Tag:Celtics
Posted on: January 3, 2009 9:09 pm
 

Boston Fans: SMARTEN UP!

I live in New York, but for the holidays I went and stayed with my parents near Boston for a week. While I was driving around Massachusetts I got to listen to WEEI (which is a treat, because I only get ESPN radio in NY), but what I heard from most callers was very disapointing.

People were calling into the radio station talking about complete nonsense, which made me realize, "this is why sports fans from other cities hate us". Here are some of the things Boston sports fans were calling into WEEI to talk about that are absolutely ridiculous:

RED SOX:

"Come on Theo and do something already!" - Why do the Red Sox need to do something just for the sake of doing something? What does he really need to do? The Sox made it to within a game of the World Series last year and he has all the same players as last year, plus a healthy Lowell and Ortiz. The only pressing issues were (1) signing a 4th starter, which he did signing Brad Penny, (2) sign a catcher, locking up Varitek is just a matter of time, and (3) maybe strengthening the bullpen, which he has done as well.

"We should trade everyone we have for Jake Peavy" - Why? So we can forfeit or future like the Yankees have been doing? Peavy would legitimately be the #4 starter on this team, and the Sox don't need a team full of All-stars. Just because the Sox have money doesn't mean they have to go nuts in the off-season.

"The Sox need to do something the improve the bottom of the lineup" - Come on people, Lowell, Lowrie, and Varitek are going to be just fine. We're talking about the WS MVP from 2007 and the guy who got the ALDS winning hit batting 7th and 8th, not too shabby. And if Varitek happens to struggle at the plate again, so what? What team has a really good #9 hitter?

Patriots:

"The Patriots got screwed out of the playoffs, the NFL should change their system" - Is there a rule that says an 11 win team is automatically in the playoffs? If the Patriots really deserved to get into the playoffs then they would have beaten a playoff team. "But the Chargers were only 8-8!" Yeah, and they beat the Pats. If Patriots had beaten the Bolts, Colts, Steelers, or Dolphins (twice) they would have been in. If you can't beat playoff teams, you don't deserve to be the in playoffs.

"Franchise Cassel and just piece together the rest of the team with whatever money is left over" - great plan...spend 1/3 of your total cap on a single position. The Patriots NEED help in the secondary, and if they franchise Cassel there is no money to bolster their defensive backfield.

CELTICS:

"The Celtics have no shot of winning the championship with their current team make-up, the need Stephon Marbury" - Nobody NEEDS Stephon Marbury. This town just got rid of Manny Ramirez, now we want him right back. Unless the Celtics put a claus in his contract that reads, "if Stephon distrupts the team in any way he will be immediately cut" I don't want to see him. Do whatever it takes to get P.J. Brown out of retirement or start developing Patrick O'Bryant because we don't need a PG, we need a big man. ----Ps. If the Celtics sign Marbury, all you crazies would go nuts whenever Scalabrine touches the ball are going to start crying because guess whose playing time the little guy is going to steal....

I know there are very well educated Boston sports fans out there, because I see their posts on this site all the time (yes, I do see the dumb ones too). I just wish more people, who I have no choice but to be associated with, would do a little homework before running their mouths about things they don't understand.

Posted on: December 13, 2008 12:22 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2008 12:28 pm
 

Celtics Weekly: The new "Big Baby" is Chris Paul

                                                         

After watching the Celtics win their 22nd game of the season last night against the New Orleans Hornets three things became very obvious to me:

1) Paul Pierce is at his best in big games. During the four games prior to Friday night Pierce was shooting a sub-par 33% from the field, connected on only 3 three pointers, and averaged over 3 turnovers per game. But then the Hornets came to town. Against a team that is the best the Celtics have faced all month, a team which was a pre-season favorite to go to the NBA championship from the Western Conference, and on national television Paul Pierce dropped 28 points (9-17 from the field hitting 2 from downtown) while also contributing 6 boards and 6 assists as well as only 2 turnovers. Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen are both future hall of famers, but when the game is on the line, I want the ball in the hands of Paul Pierce.

2) Chris Paul is still the same old cry baby. Last season when the Hornets visited Boston in late March they got whacked by the Celts 112-92. During the beginning of the fourth quarter Chris Paul walked around the court like he was lost. Byron Scott eventually sat him down and everyone watched as Paul sat quietly on the bench with a towel over his head and defeated look on him face. The same exact thing happened last night in the fourth. Paul started committing stupid fouls and throwing up prays down the stretch instead of acting like a leader. Could you ever see KG, Pierce, or Allen pulling something like that? Paul has a little work in front of him before he is able to lead his team to a title.

