Tag Archives: Big Three

Celtics Circuit: Rondo Is Smart

Rajon Rondo

Rajon Rondo

We’ve all heard the rumors circulating in print, online, or on the airwaves that Doc Rivers left Boston for Los Angeles because of Rajon Rondo. While the coach may or may not have liked the best player – a great item to debate but something we just don’t know the answer to – on his roster, Rivers probably went West simply to coach a better team.

Rivers has a new point guard, Chris Paul, and he’s being compared to Rondo by Doc himself. He told the Globe what traits they share. Mainly, Doc said, they’re both smart players. The quotes:

It is very similar to Rondo. I mean, Rondo was such a smart player. And so far from being around Chris, they do really remind me a lot of each other in their basketball IQ, and it’s really refreshing. Chris can already recite plays that we’ve run. He was talking about the out-of-timeout plays that we’ve always run in Boston. So, he’s got a keen eye for the game. I tell people all the time that Rondo did the same stuff. He knows as many of the opponent’s plays as the opponent does. Chris Paul has turned out to be the exact same way.

Even the most ardent Celtics fans realize Rondo is no Paul. Aside from specific flaws in his game, sometimes Rondo seems lacking in motivation on the court. To me, Rondo’s strength is his toughness. Really, I’m referring to his physical toughness. Think of how many times you’ve seen him hit the floor hard before getting right back up. No, I’m not counting.

The 2013-14 season will test his physical toughness as he battles back from his torn ACL. Celtics and the team’s fans might finally have a definitive test on his mental toughness, or focus, or motivation, or commitment. In other words, can Rondo prove he is a true franchise player without the safety net provided by Doc and the Big Three?

Or, as Jay King of Masslive.com wrote:

Rondo won’t have nearly as much help on the court either. Trying to recover from ACL surgery, he’ll return to a roster that barely resembles the Celtics contenders of yesteryear. In fact, zero of the teammates who helped him reach the 2010 NBA Finals remain.

Celtics Keep Hot Streak Alive

Boston Celtics Step It Up

Boston Celtics Step It Up

The Boston Celtics won their sixth straight game Monday night at the Garden against the Charlotte Bobcats by a score of 100-89. This notched the Celtics’ sixth straight win and brought them to a 20-17 overall record.

If you think they have played easy teams during their win streak like the Bobcats who just came off an 18 game losing streak and a struggling Suns team that has a record of 12-25 well guess again. To start this streak they topped the Central Division leading Pacers, a solid Hawks team with a 21-16 record, the streaking Knicks who have been hot all season and sit atop the Atlantic Division, and the Rockets who are first in the league in scoring at 105.4 points per game and are led by one of the top scorers in James Harden.

The C’s have not  looked this good all season. What has changed? Two things: defense and players stepping up and contributing.

The defense has held strong for the Celtics and it has been a big reason for their success the past six games. To start the season they gave up 100 or more points in 13 of their first 30 games including six games just in December. In the past six games they have yet to give up 100 points and have held their opponents to under 85 points on three different occasions. The saying defense wins games holds true for the Celtics. They have plenty of talent on the team to score. If they play defense and stop other teams they will win more games.

The other piece to the puzzle for the success the C’s have had lately is players stepping up on the team. When someone has an off night somebody else has stepped up and filled that void. The Celtics have a lot of talented stars on the team and any one of them can score and play at a high level. They can’t just rely on the Big Three to score a lot and carry the team every game. Players have been stepping up and contributing both on the offensive side and defensive side.

Avery Bradley has been a big asset to the defense harassing opposing guards and causing turnovers. In Monday nights game Kevin Garnett played well and had 10 rebounds, but it was an off night for him scoring wise as he only had seven points. Jason Terry did not score at all last night coming off the bench, but because other guys filled that void in scoring and the team was able to be successful. Avery Bradley had 16 points including four big threes. Rondo led the team with a triple double, Jeff Green chipped in 11 points off the bench and Jared Sullinger contributed 8 points and 5 rebounds off the bench. Courtney Lee also scored 9 points and hit a big three in the fourth quarter to help the Celtics seal the deal.

