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

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Kenyon Martin a perfect replacement for Darko

With news surfacing that Darko Milicic could be on his way out, the Celtics have found themselves in a  good position to sign free agent forward Kenyon Martin.

Martin drew interest from the Celtics during the offseason but the Celtics ultimately decided to sign Milicic, Collins and to re-sign Wilcox instead. Now with a potential roster spot opening, Martin would be the best option for Boston.

Marcin Gortat has reportedly been on the Celtics radar but can only be acquired via trade. Although Gortat is a better player than Martin, he's going to cost Boston a lot. The only way I see Phoenix agreeing to a deal is if the Celtics are willing to include Avery Bradley, who is someone the Celtics are going to need this year, especially against Miami.

Martin would have no problems fitting in with Boston. His scrappy play and shot blocking ability are qualities that would only make the Celtics' frontline better defensively.

Josue Pavon

Monday, November 19, 2012

Darko May Be Leaving Celtics; Gortat to Join?

It hasnt been a great start for Darko in Boston. After a promising showing in the preseason and lofty expectations to contribute on a nightly basis for the Celtics, Darko has barely seen any time during the regular season.
Darko may never have the chance to live up to those expectations in Boston, as he is rumored to be contemplating leaving the C's to be with his sick mother in Serbia. This is according to Yahoo! Sports.

If this is the end for Darko, he has cemented himself as one of many disappointments after being drafted so high in the first round. It's been said a million times, but Darko was drafted # 2 overall before Carmelo Anthony and Dwayne Wade in the 2003 NBA Draft.

Somewhere Ivan Drago is shaking his head.

The Celtics have failed again to find a legitimate back up center. Put Darko down in the books a long with the Ryan Hollins, Patrick O'Bryant's, and Semih Erden's of the world.

In other European center news, the Celtics have been rumored to be interested in Marcin Gortat. If the Celtics can pull a trade with the Suns without giving up any major piece, this could be a huge boost to the C's rotation. Gortat is a proven rebounder, and can score in the low post. Hes averaging 10ppg and 9.8 rpg.

Gortat, who recently complained to a local polish newspaper about his role in Phoenix has suddenly landed on Phoenix's trading block. 

I wouldn't get my hopes to high for this Polish savior. The asking price is way to high, as it is rumored that Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee would have to be involved. We'll keep an eye on this as the season continues and the asking price dwindles.

Pistons 103 - Celtics 83: Rajon's streak not enough in Motown

Jared Sullinger led the way with his 16 points as the Celtics played their fourth game in five nights in Detroit on Sunday, and were blown out by the home team.

After blowing leads to Phoenix, OKC and Orlando, the Pistons (2-9) were finally able to win at home as they pulled away to beat Boston 103-83. Greg Monroe led all scores with 20 points and grabbed 13 rebounds while Jason Maxiell added 15 points for the win. Detroit had six players in double figures and shot 54.5 percent for the night.

Not much went well for Doc and company after the first quarter when they dominated early, but you could see the effects of the schedule had a clear impact in the second period. Boston missed 12 of its first 16 shots and only a series of turnovers by the Pistons kept the C's hanging around as they were only down 48-43 at the half.
"We can't use the schedule as an excuse- this is the NBA and you have stretches like this," said Garnett, who chipped in 15 points in 20 minutes. "But when you see as many shots hit the front of the rim as we had tonight, you know that you don't have your legs. You just have to fight through it, and we didn't do that tonight."
It only got worst. Boston felt the pressure of coach Lawrence Frank's defense, which forced seven turnovers and the C's only shot 31.3 percent and Detroit outscored them 23-14 in the third. It was pretty much a wrap when Doc decided to go small in order to help Rondo keep the streak alive.
"Why not?" Doc asked. "The press keeps talking about it, so I figured I would give him a shot at it. The funny thing was that the harder we tried, the worse we got at it."
Sullinger finally made the efforts pay off, hitting a jumper with 51 seconds left in the game to give Rondo his tenth assist. Rondo has now extended his streak to 34 games with 10 or more assists for the third best record in league history, trailing only John Stockton who had 37 in 1989, and of course Magic Johnson with a 46-game streak in the 1983-1984 season.

