Friday, April 26, 2013

Rivers fined $25,000

Coach Doc Rivers was fined $25,000 for criticizing NBA officials following Tuesday's game two loss against the Knicks.

Rivers voiced his opinion about the two fouls that were called on Kevin Garnett early in the first quarter during his postgame press conference.
"I thought the fouls on Kevin were horrendous and had a huge effect on us," Rivers said. 

On Wednesday, Rivers commented about his postgame words on the officials and didn't think he specifically attacked the officiating.
"I didn't think I said much, and that could be a problem," Rivers said. "Because all I basically said was, Kevin getting into foul trouble had a huge impact on the game. That's not criticizing officials. So I've just got to make sure we focus on our stuff."

New York Knicks 87 - Celtics 71 [Game 2]: Second Half Struggles Plague C's (Knicks lead series 2-0)

In what is starting to become an alarming post season trend for the Celtics, Boston muster only 23 second half points against the Knicks enroute to a 87-71 Game 2 loss for the Celtics.

The C's come back to the TD Garden with their tails between their legs looking at a 2-0 deficit in the face.

In Tuesday nights loss, the Celtics were truly outplayed in every facet of the game over the whole 48 minutes. They came out flat again in the second half not scoring for the first five minutes or so. This is after a first half that the Celtics looked overwhelmingly in control. Leading 48-42 at halftime the Celtics, were out scored 31 to 11 in the third quarter and the Knicks never looked back.

"They didn't let us throw a knockout punch and I thought in the second half they turned that on us and they threw a knock out punch. Several," said coach Doc Rivers after the game.

The Celtics return home with their backs really against the wall. They showed resiliency in the first half overcoming lights out shooting from J.R Smith, and countering that with 14 points from Jason Terry and Jordan Crawford off the bench in the first half. They also had a solid first half performance from Jeff Green and Paul Pierce.

However in the second half it was all New York. The Knicks came out of halftime on a 24-4 run. It was game over at that point.

The Celtics were able to momentarily get it back to a nine point deficit in the 4th quarter, but the Knicks and Carmelo Anthony quickly threw the final knockout punch of the game. Anthony scored eight straight points, on his way to a game high 34 to end the third and into the start of the fourth quarter.

The offense for the Celtics has really been brutal. It hurts more that they have been able to limit the Knicks to under 90 points in each of the two games. The Knicks haven't even gone off yet like some thought they would and the Celtics were unable to keep up.

The Celtics are back in Boston tonight to try and get back in the series. This is a huge make or break home stand for the Celtics if they have any chance of avoiding a disappointing first round exit.

-Sean Dutra

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Game 2 Primer: 5 Keys to Beat the Knicks

Containing Carmelo 

Carmelo Anthony has been on an absolute tear to end the regular season. He brought that hot hand into Game 1 against the C's and put up 36 in the opening game of the post season.

It's no secret that Anthony is a volume shooter, and against the Celtics in the regular season he was pretty a inefficient scorer. Melo has only shot 34% against the Celtics in the four meetings in the regular season, down from his 44% shooting on the year. He got his points but needed a bunch of shots to get there. This is due to a few things that Boston has been able to do to make it tough on Melo to get into his rhythm.

In the past, Paul Pierce has been the guy designated with the tough job of slowing down the Knicks Superstar . This year it looks like he is passing the bulk of the defensive responsibilty on Melo to Jeff Green.  Pierce and Green bring two different defensive styles to the table, and both match up well against Anthony. Pierce plays a physical, tough style of defense and uses his size and wits to his advantage, but may not be able to repeat it in a 7-game series. While Green uses his athleticism and speed to contain his defender and does a good job contesting jumpers. 

Green matched up well against Anthony in Game 1. He seemed to accept the challenge of guarding a legitimate superstar. Anthony seemed frustrated when Green had him locked down and was constantly having to fight for position down on the block, when looking to set up an isolation situation. We saw some of Brandon Bass on him, and to give Bass credit he was very physical as well but could not stay with Melo's quickness.

