Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wallpaper Wednesday:


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Celtics 110 - Jazz 107 (OT): Pierce takes over in OT

After a gruesome stretch of playing five games in seven days, Paul Pierce put his teammates on his back and carried them to victory last night in Salt Lake City.

Pierce scored seven straight points in the extra period, finishing with 26 points, seven rebounds and eight assists in one of his best performances of the season.
"It was huge," said Coach Rivers. "Whatever it was, it was the best win of the year for me. To go into overtime and still have enough to win."
After nearly hitting a game-winning shot as time expired, Pierce went on a 7-2 run of his own in overtime. Pierce hit a three-pointer to start off his run and tippy toed around the Jazz's defenders, scoring back-to-back jumpers.

The Celtics also got a big game from Avery Bradley, who scored a season-high 18 points to go with his five rebounds and four assists.

The Jazz trailed by eight going into the fourth but opened the quarter with a 13-2 run. Pierce broke a 95-95 tie in the last minute of regulation with a jump shot, which was quickly answered by Jazz's Alec Burke, setting up the final play for Pierce.
"We wanted to win in regulation," Pierce said. "It would have felt better to just have a stop when we needed it. That's what we need to get better at. We didn't do it in Portland. We didn't do it tonight. That's what we need to start focusing on. When we get the lead and we need crucial stops, we have to figure out how to get them."
Gordon Hayward scored a team-high 26 points for the Jazz. Paul Millsap chipped in with 16 points and six rebounds.

Pierce and Kevin Garnett got the help they needed last night. Bradley's 18 points along with Jason Terry's 14 points (including four three-pointers), kept the game close. Garnett scored 13 points, including a big shot in overtime and grabbed 10 rebounds.

Overall, the game had 13 lead changes and was tied 17 times.

Celtics will get a well deserved rest this week. They return home to play the Golden State Warriors, Friday night at TD Garden.


Notes:

In a postgame interview, Pierce said that this game against the Jazz was the game that stood out the most to him when he saw the west coast road trip schedule. After going back and fourth across time zones, the Celtics will look refreshed at home, having had four days off... Look for Jordan Crawford to play well in his first game at TD Garden as a Celtic. I expect him to play big minutes and will look a more comfortable with his new team, after practicing at home and having the necessary rest.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Blazers 92 - Celtics 86: Pierce, Garnett come up short against Portland role players

The Celtics went scoreless after tying the Blazers with less than two minutes left in the game and watched the Blazers close out a win on a 6-0 run.

Wesley Matthews scored 24 points, including five three-pointers last night. Nicolas Batum and LaMarcus Aldridge scored 18 and 16 points. The Blazers snapped a seven-game losing streak.

Paul Pierce had a team-high 23 points along with his eight assists and seven rebounds. Kevin Garnett had 20 points and nine rebounds. The two did everything they could to keep the game close but missed crucial jump shots in the final minute.
"We didn't finish any quarter well," coach Rivers said. "They made some big shots."
It wasn't the first time coach Rivers expressed frustration about his team not closing out quarters well on this road trip. He expressed that same frustration at the beginning of the west coast trip, when the Nuggets outplayed the Celtics in Denver.

At the end of the fourth, Kevin Garnett's layup with 1:46 left, tied the game and gave the Celtics one more try to go ahead. Rookie Damian Lillard answered with a three-point play after Bradley got caught behind a screen, and gave the Blazers a three-point lead.
"When we needed stops, we couldn't get them, when we had a chance to turn the corner, we didn't turn it," Garnett said. "I thought we had opportunities to take advantage of it. Eight out of ten times we didn't do it. Small things, man. Small things."
Celtics struggled to defend the perimeter and made costly mistakes on the defensive end. All-Star forward, LeMarcus Aldridge wasn't a thorn in the Celtics side like he's been in the past. Although his 16 points were effective, it wasn't Aldridge who came up big in the final minutes of the game.

Matthews hit a step back three-pointer to give the Blazers a six-point lead with 53 seconds left in the game.

Rivers has to do a better job in deciding which lineup is going to finish the fourth quarter on a game-to-game basis. Of course Celtics needed to counter Portland's run with offense but they also needed a better perimeter defender than Jason Terry. It was another disappointing performance offensively from Terry last night, his four points didn't help so why have him in at the end of the game?