Against the Phoenix Suns Paul Pierce only scored 7 points and Rondo had 8 points. Jared Sullinger however had a career night off the bench with 12 points and 16 rebounds. Jeff Green led all Celtics in scoring with 14 off the bench and Jason Terry added 13.

This just shows that the Celtics are very versatile and if one or two players have an off game in one particular area then there are several other players that can pick up the slack, and they have successfully done that and that is a big reason why the Celtics are winning lately.

Celtics’ Chances Have Increased, Yet Need to Bring “A” Game

Paul Pierce (left) must outplay Atlanta Hawks swingman Joe Johnson for the Celtics to be able to move past the opening round.

The championship window is still open for the Boston Celtics and the Big Three, which is why the Game 1 83-74 loss to the Atlanta Hawks was frustrating. The Celtics could’ve set the tone for the series with a quick start.

After Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose suffered a torn ACL with 1:20 left of the fourth quarter in the Bulls’ 103-91 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday, the Eastern Conference has become less predictable. The Celtics have been one of the hottest teams in the final month of the season after winning 16 of their last 22 games, including a 10-5 record in April. The Miami Heat, who is coming off a 33-point blowout of the New York Knicks in Game 1, is flawed and the Orlando Magic without Dwight Howard, were able to stage a final rally to steal the home- court advantage from the Indiana Pacers in the first game of their series.

While nobody wants to see anyone go down with significant injuries, the Rose situation has meant that the opportunity is there for the Celtics to contend for the Eastern Conference crown. If the Celtics are able to be healthy and they can get by the Hawks in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, the Celtics would play the winner of the Bulls/76ers series.

The Hawks will be a tough team for the Celtics to play in the first round because the Hawks are talented and they are hungry to stop being pushovers in the playoffs for teams like the Celtics. This was shown when the Hawks got off to a 20-6 lead in the first five minutes of Game 1. The Hawks were hustling to loose balls and getting by Celtics’ defenders for transition buckets. There is no telling how the Bulls will react after losing the MVP of the 2010-2011 season, but if the Bulls do get by the Sixers, the Celtics will be competing against a Rose-less team.

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This Just In: Celtics ‘Stiem’rolling Opponents

Don't call KG old just yet

Just what the rest of the Eastern Conference didn’t want to hear: The 2011-2012 Boston Celtics have somehow managed to play themselves into game shape and are playing their best basketball of the season!  Let’s be honest, what’s making this so sweet, is that no one saw this coming.  Everyone, including Boston loyalists Bill Simmons and Bob Ryan, were digging the Celtics graves halfway through the season.  NBA analysts were calling for Danny Ainge to pull the trigger on a Rajon Rondo deal, while I all but decided it was time to ‘blow up’ the Big Three.  Man, am I happy I’m not always right. After the trade deadline came and went, with no deals for the C’s, a switch flipped.  It was almost as if Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett had been purposely been playing terrible basketball to diffuse any potential interest in their services.  Anyways, once the Celtics knew they would have their core intact for the rest of the season they went to work, and it started with their chemistry.  Garnett trusted his coach, and teammates, by making the position switch to center and suddenly started blowing by guys again.  Before the switch, I couldn’t remember the last time I saw KG getting into the paint and getting to the 5-6 foot jump-shots ‘sweet-spots’ with ease. I make this point, because the only way I can remember KG over the past 2 seasons is with a 19-foot jumper (o and that’s still there by the way).  Additionally, once March came around, Pierce decided it was time to start playing like the second leading scorer in Celtics history and has been pouring in about 22 points per game since. Pierce also took home the NBA player of the week hardware from March 26- April 1st (Garnett was runner up).

