Saturday, November 30, 2013

Celtics 103 - Cavs 86 :C's Win Big at Home

Boston - The home crowd at the TD Garden got an early holiday present last night, as the familiar sounds of the Bee Gees blasted through the sound system and the sights of a shaggy man in a bread wearing a tight tan shirt that read “Gino” began to play on the jumbo-tron. It’s been a long time coming, as the Celtics blew out the visiting Cavaliers 103-86 and Gino Time was in full affect from the fans in the stands to the players on the bench shaking their hips in a celebration of the huge win.

“Nobody told me about that,” first year coach Brad Stevens said after the win. “Maybe they thought we wouldn’t have a game out of reach.”

Rajon Rondo who enjoyed the game in street clothes has seen a lot of Gino over the years;

“They don’t know about Gino,” said the injured point guard. “We’ve got to get a couple of more wins.”

Boston jump out to 18-2 lead to start the game and never looked back. Jeff Green scored a season high 31 points, the most by any Celtic this season. While Jordan Crawford scored 11 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, and dished out 10 assists for his third career triple-double and his first as a member of the Celtics. Avery Bradley continued his hot shooting going 9-for-11 for 21 points giving the home team its third win in four games.

They never trailed in this game as they maintained a double-digit edge the entire 48 minutes.

“We got great defensive stops to begin the game with. That’s how we got that lead,” said Green. “We are finally putting everything together. We’ve had our ups and downs throughout the season…but it was good to put an all-around good game together.”

Stevens said he was surprised to hear that Crawford had reached the milestone and called his performance “shockingly effective.”

“He had 11 rebounds?” Green asked reporters. “Jordan Crawford had 11 rebounds?  It’s good that our guards rebound. Our guards need to rebound to win.”

Dion Waiters scored 21 points while Kyrie Irving struggled with only 17 points (15 of them came in the first half) for the Cavs, who have lost their fifth straight game and fell to 1-9 on the road this season. Cleveland scored just 10 points in the first quarter, and the lost marks their eighth in nine games.

The only run the Cavs made was in the middle of the second quarter as they went on a 16-6 run to cut a 20-point deficit to 10. But the Celtics scored the next eight points, including a 3-pointer and a layup by Green.

All five Celtics starters scored in double figures, and the team shot 50-percent for the game while going 11-for-23 from behind the arc, as the team is 7-11 on the season and a half game out of first in the Atlantic Division. Next game is tonight as the team travels to Milwaukee to take on the Bucks as this 19 game schedule for the month of November (5 games in the last seven days) comes to an end.

Game Notes:

The Celtics as a team had 26 assists and grabbed 47 rebounds, as they stayed aggressive moving the ball and going to the basket the entire game. Friday night’s 23-point win marks the largest win of the season so far. Courtney Lee missed last night’s game due to a sore left knee. Kelly Olynyk missed his fourth straight game with a sprained right ankle. Boston will be the first team in the NBA to play 19 games after tonight.

Joel Pavón

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Grizzles 100 Celtics 93: Despite late game surge C's lose at home

Boston- Memphis came in to the TD Garden 7-7 and playing without the NBA's reigning defensive player of the year Marc Gasol, who is out three to four weeks with a sprained left MCL. They already owned a win from a little over three weeks ago over the Celtics and after blowing a 19-point lead late in the fourth, the Grizzles were able to hold on 100-93 for a much needed W on the eve of Thanksgiving.

One would think that Memphis' inside scoring would suffer without their big man, but it was quite the opposite. Zach Randolph scored 13 points while Tony Allen and Ed Davis each had 12 and 11 points. Kosta Koufos who started in Gasol's place grabbed 13 boards while Randolph grabbed seven.

Jerryd Bayless, who has always played well against the Celtics scored 22 points off the bench and believes the team is playing well even without Marc;

"We're playing well. Everyone's contributing. We've got to continue to do that," Bayless said of the team's effort without Gasol. "We still have Zach and Zach's a premier big man in the league. We've got to continure to get him the ball and he's capable of doing great things."

Jeff Green lead the Celtics with 26 points, while Jared Sullinger started off slow but finished with 23 points(13 of which were in the fourth quarter) and grabbed 12 rebounds. Avery Bradley added 16 points, and not much offensivly was going Boston's way.

The Grizzles garbbed the lead in the opening minutes and never trailed the rest of the way, though the C's made a late charge in the last two minutes of the game.