Celtics could of benefited from Courtney Lee's defense, and it also would of been great to see Jeff Green get involved offensively in those final minutes (played in the last two minutes but didn't do much). If the Celtics continue to solely rely on Pierce and Garnett in close games at the end of the fourth quarter, it isn't always going to end well.

Celtics hope to finish their five-game road trip with a 2-3 record tonight in Utah.


Notes:

Blazers were outscored in the paint, 36-32. Look for Garnett to score in the paint tonight against Utah because of his one-game rest in Phoenix... Jeff Green has to continue to take the ball to the hoop. He scored 11 points and but had only four free throw attempts... Celtics are now 9-4 without Rondo

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Celtics 113 - Suns 88: Jeff Green scores 31 in rout at Phoenix

The great Dominic Torreto aka Vin Diesel once said, "It doesn't matter if you win by an inch or a mile, winning is winning."

That indeed was the case in Phoenix, as Boston, without Kevin Garnett, snapped a two-game losing streak by burning the Suns, 113-88.

Kevin Garnett was given the night off due to the tough upcoming schedule.

Boston finished with five players in double figures, but it was all about Jeff Green as he got his first start as a member of the Celtics and he didn't disappoint. Playing a season-high 38 minutes and leading all scorers with 31 points (also a season-high), Green shot 11-for-14 from the field. He also added seven rebounds, four assists and five blocks to top off his most complete game of the year.

Could this be the beginning of better things to come for young Jeff as maybe a permanent starter?

Paul Pierce enjoyed some rest as he sat out the fourth quarter after chipping in with eight points on 3-for-5 shooting, in 25 minutes. Boston led by as many as 30 points and shot 70 percent in the final 12 minutes. It was a complete team effort, especially with the production of the bench, they contributed with 47 points.

The Celtics started the game on a 13-0 run and never looked back. They were able to run and gun just like the "old Suns" did in the past, in the US Airways Center. Goran Dragic tried his best to stop the bleeding early, he finished with 19 points and 10 assists but turnovers were a factor as Celtics' defense was on point all night.
"It was a good win, a feel goof win for all the guys," Doc Rivers said. "The new guys played great. Jeff was phenomenal."
The Suns were down 53-41 at the half, then cut the lead to five with a 7-0 run in the first two minutes of the second half. Doc called a timeout and the C's pulled away for good by opening a 74-59 lead after a Terrence Williams lay-up with three minutes remaining in the frame. The short-handed Celtics finally won on the road against a western conference team for the first time this season.

Jordan Crawford, who was acquired on Thursday from the Washington Wizards made his Celtics debut. In 17 off the bench minutes, he scored 10 points on 4-for-7 shooting and hit a couple of threes to go with his three assists. It was also the play of Terrence Williams that had Doc impressed.
"We had Terrence for about two weeks in the beginning of the summer," Rivers said. "What always stood out to us the most, was his ability to make quick decisions with the basketball."
Williams finished with nine points, four assists and four rebounds in 24 minutes. The way I see it, that 10-day contract should be voided and turned into a full-time gig for the remainder of the season! Celtics heads to Portland to take on the Blazers, Sunday night. Tip-off is at 9:00 PM.


Notes:
Even though Phoenix has the worst record in the west at 18-37, Boston's defense won the battle on the glass, 45-40, while also forcing 13 turnovers and turning them into 20 Celtics points. Chris Wilcox in 21 minutes off the bench had 14 points on mostly dunks and grabbed eight rebounds. They are currently 1-2 on this five game west coast road trip, and have a 9-3 overall record since losing Rajon Rondo for the season.


Joel Pavon

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Leandro Barbosa for Jordan Crawford

According to Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports, the Washington Wizards have agreed to send guard Jordan Crawford to Boston in exchange for guard Leandro Barbosa.

It was reported that Crawford was not happy about his situation in Washington and wanted a change.

Crawford is a good perimeter shooter who can score in bunches when he's hot. Having a player like Crawford definitely creates space for forwards such as Paul Pierce and Jeff Green.

Celtics will benefit from this deal because it adds depth in their backcourt. Crawford is in his third year averaging 13.2 points, 3.7 assists, and 3.1 rebounds a game this season and has recorded two career triple-doubles, including one he had back in December.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Beat LA... One More Time

It was only about three weeks ago when all seemed lost for the two biggest franchises in the NBA, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics.

Rajon Rondo had torn his ACL while his team was in the midst of a six game losing streak and barely holding on to the eighth seed. And LA was playing without Dwight Howard and were not even in the playoff picture, as they were clinging to the 13th seed in the West.

