 Brooklyn turnovers while they managed to only turn the ball over 10 times against the Nets. They also outscored Brooklyn in the paint, 46-34. That is something I would love to see more often.

Next stop on the road trip will be against the red hot Clippers, Thursday night in Los Angeles. Clippers are currently on a 14-game winning streak.


Jared Sullinger was the player of the game. His 16 points and seven rebounds set the tone off the bench. Sullinger is someone the Celtics are going to need to be productive on this road trip. Not only because of his youth, but because without Wilcox (out for  3-4 weeks), the C's are down another rebounder... The Celtics' 21-point lead against the Brooklyn was the biggest lead they had all game. The Celtics have not loss a game since 2006 when leading an opponent by 19 points or more.

Josue Pavon
twitter: @Joe_Sway10

Friday, December 21, 2012

Celtics 103 - Cavs 91: Pierce's 40 points end Celtics' losing streak

As he continues his legacy, inching closer to Havlicek in the Celtics record book, Paul Pierce's takeover games may happen less often than they did in the past, but they still happen.

Pierce scored 40 points against the Cavs as the Celtics beat Cleveland 103-91, Wednesday night at the Garden.

Pierce carried his teammates in the second half by scoring 17 points in the third quarter and lead a fourth quarter run to put away the Cavs, scoring eight points on a 12-3 run. He also knocked down six threes throughout the game and could not be slowed down by Cleveland.
"I think when you play like that it can be contagious," Pierce said. "Offensively, guys knocking down shots, and then other guys getting up in there and defending. Things can definitely be contagious. I know I think everybody definitely wanted to get off this slide we're on, so it's a good win, it's a start."
Fans of the Garden gave Pierce a standing ovation as exited the game. At age 35, Pierce is the oldest player in Celtics history to score 40 points in a regulation game.

Pierce has been hot lately. In the past three games, Pierce is 26 for 39 and has been shooting the ball very well. Without Pierce's great scoring, Celtics may have slipped below .500 if they had lost to the Cavs.

Unfortunately for the Celitcs, the bench didn't provide much of a lift. Doc Rivers was forced to play Garnett, Pierce and Terry 30-plus minutes in order to not let the game slip away. Courtney Lee led the bench in scoring with six points to go with his three turnovers, and Jeff Green scored three points and had one rebound.
"Honestly our bench didn't give us a lift," Rivers said. "We have to get better. We had a 20-point lead, you sub in, and I think guys think when you have that lead it's scoring time now. And it's really defense time; you've got to continue to get stops. Then you can score. And I thought we short-cutted that part of it."
Terry, who returned to the starting lineup, scored 15 points and helped score points alongside Rondo, who had 20 points to go with his eight assits.

Kyrie Irving scored 22 points for the Cavs, and his teammate Zeller, the rookie out of North Carolina, scored 20. The Cavs' Anderson Varejao, the league's leading rebounder, sat out because of a bruised right knee. Without Varejao, Rondo was able to get in the paint and score with ease.

Celtics' next game is Friday, when they host the Milwaukee Bucks; a team that has been tough for the C's and has beaten them twice this season.


Jason Collins started in his first game of season for the Celtics, and by the end of the night he earned himself the game ball. Pierce gave him the game ball after the game as a reward for his hard work in the paint. Although he scored 1 point, grabbed a rebound and made one steal and fouled six times, that's not why Pierce appreciated his play. It's the things he does that you won't see in the stat sheet that the Celtics apprecaite. I love the idea of putting him in the starting lineup because he's a big body who is going to slow down scoring in the paint. He isn't a player who is going to get a lot of blocks. He will definitely get more fouls than blocks throughout a game but he can stop a player from scoring layups. Even if it means sending a player to the free throw line, Collins relieves Garnett from having to cover virtually every big man we play this season. Bass has been disappointing defensively (especially pick-and-roll defense) and when it comes to his offense, his bread and butter, there hasn't been any consistency. Moving Bass to the bench will hopefully spark his offense.

Josue Pavon

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Bulls 100 - Celtics 89 : Celtics Embarrassed, Lose 3rd Straight

The Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said it best after the embarrassing loss to the Chicago Bulls last night. After watching his team sleep walk through the first three quarters and then totally lay down in the fourth he frankly addressed the media on the current state of the Celtics simply saying, "This team is not a good team right now."

The Celtics have lost three straight games and are now 12-12 on the season. They haven't won more than two games in a row all year. Their defense has been mediocre all season and the bench, which was touted as one of the best second units ever put together in the Big Three Era, has been underwhelming at best.  Doc's just looking at the facts, and bottom line the Celtics are under performing as a group in the first 24 games of the year. 

The Celtics went down early by double digits in the second quarter  and did show some life fighting back to make the game close at the end of the half and for the majority of the third quarter. Going in to the fourth quarter the Celtics were only down nine in what was a manageable deficit but the Celtics apparently had no aspiration to fight and claw their way to a win. 

All night they had no answer for the Bulls big men down low. Joakim Noah had his 2nd career triple double, while Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson both had double digit points. This has been a trend all year for the Celtics. However, in the fourth quarter the Celtics and in particular Rajon Rondo decided not to defend the outside and let Nate Robinson go nuts putting up 18 and11 in the fourth quarter. 

The Celtics went down big in the fourth as Robinson and the Bulls opened the lead to 20 points and the Celtics limped back into the locker room with their tails in between their legs. 