The Celtics trailed 90-77 with under two minutes before Sully went off and Boston figured out how to guard the paint better.

"That's why it's a game of adjusting, changing," Celtics Coach Stevens said. "If you look at the game, you give yourself a chance to win. We were never quite back in the game."

After a 49-36 halftime deficit at the halftime, Boston cut it to nine three different times in the third quarter. But Memphis's interior scoring was too much as seven of their nine baskets in the quarter came from inside the lane. Mike Miller and Bayless each hit 3-pointers in the fourth before a pair of three pointers from Sully in the closing two minutes in a 16-7 Celtics' run and eight straight points from Sullinger.

Bradley's 3 with 14.4 seconds left cut Memphis lead 96-93. But Bayless made two free throws to seal the win, and snap Boston's two game winning streak.

"They just came out aggressively and our intensity wasn't there," said Jeff Green. "We allowed them to put us on our heels and that's how they got their early lead."

Despite a great late fourth quarter comeback, the Celtics needed more offense especially from Jordan Crawford (five points and seven assists) and Brandon Bass who shot a combined 4-for-14 from the field. Next game is on Friday at home vs the Cavs and then back on the road on Saturday vs the Bucks before the worst month schedule wise comes to an end.

Game Notes:

Courtney Lee sprained his left knee in the second quarter and did not return, while Kelly Olynyk missed his third straight game with a sprained right ankle. Jeff Green addressed the home crowd at center court before tip-off, wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

Joel Pavón

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Report: Celtics Would Consider Deal for Amar'e

According to Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report the Knicks are interested in sending Amar'e Stoudemire to Boston in exchange for a big man and others.

The report states that Celtics are looking to move Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries to shave salary cap space for the future. 

Wallace is guaranteed his $10 million a year until 2016 and while Humphries is guaranteed his $12 million for only this season, he's a serviceable big man who could help the Knicks with rebounding. 

Center Tyson Chandler will be out for a significant amount of time and coach Woodson has restricted Stoudemire's minutes on the floor.

Knicks are desperate to move Stoudemire's contract for players who can come in and contribute this season. Carmelo Anthony can opt-out of his deal and become a free agent next summer. 

There has also been talks that the Celtics could also look to move Courtney Lee's contract. Lee's contract keeps him in Boston until 2016.

Celtics should pass on this offer and wait for a better deal down the road. But tank-wise it makes things better for the Celtics. Wallace has emerged as a leader on the team who is Boston's best defender. Knicks will have to take Wallace's contract in order for the deal to go through. 

If Danny Ainge pulls the trigger on this trade consider it a clear cut sign that he's aiming for a lottery pick in June.

Josue Pavon

Spurs 104 Celtics 94: San Antonio cruise to eight in a row, Celtics drop its fifth straight

San Antonio – The Celtics were coming off a four game skid going into the AT&T Center last night and were handed another to add to the loss column. 

The Spurs handed Boston its fifth straight loss and won its eighth straight, remaining undefeated at home and 10-1 overall.  

Jeff Green, in his previous three games was shooting a combined 6-for-25 from the field but scored 19 points against San Antonio. Meanwhile Tony Parker scored his 19 points and dished out five assists; leading the way to a 104-93 win. 

San Antonio had 27 assists and six players in double figures, rallying from a slow start to lead by as many 19 in the second half. Manu Ginobili who finished with five points and six assists, knows the importance of moving the ball, leads to better shots;

“Those moments when we start to play better ‘D,’ push the ball and be more aggressive, then it’s fun to watch, it’s exciting and it’s what we need,” the Spurs guard said. “We pass the ball really well. We penetrate and pitch, and everybody gets involved and that’s fun.”

There were 10 different lead changes and 14 ties in the first half, as neither team was able to maintain any momentum. But the Spurs shot 48% from the field and were 8-for-21 from behind the arc as Boston struggled to close on San Antonio’s shooters.

Jared Sullinger, who got his first start of the season, had a great night going 8-for-17 from the field putting up 19 points and grabbing a career high 17 rebounds. Sullinger said it was exhausting trying to keep up with the Spurs ball movement;

“Phew;” Said the Celtics forward “They’re a tough team to play. On any given night, anybody can go off. Honestly, they move the ball. They care less about scoring…They have go-to players but they hardly ever use them because they move the ball so well and play as a team, so they are hard to guard.”