Boston once again could not come up with a win on back-to-back games, falling to 6-5 on the young season. One bright spot to consider was the efforts and the continued great play of Jared Sullinger, which is nothing to ignore. Sullinger is slowly coming into his own, picking his spots, and learning how to play with Rondo. After the double-double he had against the Raptors, he picked up right where he left off from Saturday afternoon.

The Celtics will have a few days to rest up as they prepare to host the San Antonio Spurs on Thanksgiving Eve. Tip-off at 7:30.

Joel Pavón

Friday, November 16, 2012

Nets 102 - Celtics 97: Comeback falls short in Brooklyn

Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 22 points last night, while Rajon Rondo sat out due to a sprained left ankle, and Boston had its three game winning streak snapped.

After being down by as many as 13, Boston's rally came up short as they couldn't close the door on the Nets Thursday night in Brooklyn. Deron Williams and Joe Johnson hit big shots down the stretch as the home crowd celebrated a 102-97 win at the Barclays Center.

Leandro Barbosa started in place of the all-star point guard (Rondo), who suffered his injury in the third quarter of Wednesday night's game against Utah. The Brazilian Blur held his own the best way he knew how, as he attacked the basket and finished with 16 points and two assists. Kevin Garnett added 14 points and seven boards, while Courtney Lee chipped in with 13 and nine off the bench.

The C's trailed 59-51 at the half as the Nets quickly jumped to an 11 point lead in the first quarter. Brooklyn lead the entire first half and they grabbed 15 offensive boards to score 19 second chance points heading into the intermission.
"I was disappointed with our efforts in the first half. I thought they just kicked our butts," said Rivers. "I thought they were more physical, went over our backs, and pushed us around."
In the third quarter, Boston used a 20-2 run to make it back as they led 79-74 going into the fourth. Jerry Stackhouse's only three pointer of the game evened it at 85 with 6:21 remaining. Johnson, who finished with 19 points, made consecutive jumpers and Brook Lopez (24 points) hit a put back to extend their lead to six, as the Celtics were left playing catch up once again.

After a clutch Jeff Green three-pointer, Boston was trailing by three as they had the ball coming out of the timeout. Pierce was fouled on a lay-up attempt that he nearly knocked in for an and-1, with 34.5 seconds left in the game that would of cut the lead to one. Pierce, an 84 percent free throw shooter missed both attempts and due to a missed communication by Doc, who told the team not to foul, Paul committed his fifth foul on Deron Williams in order to stop the play.

Williams, who finished with 24 points was perfect from the charity stripe and pushed the lead to five. After Pierce drained a quick three to cut it to two, the C's were out of timeouts and the game became a free-throw shooting contest the rest of the way. Jason Terry, who finished with 10 points and six assists missed two key free throws to cut it to one as the Celtics missed their opportunities at the line at the worst possible time to avoid the Nets from winning their fourth straight.
"I think I was thinking about the layup too much, a little disappointed. It was unlike me to miss two free throws," said Pierce. "So I take a lot of the blame for down the stretch, I'm the guy they call upon to make the plays and I didn't make the plays tonight. It's a long season, but that's the reason we lost tonight. You can point to a number of little things we talk about all season long."
Even though Boston held Brooklyn's shooting to just 42 percent, second chance points hurt the C's as they lost the battle on the offensive glass 18-12. Chris Wilcox yet again provided a spark in his 12 minutes of play, putting up 6 points, three rebounds and two blocks while Brandon Bass couldn't find his shooting range and went four for 14 for just eight points. The Celts play again tomorrow afternoon versus the Raptors, tipping off at 12:30 at The Garden.

Quick Note:
This marks only the third win for the Nets over the Celtics in 21 tries, and it was the first time the Nets were televised on TNT in over four years. Marv Albert, who is from Brooklyn and worked games for the Dodgers when he was young before calling games for the Knicks and the Nets, was the lead announcer last night.

Joel Pavon

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Celtics 98 - Jazz 93 : Rondo Hurt, Bench Leads Way

It was a night where everything clicked for the Boston Celtics. They were able to limit the minutes of there veteran stars, got a big contribution from there bench, and looked solid defensively in a 98-93 win over the Jazz last night. 