The Celtics bench had 16 points combined, outscored by Nate Robinson alone.  Pierce and Garnet both  had lack luster forgettable performance. Jason Terry had only 2 points for the game and was a -18 when out on the floor. Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger were a combine 1-12.  

Bright spot for the C's after this one was Rajon Rondo's shooting. He was hitting his mid range jumpers last night and ended the game with 23 points. This is something that Rondo should make an effort to do more.  If he can score more while still running the offense and getting others involved, lets just say the season could quickly turn around. 

In other good news, Avery Bradley is nearing closer to a return as he has been participating in full contact practice. Every Celtics fan is begging for Bradley to return as soon as possible and see what his affect on this lineup will be. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Rockets 101 - Celtics 89: Rockets knock off Celtics

For the second game in a row, the Celtics relied on their captain to save the day in the fourth quarter, but he came up short in Houston and the Celtics dropped the first game of their three-game road trip. 

With less than five minutes to go in the game, Rockets' James Harden hit a deep three to stretch the lead to eight points and the Celtics simply had nothing left.

Harden led his team with 21 points, five assists and five rebounds. Greg Smith, a reserve for Houston, chipped in for 20 points, six rebounds, and three blocks as the Rockets put together a run mid-way through the fourth quarter to seal the win against Boston.

Although the lead was cut to five in the fourth quarter, the Celtics struggled to find their offense. Despite the Rockets' 17-4 lead early in the first quarter, the C's were able to come back from the early deficit and actually lead at halftime by two points. But in third quarter, it was all Houston.

"In the third quarter, I don't think we stopped them any time they came down the court," Garnett said. "We needed to create some kind of defensive consistency, and we just weren't able to do that. In the second half, Houston got into a rhythm that was undeniable"
The Rockets offense outscored Boston 32-25 in the third quarter. And even though Rockets only had a five point lead in the fourth, Celtics looked fatigued from playing catch up the entire game. The five point deficit they faced going into the fourth turned to 14 within the last three minutes of the game.

The Celtics struggled offensively for much of the night. Pierce ended the game with 18 points but needed 18 field goal attempts to get there. Rondo scored 15 points to go with his 13 assists and Garnett pitched in with 14 points.

"We had some good runs but I never felt like we were going to win the game tonight," coach Rivers said. "I don't know why and I'm disappointed in the loss"

It doesn't get easier for the Celtics, in fact, it gets harder. Celtics continue their road trip tomorrow night in San Antonio to face the Spurs.

Side Note:

While the Rockets dribbled out the clock at the end of their 101-89 victory over the Celtics, Kevin Garnett headed over to center court and shared a long and emotional embrace with Houston coach Kevin McHale. McHale rejoined the Rockets six days ago after his 23-year-old daughter, Alexandra Sasha McHale died on November 24th of lupus-related complications.

Garnett, who was drafted by McHale when he was the Minnestoa Timberwolves' General Manager hugged and shared a few words. McHale's eyes began to fill up with tears after the powerful hug. It was a very emotional moment between the two. A number of Celtics players formed a line to say a few words to McHale along with Garnett. Coach McHale spoke briefly about KG in the locker room:

"KG and I go way back. There will always be a special place in my heart for Kevin," McHale said.

Josue Pavon

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Celtics 117 - Mavericks 115 - Celts Hold On in 2OT

The Celtics were able to hold on to an ugly win last night against the "Dirk-less" Dallas Mavericks last night. It took the double overtime but the Celtics led by their Captain, Paul Pierce's 34 points. 

Even though the Celtics blew two chances at the end of regulation and the first overtime to hit a last second shot to win the game, they outlasted the Mav's in what was an ugly win in the Garden. 
It was an all around grind it out type of game, but the Celtics relied heavily on their captain to produce in crunch time. Pierce hit a three at the beginning on the second overtime, and the celtics never looked back. 

Pierce put up his highest point total of the season, and is the first Celtic all year to score 30+ points. Also Pierce broke the 23,000 point barrier  for his career. He is only 3,384 behind Havlicek for the Celtics all time scoring record.

 Rondo was one rebound away from another triple-double scoring 16 points and adding 15 assists and 9 rebounds.  He played 52 minutes last night and had the chance to end it in regulation, but was shut down by Derrek Fisher.

Jeff Green had a tremendus game showing that he has slid nicely into his role off the bench and had become a consitant scoring threat. He had 15 points last night, and seems to be developing a great chemistry with Rajon Rondo.

It was a tough game, but the Celtics were able to grind it out and are now 12-9 on the season.

-Jason Terry faced his old squad but wasn't able to shake his shooting struggles.  He shot 3-10 but did end with 10 points.

-Somehow the Mavericks were competitive last night even though the committed 27 turnovers. It probably had something to do with the 60 points in the paint they put up.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Rivers: Bradley not close to Returning

While reports have suggested that Avery Bradley is close to returning to practice, coach Rivers is less optimistic.

Bradley, who was a catalyst in turning the Celtics around last season, continues to rehabilitate from double shoulder surgery. Coach Rivers was asked Thursday morning on WEEI 93.7 FM's Dennis & Callahan if there is a timetable set for Bradley's return.
"I've seen him do skeleton offense," said coach Rivers. "That's with no defense- and he looked fine, he moves fine. His legs look great, that's because they didn't get injured. Having said that, I don't know. I heard yesterday two to three weeks before he practices again, so I don't know. I still think he's a ways away" 
During an interview on  The Big Show, GM Danny Ainge chimed in on the topic and said that he hopes to see Bradley back on the floor during Celtics' California road trip that starts after the team travels to Brooklyn for their Christmas day matinee against the Nets. Ainge hopes to see Bradley try one or two games in California and hopes he will be available to make the trip.