Besides Sully’s double-double, Avery Bradley continued his great shooting going for 19 points, and Jeff Green finally broke out of his slump. 

Brad Stevens was pleased with the first half production of his team as they were all tied 48-48 after the first 24 minutes, considering how poorly they played in Houston the night before.

The team that played tonight could be a really fun group to work with,” said Stevens. “I think that’s what you take from here. We talked about this early in the year. There’s going to be nights where we measure progress a little bit differently.”

Boston couldn't slow San Antonio down when they began to pull away midway through the third quarter behind the great shooting of Kawhi Leonard (16 points) and Tony Parker. Leonard scored 10 of the Spurs first 12 points to start the second half and put his team up ahead 61-52 with eight minutes left in the quarter. The Celtics ended the period outscored 32-22.

Despite the Celtics’ defense slowing down, Tim Duncan, who went 3-for-13 from the field, and Parker sitting out the entire fourth quarter wasn't enough for Boston to make a comeback in the final 12 minutes. Danny Green (11 points) who had not made a single shot in the first half, woke up in the second half and so did the rest of San Antonio’s role players.

Boston will make a return to the Garden on Friday to face against the team with the best record in the Eastern Conference, the red hot Indiana Pacers. Tip off is at 7:30.

Game Note:
The Celtics continue to turn the ball over as they committed 17 last night (averaging 16.9 for the season), which lead to 20 Spurs’ points. San Antonio and Indiana have the league’s best record as they are the only teams to have lost only once at 10-1

Joel Pavón

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Doc, KG and Pierce say a break up was 'inevitable'

Los Angeles - What was suppose to be the first meeting between Doc Rivers and his former players, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, ended up not happening at all.

Pierce out with a groin injury while Garnett missing in action due to an ankle issue, and were among four Brooklyn starters who sat out Saturday night’s Nets-Clippers game because of injuries. In fact the two future hall of famers were not even in the Staples Center to watch Rivers and L.A. beat Brooklyn. 110-103.

Doc remembers when the three were together during their Celtics days; Pierce or KG wouldn’t come to games they weren’t playing in. That habit continues now with the Nets.

Prior to the game when it was thought they would play on Saturday all three caught up with Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, to speak about Danny Ainge breaking up the band and a rebuilding situation without Doc.

“It wasn’t the first choice. Said Garnett. “It wasn’t likely… But I’m a chameleon. If I had to be in Boston for my last years without Doc, that probably would have been my last year of playing. More importantly, I hate to lose or be in that position.” [Yahoo! Sports]

Pierce shares that same sentiment, since he has been through that before;

“It probably would have been really difficult,” Paul added.

KG believes management was looking to go in another direction, especially after his name was brought up in serious talks last season with the Clippers, and of course after losing in the first round to the New York Knicks:
“The writing was on the wall,” said Garnett. “We all knew what the story was. I think Ray said it best, ‘None of us wanted to leave.’ I wanted to leave out in Green.”

After spending 15-years in Boston, for Pierce it was easier to depart with Rivers gone;

“Eventually it was going to happen,” Pierce said. “We knew eventually guys would go their separate ways, whether it was retirement or to another city.”

With the Celtics making headlines in the offseason, especially before the blockbuster trade with Brooklyn, Garnett thought that the three would land in Los Angeles;

“I actually thought I was going to L.A. to be honest. I thought [Rivers], I and Paul were going.”

Even “The Truth” thought he was going back to Cali to play in his hometown;

“At one point we thought we would all be in L.A.”

Regardless of how things played out before the start of the season and where they ended up, it is still clear that there is no love lost between the coach and his former players. They won a championship together in 2008, and returned to the finals two years later. There will always be an admiration for Doc and in vice-versa.

“I learned how to be a man, how to speak and how to communicate better than when I came in,” said KG. “He gave us confidence, we can do anything. Although he is well spoken and comes across really intellectual, Doc’s a beast, Doc’s an animal. There is nothing soft about him. He pushed us everyday.”

Paul played under Rivers from 2004 to 2013, raised a banner and won finals MVP during that span.

“I really grew to the player I’ve become and really matured under him through good and bad,” said Pierce.“Because of him, I’m the player I am.”

For Doc enough can’t be said when it comes to those guys, the feelings is mutual in more ways than one.

“When you win a NBA championship and when you go through the struggles you must go through together, you’re bonded for life,” Rivers told Yahoo! Sports. “It’s like having a blood transfusion. I’m not sure what they got from me, but I gained so much because I was lucky enough to coach them.”