The Celtics got excellent performances from Leandro Barbosa and Jeff Green who both had 16 points a piece. Barbosa, who played major minutes after Rondo tweaked his ankle, was virtually unstoppable, he was able to get to the rim at ease, and seemed like veteran in Docs system the way he was running the offense. 

Green was everything Celtics fans were expecting him to be entering the season. One play in particular could be a turning point for Jeff Green to get his season started. Green took a kick out pass from Garnett, blew by his defender and emphatically slammed it home, right on Big Al Jefferson. 

Celtics have now won 5 of six after dropping their first two games of the year. Here's a few points from last night. 

Rondo's Tweaks Ankle, Streak Still in Tact.

Rondo rolled his his ankle mid way through the third quarter and immediately made his way to the locker room, with long time trainer Eddie Lacerte. Reports were that he was cleared to come back in the 4th quarter, but he did not see any action. 

Even thought he played only 2 1/2 quarters Rondo dished out 10 assists, again. This pushes his streak to 32. 

The ankle injury does not seem like it will force Rondo to miss any time but with the Celtics playing the  next 3 games in 4 nights, its something to monitor. 

Doc's masterful monitoring of minutes. 

Garnett played 30 minutes last night, but 12 of those were in the fourth quarter.  So yes, Garnett did play the entire 4th quarter, but he was playing fresh as he only played 18 throughout the first three. The Celtics needed Garnett on the floor in the fourth as the game came down to a final possession. 

This was a great sign for the Celtics as they have looked absolutely awful this year when Garnett was on the bench. Chris Wilcox, Jared Sullinger, and Brandon Bass really played well last night and allowed Doc to limit 'The Big Tickets' minutes. 

Stats  of the Night 
1. Rondo kept his streak alive, 10 assists in only 25 minutes. That is 32 straight games with 10 or more assists. 

2. This may not be the most eye popping stat line here but Chris Wilcox had a major impact on this game again. Wilcox played 18 minutes, was 3-3 from the floor scoring 7 points and grabbing 5 boards. 

His biggest contribution wasn't in the box score, he was able to defend the paint respectfully while Garnett was on the bench. 

3. After the Celtics defense looked more like a Mike D'Antoni coached team through the first 4  games of the year, they have turned it around

Since the loss against the 76er's,the Celtics have allowed opponents to shoot only 41 % and held each team under 95 points.  This is exactly the kind of defense that the Celtics will lean on throughout the season. 

Next Game : @ Brooklyn Nets  Thursday 11/15 8:00 pm 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Celtics assign Melo, Joseph to D-League

The Celtics announced this afternoon that they have sent Fab Melo and Kris Joseph to their NBA Development League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws.

The two former Syracuse teammates were drafted by the Celtics No. 22 and 51 overall.

Melo, a 7'0" center, appeared in all eight games of the preseason but has yet to play during the regular season.

Joseph, a 6'7" forward, made his NBA debut against the Milwaukee Bucks and recorded one rebound and one assist.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Breaking News: Rajon Rondo breaks NBA Record due to a miscalculated assist

According to Sean Grande of Celtics Radio on WEEI 93.7 FM, Rajon Rondo has been given an assist they missed in Milwaukee this past Saturday [story here]. They are apparently awarding Rondo an assist that was missed during the game, giving him the NBA record of 28 straight games of 11+ assists!



Celtics 101 - Bulls 95 : Rondo leads the way over Bulls

Rondo led the Celtics to victory, while extending his streak and inching one step closer to NBA history.

Rondo ended the game one rebound short of triple double last night at the United Center. He had 20 points, 10 assists and continued his streak of consecutive games with 10 or more assists to 31, the longest in the NBA since John Stockton's 37 consecutive games in 1989.
"[Rondo] has an excellent game," said coach Rivers. "He is starting to get comfortable with the players that are out there on the floor and what he can call with them in there."
All five Celtics starters finished in double figures for Boston. Bass finished with 16, Garnett had 15, Terry tallied 13 and Pierce ended the game with 10. This is the second consecutive win for Boston with Terry in the starting lineup and Boston got things going early in the game. They scored 33 points in the first quarter and had 58 by halftime.
"We played well offensively," Rondo said. "Besides the turnovers I had, we took pretty good care of the ball. We got out on the break, kept it simple offensively."
Although the Celtics were cold in the fourth quarter, they buckled down late in the game and got key stops against the Bulls, after Chicago went on a 10-0 run. Celtics went scoreless for five minutes before Jason Terry knocked down a jumper that ended the drought.

