Boston Celtics: The Big Green Machine

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C’s Suffer First Loss, Look To Bounce Back

Posted by r1zzo23 on November 7, 2009

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The 6-0 Boston Celtics hosted the 4-1 Phoenix Suns at home last night and ended up suffering their first loss of the season, 110-103. Defense seemed to be optional in this game as both teams shot over 50% from the floor. Amar’e Stoudemire and Kevin Garnett had great games against each other, but Jason Richardson exploded, once again, to the tune of 34 points and ten rebounds. That was JRich’s 6th 30+ point game in his career against the Celtics. Steve Nash contributed 16 points and 12 assists, including a dagger three in the final minutes of the game to really put the game away.

The difference in three-point shooting was staggering as the Suns were 13-24 from deep while the Celtics bricked 14 of their 18 attempts from the great beyond. A +27 from three is going to kill any chance at winning a game, but when you dominate the points in the paint category, it helps to even that margin. Free throw shooting was also a huge problem as the Suns were 23-30 from the line while the Celtics shot a high school-like 9-18 from the so-called “charity stripe”.

There were people speculating how long the Celtics could go before losing a game. People were saying we had a great chance to break the 72-win mark set by the Bulls in the 90’s. I say this is a good loss for the team to be brought down to reality. There is no longer the pressure to stay undefeated and we can go out and focus on just winning games rather than continuing a streak.

Tonight, they head down to New Jersey to take on the struggling Nets, who will be without all-star point guard Devin Harris. Brook Lopez is an emerging center and looked great against us during the pre-season, but this should be an easy win for the Big Green Machine tonight. After coming off of a loss, I would be very surprised if they don’t come out firing on all cylinders and have this game wrapped up after only three quarters of play.

Posted in 2009, Game Analysis, Game Preview | 1 Comment »

KG: My History In Minnesota Has Passed

Posted by r1zzo23 on November 5, 2009

From Mark Murphy:

“It’s easy to come in here and focus, because they don’t have any of my old teammates here now,” he said. “My history from here has passed. I did take a moment tonight to look around, but there are so many changes here that I can’t relate to, so I have no reason to.”

“There was separation for me the moment I was traded (to the Celtics),” Garnett said. “The guys I had a special relationship with had moved on, and I never looked back. When a new page in my book turns, I try to embrace that.”

Kevin Garnett has always been one of the hardest workers in the league and is one of the more passionate players in the league. Personally, I think that playing in Minnesota for so long without getting the ultimate prize or at least given a chance by the front office to win a title made him even more hungry to win. And as much as he would have loved to win a title in Minnesota, winning one in Boston was his way of telling Minnesota’s front office “look what could have been”.

Looking at the Timberwolves’ roster, there is nobody left from the KG era in Minnesota. No Troy Hudson, Wally Szczerbiak, Latrell Sprewell or any other long-time Timberwolf that couldn’t help Kevin get over the hump in Minnesota is left on the roster. Garnett is honored to have played in Minnesota for so long, but is ready to put it in the past and forget about it. All that matters to him is winning a title for Boston and he has this team on a mission.

Looking at Garnett’s career, you have to think “what could have been” if he was playing in a major market with an organization willing to make the moves necessary to win.

Posted in 2009, Players | Leave a Comment »

C’s Top Timberwolves In Sloppy Performance

Posted by r1zzo23 on November 5, 2009

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When a jump ball is the key play, you know you've just watched an ugly game.

After destroying their Atlantic Division rival Philadelphia 76ers at home, the Celtics took to the road and headed to the chilly north to take on the Minnesota Timberwolves. In what was billed as Al Jefferson against his former Boston Celtic squad and Kevin Garnett’s return to the franchise he carried for 12 seasons, it looked as like it was going to be the Oleksiy Pecherov show in route to a Minnesota win. Fortunately, that didn’t happen as the Boston Celtics held on to secure a 92-90 win.

The one shining star for the Celtics I saw last night (only caught the 2nd have) was Rajon Rondo. Yes, he benefited from some questionable defensive decisions by Minnesota as well as some great passing from Kevin Garnett, but he asserted himself in the third quarter, where he scored the majority of his team-high 18 points. He was also all over the place on defense, jumping passing lanes and finishing for uncontested fast break layups.