Garnet and Pierce will have to wait until December 12th to reunite with their former coach, as they will host the Clippers at the Barclay Center. Either way they still keep in contact with Rivers since their departure from Boston.

“We still stay in touch,” said Pierce. “We still text back and fourth. We can hang out next summer because I usually train at the Clippers’ facility during the summertime. Maybe when I’m retired he can give me a job.”

Joel Pavón

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Blazers 109 Celtics 96: Poor shooting leads to second straight defeat

Boston-The Portland Trailblazers made their one and only trip to the TD Garden last night; with one goal to come out of there with a win. It had been nine seasons since the last Portland victory in Boston. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 27 points and added 12 rebounds, for his fourth straight double-double and beating the Celtics 109-96 in the process.

Nicolas Batum added 18 points for Portland, which won its fifth consecutive game. Terry Stotts spoke about the team's first win in Boston since 2004;

"I was happy for L.A. and Nic," said the Blazer's coach. "You always want to check those arenas off your list."

Boston won 13 of the previous 15 meetings against Portland. Jared Sullinger, who missed the last game with a bruised knee, had 26 points and eight rebounds off the bench for the C's as they have lost two in a row.
The Celtics trailed 94-80 early in the fourth quarter before Sully and Courtney Lee hit back-to-back 3 pointers to cut the deficit to eight points with 8:51 to play. The next two possessions resulted in no points and Dorell Wright hit a 3-pointer to make it a 12-point game and Williams hit a short fallaway jumper to make it 103-89.

Once again Brad Stevens' team was playing from behind almost the entire game and had this to say;

"Every team has a margin for error and not many teams have a big one,"  the Celtics coach said. "We can't take plays off; it's not going to work out well for us on either end of the floor. Those guys are going to make you pay if you relax. And they did."

Boston has allowed 105 or more points in three of it's last four games, winning two. After a six point deficit at the half, the Blazers outscored them 33-27 in the third quarter, and too many turnovers lead to easy buckets for the visiting team.

"You can't out score those guys. You're going to have to defend them," Stevens said. "We didn't do that very well."

Brandon Bass, Avery Bradley continued their shooting woes going for a combined 5-for-14 from the field scoring six points each. While the only other players who scored double figures besides Sully were Jeff Green and Jordan Crawford each shooting a not so impressive 4-for-12, resulting in 11 and 14 points each.
The Celtics will be in Minneapolis tonight as they are taking on the red hot Timberwolves. Tip-off is at 8PM.

Game Note:
The last Portland win in Boston was back on March 31, 2004 when the TD Garden was still the Fleetcenter and Darius Miles lead the way for the Blazers, and Ricky Davis was the high scorer for the Celtics.

Joel Pavón

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Bobcats 89 Celtics 83: Charlotte Snaps Boston's Four Game Winning Streak

Boston-Al Jefferson spent three season with Boston before being apart of the trade that sent Kevin Garnett to the Celtics. Every trip back to the TD Garden in the five plus seasons since he last suited up in green have ended in defeat, until last night. After the usual great reception during player introductions, Big Al put up 22 points, grabbed 11 boards to lead the Bobcats to an 89-83 win Wednesday night, and snapping the C's four game winning streak in the process.
In his second game back, after missing five straight with a bruised right ankle. Jefferson said it was the first time being on a team that beat the Celtics.
"A long time coming," he said. "Been so close so many times...I still missed a lot of shots I normally would make." After shooting 8-for-17. "I've got to get in better shape. That's the only bad part about getting hurt in the beginning of the year."
Gerald Henderson had 13 points, Jeff Taylor had 12 and Anthony Tolliver had 11 for Charlotte, which ended a two-game skid.
While Jeff Green had a team high 19 points and Jordan Crawford continued his great play putting up 16 points, five rebounds and dishing out six assists. Coach Stevens put it best when asked about playing from behind the entire game;
"We made some runs, but I never felt like that game-there are certain games where you feel like the other team has got you a little bit of a stranglehold, and it's going to be hard to overcome it because of the way the game was going...they had their way most of the night. They were very good."
Both teams were without key big men. Celtics were without Jared Sullinger who was out with a bruised knee, and Bobcats forward Josh McRoberts missed the game for personal reasons.
Boston never lead in this game. After three quarters the Bobcats were up 71-64 while the Celtics twice closed it to three midway into the fourth before Tolliver nailed a shot-clock beating 3 with 5:37 to play.
Green converted a three-point play, getting Boston within 85-80 with 1:26 to go, and even Crawford had a three-point play of his own that kept the Celtics alive, and within two 85-83 with 32.5 seconds left. But a Jefferson put-back off a Kemba Walker miss, sealed it for the visiting team.
Jordan Crawford felt like the Bobcats wanted it more, by playing harder for most of the night;
"They beat us with effort. They beat us to all the loose balls and rebounds," he said. "It's not really a game to throw away. It's one to look at to see where we can get better."
Brandon Bass and Avery Bradley who had been key contributors during the four game winning streak, both struggled with their shots, going for a combined 5-for-17 from the field and only scoring seven points each. While Boston's front court did combined for 36 boards including 11 from the rookie; Kelly Olynyk and nine from Vitor Faverani.
Celtics will try to go for .500 once again as they will take on the Portland Trailblazers at the TD Garden on Friday at 7:30.
Game Notes:
Boston's defense held Charlotte to 37% shooting and lead to 21 fast break points...First baseman, Mike Napoli of the World Champion Red Sox, got a huge ovation when he was shown on the jumbotron, seating court side and signing autographs. In the fourth quarter he was selected as the "fan of the game."
Joel Pavón