The Celtics have been cautious with Bradley's recovery, but he believes he's closer to returning sooner rather than later.
"Doc kind of stays out of [when I would return]," Bradley said. "It's really up to the trainers and the strength and condition coaches and me, to see how I feel. It's hard for him to determine because I'm such a tough guy and I want to get out there. They put me through a lot of tests and I sometimes lie to them because I want to be back. They're just protecting me and I want to protect myself because when I come back I want to have no setbacks."
Celtics start their California road trip in Los Angeles to play against the Clippers, December 27th followed by Golden State on the 29th and conclude in Sacramento on the 30th.

Josue Pavon

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Boston Celtics Christmas Wish List : Possible Trade Targets

You could imagine Celtics' GM Danny Ainge's annual letter for Santa may look something like this:

Dear Santa,  
I have been a very good GM this year. At the beginning of the year, I had the chance to blow up my teams nucleus and begin a long and trying rebuilding process. I could have traded away Paul Pierce, who has dedicated his whole career to the Celtics, to stock pile draft picks. I even could have traded Ray Allen for a couple younger players, but I didn't. I was very nice and charitable this off season, and gave a lot of money to Jeff Green, who was recovering from a heart surgery, to come back and play for the Celtics. I truly hope all of these deeds don't go unnoticed by you and your elves. This year for Christmas, I want one thing only. A big man that can play center, rebound on both ends of the floor, and give my team a little ruggedness that could help us in the playoff run. I hope I'm not asking for too much, but it would be great if he wasn't inept on the offensive end too.  A little scoring never hurt, right?  
Sincerely,Danny Ainge 
P.S. Please deliver to the TD Garden on Causeway Street, right underneath the basket.  

I think Danny's sentiments are probably backed up by the rest of the Celtics Brass, coaching staff and fans.  The Celtics are 10- 8 on this young season that has been filled with ups and downs. There has only been two consistent qualities that the Celtics have demonstrated every time they step on the court. Rajon Rondo will have 10+ assists. Also the Celtics will get out rebounded and outplayed in the low post.

So Ainge is right, the next target on the Celtic's radar needs to be a dominating presence down low. The price of these additions may be costly. Bottom line is the Celtics are stock piled at the guard position, so it's not hard to believe Danny may pull the trigger on sending a promising young guard away...(ahem..Avery Bradley..cough) if the price is right.
Here's a list of possible big men on the trade block the Celtics could be after in the upcoming months.

Four Deals Avery Bradley Would HAVE To Be Apart Of . 

1. Anderson Varejao
It pains me to say this because he is one of the least likable players in the NBA, but is there another person in the NBA that would give the Celtics EXACTLY what they need, more than Varejao? The answer is a resounding NO.

He has been an absolute beast this year. He is scoring and rebounding at an astounding pace. The guy has also been able to continue to agitate the opponent, which is exactly what the Celtics need at this point. Defensively, he is able to guard the other teams 4 or 5, which would give Garnett a bunch of flexibility on that end.

And what has been the Celtic's biggest problem all year, and even going back to last year? OFFENSIVE REBOUNDING.  They haven't been able to get second chance points for themselves, and they consistently give teams second, third, and fourth opportunities. Varejao, is the answer to everything the Celtics are failing to do in the post.

Now here's the big setback. I think the Cavs would be willing to trade him if the deal is right, but the asking price would be extremely steep. Avery Bradley would definitely have to be involved, along with a Brandon Bass/ Courtney Lee type. I would most certainly pull the trigger on this deal, just as long as the Cav's aren't insisting on including Jared Sullinger in the deal. I understand the asking price is step, but that's a little too much for a Varejao, who has had recent knee issues.

2. DeMarcus Cousins
It's known that 'Boogie' Cousins has been volatile to say the least in his short stint in the NBA, but he has produced. Cousins is playing on an awful team that seems to have depth in the 4/5 department.

They just drafted Thomas Robinson out of Kansas, and even though he has struggled a little early on this season that could be contributed to lack of minutes on the floor. If the Kings have plans on making him a focal point of their team, which I would assume they would since they drafted him 5th overall in last year's draft, Cousins would be expendable. Also considering the fact that he may have worn out his welcome quickly with all his off court and on court nonsense.

Cousins could help in a number of ways with rebounding and scoring in the low post. Also, what better place for him to develop and lose his childish ways than Boston, a team full of veterans. If KG gets a chance to mentor the budding superstar, it could be the save of Cousins' NBA career.

Draft picks would be key for the Kings, so a third team may need to be involved but this is certainly a trade that Danny should consider. Best part, Cousins is signed for two more years, on his rookie contract, which is chump change.

3. Al Jefferson/Paul Millsap

How great would it be to have Big Al back in Boston, and see him play on the same squad as Kevin Garnett. I think Tommy Hienson may have a heart attack.

Here's the facts, the Jazz right now are a mediocre team that has 4 legitimate starting big men. Jefferson, Millsap, Derrick Favors, and Enes Kanter are all fighting for playing time. It seems that the Jazz are leaning towards building around Favors and Kanter. If Danny could swing a deal to get Jefferson or Millsap it would be a huge win for the Celtics.