Luol Deng killed the C's offensively, especially late in the fourth. He finished the game with 26 points and 11 rebounds. The Bulls were within three points with under a minute to go. But a Rondo to Garnett alley-oop sealed the game, and fittingly gave Rondo his tenth assist to keep his streak going. 
"They did make a good run at us," said Pierce. "We just have to run to the finish line in games. There were a few times when I thought we were up 12 to 14 and could of gone to 20 and didn't"
Celtics play again tomorrow night when they host Al Jefferson and the Utah Jazz at the Garden.


The Celtics became the first team to score 100 points against the Bulls in 16 games. Chicago, known for their tough defense, gave up a lot of points against the Celtics. The starting lineup of Rondo, Terry, Pierce, Bass and KG is the best offensive lineup for Boston. I wouldn't be surprised if Doc decides to stick with it for now... I was happy to see that Rondo's streak didn't get in the way of his scoring last night. I've been wanting Rondo to be more aggressive offensively, and he did just that last night while still keeping his streak alive. Tomorrow night the Celtics start a rough stretch of four games in five nights, so they'll need more of that. Pierce is going to have nights like this every now and then throughout the season.

Josue Pavon

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Celtics 96 - Bucks 92 - A Win to Build On

It has been a discouraging start to this young season for the Celtics, to say the least. Boston came into last nights game against the Bucks 0-3 against NBA teams not names the Washington Wizards. So to say they needed a statement win and looked to their captain to right the ship. Paul Pierce responded and led the Celtics to a 96 - 92 win in Milwaukee last night against the Bucks.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

76ers 106- Celtics 100: Turner, Holiday lead 76ers over Celtics

The 76ers had an answer for every run that the Celtics had last night.

Evan Turner and Jrue Holiday led the way for the 76ers. Turner finished with 25 points, 11 rebounds and Holiday added 21 points with 14 assists.

Celtics made several fourth quarter runs, but the 76ers offense was too much. Celtics cut the lead down to four twice in the fourth. But couldn't stop the fast break. 76ers finished the game with 26-fast break points.

"I just kept telling my guys, just try to keep it in perspective when they went on those runs so it doesn't seem like the house is falling down on top of us," said Philadelphia coach Doug Collins.
Philadelphia lead pretty much the entire game. The Celtics' only lead was in the middle of the first quarter. 76ers' biggest lead was by 16. Although they dominated throughout the game, the Celtics did their best to not let it get any worst than 16 points. But Pierce and Garnett were the only consistent scorers.

Celtics struggled defensively against Philadelphia, especially when it came to the pick-and-roll. Philadelphia picked the Celtics apart throughout the first half. When it came to the second half, Philly came with a different game plan. The Celtics' transitional defense could not keep up with their fast break points. Although the Celtics had great runs, Philadelphia always found a way to respond.
"They beat us in transition. I think it's pretty simple. They got a lot of secondary early breaks and just beat us down the floor and they attacked. That's the first part of our defense. It let us down tonight... I though we hung in the game, kind of fought back," said coach Rivers. "But every time we needed a stop tonight, we didn't get it."
Pierce finished the game with 24 points, and Garnett finished with 19. Rajon Rondo finished the game with 20 assists to go along with his 14 points.

It's clear that it's not the offense that is becoming a cause for concern, it's the defense. Rondo, who assisted on 20 of the Celtics' 37 baskets, couldn't stay with Holiday defensively. At times it looked like he relied a lot on Boston's team defense, which wasn't there to help the young point guard.
"If we can do a better job of getting back on defense, limit the easy opportunities, we give ourselves a better chance, Pierce said. "Guys on the perimeter have to get back."
 What worries the most about the Celtics is their composure on the court when Garnett isn't in the game. Garnett, who had the best plus/minus stat last season, can't be the Celtics' savior night in and night out on both ends of the floor. Throughout an 82-game season, it's important to conserve him, that's the reason Danny brought in reinforcements (Sullinger & Green). Both Sullinger and Green, are not playing well on either ends of the floor. If they can help this team defensively, Celtics will be good shape. But it's going to take time. But how long?