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Sullinger undergoes MRI on right knee

Celtics forward Jared Sullinger has a bruised bone in his right knee and is listed as day-to-day.

Sullinger underwent a precautionary MRI Tuesday afternoon due to colliding with Maurice Harkless in Monday night's game against the Orlando.

"Nothing conclusive, and certainly day to day it sounds like they are looking at, but we just don't know yet, so we want to make sure," said coach Stevens.
Sullinger has been a solid contributer off of the bench this season. He is averaging 11.3 points and 7.3 rebounds in 19 minutes per game.

Kris Humphries will most likely receive more playing time if Sullinger is unable to play.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Allen Still Getting no Love From Former Teammates

Someone once said that 'time heals all wounds.' I tend to disagree especially when it comes to matters of the heart. Just ask Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett what does love and basketball have to do with each other.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Celtics 120 - Magic 105 : Crawford, Bradley Standout in C's 4th Straight W

After struggling out of the gate to get any production at all from the point guard position, Brad Stevens just may have found his man  to fill the void until Rajon Rondos knee is ready to go. Jordan Crawford stepped up to the plate and showed poise, leadership, and versatility, while the playing the point for the C's and led them to their fourth straight victory against the Orlando Magic 120-105. 

Distribution is certainly not Crawford's M.O. in the past, but he lead the C's with a 16 point, 10 assist performance, complete with a handful of eye popping assists. What was most impressive, is that he took care of the basketball all night and did not turn the ball over all game. 

(Wait, really? I got to double check that.)  


This is really good news for C's fans as Jordan Crawford who in the past was extremely frustrating to watch at times,  is maturing right before our eyes. He looked in control all night, except for a few rushed three point attempts, and a very avoidable technical foul (Jordan being Jordan?), but other than that he was the star of the game.  

Not only did Crawford have his breakout game of the year,  he allowed Avery Bradley to slide over to his more comfortable 2-guard position. Bradley has shown how he is infinitely more effective with out the responsibilities of ball handling and running the offense. He scored 24 points, leading the team, and was his usual pest of defender all night, racking up 3 steals. 

The Celtics have denied all odds in this early season and have improved to 4-4 after a tough 0-4 start. They are actually in first place in the Atlantic division right now, which I'm sure Brad Stevens himself wouldn't have predicted a week ago. 

It wasn't all Crawford and Bradley tonight for the C's, as they notched 7 players scoring in double figures and 10 players scoring a point.  Jeff Green kept up his streak of solid performances up scoring 16 points, while Jared Sullinger continued to show his grit scoring 14 pts, on 7-9 shooting and brought down 5 boards. 

Also, Kelly Olynyk may have had his most productive day as a pro shooting 77% from the field and scored 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists in 26 minutes. 

Not a lot to complain about in this one if you are a follower of the Green. This team has become a very relatable, watchable, and flat out entertaining squad that is really refreshing to see. It was a very complete team win for the Celtics tonight. Brad Stevens wont show you that he's happy by cracking a smile but you know deep down he can't ask for much more from his team after a performance like that.

The Celtics will look to build off this win as Charlotte comes to town in game two of the current three game home stand. 