3) Rajon Rondo still has a ways to go. Rondo has no doubt played at an all-star calibur so far this season. Last night, playing arguably the best pointguard in the league in Chris Paul, Rondo struggled mightily. Rondo can afford to shoot poorly from time to time (4-12 last night), but when that happens he needs to revert to being a point, dishing balls out, playing tough D, and energizing his team. His 2 assist, 2 turnover, 1 steal performance last night wasn't getting the job done. While I have high hopes for Rondo, I think "Rondomania" may have swept Celtics nation a little prematurely. He has to learn how to be composed in big games if he is to reach elite PG status.

While last night was an big win for the C's, I'm not convinced they have it all over the Hornets. Yes, they did hold New Orleans to 35% shooting from the floor, but that was without center Tyson Chandler in the lineup. When Boston travels down South in February I think we'll all get a better idea of how these two squads will matchup come (dare I say it?) championship time.

Posted on: December 6, 2008 2:03 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2008 12:21 am
 

Celtics Weekly: Getting lax after big leads

When the Trail Blazers came to Boston Friday night they were supposed to give the Celtics a game. Portland was "faster" and "more athletic" which would lead to a bunch of transition points and easy baskets. The team that was ranked 4th in CBS's NBA power rankings didn't give the C's any sort of trouble. In fact, it was Boston that took advantage of what seemed to be a very lethargic Blazer defense to outscore Portland on the fast break and beat them at their own game.

It has become rather redundant to praise Boston for their continued success, but since they are playing so well it is difficult (and honestly rather tedious) to find something that the Celtics have done poorly recently. But I have done it! The last two games the Celts have had large leads in the third quarter (over 20) and have managed to somewhat waste them away. Yes, the lead last night never dropped below 11 after the half, but there was a point where the Celtics bench went on a cold streak which resulted in a 16-3 Portland run.

So my one criticism of the Celtics is perhaps they should work on their closing skills. Putting the nail in the coffin. Twisting the daggar. Telling the other team to start warming up the bus.

When the bench has entered the last few games, their body language tells me that they think they are the mop up crew. They are given such large leads that they don't play strong defense, march down the court, and take the first mediocre shot they find. The fact that they lose leads impacts the team because it forces the starters to play unnecissary minutes that they could be resting. Rivers has said time and again that keeping the five core guys fresh plays a major role in the success the Celts will be able to have down the stretch and with Pierce and Allen being forced to play 37 minutes last night, the bench isn't getting the job done.

The Celtics biggest challenger, Cleveland, has been able to sit LeBron James for the entire fourth quarter in 5 of their last 7 games in order to keep him rested. The last things you want to see is King James at 100% in a seven game series where Paul Pierce is tired due to over playing him.

I know the playoffs are far in the distance, and the Celtics at 19-2 are far from in trouble, but like I said, I'm just grasping at straws here, If they continue to play the way they are Boston will be fine, if maybe just a little more worn down.

Posted on: November 27, 2008 11:31 am
 

Celtics Weekly: Warrior Woes and Great Guard Play

In a game where the Boston bench for the first time this season noticably underperformed, shooting only 4 of 12 from the field and largely contributing to the C's 13 point deficit at halftime, the Celtics' starters rose to the occasion to help lead the the green to a 119-111 victory over the Golden State Warriors.

All five Celtic staters played well above their season averages in minutes and the increase in playing time was reflected in the stats as Allen (25), Rondo (22), Pierce (21), and Garnett (21) all dropped more than 20 points. The story of the game, however, was two sided; the gigantic holes in Golden State's game showing in the second half and Rajon Rondo's offensive surge in the 3rd quarter.

The Warriors' large halftime lead was due in large part to their shooting 55% from the floor in the openning two quarters, and contrary to popular belief, that inflated fieldgoal percentage isn't necissarily a product of poor Celtics defense, but the Warriors' willingness to settle for long jumpshots and, at the same time, the ability to knock them down. On the fast break in the first half the C's played solid D by clogging the lane and forcing Golden State to take tough shots, and the trigger happy ballers from the west coast just happened to get them to fall.