Now, 24 days later, the two teams have lost more key players as they try to make a push into the playoffs. In the last ten games, Boston finished 8-2, and LA finished 6-4 (including a beat down in Boston just 12 days ago).

The Celtics are currently the seventh seed, and the Lakers are still three and a half games out of the playoff picture in the tenth seed.

As the two teams are mere hours away from taking battle once again at Staple Center, I find myself asking: Will we ever see these two rivals add another chapter to the NBA Finals?

Don't get me wrong, I love seeing a thrashing of the Lakers as we saw at TD Garden earlier this month, but while they are missing a healthy Gasol, and Rajon was unable to lead his troops, we didn't see a more balanced fight like we have other than the past six season, including two Finals appearances.

The Celtics were up by as much as 32 points, and Pierce and KG sat out the fourth quarter, and enjoyed a Gino rendition on the big screen, the final score was 116-95. Mind you that was only the second win versus LA since Christmas of 2010.

As the two teams prepare to take center stage for the 25th time in six years, you have to think, 'Wow we have witnessed some amazing moments in NBA history.' The biggest rivalry in sports was renewed, some future hall of famers added some hardware to their ongoing legacies, and most importantly the fiercest of competitors that I've ever seen went to war with each other. As the core players of this current rivalry are quickly becoming a dying breed in today's game, I look back and realize we have to appreciate the few moments left between these two clubs.

After Larry Bird and Magic Johnson retired, I don't think many thought they would see the type of battles we have come to love and expect here in the 21st century between Beantown and Hollywood. There were some memorable games like game six of the 2008 Finals here in Boston where the Lakers suffered the worse lost in NBA Finals history as they watched the Celtics clinched the title after a 22-year drought in a 131-92 beating. Kobe Bryant went 7-for-22 shooting.
"One of the lowest moments in my career..." admitted Kobe. 
But there were also games we wish we could forget like game six of the 2010 Finals in LA. While the Celtics were up 3-2, after winning all their games at home and were one game away from their second title in three season, they lost Kendrick Perkins late in the first quarter. Boston couldn't rebound in all sense of the word while Kobe and co. put a first class whipping on the Celtics, giving them one of its worst loses in team history and forced a game seven. We all remember what happened after that? I know they wish they could have gotten that one back.

Those games are just two examples of how great this run has been between these two teams. The Lakers and Celtics are not 100 percent healthy in this year's games. When Kobe was asked about the Celtics and Rondo's situation, he had this to say:
"I'm not happy about what's happening to them," Bryant said. "We are all running out of time. So I understand. I love everything about him [Rondo]. Everything. I love his attitude, I love his chippiness, his edge, his intellect, his know-it-allness. All of it. That's what makes championship players... I love that kid. I always make a point to talk to him during All-Star weekend. He's one of my favorites"
Those were awesome words from one of the all-time greats regarding one of his rivals. I think even Kobe wouldn't mind seeing Boston in another Finals, to not only see the franchise compete for its 18th championship but to be there as well, to compete for his sixth championship and tie MJ. That would be the perfect ending to an extraordinary career. And Paul Pierce would love to spoil that with adding another ring to his Celtic legacy.

After Boston and Los Angeles made some key off-season acquisitions, I was excited. Not because of possibly seeing LeBron going up against Kobe like everyone else wants to see, but because I thought this would be the best chance for Pierce and Kobe to meet up in the Finals to settle this renewed rivalry once and for all. The way I see it, after 2008 and 2010, the series is tied, 1-1. So again I ask, can these two franchises be the last two standing one more time and battle for the coveted prize before it's all said and done?

You know that this is what fuels the likes of KG, Pierce and Kobe Bryant. These three are still playing at a very high level and they wouldn't be if they didn't think they could still win. But they know after playing 15 plus years that the key to longevity in this league is knowing that you are on borrowed time.

The camaraderie of today's NBA players is down right atrocious when you actually let the notion sink in that you might never see a rivalry like this current one again. When you hear LeBron is working out with Durant during the summer time and sharing shooting exercises with each other, it makes you wonder what ever happened to everyone that is not on your team being the enemy? That is lost in today's generation and it is only going to get worse. Teams like Miami are what I like to call "living in the moment" franchises. Lets see how many are still "fans" of the club after next season when the luxury tax becomes an issue.