Celtics will play tonight at Milwaukee against the Bucks on the second night of a back-to-back. This will be a tough one for the Celtics. The Bucks are currently 3-1 and will look to beat the Celtics for the second time this season.


If your starting point guard dishes out 20 assists and two of his teammates score 20 plus points, it's a telling sign that the Celtics' defense is the biggest problem. Their just not locked in on the defensive end... Jason Terry gave the Celtics an offensive push in the second half, and kept the Celtics close. He scored 12 of his 13 points in the second half and is starting to get into a rhythm this early into the season... Chris Wilcox tallied double-figured minutes for the first time this season. He scored 6 points in 12 minutes and is looking like he's feeling more comfortable on the floor.

Josue Pavon

Friday, November 9, 2012

Causeway Street's Weekly Big 3: 11/4-11/9

"Like" Causeway Street on Facebook and send in your question. We'll be answering the best 3 questions every Friday on what we call 'Causeway Street Weekly Big 3'

This Week's 3 Questions

Are you concerned about Jeff Green and his contribution?

Joel: I feel what is getting in the way of Jeff right now is Jeff. It's all mental at this point in the young season. People have to realize he was playing heavy minutes in the preseason, plays were set up for him, plus he even started a few games. He was able to shine because he probably was the go-to guy and the main source of offense. On a deep team such as this year's Celtics, you want to challenge your bench because you already have a pretty good idea what you are going to get from your starters. Such was the case with Doc and letting Jeff run wild in the eight games before the season opener. He has such a great training camp, especially coming back from such a serious surgery, he felt like he had nothing to lose and all to gain. Now Green just has to let the game come to him. He has to be instant energy off the bench and spell Paul, and prove to himself he is a vital part of this team, and not to worry about anyone else. I'm not at all concerned with his contributions thus far, he has to stop thinking as much and play the game. Ask me in a month if he continues down this path, but I doubt we will be asking this question!

Dutra: Absolutely. Yes it is early, but Green has done nothing to prove that he will be worth the investment. It's not the numbers that scare me, it's the body language and the lack of effort he's shown so far. He's struggling, which is understandable, but so was Jason Terry. The difference was that Terry still hustled and was visibly frustrated by his performance. I don't get the same feeling from Green. I'm not giving up on Green be a big part of this team, but he needs to show something soon.

Josue: No, not at all. I expected a slow start from Jeff Green. I think he's feeling the pressure of having to perform at a high level. Although he played well in the preseason, I think his contract is what is adding more pressure. He's the fourth highest paid player on the roster and Green knows the city is counting on him to play well this season, and he will. It's just going to take a little more time, but when he does get it going, look out! We'll be forgetting all about his first couple weeks of the season.

Who do you want to start, Bass or Sullinger? (Sullinger started in the past two games against Washington)

Joel: I think this question will be asked for a good part of the season, my answer for the most part is Bass. Brandon plays better when he starts; he gets into a better rhythm. Doc knows this game is all about matchups. He believed the two games versus Washington, Sully would create matchup problems for the Wizards' frontline. Then again, Nene was out and who knows if Bass would have started instead. I've said it before and I will said it again, in Doc I trust. This is just as much of a learning curve for Doc and his staff as it is for his players when it comes to combinations and what works well and what doesn't. Personally, I don't want Jared's head to swell this early in the season. We all know how the media likes to hype things up. I also don't want either players to lose confidence. There is a fine line between personal ego and team success. Doc knows he has his hands full, but he has to trust in his players and they have to trust in him. I feel like he will play it by ear when it comes down to what team the C's will face, and then he will go from there on who starts and who comes off the bench. Just wait until Bradley comes back!

Dutra: Sullinger. The only reason being is that Sullinger is most effective when Garnett is out on the floor. He would have to worry about one thing; rebounding the basketball. This will allow Doc to slowly incorporate him into other roles, but it's great to see the young guy get a shot.

