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 »

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 »

Second Half Of Double-Dip: Bobcats @ Celtics

Posted by r1zzo23 on October 28, 2009

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After a thrilling opening to the NBA season by taking down the hated Cleveland Cavaliers, the Celtics fly home and will host the pesky Charlotte Bobcats at the TD Bank Garden. Yes, it is opening night and yes the Celtics are favored by ten and a half points, but Charlotte ALWAYS play us tough and are very capable of stealing a win tonight. The Celtics are coming of a big win last night and hopefully can carry that momentum over to this game to start the season 2-0.

Looking at the Celtics offensively, the entire starting five (besides maybe Perk) should have no problem scoring on any of the Bobcats’ starters. Charlotte isn’t a very defensive oriented team besides two players: Raja Bell and Tyson Chandler. Bell is a legit NBA defender and can frustrate even the best offensive players in the league (ex: Bryant, Kobe), but he has got a wrist that isn’t even close to 100% and is putting off surgery, so it’s yet to be seen how he plays with the injury. Chandler, who was brought over from New Orleans for the Bobcats’ first ever draft pick in Emeka Okafor, is a very good shot blocker and definitely will be deterring some shots down low tonight.

On defense, the Celtics will need to keep Gerald Wallace out of the paint. Force him to shoot jumpers all night. If he starts hitting them, more power to him. The same goes for Raymond Felton. If he starts getting to the paint at will, he will be able to dish off to some of their more athletic bigs for easy finishes around the rim. When the Bobcats go with a small back court of Felton and DJ Augustine, we’re going to need Marquis Daniels to guard one of the two point guards because I don’t think Eddie House or Ray Allen will be up to the task.

Keys to the Game:

  • Show Them Who’s Boss: It’s opening night on our home floor. We’re the title contender, they’re the cellar-dweller. Put on a Cleveland-esque run to start the game and keep the pedal to the metal. This team is easily defeated mentally and the game could be won in the first quarter.
  • DEFENNSEEE!!! : Not going to lie, this will be a key to the game every night. The defense looked very good last night and could be even more stifling tonight as the Bobcats don’t have a LeBron James type of player.
  • Play Like A Champion: Nothing frustrates a coach (and us fans) more than watching our team play down to the competition. I know in the middle of the season the team could possibly just go through the motions against a lesser team like Charlotte, but that should not be an option for the home opener.

My prediction is that the Celtics will win this game 102-84. I see Rajon Rondo having a great game, Paul Pierce will continue to do his same 20-point game while the bench will shine once again with Eddie House scoring double-digit points. Bottom line, I just want to see a win regardless of who does what and by how many points. Let’s hope we get out of tonight 2-0 and as healthy as we are now.

Posted in 2009, Game Preview | Leave a Comment »

Season Opener: Celtics @ Cavaliers

Posted by r1zzo23 on October 27, 2009

Cavs Opener

 

Here we are folks! We’ve had our time to discuss the Celtics’ roster, off-season moves, contract extensions, injuries and preseason basketball. Forget all that because it is time to focus on meaningful basketball games. I know (as well as the Cavaliers) that the first game doesn’t make or break your season, but this is definitely a game I would circle on the Celtics’ schedule. Other than the Magic, the Celtics and Cavaliers are the on the only true contenders for the NBA title out of the Eastern Conference this season.

Both teams have new faces that they will have to integrate into their respectful rotations and fast. Boston added Rasheed Wallace who has seemingly gelled with the team very well. His skill set fits perfectly as he plays defense and can stretch the field and bang down low. ‘Sheed will be a huge boost to the bench and will certainly be a reason we win a lot of games this season.

Marquis Daniels will be playing point-forward off the bench and has looked very comfortable in that role. Seeing the second unit play in the pre-season, it looked as if the backcourt of Daniels and Eddie House were a great combination and Daniels could be a match-up nightmare for opposing teams that choose to put an undersized guard on him.

With the unfortunate injury to Glen Davis, Shelden Williams will be broken in to the rotation more than we would have expected just a week ago. Nicknamed “The Landlord”, Williams can carve out some space in the paint, rebound effectively and play some very good defense. Shelden is an ideal power forward off the bench for this team and if Clifford Ray could work a little magic on this kid’s offensive game, he could be a steal for the Celtics.

The Cavaliers have just as many new faces to break in. The biggest of them all is Shaquille O’Neal. He is way past his prime, but he did improve his play in Phoenix last season. He looks to be in the best shape since his LA days, but will his game hurt LeBron’s? The Cavaliers also upgraded their wing position. Instead of having to rely on Sasha Pavlovic, they now have Anthony Parker and Jamario Moon. Parker is a good, consistent shooter while Moon is an athletic freak and can play some stringy defense. Both players are upgrades over Sasha, and with rumors that Antonio Daniels could be on the way to Cleveland, this team looks to have a stacked backcourt.

Keys To The Game:

  • Keep “The King” In Check: The Celtics cannot allow LeBron James to take over this game on both sides of the floor.
  • DEFENSE! : The Celtics pride themselves on the defensive end and need to show that tonight. Limiting their offensive boards will allow us to rebound, outlet and run (Tommy can’t wait to see us fast break!).
  • Protect The Rock: The Celtics were plagued with turnover problems last season and need to remedy that if they want to win a title again this season. This team loves to make the extra pass, but may need to get a bit more selfish and take those good looks at the hoop rather than risk a turnover.

Not much more to say now. Time to throw on your favorite Celtics’ garb, grab the beverage of your choice, get the lighting just right and get ready to scream at the TV screen another 82 (hopefully much more) games as this season kicks off. Enjoy the game and let’s hope we start this season off with a bang!

Posted in 2009, Game Preview | Leave a Comment »