Salaries would be tough to match up with Jefferson, who is making 15 mil this year, but Millsap is only making around 8 mil this year. Both are in the last year of their contract so it would be a rental, which may benefit both teams. The Jazz would get Bradley and what ever else is included in the deal, instead of nothing when they both walk in free agency, and it may lower the cost that the Celtics would have to give up.

Both guys are beasts on the glass. Jefferson has shown more of a finesse low post game and is averaging 17 and 10. Milsap is no scrub either though putting up 14 and 8. 

4. Marcin Gortat 
The Phoenix Sun's big man has been vocal about his want out of Arizona.  He is having a good year, even though if you listen to him, it's Alvin Gentry's fault for not using him right. Gortat brings everything to the table that the Celtics desperately need. Rebounding, size, and low post scoring.

However, his price tag may be around the same as Varejao and Cousins, but I'm not sure if he is on the same playing field. He may be the 'most available' of the three, but the asking price is right around the same.

This would have to be a last minute desperation move, because of the high asking price and the Celtics would need to pay him the remainder of his contract at about 14 mill over the next 2 years.

Since he has left Orlando, he has shown he can be a legitimate Center in the NBA. Danny may have a tough decision on his hands, but if the Celtics continue to struggle on the glass it may force his hand.

Deals Without Sending Avery Bradley Away. 

1. JJ Hickson
 Portland's center has produced alongside LaMarcus Aldridge this season. The Blazers took a flyer on the former Cav, and signed him to a 1 year deal.  Hickson has put up 11 and 10 this year, and is having a career year. Most likely if the Blazers continue to struggle they may be willing to give him up for a draft pick. 

He's young, can rebound, and you wouldn't have to break the bank to get him.  This deal may make the most sense if Ainge doesn't want to part ways with Avery Bradley.  It's not the most eye popping move but Hickson could certainly contribute right away, and be a significant upgrade to the Celtics. 

2. Carl Landry 
Landry has been on the Celtics radar for a while now. He's a grinder who is always in the right place. He has a knack for creating second chance opportunities. He's averaging 7 rpg but 4 of those are coming on the offensive glass on a nightly basis. Landry is 6'9 so Garnett would continue to play the 5, but Landry can rebound with the best of them. 

Golden State has David Lee, Andrew Bogut , and rookie Festus Ezeli and have looked like a bottom tier playoff team in the West. Landry could be a piece they look to deal to help with whatever their major need is come trade deadline if they are still in the hunt.

3. Jason Maxiell 
Maxiell is an undersized power forward, but has always seemed to be a factor on the glass.  He's averaging 6.6 rebounds per game, which isn't anything to write home about but still could help.  He is basically a replication of Brandon Bass, with out a jumper but more of a low post presence.  Maxiell will be cheap and may be worth taking a flyer on.

-Sean Dutra

Get at me on Twitter  @seandutra

Celtics 104 - Timberwolves 94: Celtics Outplay Timberwolves in second Half

Kevin Garnett reminded the Timberwolves last night why he's still The Big Ticket. 

Garnett led the way by putting up a double-double in Celtics' 104-94 victory over Minnesota. Garnett grabbed 10 rebounds to go with 18 points and Rajon Rondo put together a double-double of his own, scoring 17 points to go with 11 assists.

Rondo, returning from his 2-game suspension/Mexican vacation, handled the ball well in the second half and started a brand new double-digit assist streak. Celtics committed ten first half turnovers and couldn't find a rhythm offensively.

Kevin Love's 12 points and eight rebounds gave Minnesota a 51-47 lead at halftime. He finished the game with 19 points and 13 boards.

In the second half, the C's were on fire. Bass, who couldn't buy a basket in the first half, scored ten points in third quarter. Rondo scored 13 points in the second half and balanced the scoring for his teammates effectively, as the Celtics closed the door on the Timberwolves in the fourth quarter. All five starters scored in double figures.
"You can feel it starting to come," said coach Rivers. "It's not here but it's coming and you feel that. We've just got to push through. It's going to be a great month for us."
Garnett, who hasn't lost against his former team since being traded to Boston in 2007 and always puts up big numbers when playing Minnesota, says that Celtics' rebounding is the biggest concern. And although he sees more effort in his teammates, their is still a lot of work to do.
"I think what you see here is that we as a team are trying to be better at rebounding," said Garnett. "Doc's been on our [butts] about giving up offensive rebounds, playing tougher, establishing something. Obviously, being called soft is not something that you want to be called."
Celtics' will start their back-to-back against Philadelphia this Friday night in Philly followed by a rematch at The Garden.


The third quarter seems the be the story of the 2012-13 Celtics so far. In all ten wins of the season, the C's have either had a steady lead going into the fourth quarter or trailing their opponent by no more than three points. They look mentally fragile. Because of a solid third quarter, the C's were able to grab a seven-point lead against the Timberwolves and felt comfortable going into the fourth quater. But when that isn't the case after the third quarter, the C's look very uneasy...
Rebounding was tested last night against one of the best rebounders in the league in Kevin Love. Sullinger continues to be the Celtics' most effective rebounder this season. He grabbed seven to go wit his seven points alongside Wilcox who grabbed five and scored five off the bench. Heck, even Bass was crashing the boards last night, he had 8. C's outrebounded Minnesota 45-41. I know, it's only plus four but if they could somehow grab 45 rebounds every night, Doc may take back last week's comments about his team being soft.