Tonight, I would expect to see a lot of different looks. Green will need to repeat his defensive effort in Game 2, and the rest of the series. 

As we know, Anthony is very skilled in scoring in a variety of ways, but the most important for Green and the C's to limit is his inside game. Melo was tentative driving in the first game, could be because Mr. Big Ticket himself is back there waiting. We'll see how that plays out in Game 2, this evening.

Bench Production

 We all know the struggles the Celtics bench went through last year in the postseason. It was definitely a point of emphasis in the off season to beef up the bench production with the additions of former sixth man of the year Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, and the mid season pick up of Jordan Crawford. These three have to make a consistent impact on the game when they are called upon.  

In Game 1 it was a flash back to last years ECF against the Heat. The Celtics got 4pts from their bench all from Courtney Lee. Terry was awful, Crawford was tentative, and they group was extremely disappointing. They need to turn it around if the Celtics will have any chance of winning the series. Also Chris Wilcox got a big DNP in the first game, he may be a key to game two playing some high energy minutes.

The Knicks bench is full of snipers between JR Smith, Steve Nowak, and Jason Kidd. They can heat up quickly, and that would be bad news for the Celtics. It's important that the C's neutralize the offense from New York's bench with some of their own.

Sealing off the 3-point line

The Knicks live and die by the three ball. They have attempted the most 3-pointers this season averaging nearly 29 per game.  The Celtics NEED to close out on the Knicks shooters and make them beat them driving to the hole. Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee will likely play a big role keeping J.R. Smith in check from deep, which is much easier said then done. 
The  Celtics did a decent job of contesting the deep shooting by the Knicks in Game 1. New York shot only 9-25 from the 3-point stripe. That could have a lot to do with Steve Novak only playing five minutes...but we'll have to see if they unleash the 3-point shooting specialist later in the series.

Take advantage of schedule

It's no secret, the Celtics are not the youngest team in the league. They definitely lucked out in terms of the schedule for this potential seven game series. First off they only have to travel to New York, which is huge for this version of the Boston Celtics.  They have shown on numerous occasions any back to back travel days or long road trips affect this team negatively.

 Also, the games are so spread out in the upcoming two week period.  They will have plenty of time to rest due to the lack of travel time and days off in between games. Kevin Garnett really benefited from being able to rest down the stretch, and the playoffs will be a grind, but the Celtics really couldn't have asked for a more favorable schedule and destination. They've had  since Saturday afternoon to rest up and get ready for Game 2, that's definitely in the Celtics favor.

The Big Three:  Pierce, Garnett, and Jeff Green

Since Rondo has been out it has been a search for the next legitamate option for the Celtics to run their offense through. Pierce and Garnett will obviously get their touches even if they are cold, as we saw in Game 1. The C's need Jeff Green to fill that role as a
consistent scorer if the Celtics want to get past New York.

Jeff Green was the number one option on the offensive end in the first half, but disappeared in the 2nd. He has shown flashes over the season to go off but not consistently. Green is really the only other Celtic qualified to fit this particular role. He doesn't have to average 25 per game in the series, but the Celtics would greatly benefit from a solid consistent playoff performance from their up and coming forward.

So I know i said only five points, but here is a bonus one...


There you go, enjoy the game and the rest of the series!

-Sean Dutra

Monday, April 22, 2013

Knicks 85 - Celtics 78 [Game 1]: Melo leads Knicks in series opener (Knicks lead series 1-0)

Carmelo Anthony scored 19 of his 36 points in the second half and put away the Celtics in game one of their best-of-seven series.

Celtics struggled offensively, scoring only 25 points in the second half and eight in the fourth quarter.

Jeff Green started off hot, he finished with 26 but scored just six points in the second half. Paul Pierce chipped in with 21 points to go with his seven assists and five rebounds but committed six turnovers.