Rondo wasn't cleared to play 3-on-3, did anyway

According to Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, Rajon Rondo has been playing basketball without the doctor's permission.

Danny Ainge told the Boston Herald that Rondo took part in 3-on-3 scrimmages a few weeks ago against doctor's orders.

"He played 3-on-3 when he wasn't supposed to," said Ainge. "But I asked [the training staff] if it was OK for him to be playing one-on-one, and the answer was yes. Of course playing one-on-one is one thing. It doesn't mean he's ready to play to the NBA standard." [Boston Herald]

Rondo's surgeon Dr. James Andrews has yet to make a decision on Rajon's current status. Rondo says he hasn't had time to book a trip to Pensacola, FL. due to Celtics' hectic travel schedule but plans to see Dr. Andrews soon.

Rondo is the best player on the Celtics who wants to return to action as soon as he can. A lot of people may look at this as Rondo being selfish by going against doctor's orders, but playing 3-on-3 isn't exactly one step away from being game-time ready.

Despite the injury, Rondo travels with the team and mentors his younger teammates, showing great leadership. A selfish player would have left his team and booked a flight to Florida as soon as possible to see his doctor. That's not the case with this Celtics all-star.

He still has a long way to go and we can trust Rondo to not rush back until he can play full 5-on-5 with no limitations.

Celtics 111 Heat 110: The Miracle on South Beach

Miami- It was all hugs and smiles when the Celtics entered American Airlines Arena coming off of back-to-back wins, and they exited with the same expression on their faces after Jeff Green made the biggest shot of his career to knock of the Miami Heat.

Gerald Wallace in bounded a perfect pass to Jeff Green with .6 of a second left on the clock for a buzzer beating three pointer in LeBron James's face, topping the Heat 111-110 and broke the hearts of the home crowd.

After a come from behind win in Orlando the night before, they did it again in shocking fashion against the defending NBA champion.

Jeff Green, who had a team-high 24 points, went 5-for-8 from three point land and executed the most unbelievable play of the young NBA season thus far. Avery Bradley was still in disbelief:
"Jeff made a huge shot," said Bradley after the game. "It's crazy."

It was an exciting game from the opening tip as Boston wanted to keep its momentum rolling and prove they can go toe-to-toe with the two-time defending world champs despite the change in personnel or the fact they're without its floor leader, Rajon Rondo. The results; winning its third consecutive game and shocking the basketball world Saturday night.

James scored 25 points and made what he thought would be the final two free throws and the nail in the C's coffin after he was fouled with 3.6 seconds remaining and gave Miami a 110-106 lead.

Enter Brad Stevens.

A play that was drawn up for Gerald Wallace led to a quick layup and Boston trailed by two with only one second left on the clock.

Needing to commit a foul in hopes that Miami would at least miss one free throw, Dwayne Wade (18 points) answered the call after being fouled in 0.4 seconds. He missed the first free throw, and thought he could outsmart these young Celtics by purposely missing the second attempt and letting the clock run out. That seemed like a good idea in theory except Wade hit nothing but backboard. You can not do that.

Free throw violation was called and Boston was given one more chance to at least send the game into OT or get the win. Coach Stevens couldn't have wished for a better scenario:
"I just had it written down," Stevens said of the game's final play. "I've never ran it before, but we've had some variations of it."
Celtics fans were use to the previous regime and plays being drawn up on the fly but this was nothing short of pure genius for the youngest coach in the NBA.

Stevens used Avery Bradley (8-for14, 17 points) and Jordan Crawford (6-for10, 15 points), who was on fire all night as decoys. Jeff Green ran off of a screen from rookie Kelly Olynyk and Green caught Wallace's pass in the corner for the game-winning three pointer.

Swish... cue the ESPN highlight reel and a full on celebration.

Jeff's shot couldn't have even been stopped by LeBron James' long arms as time expired, Stevens and the Celtics pulled off the miracle.
"I just shot my regular shot and just trusted that it would go in," Green said after the game. "It was suppose to be a 2, but I told Gerald I wanted to shoot the 3 to try to win it."
Wallace had no issues with Green's wishes, and trusted that something great was going to happen.
"When he let go I just had the feeling that it was going to go in," said Wallace, who dished out a team high 7 assists. "It looked good, I felt good about it. It seemed like everything went right for us that last minute of the game, so it was just kind of like this was our time and he was able to make it."
Since Wallace's comments Wednesday night about coming off the bench, it's done nothing more than work wonders for this team. Three straight wins (3-4 overall) and a Florida sweep. Celtics return Monday night when they take on the Magic once again. Let's see what else coach Stevens has up his sleeve as they'll try to make it four in a row.