Josue Pavon

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Celtics Considering Erick Dampier

According to sources, the Celtics are interested in free agent Erick Dampier. Celtics reportedly will be bringing Dampier in "for a look" to see where he can fit in with the team.

It's no secret that the Celtics need a big man who can rebound and block shots to help their interior defense. And it looks like it's a center they're looking for. Although Kenyon Martin has been rumored to be a good big man option for the Celtics, he isn't a center.

It's slim pickings in the free agency pool but I don't think the C's should consider Dampier as an option to fill in the last roster spot. There's nothing he can do that other players on the roster can't. Erick Damiper? He's pretty much Jason Collins' older brother.

Dampier, 37, averaged 0.1 points (never seen this before) and 1.7 rebounds per game last season in 15 games with the Atlanta Hawks.

Friday, November 30, 2012

No Rondo Just Might be What the 'Doc' Has Ordered

It really does not get any worst once your coach calls your team ‘soft’. Not only did Doc say it when talking to the media, he said it in the locker room, right to his team's face. 

So if the message was not clear 48 hours ago, the league has sent down a two-game suspension to your floor leader, and with back to back games on the plate starting tonight, it’s time to wake up and get serious right about now.

If you can take away anything from what happened Wednesday night vs. Brooklyn, it should be these things: these dudes are not the same team from Jersey that Boston has been beating up on the last few years. Two, there should always be a plan B when Rondo is not on the floor, and three, when your general calls you out? You better be ready to respond and respond big if you are wearing Celtic green!

Even though watching Rondo put Mr. Kardashian on his ass was great to watch, I expected a whole different ball game in the second half vs. the Nets. We saw good intensity for about four to five minutes and then…nothing.

I personally didn’t think much of this “fight” that so many thought was so bad. For one, I didn’t see any punches thrown. For my hockey fans, you know this little grab fest doesn't even come close to what should be considered an actual altercation. If anyone thought the streak was a distraction, you can throw that out the window, because Rajon thought about his teammate first instead of himself in that regard. You got to love the fact he could throw down with anyone, if he has to. Obviously if this were March or April, it would be more detrimental to the team, but when you are still searching for your identity this early, its more growing pains than anything else. Danny is not all concerned about his all-star point guard in the least bit.

"I believe Rondo is maturing all the time," said Ainge. "I love Rondo's emotion. He's got to learn, and I think that he is learning and I'm not worried about Rondo as others might be."
As for the suspension of two games handed down by Mr. Stu Jackson, Danny shared his feelings on the decision and if the punishment fit the crime.
"Maybe a little bit excessive in my mind. I think that it escalated into the crowd. I think that's probably part of it, but anyways, it's disappointing. It's frustrating."
For the record there still a lot of games left to start a new assists streak, and the kind of passer Rajon is, I don’t see why this wouldn't be possible, especially if the C’s get on the right rack going forward.

 Doc clearly was as vocal as I have ever heard him in the last few days. From the postgame Wednesday night, to Thursday when he made his weekly appearance on 93.7FM WEEI speaking on the fight, he also discussed his feelings on the Celtics 8-7 start. Rondo went as far as stating his disappointment in Jeff Green’s performance thus far, indicating it’s up to both the team and player to get him back on track. After going 1 of 12 in the last two games, Jeff is averaging only 7.7 points per game.

"I know he's better and I know he can be better," Rivers said Thursday morning. "It's got to be some of what we're doing and then some of what he's doing. I have to figure out whatever we're not doing as a staff and a team right, we got to fix that and then whatever Jeff's not doing he's got to fix that."
Given the Celtics’ uninspired and uneven play to start the season, Rivers labeled his team as “soft.” Despite Rondo’s efforts for sticking up for his teammates, that was not the toughness coach had in mind.
"I don't know if I want to rally around my 6-foot guard being the enforcer. Honestly," said Rivers. "That's nice, but, at the end of the day, if that's the threat you're sending..."
It’s clear that this type of toughness Doc is looking for is beyond pushing and talking, it's the team unity overall that has sorely been lacking all season long and it has their coach frustrated. Who can blame him? Things could be worst, it is only November. Then again tomorrow is December 1st. 

In Heine sight, only a few games come to mind as truly great wins this season. The game vs. the Bulls in Chicago is a great example. The defense was able to contain the Celtic killer Luol Deng when it came to the fourth quarter. We can’t forget a week ago against OKC at home. The C’s showed what kind of team they can be when there is an overall balance on both ends of the court. But realistically, Boston barely beat Washington (1-12) twice and a young Magic team on Sunday and they needed an extra five minutes to finally but them away. We could be looking at a possible 5-10 record if you think about it.

What Rivers does not need is one “enforcer” instead he needs the team to enforce as one. It starts with what has been the staple of the Celtics the last five years…DEFENSE! From rebounding, to committing to team defense and playing gritty, hard nosed basketball. We all assumed the 10 new guys on this squad could score, but we never took into account if they play in Doc’s system when it came to actually buying in and trusting that good things will happen if you play defense the right way. We figured if Doc could get the former shooter known now as # 20 to play some D, then he could get anyone to commit to the system. But so far it is easier said then done.

The Celtics were built to have the sort of overall depth this season to win games even when key guys had reduced workloads. If this team’s “chemistry” is as good as we have been hearing about off the court and in practice, it’s time to come together starting tonight and put together some wins. I would say rest KG and Pierce for the next two games, but who knows what Mr. Stern would have in mind as punishment. February 2014 can’t come soon enough folks.