The Celtics’ defense, which is still the best in the league, had an off-night as they allowed the Timberwolves to shoot 52% from the floor as a team with Pecherov scoring a career-high 24 points on nine of 14 shooting. Al Jefferson had a good offensive game with 18 points, but was limited to only four rebounds and seemed to just be out-sized by both Kendrick Perkins and Rasheed Wallace. Their length really seemed to help them both defend him and keep him off of the glass.

The one reason, in my mind, why this game was so close was the shooting of the Boston Celtics. Shooting 44.6% from the floor (37-83) and a miserable 5-19 from three, they just didn’t have the fire power to run away with this game. They dominated the points in the paint category, but when it came to open jumpers, nobody on the team was knocking them down with any consistency. Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Rasheed Wallace, Kevin Garnett, Eddie House… You name a player on the Celtics’ roster, he most likely wasn’t going to hit two consecutive jumpers in a row last night.

Being arguably the best team in the league will mean the Celtics will get their opponent’s best game night in and night out. If we head out on the road and shoot like we did last night, we’re going to need to find ways to win, which we did last night. That’s the sign of a championship team. That’s what we are seeing with this Boston Celtics squad.

Posted in 2009, Game Analysis | Leave a Comment »

C’s Continue to Roll, Stomp 76ers 105-74

Posted by r1zzo23 on November 3, 2009

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Pierce's 21, Rasheed's 20 points off bench pace C's offense.

Another game, another blow out and I enjoyed every minute of it. The team came out very sloppy and fell behind 10-4 to start the game and ended up coming back and taking a two-point lead after the first quarter. The second team really took this game and put Philadelphia away in the 2nd period. Rasheed Wallace, Eddie House and Marquis Daniels all went to work in the quarter and allowed the Celtics to take an 8-point lead into the half. ‘Sheed and House were draining threes while Daniels went to work on Jason Kapono, who had no chance to stop him whatsoever.

The third quarter allowed the Celtics to extend the lead to 15 points, but it could have been so much more. The defense was stifling all game, holding the 76ers to just 36.2% shooting on the night, but watching the Celtics on offense in the third period was downright ugly at times. They were turning the ball over on almost every other possession (or so it seemed) and that’s what kept them from really blowing them out earlier than they did.

One huge number that stood out was the Celtics’ bench scoring 62 points. Philadelphia’s bench, on the other hand, only chipped in for 25 points. This is going to be how this team wins a bunch of games this season. Even when the starters come out and don’t exactly play well, you have faith that this bench will not only even the game up against the opposing bench, but they can easily take the game over.

One game after Rondo’s big extension, he only had five assists, but he played a great game. He was all over the place on defense, hitting the glass (even if it didn’t result in his own rebound) and knocked down a nice jumper, which he is definitely showing a grown confidence in. With five assists, he led the team in that category as the team amassed 27 assists on their 41 baskets over the course of the game. The 27 assists are nice, but the 17 turnovers have got to be tuned down a bit.

What it comes down to is that when you’re winning so convincingly, this is the time to nit-pick on the problems. When your team is high, you’ve got to knock them down a bit in practice and point out their deficiencies. Doc voiced his displeasure in the post-game press conference about the turnovers and the sloppy play in the third quarter. He also went on to say that he called a timeout because it just wasn’t a close game and wanted to keep it somewhat respectable and organized.

Other than the turnovers, there are absolutely no complaints from me on how this game was played by the Boston Celtics. They continue to steamroll any and every team that is put in front of them. Tomorrow night, they will be on the road again at Minnesota to visit our old friend, Al Jefferson. In what should be an easy win, let’s hope we can allow our starters to rest for the entire fourth quarter again to be ready for yet another back-to-back starting Friday night at home against the Suns.

Posted in 2009, Game Analysis | Leave a Comment »

Rondo, Celtics Agree On Extension

Posted by r1zzo23 on November 2, 2009

Wyc's money has eyes for you, Rondo!

From Marc J. Spears:

The Boston Celtics and Rajon Rondo(notes) have reached an agreement in principle on a contract extension, Rondo’s agent, Bill Duffy, said early Monday.

League sources said the extension is for five years and guarantees Rondo at least $55 million. With the two sides facing a Monday deadline to get a deal done, Duffy said he called Celtics president Danny Ainge on Sunday to inform him Rondo was prepared to play out his contract and become a restricted free agent next summer because they weren’t satisfied with the team’s previous offers. Ainge, however, surprised Duffy by responding that Rondo’s contract hopes would be met.