Josue: Bass. Throughout Bass' career, he has always been a role player. In Dallas he averaged no more  11 minutes a game and in Orlando, he played less. Bass' confidence is high and because of his consistency last season, I think Bass plays great with the rest of the starting lineup. He's also a better defensive player when he's alongside KG. And although it's not looking great at the moment, his jumper will improve this year. Sullinger is a good rebounder, and a player who will continue to get better, but doesn't fit in well with the starters offensively.

Who should get more minutes? Barbosa, Green or Wilcox?

Joel: This is a tough one, but I'm going to say Wilcox. Mainly because out of the three, Green will get the most minutes by default because he is the only true "backup" to Paul Pierce. From there Doc can get creative because Wilcox can play the four or the five. We saw it briefly last season when you had Rondo, Pierce, Bass, KG and Wilcox, all on the floor at the same time. That's a pretty good group that can run with Rondo. In just three minutes and 24 seconds, Wilcox contributed six points and a few rebounds in Wednesday night's game. It's fair to say a big that can run the floor and rebound (even on the offensive glass) is a very good thing to have, especially, if he stays healthy. The plus-minus numbers will not be so great when KG is not on the floor. Barbosa will see his fair share of minutes depending on how hot he gets shooting wise. We saw that versus Miami. Sometimes all Doc needs at various times is instant offense and the "Jet" is another example. As the season goes on, different people will be called upon for different things. We all will have to wait and see.

Dutra: Wilcox. Guy was a spark plug the other night. Plus, he's a big body capable of playing center. Huge need for the Celtics, they have plenty of swingmen they can go to, but not enough bigs!

Josue: Barbosa. Between him and Wilcox, it was close but since we're only in week 2 of the NBA season, I think Barbosa is the player who needs more minutes on the floor. Due to his injury, Doc doesn't want to rush Wilcox, and I'm OK with that. Minutes will come for Wilcox. Barbosa on the other hand is someone who I think should be on the floor alongside Terry a lot more often. Terry scores a lot easier when Rondo isn't on the floor with him. Barbosa is someone who will space out the floor (because of shooting ability) and make it easier for players like Terry and Green to cut to the hoop. What I love the most about Terry is that he can shoot from anywhere on the floor, Barbosa makes things a lot easier for Terry and can rotate the ball very well for the bench. Barbosa is not getting enough playing time. He can also get going in a matter of minutes offensively (we've seen it in Miami already), and help teammates like Terry and Green, do the same.

Dooling accepts role in Celtics Organization

Less than two months after his surprise retirement, Keyon Dooling has accepted as a player development coordinator in the organization.

Following Wednesday night's 100-94 win against the Wizards, Dooling told reporters of his new role with the Celtics. He also tweeted "Wow first day of the job!" Wednesday night after the win.

As a veteran who had a great influence on his teammates, Dooling, who played for the Celtics last year, earned a great reputation in the locker room. He was known as a mentor to the young guards like Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Celtics 100 - Wizards 94 : Celts Need OT to Put Away Wiz

Luckily for the Celtics, they wont have to deal with this pesky Wizards team again until April. For the second straight game, Boston squeaked out a win against Washington, but this time needed overtime to seal the deal. 

It was eerily similar to the game only a few nights before. The Celtics were able to get out in front early, yet keep the door open for the Wizards to storm back.  Now obviously the Celtics would have liked to keep their foot on the gas and not let the Wizards keep it close, but the Celtics' got the victory and that's all Doc Rivers' group cares about.
"We're not playing great. It's good to win a game like that...we've got to get more guys that play harder, better. I don't care if we play "well" or not, because that's just human," said Rivers. 
The Celtics obviously have to improve in multiple areas but here are a few things we can take from the game last night.  

The Celtics got solid contributions from their bench. 

Probably the first game all year, we saw the bench live up to all the off season hype. Jason Terry poured in 16 points, which is a great sign for the backup guard. Terry was struggling to find his stroke in the first three games of the season. Maybe this will be something he can build off of going forward. 

Also Brandon Bass was very solid off the bench. He not only chipped in his very Brandon Bass-like 11 points, but really helped out on the glass. He grabbed seven boards, which is something the Celtics desperately need. If Bass can contribute on the glass consistently, it will be absolutely huge for this second units success. 