As for Doc, he knows there is no better time than right now to send his message loud and clear:
"I have to prepare them better. They have to come ready. They have to come with the right intentions, the right focus... but you can't wait for it. You've got to do it now."
Sounds like the perfect doctor's note if you ask me.

Joel Pavón

Celtics recall Joseph from D-Leauge

Celtics rookie forward Kris Joseph was recalled Friday from the Maine Red Claws of the D-League.

Due to Rajon Rondo's suspension, along with Jeff Green and Chris Wilcox being questionable for tonight's game against the Portland Trailblazers, Joseph has been added to the roster in order to provide depth.

Celtics face a back-to-back this weekend. They will travel down to Milwaukee tomorrow night to face the Bucks after hosting Portland tonight at the Garden.

If Green and Wilcox cannot go tonight, Celtics will only have 10 healthy players. Joseph will most likely provide relief for Pierce at the small forward spot. Especially if Green is unavailable.

In his stint with the Red Claws, Joseph is playing well averaging 25.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists a game.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Rondo Suspended Two Games for Fight

Rajon Rondo will be out of uniform for the Celtics the next two games as a result from his altercation with Kris Humprhries last night. 

The Celtics will be without their starting point guard against Portland on Friday night and against the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday. 

Could be worse for the Celtics and Rajon, but two games is on the lighter side of what was predicted for their star player. 

Last night, Rondo got into it with Kris Humphries after watching the Nets forward foul Kevin Garnett to the ground. The altercation led into the stands and resulted in  Rondo, Humphries, and Nets forward Gerald Wallace to be escorted to the locker rooms. 

Before learning of his suspension today , Rondo spoke to reporters about last nights brawl. 

"That's the only thing about it. But I was sticking up for my teammates. I didn't try to start a fight. I'm not trying to be a bully. I just didn't think the play was fair that he made on Kevin, that's all."

Nets 95 - Celtics 83: Fight Leads to Ugly Loss

For all the spectacular plays and immense talent Rajon Rondo brings to the table, we saw last night his biggest flaw co me to life. Rondo has been knocked for his inability to control his emotions on the court, and that was evident last night midway through the second quarter. 

After watching Kris Humpries' flagrant foul on Kevin Garnett, Rondo immediately shoved Humphries leading to an altercation that ended with a pile of Nets and Celtics players in the stands. 

As awesome as it was to see Rajon Rondo basically man handle Mr. Kardashian, it was totally uncalled for in what was a huge division game last night. 

The fight landed Rondo in the locker room the rest of the night, and left the rest of the Celtics team looking for answers the remainder of the game. 

Overall it was a piss poor effort last night from the C's. They let the Nets push them around all night, except for the 30 seconds that Rondo was doing the pushing.

The performance was so unsettling that it led to some pretty honest and harsh comments from their coach Doc Rivers after the game. 
"We’re a soft team right now; we have no toughness. And that stuff’s not toughness. All that stuff, that’s not toughness.”
All the focus from last nights game is on the fight, as it should be, but there are much bigger problems for this Celtics team other than their petulant, yet outstanding point guards emotional issues.

Last night, the Celtics lost the lead in the first quarter and were not able to overcome timely shooting from the Brooklyn Nets. 
They especially had no answer for Jerry Stackhouse, (yes that's right he still plays in the NBA) who was deadly from the corner and finished the game with 17 points going 5-6 from downtown. 

Not only did the Celtics let Stackhouse go off but they also couldn't stop the Nets from  utilizing one of the weakest benches, to finish off the Celtics. Andray Blatche, and Reggie Evans were beasts on the glass and were constantly giving the Celtics headaches. Blatche ended the game with 17 points and 13 boards, while Evans exploded offensively (for him anyways) for 5 points and 10 boards. 

With everything seemingly going right for Brooklyn, the Celtics were struggling to find anyone willing to step up. Pierce struggled all game to find his rhythm all night long, however was able to fill up his stat line in garbage time.  Garnett was really only effective when either Humphries or Lopez were guarding him. However, Humphries was ejected which may have actually helped the Nets, and Lopez only saw 18 minutes due to foul trouble.

You know its a bad night when Tommy is having a tough time choosing his Tommy Award Winner...

The only bright spot for the Celtics may have been Jason Terry who was trying to spark a comeback at the start of the fourth quarter.  He finished with 13 points and was agressive on both ends of the court. 
The Celtics cannot continue to play like this, especially in Atlantic Division games, if they have any aspirations of coming out of the East. 

The 'Quote of the Night' comes form the Coach Doc Rivers, who so eloquently was able to sum this performance up in a few sentences. 
"Kevin, Paul, and Rondo and a few other guys, its almost as they understand the Jersey there wearing, adn the Pride that comes with it. Everyone else, its almost like they think because they put the jersey on that they are something. You gotta earn it here, and you gotta understand when we play that every team is attacking you and its a big game for them.  What I saw tonight was Brooklyn looked at this as a huge game, they wanna make the playoffs this year. They wanna win the division. They've struggled with us for how many years? And we just showed up to play some basketball. Thats what  I saw. "

We saw it to Doc, we all saw it.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Celtics 116 - Magic 110 (OT): Just finding a way to win

The Celtics held off the Magic Sunday night in a game with two very different halves. After securing a ten-point lead going into the locker room, the Celtics were met with a Magic backcourt that found their stroke from behind the arc.