Game Note:

The Celtics won the battle of the boards 39-31 and committed only 12 turnovers. Celtics average 18.3 turnovers this season. Boston's bench outscored Miami's 51-34. The only solace the Heat had was the fact that they went to the charity stripe 34 times for 24 points while Boston went to the line a total of 12 times and made nine of them.

Joel Pavon

Friday, November 8, 2013

Rajon Rondo Update: Cleared for some contact

Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo has been cleared for contact activities but not 5-on-5 contact.

Celtics President of basketball operations Danny Ainge made his weekly appearance Thursday on Boston's 98.5 The Sports Hub and said that the all-star point guard has been cleared by team doctors to participate in limited contact.

"Rondo is practicing, he's been cleared to have some contact, like 1-on-1, but not 5-on-5 full court practice yet, so we're just taking it week by week now," said Ainge. "But he's not ready to come back this week. I'm not sure when he'll be cleared but he's working really hard and we're anxious to get him ready to go."

Sounds like Rondo isn't too far from getting back but isn't exactly right around the corner. Soon after he's cleared for 5-on-5 contact he should be ready to hit the floor (hopefully). Rondo has been fitted for a knee brace, which he claimed was very light, which should be a good sign.
"I trust Rondo and I trust that he wants to play," said Ainge. "Ultimately, he's going to be the one determining that, not doctors and everybody else. He's a smart kid and if he's not comfortable mentally or physically, I trust that he'll make the right decision."
Rondo hasn't played in an NBA game since injuring his ACL back in January.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Wallace: 'Confused' or 'Unhappy'?

Five games into the young season and I think I might be speaking for most when I ask, who are these young Celtics?

Their identity is not that cut and dry. For starters a 2-6 preseason may have or not have been a reflection of who they really are (I mean, it's only preseason, right?). Then again, a current 1-4 record doesn't help much either.

In a city where the Red Sox just won the World Series, and the Patriots are 7-2 atop of the AFC East, the Celtics are without its floor leader Rajon Rondo and just snapped a four game losing streak.

All four losses were winnable. But maybe this team just needs to elect a different leader until Rondo comes back. If you were the coach of this team, who would you elect?

Enter Gerald Wallace.

We all remember how unhappy he was with his teammates early on in the preseason, mostly because of the poor play in the first few games. Some believed he was unhappy to be here (Remember the day the ex-Nets were introduced as Celtics?) and that he was seeking a buyout. It was evident he was on board to come here and play hard; he showed that in the preseason.

Coming off a no-so-great season in Brooklyn, Wallace proved he could rebound and play great defense. Coach Stevens was trying out different lineups and it lead me to think - maybe Wallace will not be a starter this year. He's played well with the second unit especially with Sullinger and Olynyk.

It wasn't a big surprise when Coach Stevens took Wallace out of the starting lineup Wednesday night before the Celtics home game versus Utah. Wallace started all four games for Boston but before Wednesday's game, Stevens decided to shake things up. This was only the 10th time Wallace has been asked to come off the bench in the last four years, he didn't sound too happy and had this to say to reporters:
"I'm trying to make sense of everything," said Wallace prior to the game. "I'm trying to figure out what's really going on and go from here. I don't have a clue. I don't know what's going on. My thing is when I'm on the court, I compete to win. And when I'm not, it's just cheer my guys on and hopefully we'll get a win."
After being in the league for 13 years, Wallace, 31, has only been to the second round of the playoffs once (10 years ago with Sacramento). This is his third team in less than two years, fifth overall. He is not getting any younger, he wants to win, and doesn't want to be a part of a 'rebuilding' team at this stage of his career.
"I'm done talking," Wallace said before Wednesday's game. "Whatever they say, it's their team. They can do whatever they want to do. [I'm just] going to come out and compete hard to try and win." 
According to his teammates, Wallace has been great since arriving to Boston. He's been vocal in the locker room and in practice.