When it comes down to it, with a 19-7 record since the All-Star break, the Celtics have turned their season of mediocrity into a season where they are in a three-way tie for 4th place in the East and are battling for home court advantage.  What’s more impressive is that they have been beating what were previously known as heavily favored opponents.  Since the beginning of March, they have taken down championship caliber teams like the Miami Heat (2x), as well as other wins over playoff contenders such as the: Knicks, Hawks, 76ers, Clippers, and Pacers.

Honestly I always thought that if the Celtics could stay healthy, they could beat any team they faced in a 7-game series; however, when asked, I confess I didn’t have much of a supporting argument other than ‘that’s what I believe.’  Currently, this team is giving me more reasons to believe than I could ever have conjured in my wildest dreams. This line of reasoning led me to the realization that its not about the shock of the Celtics making a run like this, as the postseason approaches, it is more about how the Celtics have made this run.  Who would have thought that when Ray Allen went down with an ankle injury, unlikely hero Avery Bradley, who was sandwiched in-between Ainge’s garbage pile (aka- draft picks) of JR Giddens and a combination of Luke Harangody/Semith Erden, would rise up and become one of the best on-ball perimeter defenders in the league. Not only that, but all of a sudden he can hit the mid-range jump-shot, make quick back-door cuts to the basket, and run the fast break with Rondo.  It took awhile, but I think Celtics fans may be thanking Danny for this pick for years to come.

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The Truth: O Captain! My Captain!

With 15 points on Tuesday, Pierce moved past Larry Bird for the 2nd All-Time leading scorer in Celtics history

When Paul Pierce broke into the league in 1998-the Celtics took him with the 10th overall pick-Boston knew that they had a special talent right away.  In his first game in green, Pierce scored 19 points while adding nine rebounds and four blocks in a Celtics loss to Toronto.  Since then, other than age, gaining size, and some wily veteran experience, Pierce has remained every bit as valuable to Boston.  Over his 14 seasons in the NBA, Pierce has been lauded for having a complete package.  He is able to shoot the 3-ball (1,617 made), hit the mid-range jumper, as well as get to the free throw line.  The Pierce “step-back” is a classic that Celtics fans of this generation will undoubtedly remember for their entire lives.  Over his years as a Celtic, Pierce has been a part of the greatest playoff comeback in NBA history (in 2003) against the Nets, been a nine time NBA All-Star, won an NBA Championship (2008), and has been named MVP of that Finals series against the Lakers.  However, while those accomplishments are certainly admirable, none of them may be as memorable to Celtics fans then Paul’s loyalty to the only team he has played for his entire career.

On Tuesday night against the Charlotte Bobcats, Pierce came into the game only nine points behind Larry Bird to become the Celtics 2nd all-time leading scorer.  With 15 points in the contest, Pierce surpassed Larry Legend’s mark of 21,791 points.  Not only is this feat significant because Larry is one of the best to ever play the sport, but it once again reinforces Pierce’s devotion to playing with one franchise.  In the 2006-07 season when the Celtics were struggling through the season, and endured a team worst 18-game losing streak, Paul’s confidence in team management never wavered.  He never asked to be traded, which is something that is all too familiar with NBA players these days, he simply stressed the desire to be a Celtic and that he was sure that they would one day win a title.  Pierce’s confidence in Boston’s administration was rewarded when the Big Three was united the following off-season and, as we know, the rest is history.

While Pierce’s career is certainly blanketed with success stories from head to toe, there was a time when Paul’s future was in jeopardy.  In a story that was all too similar to the loss of Len Bias, in September of 2000, Pierce was stabbed over 10 times in the face, neck, and back while at a club in Boston.  Celtics teammate Tony Battie, rushed Pierce to the hospital where he had to undergo lung surgery to repair damage to his lungs.  To this day, it is widely assumed that the leather jacket that Paul was wearing at the time saved his life.  Even after the incident, Pierce was able to start, and play, in all 82 games of the 2000-01 season.

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