With the help of some costly turnovers and miscues by the Magic, the veteran-led Celtics ground out their second straight win and six consecutive against Orlando.

Paul Pierce ended the game with 23 points and atoned for missing a game winning shot in regulation by nailing a top of the key three-pointer to seal the overtime victory, 116-110. The Celtics did not play their strongest defensive game but with this type of victory, confidence is definitely growing.
"That's what it's all about," he [Pierce] said. "Finding a way to win. Not feeling sorry for ourselves late about giving up a pretty good lead. And just finding a way to grind it out. And that's what we did."
Leading the green shirts with 24 points and ten boards, Kevin Garnett provided the much needed spark to take the lead back in the fourth, scoring 8 points all off of Rajon Rondo assists in the final five minutes of regulation after the Celtics had fallen behind 97-91.

Rondo ended the night one rebound shy of a triple-double, scoring 15 points and added 16 helpers which was good enough to see him tied with John Stockton with 37 games in a row with 10 or more assists.

J.J. Reddick and Jamer Nelson scored 21 and 20 respectively off of a combined 6-14 shooting from three land. Nelson scored 17 of those points in the second half and overtime period only to watch his last ditch three miss as the Celtics sealed the victory with Kevin Garnett connecting on one of his two foul shots after Nelson fouled to stop the clock.
"We had our chances. We definitely had our chances in overtime," Reddick said. "We had a couple of bad possessions offensively. We'll learn from that... You can talk about experience or execution. They just executed better than us in the end"
 Nelson's burst of offensive production was not without circumstance as he took advantage of Leandro Barbosa who came in after Rondo got his fourth foul. Although outmatched defensively, Barbosa once again provided some much needed offense off the bench, scoring 11 points in his first three minutes of play. Other bench players were not so productive, as Jeff Green missed all seven of his shots in his 20 minutes of play after dropping 17 on the Thunder in the previous game. Former Celtics Glen "Big Baby" Davis finished with 15 points and 7 boards.

Though they still have several kinks to work out on the defensive end during their days off from game action, Garnett says he likes where his team is right now.
"We're a defensive team that can score the basketball," Garnett said. "We always have been. As long as Doc's going to be here, that's how it's going to be"
The Celtics return home on Wednesday for a pair of home games, beginning with Brooklyn.

Notes: After providing some cardiac activity with their defensive struggles, it's these types of grind-it-out, find-a-way wins that the Celtics will look back on later in the season when a must-win is on the line. The confidence is building in the Garden and any game within reach if Doc Rivers is calling the shots. Let's hope they can avenge a terrible loss Wednesday night and prove they can play big when needed.

-Sean Heenehan

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Celtics 108 - Thunder 100: Pierce leads Celtics over Thunder

Paul Pierce scored 22 of his 27 points in the second half to lead the Celtics to a 108-100 victory Friday night at the Garden.

The Celtics snapped a two game losing streak by beating Oklahoma City and got an early lift from the bench, a lift that would carry on throughout the game. Jeff Green led the way for the reserves, he scored 17 points and got help from Sullinger, who scored eight and grabbed four rebounds.

"It's big for us," said Pierce. "This is a gut-check type of a win, a 'look yourself in the mirror' type game... I know we're capable of playing against quality opponents.''
Celtics extended a halftime three point lead to a 14-point fourth quarter lead due to a big third quarter. Pierce scored ten and Green scored 9 in the third. Although the C's had a big lead in the fourth, the Thunder managed to cut the lead to three by the end of the fourth.

Kevin Durant, who finished the game with 29 points for Oklahoma, missed a cruicial three pointer with under two minutes to go that would have tied the game.
"Oh, man, it felt good." said Durant. "It left my hand, it was online. I'd take that shot 10 out of 10 times. I shot it well. Unfortunately, it just bounced out."
Russell Westbrook finished the game with 26 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds for the Thunder, who lost for just the second time in their last 10 games.
"It's great to beat Oklahoma," said Coach Rivers. "They were in the finals last year, and they're the team to beat, I guess, in the West. But it was more how we played. We played with great force tonight."
From tip-off to the final buzzer, the C's were locked in. The transition defense is what was most impressive. Players were getting back on time and making their opponents really work for a shot. Celtics will head to Orlando today and play the Magic tomorrow night at 5:30. Former Celtic Glen "Big Baby" Davis has been playing very well this season, and will look to knock off his former team at the Amway Center.

I loved the sense of urgency from the C's on both ends of the floor last night. Offensively, players were very active and without the ball and weren't settling for jumpers. One thing that has become a concern for me is Brandon Bass' jumper. The 17 footer that was automatic last season isn't going down with consistency. Don't get me wrong, it's not a huge problem but it's something that makes the Celtics a tougher team when he has that shot going. It's still early, but it would be nice to see him get going.

Josue Pavon

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Celtics waive Darko Milicic

It's now official. The Celtics honored Darko Milicic's request and waived him on Wednesday. Milicic asked to be released in order to remain home with his sick mother in Serbia. His mother's illness, along with his diminished role with the Celtics encouraged him to walk away from the NBA.

"It's pretty much unemotional because you never got a chance," said Rivers. "I'd like to have had the opportunity, I thought we were building him. But you know how I feel about all the other stuff outside of basketball- I think it's more important"
Although there has been reports that the Celtics have been looking to trade for Phoenix center Marcin Gortat, nothing has been confirmed.