“As much as we were willing to wait his contract out, the Celtics stepped up to the plate to meet the original request,” Duffy said by phone. “This is a really fair contract. We wanted him to be paid like one of the top five point guards around. It also allows the Celtics to maintain continuity to continue to be one of the best teams at this time.”

Well, I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t expect that a deal would get done. I thought that Rondo and his agent were dead set on getting a chance at a huge pay day, but looks as if they settle for just a big one. Perhaps they were worried about the economy or the new collective bargaining agreement, but either way, both sides win.

The Boston Celtics lock up their point guard for the present and the future and no longer have any risk of him signing a maximum contract in the off-season. Rajon Rondo now has a long-term contract in place where he will be paid handsomely. With Rondo now locked up, the Celtics need to extend Kendrick Perkins and they will have solidified the two hardest positions to fill in basketball: point guard and center.

The one thing that many Celtic fans are worried about is the “Mark Blount Syndrome”. Now that Rondo has gotten his money, will his game plateau? Will he continue to work as hard as he has been on his game (specifically his jump shot) or will he be satisfied with his current skill set? Personally, I don’t think the veterans on this team will allow him to stop improving. The team’s title chances not only this season, but the next two or three as well, hinge on Rondo pacing the team and getting the playmakers the ball.

With this extension agreed upon and seemingly the Glen Davis situation blown over, it looks as if this team has gotten it’s off-court issues out of the way. Now it is time to continue to play at an extremely high level. Rondo no longer has to think about playing for a contract and perhaps will start being more aggressive on the offensive end knowing he doesn’t have to worry about showing an improvement on his jumper. With four games in five nights starting Tuesday, let’s see if Rondo shows us a little more offensive game over the next week.

Posted in 2009, News, Players | 2 Comments »

Pierce, Celtics Drop Hornets

Posted by r1zzo23 on November 1, 2009

Hornets Celtics Basketball

Another win for the Boston Celtics. It looked like going into the half that the Celtics had a chance to run away with it, but Chris Paul just wouldn’t let it happen. It took a total team effort to secure this win, and that’s exactly what happened. The entire starting five contributed exactly how you would imagine them on a nightly basis and Rasheed came off the bench to chip in 12 points. Here’s a few notes from the game:

  • Chris Paul is the quickest & fastest player in the league
  • Paul Pierce can still carry a team offensively
  • Rajon Rondo thinks he belongs in CP3’s elite group of point guards and was willing to fight him for it
  • Rasheed Wallace’s threes may actually energize the crowd more than Eddie House’s
  • Peja Stojakovic can still stroke it.
  • Kevin Garnett looks fresh and springy, while his jumper is still smooth as ever
  • Chris Paul showed in the 3rd quarter alone that, if he wanted, could average 30 points a game
  • The Celtics’ big men were just too much for the Hornets (38 points combined for Garnett, Perkins and Rasheed)
  • Kendrick Perkins will benefit greatly from that 8-foot jumper he’s developed
  • Ray Allen punished Devin Brown and Chris Paul in the post in the 2nd quarter

We’ve run our record to 4-0 and look very good doing so. With an off day tomorrow, we head on the road for a back-to-back at Philadelphia and then at Minnesota. Thursday is a travel day to come home to take on the Phoenix Suns at home Friday, only to head back on the road to New Jersey for a game Saturday night. Four games in five nights will test this team’s stamina. Hopefully we can manage a blowout in one of those games to preserve some of the elder statesmen’s legs.

Posted in 2009, Game Analysis | Leave a Comment »

Sunday Showdown: Hornets @ Celtics

Posted by r1zzo23 on November 1, 2009

CP3 Levitates

With the first week of the NBA season just about over, the Boston Celtics look to continue their dominance against one of the West’s elite teams in the New Orleans Hornets. This team seems to have taken a step or two back since their breakout season two years ago, but when you have the league’s best point guard in Chris Paul on your team, you’re a threat to win any game.