After coming off the bench last night and almost putting up a double-double (nine points, nine rebounds) in 23 minutes; Celtics won its first game.
"True professional," Jeff Green said of Wallace. "Still came to work. The minutes he played we big. The defense he games us, the energy he had, he was the reason we got the lead. For him to be told probably [Wednesday] morning that he wasn't going to start, then come out and play the way he did, that's a true professional. We've got to feed off what he does because he's one of our leaders and he shows a lot of heart when he's playing"
This is a process that will take time for everyone to get used to. It shouldn't come as a surprise to see Wallace show his frustration, he showed some of it before the season even started. It will be interesting to see how talented the Celtics will look when Rondo returns, which could definitely be motivating Wallace's hard work.
"You can't be mad after [Wednesday's] result," said Wallace. "We got our first win with it, so it's something to ride. The whole shocking part about it is it's kind of new for me... it's a new process. Sometimes new things are confusing. Who know? This might be the best thing for my career."
Wallace went on to add:
"My thing about that is I don't ask for trades, I don't like being traded," Wallace said. "Once I get to a place where I'm comfortable, I just want to know what's expected of me and what my role is. For a guy that goes out and puts 110 percent of himself into it, your all and you just want to know that, this is nothing against [coach] Stevens. Everyone has to figure out how we need to play with each other and how we can play together defensively and offensively to get the best out of each other."
Well said.

Hey, weather he's confused or unhappy, he's got my vote as one of the leaders on this team. One thing you can't say about this veteran is that he doesn't care. If anything, he might care a little too much.

Joel Pavon

Celtics 97 Jazz 87: Fifth time's a charm, C's and Stevens celebrate W

Boston - It's been a hell of a week for Celtics fans, as they've patiently waited for win number one in the Coach Stevens era, and avoided an 0-5 start for the first time since 1946.

After the first five minutes of Wednesday night's game versus Utah, it looked like more of the same from the previous seven days. But by the end of the night you saw a victory for the home team, its first of the young season, and a fifth straight loss for the Jazz as the final score read 97-87 at TD Garden.

Boston dug themselves into a hole quickly as they were down 16-3 in the first quarter and adjustments had to be made. Before you could say, 'here we go again...' the Celtics dished out 19 assists on 34 made baskets in the next 30 minutes. The unselfishness that was the key to this win, resulting in the C's shooting 49.3 percent from the field and 54 percent from behind the arc throughout the first three quarters, topping off a 25-point lead.

Brandon Bass scored a team high 20 points and Jeff Green added 18. The home crowd enjoyed its second game of the season, largely due to a second quarter where Utah was outscored 27-8.
"Eight points in the second quarter. Eight points in the second quarter," said Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin. "That's where we lost the game right there.. We're in a bad stretch right now, losing five games in a row. But you know what, nobody's going to feel sorry for us."
Gerald Wallace chipped in with nine points and nine rebounds, while Jared Sullinger added 12 points, including a buzzer beating fade away to end the first half, and we can't forget the rook; Kelly Olynyk who went 14 and 8 in 29 minutes of action. Overall, the front court was impressive; grabbing 32 of the Celtics' 42 boards for the game.

Celtics began the fourth quarter missing eight of nine shots, while Enes Kanter (22 points, eight rebounds) and Gordon Hayward (28 points, nine rebounds) cut into the deficit to make it 89-83 with just over five minutes left to play. But with a Bass jumper and a Sully baby hook to push the lead to 93-83, Boston never looked back and secured the win.

Co-owner, Wyc Grosbeck went onto the court after the final buzzer sounded to grab the game ball for coach Stevens, who celebrated his first win as an NBA head coach.
"I'm going to celebrate for a whole 12 minutes, and then I'm going to start watching Orlando and try to figure them out," said the Celtics coach. 
The game reunited Stevens, the former Butler coach with former Bulldogs star Gordon Hayward, who took them to the 2010 NCAA championship vs Duke where he missed the game winner from just inside half court. Gordon spoke briefly about seeing his former head coach:
"We exchanged greetings before the game," said Hayward. "But being the competitors we are, we both wanted to win [this] basketball game."
The Utah Jazz and the Denver Nuggets remain the only two win less teams in the league.

Meanwhile, Boston will travel to the sunshine state to take on Orlando and Miami in a back-to-back beginning on Friday night, as they try to add to the win column.

Side Note:

The Celtics ended its 289 home game sellout streak Wednesday night. Last night's attendance of 17,130 was short of about 1,500 fans. The streak dates back to the end of the 2006-07 season before the New Big Three era and their first championship in 22 years in 2008.

Joel Pavon