As for the two most storied franchises in the league, they still have players with the old school mentality of win a championship as a team or you've failed.
"When you think about it, there aren't many organizations that look at it that way," Bryant said. "There are only two that can really honestly say that's what they live by: Los Angeles and Boson"
You're right Kobe, love him or hate him you have to give him respect. Especially, if you have enjoyed watching Boston vs LA. As for if these two will ever meet again, with the Larry O'Brien trophy at stake? Only time will tell...

Until then, lets enjoy the ride one more time tonight in LA, or however long you think it will last. I know I will.

Lets go Celtics!

BEAT LA!


Joel Pavon

Nuggets 97 - Celtics 90: Gallinari, Lawson lead Nuggets to victory

Ty Lawson continued his hot streak, ending a Nuggets three-game losing streak by beating the Celtics in Denver, Tuesday night.

Lawson danced his way around the Celtics defense with ease. Lawson and Gallinari both scored 26 points and shot a combined 16-21 from the field. Lawson has averaged 27.5 points in his last four games.

Paul Pierce's offense struggled tremendously. He was two for 14 and scored 10 points. Jeff Green kept his team close throughout the second half, scoring 14 of his 20 points. His last bucket came with 1:30 left in the fourth, which was followed by a pair of made free throws from Terry that cut the Nuggets lead to four. Celtics didn't score a single point after Terry's free throws.
"Tonight, we just didn't close out any quarter very well," coach Rivers said. "End of the first, end of the half, the end of the third killed us. They went on their little run to end the game"
When Pierce isn't scoring, it's going to be the role players that need to step up. It would have been great to see Jason Terry score in double digits, but he came up short. Brandon Bass tried to contribute, he took seven shot but only made three of them.

The Nuggets were simply the better team last night in Denver. Celtics looked too eager at times and committed a lot of fouls, especially in the fourth quarter. When it came down to the wire, Boston didn't rotate the ball and look for the best shot.

Pierce's forced three-pointers only made matters worse.

Celtics continue their road trip in LA tonight when they take on the Lakers.

Notes:


It's hard to measure the Celtics based off of this short-handed roster because this isn't the same team we're going to see after Thursday's trade deadline. Whether the Celtics make a trade (which is highly possible) or sign free agents, they will have a deeper bench for this road trip... Celtics missed a chance to sweep the season series against Denver for the first time since the 2003-04 season

Wallpaper Wednesday:


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Celtics sign Terrence Williams to a 10-Day Contract

Celtics have made their first signing since losing Rajon Rondo, Jared Sullinger, and Leandro Barbosa by signing swingman Terrence Williams to a 10-day contract.

Williams, who has spent the current season playing basketball in China, joined the team Tuesday but will not be playing in tonight's game at Denver.

Williams was drafted 11th overall by New Jersey in 2009. In 129 NBA games, he also played with the Rockets, Kings and Pistons.

Coach Rivers told The Boston Globe that Williams worked out with the Celtics during the offseason and said, "He did a good job." Williams averaged 17.9 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists playing for the Guangdong Southern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association.


Trade Rumors: Pierce for Josh Smith and Garnett to Clippers?

The Celtics have repeatedly been reported as having interest for Josh Smith. But according to Marc Stein of ESPN, Celtics will not be able to acquire Smith without involving Paul Pierce.

It was initially reported that president of basketball operations Danny Ainge offered Brandon Bass and Jeff Green to the Hawks for Smith over All-Star weekend, according to Gary Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times and other sources.

If the Celtics somehow swing a deal for Smith and trade away Bass and Green, my guess is that there will have to be another team involved. It's hard to believe that the Celtics would trade away their icon star Paul Pierce for Josh Smith, unless Ainge is willing to blow this team up and trade away Garnett in a separate deal.


Garnett, who has also been linked to talks as well, must waive his no-trade clause in order for him to be dealt. Before All-Star weekend, his name was mentioned in a potential deal to the Clippers for guard Eric Bledsoe and center DeAndre Jordan. But Garnett's close friend, clippers guard Chauncey Billups has stated that Garnett is adamant about not waiving his no-trade clause and wants to stay in Boston.

On Saturday, Garnett was asked if he would waive his no-trade clause and this is how he responded:
"If it's up to me, I'm going to live and die green," Garnett said. 
The only way I see Garnett accepting a trade is if the Celtics trade away Pierce first.