Coach Rivers also added that the Celtics are in no rush to replace Milicic. We will keep you posted.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Jeff Green: His Time is Right Now

In a sports market like Boston, most judge an athlete's talent on their yearly salary. If they fail to live up to a dollar amount, then the fans will let them hear about it every chance they get. But who are we to say who deserves what amount? Better question, why is an athlete either over paid or under paid? You hardly ever hear that an athlete's worth is just where it should be.

After 11 games, the Celtics are 6-5, and are currently the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. While Doc has always been one to preach defense, they are allowing teams to score an average of 99 points per game. Is it time to panic yet? The jury might be out on that answer. But here is the 32 million dollar question, how long until Doc uses Jeff Green the way he should?

When Green first arrived in a controversial deal that sent Kendrick Perkins to OKC in 2011, most failed to realize the main reasons behind the trade. Besides the fact Perk was commanding a good amount of money that Danny didn't agree with, he also knew OKC would have to choose two out of their "big three" to give max deals to. Also, people forget after Marquis Daniels (Pierce's only back-up at the time) went down for the year with a spinal cord injury, there was no way the Celts could make a run without giving Paul rest down the stretch before playoff time.

What makes it even more interesting is the fact that it's no secret Ainge has always been a Jeff Green fan, and why not? In his first three and a half years as a starter he averaged 16 points and 6 rebounds per game. He was the best player in the deal. Ironically, OKC let Green go, and gave Perk an extension worth close to $30 million, and were unable to give James Harden (Jeff's back up, turned starter) the money he was looking for this past offseason. Unfortunately, it's the price you pay for running a team in a small market these days.

Once a Celtic, Green could not find his groove or role with his new team. When you look back on trusting a lazy Shaq and a forever injured Jermaine O'Neal to be back in time to give the C's frontline a push in the playoffs, we can see it was risky and know how it ended. It was already looked at as a dumb move by the man in charge, and because of how Jeff performed, which did not help matters in the least.

Fast forward to July of 2012, and Jeff has survived a life threatening heart condition and is back playing basketball with the team who believed in him the moment they acquired him. He's here in Celtic green for at least four more years. That should tell him that he is not just part of this current group but part of the future as well. After averaging 14 points and five rebounds in eight preseason games in October, all might be forgotten from 2011. There was a chance for a fresh start for the fans in Boston.

But of course you can't talk about any athlete without talking about how much money they make. Being the fourth highest paid player after Pierce, KG and Rondo, people expect results and quickly. The problem is Green, as it stands, might be the seventh or eighth best player on this deep team, depending on where you rank Bass, Terry, Sully and Lee. Based on his salary some might expect Jeff to be the fourth best player on the squad. He has the skill set to be since he doesn't do one thing particularly well, he does everything pretty well. Yet we don't know what his role is, hell he doesn't know what his role it.

So far Jeff Green is averaging eight points, which ranks him sixth in scoring on the team and is averaging 21.6 minutes a game, which ranks him seventh. Most say he is "over paid" when you consider Bass and Terry will earn $6.5 and $5 million this year, respectively. Green is still searching for his identity which has lead him to jog up the court on offense and find a corner, and on defense, he struggles with rotations, as for physicality, he is very strong and athletic. But when you see him dunk on Al Jefferson's neck last week, you still have to think to yourself"this kid has something..." Not like the last Celtic player named Green, who could jump out of the gym but had no work ethic (Mr. 2007 Slam Dunk champion) and who has been in and out of the league. This Green, the 2012 version is too good to be just average.

The main thing the Celtics do need him to do this season is help limit KG and Pierce's playing time. So far they're at 30.1 and 34.6 minutes a night. They should give Jeff more minutes and more of a role, which would help them both, KG and Pierce, average fewer minutes than they currently are for the season. Doc could do what he does best, make Green more comfortable, such as he has done with Sully. One solution that comes to mind is why not start Jeff Green for a game or two? Jared Sullinger has started four games and it has paid off for not only the team but for his confidence. At this point I feel like it's all mental with J.G., maybe a run with the starters could not only get him going offensively out of the gate, but could help with his defensive assignments as well.

Here is one lineup Doc could consider to help out young Jeff. Moving Pierce to the back court with Rondo, Jeff starts at the three, either Bass or Sully at the four and KG at the five. Having Sully start would help the scoring out more with the second unit and Lee or Terry becomes Paul's backup at the two, while you have Bass, Wilcox coming in for Jeff and KG. This would allow Wilcox to grab more minutes playing either the four or five. Either way, this coaching staff needs to work with this talented group, it's just as much as a learning curve for them as it is for the players.

It's time for Jeff Green to find more minutes and a role, because 21.6 minutes split into three or four segments is not going to help someone grasp defensive schemes and help get his offense going. This forward of the future is in the best shape of his life and rightfully so, as we see glimpses of what he can become, and also see glimpses of 2011. I'm not one to judge an athlete's ability on how much money they make. I watch the player for what they do and how it helps a team. It's not my money to spend, it shouldn't affect how I view a sport, but yes most people feel entitled on having an opinion either way.

We have to remember a professional athlete gets rewarded salary wise for what they are projected to do or for what they have already done. In Jeff Green's case, it's been a good four years and the Celtics have bet a $32 million house that his best is yet to come.

Joel Pavon