Probably the most overlooked contribution last night, may have been the most important. Chris Wilcox only played 3:40, but he was the Celtics MVP last night. 

Wilcox came in the game and injected his presence and energy immediately. Doc Rivers said after the game, "I thought Chris saved the game for us single handedly with his effort." 

He scored 6 points and sparked a 10-2 run that ended the 3rd. I was waiting for Tommy to yell  "I LOVE WALTE.... I MEAN WILCOX!!!"

Rondo is gaining confidence in his outside shooting.

Rajon Rondo did a lot of positive things for the Celtics last night. One thing that was glaringly obvious was his confidence with his outside shot. Last night Rondo put up 8 jumpers, made 4, which in some eyes may not be anything to get excited about. 

However, the Celtics need Rondo to have the confidence to shoot the outside shot. If he is shooting 50% from 12 feet and out, defenses will have to respect that part of his game. That would be huge for the Celtics as they get deeper into the season. It would open up a lot for Garnett down low, and put them in a lot more pick and roll opportunities. 

Jeff Green still hasn't found his groove. 

Green looked out of touch again last night. For some reason, Green has just been off the first four games of the year. He had 6 points on 3 of 6 shooting last night. He's making $9 mil a year, Green needs to produce at a higher level. 

Maybe he's still adjusting from missing all of last season, but if he doesn't adjust quick he will be hearing it from not only the fans, I'm sure Danny and Doc will surely remind him that his grace period is quickly ending. 

Top Three Stats of the Night

1.Paul Pierce (15p-10r), Kevin Garnett (20p-13r), and Rajon Rondo (18p,14a) all had double-doubles last night. 

2. The Wizards got 53 points from their bench last night. In total in both games, Washington has gotten 115 total points from their bench. The Celtics could learn a thing or two...

3. Chris Wilcox's 6 points, 2 rebounds, 4-5 from the chairity stripe, in only 3:40 seconds is still my favorite stat line of the night. It sparked the Celtics on a 10-2 run. Yes, I understand I am repeating myself, but Wilcox was huge last night. Not sure if there is any health issues lingering here but he should play more than three minutes game going forward.

Next Game : Boston Celtics @ Philadelphia 76er's   Friday 11/9  7:30 pm

Monday, November 5, 2012

Celtics 89- Wizards 86: Celtics get their first win of season

It wasn't pretty, but the Celtics were able to fend off the Wizards late in the fourth quarter to capture their first win of the season, Saturday night in Washington. After two losses, and on the second night of a back-to-back, the Celtics blew an early 15 point lead but were better in the end.

After two losses, the Celtics were desperate for a win. It turned out to be harder than expected, even against a Wizards team missing its two best players, John Wall and Nene.
"A win's a win, and we'll take it," said Rivers. 
After letting the Wizards come back to take their first lead of the game with only three minutes left to go, Pierce hit a 3-pointer with 2:35 left. The Wizards never scored another basket. On their last six possessions, the Wizards missed four shots and turned the ball over twice late in the fourth.
"When we had to get a stop we did. And regardless of how we got the win, we got the win," said Rondo. 
Rondo finished the game with 12 points and 12 assists, and Pierce finished with a game-high 27 points and seven rebounds.
"We got the win, and that's the most important part at the end of the day." said Pierce. "Obviously we've got to play better, but it's good to finally get that win under our belt and just try to build on it."
Celtics came out with a purpose Saturday night. Although they weren't looking as intimidating as we thought they would look, it's going to take some time. It's clear that the talent is there, it's the chemistry that will eventually take its place. Hopefully sooner than later.

Celtics will take on this same Wizards team Wednesday night in Boston.


Jared Sullinger got his first career start against the Wizards and finished the game with four points and seven rebounds. I thought this was a great game for him to get the start because of uptempo type of play and because a guy by the name of Trevor Booker would be guarding him... The Wizards were the ideal opponent for Jeff Green as well. They really don't have a lock down defender for him (other than the mediocre Trevor Ariza) and Green flourishes in a run-and-gun type of game. It was also a homecoming for Green, the Maryland native returned to the arena where he played college games for Georgetown. He finished the game with 11 points. He got great looks offensively, I expect him to have an even better game against the Wizards Wednesday night in Boston.

Josue Pavon