If the Celtics can trade away Bass and Green for Josh Smith, it would be worth giving serious consideration. Smith is a double-double machine who is athletic and can get big stops for you, especially alongside Garnett.

Danny has a lot of thinking to do before Thursday's 3:00 pm trading deadline.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Celtics 71 - Bulls 69: Celtics squeeze out win in low scoring game

Celtics avoided back-to-back losses Wednesday night in an ugly affair against the Bulls at TD Garden. 

Both teams shot a dreadful 36 percent from the field and Brandon Bass scored a game-high 14 points. Yes, it was that ugly. The Celtics scored 19 points in the second and third quarter combined, tying for the third-lowest in NBA history and setting a franchise record for the fewest points in consecutive quarters.



It was a game of two defensive minded clubs battling each other and it was tough for each team to get a run going.
"You win games on the defensive end and that's what we did tonight," Jason Terry said. "We played great defense today - we played great team defense and we rebounded the ball."
Terry blocked Belinelli's late shot, that would of tied the game at the end of regulation. The last time the Celtics and Bulls faced each other, it was Belinelli who made the game-tying shot at the end of the fourth quarter. This time, it was Terry who made a big defensive play that prevented Belinelli from doing it again.


Kevin Garnett scored eight of his 12 points in the fourth quarter to help the Celtics overcome a six-point deficit. After losing to the league's worst team (Charlotte Bobcats), this was a win the Celtics desperately needed before the All-Star break.

"We're not going to just roll over," Coach Rivers said. "We choose to live."

Celtics will start their west coast swing after the All-Star game in Denver next Tuesday. The road trip includes stops at Los Angeles, Phoenix, Portland, and Utah.


Notes:

It was defense versus defense in this one. No other coach in the league knows how to plan against the Celtics than former assistant coach Thibodeau so the low score between the two wasn't surprising. Great to see the Celtics really battle that game out and made sure they grabbed another win before the All-Star break... Jason Terry continues to impress. His best basketball this season will be after the All-Star break if Ainge decides not to trade him. Because Terry is playing so well, his contract will look attractive for contenders looking for a shooter... While Kevin Garnett will be the only Celtic at All-Star weekend, Paul Pierce will finally get the rest he desperately needs

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Should Celtics pursue DeJuan Blair?

According to ESPN's Chris Broussard, Celtics president of operations Danny Ainge "could" be interested in acquiring San Antonio Spurs' forward DeJuan Blair.

Broussard tweeted out Tuesday that San Antonio offered Blair to Toronto and Detroit but conversations eventually ended between the two clubs. He also mentioned that Miami and Portland have also expressed interest in the young forward.

Due to the loss of Jared Sullinger for the season, Celtics could use a tough big man like Blair. Last season, Blair was to San Antonio what Brandon Bass was to the Celtics. Unfortunately Bass has been a big disappointment this season. Wouldn't surprise me if Ainge is looking into Blair as a replacement for Bass because of their similar style of play.

Blair is a solid defender who can shoot a mid range jumper pretty well, and finish around the hoop, much like Bass did last season.

Blair hasn't seen much of the floor this season for the Spurs, he has been bumped down in the rotation because of how great forward/center Matt Bonner, Boris Diaw and center Tiago Splitter have all been playing this season.

Blair is averaging 5.2 points and 3.9 rebounds in 13.7 minutes per game.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bobcats 94 - Celtics 91: Winning streak snapped in Charlotte

The tired Celtics lead the Bobcats for most of the game but ran out of gas in the final minutes.

Bobcats' Byron Mullens played the game of his career, scoring 25 points and grabbing 18 rebounds. It was only his fifth game back after missing 19 consecutive due to an ankle injury. Charlotte snapped its seven-game losing streak, and ended the Celtics winning streak.


It's clear the Celtics were fatigued. The triple-overtime game against Denver, followed by a late night flight to Charlotte for a 7:00 pm tip-off definitely took a lot out of them.

Not only did the Celtics have their seven-game winning streak snapped, but they lost yet another player to a season-ending injury.

In the third quarter, guard Leandro Barbosa suffered a left knee injury and had to be carried off the floor. An MRI Tuesday morning confirmed that Barbosa had torn his ACL and will miss the rest of the season. He is the third Celtic to suffer a season-ending injury (Rajon Rondo, Jared Sullinger) this year.

The Celtics went scoreless in the final two minutes of the game as the Bobcats scored seven straight points. Celtics had two chances to tie the game at the end of regulation but couldn't knock down a three.