That wasn't the case in the second half.

Golden State's inability to pass up long, open shots in exchange for developing a play to the point where they can get inside for an easy hoop hurt them, shooting only 39% from the floor and scoring a total of 38 points in the paint for the game (compared to the C's 66). In defense of the Warriors, their only inside threat, Andris Biedrins, was abused during the second half, forcing more ill-advised shots from perimeter players, but the fact that the Warriors are undersized isn't going to change without personel changes and their inside game (or lack there of) will lead to them being exposed game after game because they can't win unless they shoot out of their minds like they did in the first half last night.

Another drawback to the Warriors' lack of any inside presence is that they can't crash the boards on either end of the floor, ultimately resulting in the Celtics outscoring them on second chance points 24-6.

The Warrior's inability to stop the Celtics in the paint in the second half, interestingly enough, didn't lead to a big game for Garnett or Perkins, but to the Celtics' most consistant player so far this season; Rajon Rondo. In the third period the Celtics' point guard was able to drive the hole and match the entire Golden State team by scoring 16 points and singlehandedly erasing a 14 point hole. Rondo, along with putting up a season high 22 points, took down 8 boards and added 7 assists, all of which led to Paul Pierce saying after the game that, "I think when he's on [Rondo] like he's on tonight, we're unstoppable".

The Celtics, now 14-2, playing a strenuous schedule with more games against winning teams in a shorter length of time than a year ago, have the same mark as they did last season through their first 16 games. I know you're all thinking it, so, Is it too early to crown the Boston Celtics Atlantic division champions?

Posted on: November 27, 2008 11:31 am
 

Celtics Weekly: Warrior Woes and Great Guard Play

In a game where the Boston bench for the first time this season noticably underperformed, shooting only 4 of 12 from the field and largely contributing to the C's 13 point deficit at halftime, the Celtics' starters rose to the occasion to help lead the the green to a 119-111 victory over the Golden State Warriors.

All five Celtic staters played well above their season averages in minutes and the increase in playing time was reflected in the stats as Allen (25), Rondo (22), Pierce (21), and Garnett (21) all dropped more than 20 points. The story of the game, however, was two sided; the gigantic holes in Golden State's game showing in the second half and Rajon Rondo's offensive surge in the 3rd quarter.

The Warriors' large halftime lead was due in large part to their shooting 55% from the floor in the openning two quarters, and contrary to popular belief, that inflated fieldgoal percentage isn't necissarily a product of poor Celtics defense, but the Warriors' willingness to settle for long jumpshots and, at the same time, the ability to knock them down. On the fast break in the first half the C's played solid D by clogging the lane and forcing Golden State to take tough shots, and the trigger happy ballers from the west coast just happened to get them to fall.

That wasn't the case in the second half.

Golden State's inability to pass up long, open shots in exchange for developing a play to the point where they can get inside for an easy hoop hurt them, shooting only 39% from the floor and scoring a total of 38 points in the paint for the game (compared to the C's 66). In defense of the Warriors, their only inside threat, Andris Biedrins, was abused during the second half, forcing more ill-advised shots from perimeter players, but the fact that the Warriors are undersized isn't going to change without personel changes and their inside game (or lack there of) will lead to them being exposed game after game because they can't win unless they shoot out of their minds like they did in the first half last night.

Another drawback to the Warriors' lack of any inside presence is that they can't crash the boards on either end of the floor, ultimately resulting in the Celtics outscoring them on second chance points 24-6.

The Warrior's inability to stop the Celtics in the paint in the second half, interestingly enough, didn't lead to a big game for Garnett or Perkins, but to the Celtics' most consistant player so far this season; Rajon Rondo. In the third period the Celtics' point guard was able to drive the hole and match the entire Golden State team by scoring 16 points and singlehandedly erasing a 14 point hole. Rondo, along with putting up a season high 22 points, took down 8 boards and added 7 assists, all of which led to Paul Pierce saying after the game that, "I think when he's on [Rondo] like he's on tonight, we're unstoppable".

The Celtics, now 14-2, playing a strenuous schedule with more games against winning teams in a shorter length of time than a year ago, have the same mark as they did last season through their first 16 games. I know you're all thinking it, so, Is it too early to crown the Boston Celtics Atlantic division champions?