The Celtics flaunt the best defense (by far, I may add) in the league, allowing a measly 79.33 points per game. Although they are only 14th in the league in offensive points per game at 101.66 per, their +22.33 point differential is far and away the best in the Association. The Hornets average 96.5 points per game while giving up 102.5, good for a -6.00 differential (24th in the league). Are the Celtics that good? Yeah, probably. Are the Hornets that bad? Maybe, but most likely no.

Keys to the Game:

  • Stop CP3: To kill the snake, you’ve got to cut off the head, or at least that’s what they say. Chris Paul is the engine that makes this Hornets team go. If you can contain him (because you just can’t stop him), you can pave the way for an easy win.
  • Close Out Shooters: Morris Peterson, Peja Stojakovic, James Posey and Darius Songaila all can shoot the three. The Celtics have allowed their opponents to hit only 19% of their 3-point attempts so far this season. If they keep that up, that will eliminate the threat of huge runs in the Hornets’ favor.
  • Celtics’ Bigs: Kevin Garnett, Rasheed Wallace, Kendrick Perkins and, to a lesser extend, Shelden Williams, should be able to have their way with the Hornets. Perkins and Okafor will be a good battle, but Garnett and ‘Sheed against either Julian Wright, Songaila or Hilton Armstrong will be a no-contest.

The Celtics pride themselves on stopping the other team from scoring. Chris Paul thrives on getting himself and his teammates easy buckets. Something’s got to give! To be honest, with the Celtics clicking on all cylinders both offensively and defensively and playing in front of the home crowd, I see this one being a Boston win.

Today’s Line: Celtics (-11.5)

Posted in 2009, Game Preview | Leave a Comment »

Last Ditch Effort At Rondo Extension

Posted by r1zzo23 on November 1, 2009

Rondo Restricted FA

From Marc Stein:

Although the past few days have been mostly quiet on the contract front for Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo, both sides are expected to connect Sunday for one last attempt to come together on a new deal before Monday’s deadline for contract extensions for members of the 2006 draft class, according to sources close to the process.

It’s very encouraging to see both sides giving each other the time of day to sit and discuss this time and time again, but like I’ve said all along, I don’t see an extension being agreed upon within the next 24 hours. If I am right and there is no extension agreed upon, this will be one hell of a season to sit back and watch Rondo earn his money.

So far this season he is averaging 12.3 assist per game and I honestly think he could challenge for the assists title this season. On top of that, he’s staying active on the glass (5.7 boards per) and hasn’t forced the issue with his own scoring yet. He has, however, shown off a much improved jumper that will allow him to get to the lane easier once he starts knocking it down with any semblance of consistency.

This will be a great season for Rajon Rondo and whether or not he signs an extension now will not hinder his chances of getting his big pay day from the Boston Celtics.

Posted in 2009, News | Leave a Comment »

Deadline for 2006 Extensions… Extended

Posted by r1zzo23 on October 30, 2009

From Marc Stein:

Rajon Rondo and the Boston Celtics have a little bit more time to work toward a contract extension.

The league has pushed the deadline for contract extensions for all players from the 2006 draft class from Saturday to Monday, league spokesman Tim Frank confirmed Thursday night.

NBA front-office sources told ESPN.com that all 30 teams were notified via league memorandum earlier this week that the league’s annual Oct. 31 deadline for players in the fourth year of their rookie-scale contracts, according to the collective-bargaining agreement, is moved to the next available business day if the deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday or federal holiday.

Well that’s a nice little rule to have for these GMs that have failed to extend their possible future franchise players. With that said, I’m not sure how much this will help the situation between the Celtics and Rondo. I’m pretty certain that a deal will not get done, but I have been known to be wrong (hard to believe, I know). I guess we can keep our fingers crossed that this deal gets done, but I wouldn’t get too excited about it.

Posted in 2009, News | Leave a Comment »

NBA 2009-2019 Season Predictions

Posted by r1zzo23 on October 29, 2009

Just wanted to post my season predictions. I wrote these up at work last Friday, October 23, but was just too lazy to post them. I have records for each NBA team as well as playoff results, postseason awards and draft lottery order. Here are the predictions for what they’re worth…

Atlantic Division:

  1. Boston Celtics – 64-18
  2. Toronto Raptors – 45-37
  3. New Jersey Nets – 41-41
  4. Philadelphia 76ers – 40-42
  5. New York Knicks – 27-55

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 2009, Offseason | 2 Comments »

 
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