Paul Pierce jacked one up, missed, but grabbed his own rebound and passed it out the Bradley, who missed the three-pointer to send it into overtime.

"We had a win streak going and we had momentum going," Courtney Lee said. "We wanted to finish out the rest of these games going into the (All-Star) break. So it's definitely a letdown. This one hurts more because we had the lead with one minute to go."


Jeff Green scored a team-high 18 points. He got most of his baskets by going to the hoop and went seven-for-seven from the free-throw line. Bobcats had no answer for Green but with nine minutes left to go, coach Rivers subbed Green out and went with Bass. Green wouldn't return to the floor until the final possession.


It's obvious Rivers wanted a big man in the paint to counter Mullens' rebounding, but it would have been a good idea to bring Green back into the game when the Celtics couldn't buy a basket and continued to settle for jump shots.

After Garnett scored back-to-back jumpers to give the Celtics a four-point lead, Bobcats ended the game with a three-pointer from Gerald Henderson, a jumper from Ramon Sessions and two free-throws from Kemba Walker (who was intentionally fouled).

Celtics will host the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night. It will be the last game before the All-Star break.


Notes:

Losing Barbosa is a tough blow. Throughout the seven-game winning streak he averaged 20 minutes a game and nine points per game throughout Rondo's absence... Even though Bradley missed the game winning three-pointer, it was great to see him take that shot. It won't be the last time Pierce will look to Bradley in a late-game situation. Bradley will most likey be open in those situations when Pierce is double teamed... Pierce almost averaged a triple double throughout the Celtics seven-game winning streak. The captain averaged 18.8 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 7.2 assists to go with two triple-doubles

Monday, February 11, 2013

Nemo hits Causeway Street

Causeway Street on Saturday:




Paul Pierce embraces Nemo Saturday morning:


Celtics 118 - Nuggets 114 (3 OT): Paul Pierce posts triple-double in triple-OT thriller

It was epic.

The two hottest teams in the NBA duked it out in triple-overtime Sunday night at TD Garden as the Celtics earned their seventh straight win in the game of the year.

Paul Pierce gave us one of his best performances of his career. In his second triple-double of the season, he scored 27 points, dished out 14 assists and grabbed 14 rebounds in 54 minutes. After Pierce missed his second free throw in double-overtime, Denver's Ty Lawson hit a jumper to give his team a three-point lead. Pierce hit a three-pointer to tie the game up at 107 and extended the game to triple-overtime.
"I mean that's what great players do. I would love to tell you I had something to do with it," Rivers said. "I was sitting just like the fans saying 'Please, Lord, Paul make a shot'"
Pierce hit a big one.

Celtics struggled to put up points in double-overtime but came back from a four-point deficit to send the game to triple-OT.

Kevin Garnett got his shot going in triple-overtime, scoring Celtics' first six points. He finished with 20 points and 18 rebounds.

With less than two minutes left in triple-overtime, Danilo Gallinari hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 113. Pierce dished out his 14th assist to Jason Terry who hit a huge three-pointer of his own to give the Celtics the lead. He had 26 points off the bench.

Nuggets had a chance to go ahead late in triple-overtime but it was sabotaged by Terry, who made a big steal which led to a win for the Celtics, and snapped a nine-game Nuggets winning streak.
"This was a great game to be a part of," Pierce said. "It was a great win against a quality ball club, not to say the other teams weren't quality teams we played, but you know, this is the type of win that can give us confidence to move forward."
Nuggets' Lawson finished with a game-high 29 points, nine assists and six rebounds. Gallinari finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds.

Jeff Green played great off the bench. He hit a huge three-pointer in the first overtime to tie the game and sent the game to a second overtime. Green finished with 17 points.
"Lot of people still doubt us," Green said. "Can't come into games thinking we have to impress people."

Doc Rivers made a great decision in the first overtime. He rested KG. Although Garnett didn't agree with the decision, it was beneficial and gave Garnett a second wind. He was more aggressive defensively and was hitting shot after shot in the last overtime.

Celtics won't have much time to rest. They traveled down to Charlotte last night and will play the Bobcats tonight.