Posted on: November 23, 2008 8:37 pm
Edited on: November 23, 2008 8:39 pm
 

Boston Sports Shoutout (Winning ways on the Road)

A weekend full of watching Boston sports teams is a good time. A weekend full of watching Boston sports teams WIN BIG GAMES is a GREAT time.

The Patriots, Celtics, Bruins, and Boston College Eagles were all in action on the road on either Saturday or Sunday, and all four emerged from hard faught conference battles victorious. This is how it went down:

Boston College 24 - Wake Forest 21: The Boston sports weekend kicked off (literally) in Winston, North Carolina where the Boston College Eagles took to field to take on ACC Atlantic foe Wake Forest. The back and forth battle was decided when Dominique Davis made up for his two fumbles (both returned for touchdowns) by plunging into the endzone for a 1 yard score, putting BC in the lead to stay. The win saw the Eagles improve to 8-3 (4-3 in the ACC) which means if they win next week against Maryland (7-4, 4-3 in ACC), a team that got trounced by Florida St. this weekend at home 37-3, BC will win the ACC Atlantic (due the head to head tiebreaker they own against FSU) and play in the ACC championship game with a chance to earn an automatic bid to a BCS game (or in other words, the right to get destroyed by Alabama, Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, or USC). If they happen to qualify for a BCS bowl, hopefully they get to play the winner from the Big East and at least have a shot at extending their 7 game active bowl winning streak (longest in the nation).

Boston Bruins 3 - Montreal Canadiens 2 (SO): Saturday night Boston's winning ways continued when the Bruins were able to take down a struggling Canadiens team (3-4-2 in their last 9) in a shootout. While a lot of focus in Boston is on the defending champion Celtics and streaking Patriots, the Bruins (14-3-4), with this win quietly moved into first place in the Eastern Conference, two points ahead of the New York Rangers. Tim Thomas, who was in danger of losing his job during the preseason to veteran Manny Fernandez but has now emerged as an early favorite for the Vezina Trophy, led the way for the B's with 33 saves and helped them improve to 9-0-1 in their last 10. Wouldn't an NHL championship be just the thing Boston needs to put an exclamation point on probably the best decade in Boston sports history?

Boston Celtics 118 - Toronto Raptors 103: The Celtics picked up right Sunday afternoon right where the Bruins left off the night before by picking up a conference victory over a struggling opponent. Right from the get-go the C's took it to a beat up Raptors team which had lost a heartbreaker against New Jersey only two nights before. Boston started the game on a 21-6 run, and despite Toronto bringing it to within 6 partway through the 2nd quarter, the Celtics never relinquished their lead and extended their lead in the Atlantic Division to 5 games over New York and Philadelphia. The Celtics had their best statistical offensive game of the year shooting 61% from the floor and over 50% from behind the arc. It was a fun game to watch as 7 different C's scored in double figures. Ray Allen led the way with 21 points while Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, and Tony Allen all pitched in with 15 a piece.  

New England Patriots 48 - Miami Dolphins 28: The Boston sports weekend came to a marvelous conclusion when the Patriots were able to go into Miami and avenge a 13-38 loss suffered at the hands of these same Dolphins earlier this year in Foxboro. The now 7-4 Patriots, after last week's bitter loss to the first place Jets, were in danger of falling into third place in the AFC East, however, the ever improving Matt Cassel wasn't about to let that happen. Cassel overcame an early turnover to throw for 415 yards and 3 touchdowns (all to Randy Moss) and vault the Patriots into a tie for one of the Wildcard playoff spots in the AFC. In a game that saw an NFL season high 6 lead changes, Moss along with Welker, Gaffney, and Faulk all set season highs in reception yards while Cassel became only the 5th quarterback since the merger to throw for 400 yards in back to back games.

Congratulations to all the Boston sports teams who made this an enjoyable weekend in the Northeast. If you were away on business or traveling somewhere on a family vacation...you missed out...but don't distress! All four teams are back in action next weekend and the way things are going for all four teams, we can only hope for four more W's.

Posted on: November 21, 2008 3:52 pm
 

Celtics Weekly: The Big 3 vs. The Little 2?

If Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett are the Big Three, then I guess that makes Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins the Little Two.

Reggie Miller is a knucklehead, but he did make one good point last night. He mentioned that people just assumed the Celtics SHOULD win a championship because they went out and got Garnett and Allen to help support Pierce last year; but he also pointed out that that was a ridiculous assumption. He supported his arguement by providing instances where teams were stacked with hall of famers in order to win championships but ultimatley fell short: The Lakers' signings of Malone and Payton to compliment Shaq and Kobe, and the aquisition of Barkley and Pippen to back up Hakeem in Houston.