"We had just some bad turnovers tonight," coach Rivers said. "If we had those turnovers in any game, we probably should lose the game and we did. We were making post passes from the other side of the floor. I mean, those are just not good passes." [Boston Globe]

Green and Pierce alone committed 12 of the 21 Celtics turnovers.

Despite its turnovers, the Celtics still had a 67-70 lead after three quarters. But then the fourth quarter started, where the Knicks forced nine (yes, nine) Celtics turnovers and only needed 18 points in the final 12 minutes to grab game one away from the Celtics.
"We were in great position to take over the game, to win the game," Green said. "Turnovers killed us. Offensive rebounds killed us." [New York Times]

Besides Anthony, the Knicks didn't get much offense from anyone else. J.R. Smith finished with 15 points and Raymond Felton scored 13 but most of that came in the first half. Two starters finished scoreless for New York.

It was too bad Kevin Garnett couldn't get his shot to fall throughout the game, he shot 4-for-12 and finished with eight points to go with his nine rebounds. While Doc searched for offense, Celtics' reserves went 0-for-7 from the field. Courtney Lee scored his four points from the free throw line, Terry and Crawford were scoreless.

The series continues Tuesday in New York where the Celtics will hope to tie things up before heading to Boston for game three.


Although Celtics had no business winning this game, they nearly pulled it off but had no answer for Melo. Defensively, the Celtics did a solid job on Anthony by making him dribble more than he should have but it's going to be hard to win any game in the playoffs without Garnett scoring in double digits or getting any help from the bench... Avery Bradley was impressive on both ends of the floor but needed help with point guard duties. Bradley couldn't make his cuts to the basket like he was doing in the first half because he was the ball handler for most of the second half. And his lazy lob passes into the hands of the Knicks defenders were driving me INSANE. Doc may want to consider giving Terrence Williams a few minutes off the bench so that players like Bradley, Terry and Lee aren't forced to be the play makers and can focus on scoring.

Josue Pavon

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Cavs 97 - Celtics 91: Thompson, Cavs knock off Celtics

Tristan Thompson's career night led the Cavs to victory against the Celtics last night and snapped a ten-game losing streak.

Thompson had a career high 29 points and 17 rebounds against a depleted Celtics team, playing without Paul Pierce (sore ankle) and Kevin Garnett (foot).

Jeff Green scored 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Brandon Bass chipped in with 14 points. Celtics shot poorly in the second half, they went six for 22 in the third quarter and could never get it going in the fourth.
"We missed a lot of open shots, but I also thought we settled," Coach Rivers said. [ESPN Boston]
The Cavs outscored its opponent in the paint, 52-38.

But on the brightside: Shavlik Randolph had his best game as a Celtic. He chipped in with 16 points, seven rebounds off the bench.

Despite clinching the playoffs two days ago, the Celtics have dropped eight of its last 11 games. Without Garnett and Pierce, they couldn't find enough offense against a very hungry Cavs team, coming off of a ten-game losing streak.

It's unfortunate that Jordan Crawford or Jason Terry couldn't give the spark they needed off the bench. Neither one of them scored in double digits.

Celtics next game will be Sunday when they host the Washington Wizards at TD Garden. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are both listed as probable.


Avery Bradley left the game early after hurting his collar bone in the fourth quarter. He told reporters after the game: "It hurts, but I'll be fine." ... With Garnett and Pierce both looking like they will be playing this Sunday against the Wizards, this could potentially be the first look at the Celtics team we will see in the playoffs.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

C's Losing Ground in Playoff Push: Depressing... or GENUIS!

On a larger scale, last nights game against Minnesota was a glimpse into the future and life after the 'Big Three Era' is over. The likely rebuilding process after Garnett and Pierce hang it up suddenly looks extremely depressing, especially if Rondo is moved at any point over the next year or so. 

Not saying that Danny Ainge will move the Celtics point guard if he doesnt have to, but it seems like when the Celtics can't rely on Pierce or Garnett to take over a game, this team scarily resembles a lottery team. There's nothing worse then sort of rebuilding, they have to commit one way or the other. 