Notes:

Unlike Denver, the Celtics did an excellent job taking care of ball by only committing 16 turnovers. The Nuggets committed 21 turnovers and had a few big ones in the overtime periods... Paul Pierce is the oldest player to finish a game with at least 20 points, 12 assists and 12 rebounds. It was an unbelievable performance. Maybe Pierce not going to All-Star weekend was for the better, he's dialed in... Jason Terry played his best game as a Celtic. After all the grief we give him for being a terrible defender, he makes the biggest defensive play of the game, which pretty much sealed the win. And after missing five straight three-point attempts, he hits a big one triple-overtime. Lets hope he keeps it up.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Celtics 99 - Raptors 95: Garnett's 27 Leads Celts to 5th Straight W

After hearing his name tossed around in trade rumors for the first time he's been with the Celtics, Kevin Garnett showed why he is still the most important player on this team, if the C's have thoughts of a post season run. Down by 10 to a rejuvenated Toronto Raptors squad, KG put up 11 of his season high 27 points in the fourth quarter to cement the Celtics fifth straight victory.



There has been much talk about potential suitors for the 15 time all star center over the past few days.  Whether it was a deal with the Clippers for Eric Bledsoe, or with the Nuggets for Andre Igudala, the bottom line is Garnett is a Celtic true and true and has a no trade clause in play to prove his loyalty to Boston.

Last night,  Garnett embodied the Celtics will to win at any cost.  It was sloppy but the C's were able to pull together late and knock of the Raptors 99-95.

"We're fighters," Garnett said. "We're a team that's going to compete for 48 minutes. It's not always pretty. We're not perfect. We're human beings. But we play hard, we do our best to go out and try to perfect the game plan."

It wasn't only Garnett's offensive game that was the key to Wednesday nights victory, he was key in the Celtics 4th quarter turnaround on the defensive end as well. the Celtics held Toronto to only 16 points in the last quarter of play and outscored them by 15.

In what is starting to become a trend, the 'Rondo-less' Celtics got contributions from the role players, notching six players in double figures. Along with Garnett, Paul Pierce(12pts), Courtney Lee(15), Avery Bradley(11), Brandon Bass(10), and Leandro Barbosa(14) all had solid offensive nights.

Jason Terry who only had one field goal in the game, had a big part in the outcome. He berated his team after sloppy play was dominating the first three quarters of the game. His Antoine Walker-esque speech really hit home to his teammates entering the 4th quarter, and sparked the turnaround. Doc Rivers noticed the sentiments forwarded by the Jet and was impressed with the 6th man's leadership.

"His message was simple," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "The ball will find the open guy. You don't have to dribble around and create your own shot. We've got enough scoring. Space the floor and play 

together.' And I think that's what we did."


Notes: 

Paul Pierce notched his 4th double double in the five game winning streak. Over the season he has only reached the double double plateau three other times. He may not be overwhelming with his scoring numbers on this streak, but the Captain is changing his game to fit the teams needs...

Rudy Gay, the most recent acquisition by the Raptors continued to show he can be a superstar in this league, putting up 25 pts last night. Scary to think what the Raptors could turn into if they begin to get production this guy and flip some of their young talent for another piece next year...

Celtics take on the Lakers tonight, at the Garden. Both teams are suffering injuries but finding ways to rally to save their respective seasons. RIVALRY RENEWED. 





-Sean Dutra
@seandutra on Twitter

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wallpaper Wednesday:


Celtics 106 - Clippers 104: Celtics win four straight, top Clippers



After the Clippers made its fourth quarter comeback at TD Garden on Sunday afternoon, Paul Pierce sent them home by doing what he has done time and time again; hitting a clutch jump shot.

Pierce's 3-point dagger put away the Clippers for good with three seconds left in the game. His final shot from behind the arc made it a two-possession game and sealed the win for the Celtics.




"We're playing in good spurts right now," Pierce said. "We got stagnant at times. We didn't defend at a high level in the second half. A win's a win, but we made it a lot more difficult than we thought it should have been."

Pierce finished the game with 22 points, five rebounds and two steals. Garnett was the only other starter who scored in double digits. He had 12 points.

The Celtics bench nearly outscored the starters in this one. The reserves combined for a whopping 52 points. Jeff Green and Leandro Barbosa led the way with 14 a piece and Jason Terry scored 13. Heck, Jason Collins nearly scored in double digits, he had seven.

"We won the game, we beat a heck of a team, and I'm happy with that," Rivers said. "But in my mind we can be better, much better, than we are today."