"The Celtics must have done something differently here to win a championship", Miller mused.

Exactly. The C's go more than three deep. They also have Rondo and Perkins.

Last night against the Detroit Pistons, as team that just knocked off the Cavaliers and Lakers in back to back games, die-hard Rajon Rondo fans like my girlfriend had a lot to cheer about. The Celtics' smallest starter came up huge, out duelling fellow pointguard and future hall of famer Allen Iverson to the tune of a game high 18 points and 8 assists.

When asked before the season what his personal goals were for the season, Rondo didn't say that he wanted to become a bigger scoring threat or be the best pointguard in the league, but he merely stated that he had two goals; get the the free throw line more and make the NBA's all-defensive team. Doesn't that sound like a guy that you want in your starting lineup?

Perkins, although he didn't fare as well offensively as you thought he might have against an overall disapointing Kwame Brown last night, was able to pull down a game high 10 boards shot 50% from the field. The biggest improvement in Perkins' game this year is his passing. He only had one helper last night, but Rondo, Powe, and Pierce all missed layups after the C's starting big man put balls right in their hands streaking to the dish.

You can tell that Garnett's presence has had an amazing influence on Perkins on both ends of the floor, but unfortunately it has also affected his oncourt demeanor as well. With one second left in the first half Perkins ran his mouth after an altercation with the Piston's Brown and ended up getting slapped with his 7th technical foul in 13 games this season. After Iverson made the shot it brought Detroit to within seven at the break, and although it didn't end up costing the C's last night, Perkins can't be giving away free points every other game. If there is anything Perkins should learn from Garnett it is that although it is okay to talk smack to get pumped up, doing what is best for the team always comes first, even if that means swallowing your pride (Sorry for the corny lesson...but the big boy's got to learn!).

Look out for Rondo and Perkins (if he says out of foul trouble) to play a larger role in C's success throughout the year...and after watching the way the little guy played against Iverson last night, don't be surprised if he accomplished his goal of being on the All-defensive team!

Posted on: November 19, 2008 4:41 pm
 

Celtics Weekly: Gettin the W minus the Big Ticket

After suffering the loss of Kevin Garnett due to a ridiculous suspention, the Celtics were forced to play host to the New York Knicks Tuesday night without their All-star power forward. Despite almost blowing a 14 point fourth quarter lead, the C's were able to escape with a 110-101 victory over the now 6-5 Knicks.

Keys to Victory:

Equal distribution of contributions: The five players on the Celtics who played the most minutes last night (all 28+ mins) were Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Leon Powe, Ray Allen, and Kendrick Perkins. All five took between 9 and 14 shots, 4 of the 5 had 14-16 points (Pierce, who had 22, was inside that domain until he handled all of the C's possesions late in the game and got to the line 7 times in the last 2 mins), and with the team's leading rebounder out of the game, 4 of the 5 grabbed 7 or 8 boards (the exception being Allen). When one of your big guns goes down, everyone else has to fill in the missing pieces, and that's exactly what Boston was able to do last night.

Size does Matter: The Knicks are currently missed the four tallest guys on their roster: Jared Jeffries (6-11), Eddie Curry (6-11), Danilo Gallinari (6-10), and Jerome James (7-1). This meant that last night Zack Randolph (6-8), a natural power forward, was forced to start at center and match-up against 7 foot Kendrick Perkins. Not only that, but the bench players who entered to man-up on Boston's big boy were David Lee and Malik Rose, both of whom are incredibly undersized, and they got absolutely toasted. The Knicks might as well have put Nate Robinson on Kendrik the way Perk was backing their "centers" down into the paint for easy layins. In the first half Powe was able to do much of the same (although he is only 6-8 himself).

Common Criticism:

The Celtics' defense suffered without Garnett: This statement is only somewhat true. While the 101 points allowed to New York was 12 points higher than their season average of 89.7 points per game allowed, that is also 4 points less than the Knicks PPG average of 105.2. So while you obviously want to see KG in the lineup every night, it is good to see that the C's can still function both offensively and defensively against a winning team (Knicks were 6-4 entering the game) without a key member of the big three.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com