Lets say 2014-15 comes around, Rondo is 30 and in the last year of his deal and Pierce and Garnett are in the rafters, it could be a valuable trade asset for Ainge to use. And if that's the case, a Jeff Green led squad is not going to be headed for Banner 18 (hopefully 19 at that point), and then its the five-year plan on building through the draft. 

If the Celtics really want to make holding on to their veterans worth while, they need to take advantage of it this year. Any chance the Celtics have at making a run deep into the playoffs starts with avoiding the Heat in the first round. It may seem like there are meaningless games down the stretch here, but in reality, every game is huge. 

The Celtics need to go 5-3 to close out the season. Even without KG and Pierce, they absolutely have to take advantage of the soft schedule and beat the Pistons, Cavs, Wizards, Magic, and Raptors.

(Breathe in... Breathe out...  Deep Breaths guys, we'll get through this. Here's where I try to spin this..)

The only way resting and not caring about seeding makes sense, and this is a stretch, but could dropping to the 8th seed be a brilliantly diabolical move by Doc Rivers?

Is it possible, that Doc Rivers is of the mind to say he wants to play the Miami Heat in the first round? If Boston have any chance whatsoever to beat the Heat, it would be in the first round wouldn't it? Is that really as ludicrous?  

Think about it, the playoffs are a grind, the Celtics are an aging team, they are resting their guys now. They won't be more fresh than in the first round. It's like going all in at the beginning of a poker tournament, when you know you have no chance of winning the longer it goes on.

The Heat obviously don't seem like they are all too worried about the Eastern Conference, and if the Celtics could some how come out blazing and land a knockout punch in Miami, it would go down as the biggest upset in NBA history. 

If this is what the Celtics are doing, if Doc somehow developed this plan in the past few weeks, and it works, it could be the most genius, most diabolical plan to dethrone the Heat and then know, you are the favorite to come out of the East. 

Wishful thinking, probably but seriously why not at this point.

-Sean Dutra

T-wolves 110 - Celtics 100 : C's Lose to Dismal T-Wolves; Pekovic Shines

To be fair, the Celtics went into Minnesota last night without the three best players on their roster, and without Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and of course Rajon Rondo, the Celtics were dominated by the pitiful Kevin Love-less T-Wolves from start to finish last night.

I really Pekovic fan club, who certainly got their moneys worth.  Pekovic's 29 points, led the way for the Wolves who went on to get their 27th victory of the year 110-100.

feel bad for the people in Minnesota who actually bought a ticket for the game last night, except for the Nikola

It was truly a night to forget for Doc Rivers and the Celtics as their seemingly inevitable slide down into the 8th spot in the standings continue. With the loss, the Celtics are only 1 1/2 games up on the Milwaukee Bucks for the final spot and a date with the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs. 

The Celtics had absolutely no answer on the inside to defend Pekovic.  He got to any spot in the paint with ease, got the ball, scored, repeat. JJ Barea, Dante Cunningham, Andrei Kirilenko, and Derrick Williams all chipped in with double figures and really made the Celtics look like a lottery team, which to be fair, is probably the talent level they had on the floor last night without any of the C's Big Three playing. 

The Celtics did get pretty solid guard play last night especially from Avery Bradley. He seemed to break out of his recent shooting funk and scored 18 pts, on 8-14 shooting. Also Terrence Williams continued his campaign to get more regular minutes putting up 14-5-6. 

This game had Jeff Green written all over it, but the typically unreliable Green was invisible for most of the game. In a match up that he could have dominated, Green took the docile approach only shooting the ball 10 times. That is a very disappointing sign for the Jeff Green band-wagoners, as he yet again can't seem to put together a stretch of games playing at the high  level we all know he can play at. 

The Celtics take on the Pistons next. The push for the playoffs continue, and they better be thanking Andrew Bynum for the security of at least the eighth seed.

-Sean Dutra