Eric Bledsoe, who was starting in place of injured Chris Paul, flirted with a triple double against the Celtics. His 23 points, 10 assists, and seven rebounds helped the Clippers make a fourth quarter comeback.

Jamal Crawford, who also had 23 points, had a chance to tie the game in the closing minute but fell short. After the Clippers cut a 19-point second half deficit to two, Avery Bradley drew an offensive foul against Crawford with 26.6 seconds remaining in the game. After Pierce's dagger shot, Crawford hit a three and cut the loss from a five-point defeat to a two-point defeat.

"Balance in the formula for our success, you know we got to do it by committee," Terry said. "Obviously we got two of our key parts down, but again, spreading the wealth. We got to make sure everyone gets involved, everybody's into the game."

Although both teams shot 50 percent, the Celtics made big stops to weather the storm. It's no surprise that the Celtics gave up 19-point lead- that is something we're used to. But drawing late-game fouls, like Bradley did against Crawford, (or getting defensive stops) is how the Celtics have beaten elite teams this year.

Celtics will travel north of the border to Toronto Wednesday night, in its next game against the Raptors. It will be the first end of a back-to-back. Thursday night, Celtics host the Lakers at TD Garden.


Notes:

You couldn't of asked for more from the bench. Yes, Clippers played without Chris Paul but this win is definitely still a confidence booster for the Celtics because the Clippers are still one of the best teams in the NBA. If the reserves can keep this up, this could be a huge month for the Celtics in the Eastern Conference... February will be a crucial month for the Celtics. It's important that they create some ground in the Eastern Conference Standings before heading into March (currently the 8th seed, one game behind the Bucks and two games behind the Hawks). After the All-Star break, the Celtics start their annual west coast swing stopping in Denver, Los Angeles (Lakers), Phoenix, Portland and Utah. Celtics have the ability to win at least three out of five against these clubs if everyone can contribute like they did against the Clippers. After these next two games against the Raptors and Lakers, Celtics play the Nuggets, Bobcats and Bulls, and that pretty much sums up the month of February. The Bulls will be the toughest opponent out of the group. I have to say the odds of the Celtics grabbing the seventh, or even the sixth seed in the East, is looking pretty good right now.


Josue Pavon

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Celtics 97 - Magic 84: Garnett, Pierce lead depleted Celtics past Magic


After learning that they would be without their rookie standout Jared Sullinger, the short-handed Celtics beat the Magic by getting every player involved.

Paul Pierce flirted with a triple-double for a second straight game. He had 14 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. Garnett finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds.


"I'm capable of doing a little bit of everything," Pierce said. "Just trying to five the game what it needs. So regardless, if it's playing Rondo's role, [Jared Sullinger] role as rebounder, I'm going to try to fill the needs of what this ball club needs."
After losing their All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo at the beginning of the week to a torn ACL, Celtics learned Friday that their rookie Jared Sullinger will also be out for the season following back surgery.

The Celtics bench responded well without Sullinger. Jeff Green led the way with 17 points, four assists and four rebounds. Jason Terry and Leandro Barbosa also chipped in with 12 points a piece.

Courtney Lee played a well-rounded game as point guard. He scored 14 points, dished out five assists and grabbed down five rebounds. He was one of six players to score 12 or more points for the Celtics.
"I thought they responded the way they should," Rivers said. "Guys are out and it's not like it's a maybe, it's a sure thing and guys just understand other guys are going to get a shot." 
Fortunately for the Celtics, the Magic were have also been dealing with injuries. Magic played without their top scorers in Glen Davis and Aaron Afflalo. To make matters worse for Orlando, their point guard Jameer Nelson injured his left forearm and never returned in the second half.


J.J. Redick led the way for the Magic with 15 points and five assists but couldn't put together a run with his teammates to stop the Celtics in the fourth quarter. The Celtics opened the fourth quarter shooting 7-for-9 and extended the lead, 86-63.

Celtics will certainly have their hands full when they host the L.A. Clippers this Sunday afternoon and will hope to extend their winning streak to four games.


Notes:

Jared Sullinger's injury is another huge blow for the Celtics. His rebounding, especially offensively, is what helped jump start their fast break. In order for the Celtics to be successful without Rondo, it's uptempo play will be key... It may get ugly tomorrow against the Clippers if Chris Paul is active. They are the best fast breaking team and know how to defend it well. Clippers are also coming off a disappointing loss to Toronto Friday night and will look to beat the Celtics for the second and last time this season.