April 25, 2013 by
Celtics forward Jeff Green has been unable to get past Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks.
Is the debate about the Boston Celtics being better without Rajon Rondo this year over? Whether or not the Celtics are a different team for better or worse without Rondo is irrelevant because the Celtics have played like a mediocre team throughout the 2012-’13 season. They have been particularly poor on the road.
Bill Parcells used a line that fits the predicament well, “You are what your record says you are.” The Celtics finished the season just one game above .500, which means they are capable of playing well, but they are not a championship-caliber unit. They finished with the worst road record of all the teams who reached the postseason with a record of 14-27.
In the first two postseason games at Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks, the Celtics’ holes have emerged. They have scored a combined 48 points in the second half of Games 1 and 2 because they rely too much on Paul Pierce to break down the defense to create his own shot. Even when they were 14-4 in the first 18 games without Rondo, the Celtics would give up big leads in the fourth quarter because they would just believe Pierce would save them on offense. The Celtics are shooting jumpers, turning the ball over, and suffering defensive breakdowns.
Read the rest of this entry →
April 20, 2013 by
The Boston Celtics’ Kevin Garnett (left) and the New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony (right) will build on the physicality from their first meeting this year.
The Boston Celtics have overcome adversity this year to find themselves in the NBA postseason for the sixth consecutive season. The Celtics lost their All-Star point guard, Rajon Rondo, to a season-ending torn right ACL in a January 25th double overtime loss to the Atlanta Hawks. Rookie forward Jared Sullinger was forced to undergo surgery on his back in February that ended his season. Reserve guard Leandro Barbosa suffered a torn ACL in his left knee in the third quarter of the 94-91 loss against the Charlotte Bobcats on February 11th. In a matter 17 days, the Celtics lost three key players in their rotation.
This season has been split into the team with Rondo and the team without Rondo. Prior to Rondo’s injury, the Celtics were 20-23 and they had lost six consecutive games. Then the team improved their play and appeared to rally around people calling for their demise. They won their next seven contests, including a 100-98 overtime victory over the top team in the NBA, the Miami Heat, and were 14-4 in their initial 18 games without their floor leader. The team played well defensively and they spread the ball around. Jeff Green became the player that Danny Ainge hoped he was getting when he sent Kendrick Perkins to the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2011. Green was more aggressive on the offensive end and his speed and length provided fits for the opposition. At one point the team was down to nine active players because of all the injuries. Ainge traded Jason Collins to the Washington Wizards for Jordan Crawford before the trade deadline ended on February 21st. He signed TerrPence Williams, Shavlik Randolph, and D.J. White. All three of these players came from the Chinese Basketball Association and had been unable to stick with a team in the NBA.
Read the rest of this entry →
March 28, 2013 by
Celtics forward Brandon Bass (left) was fighting for loose balls with Cleveland Cavaliers players such as Luke Walton (right).
The Celtics were able to snap their five game losing streak with a 93-92 win at the buzzer over the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. This brings the Celtics’ road record to 13-23, which is the worst in the NBA for teams who would be in the playoffs right now.
The reason why the Celtics inability to win on the road is so significant is because the Celtics may have to begin their playoff series on the road. Currently, the Celtics are the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference. If the postseason began today, the Celtics would be slated to play the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Those two teams played on Tuesday night with both sides without their frontcourt stars as the Celtics played without Kevin Garnett and the Knicks were without Tyson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire. The Celtics were also playing without guard Courtney Lee. The Celtics fell at home, 100-85, in a listless performance.
Read the rest of this entry →
March 25, 2013 by
Kevin Garnett (left) cannot bear to watch his team’s lackluster play while Paul Pierce (right) looks on.
The Boston Celtics are in the midst of a four game losing streak and just came off a winless road trip through New Orleans, Dallas, and Memphis. The news got worse today when Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge announced that Kevin Garnett will be out for at least the next two weeks with inflammation in his left ankle.
Garnett missed the 105-88 win over the Charlotte Bobcats on March 16th with a left abductor strain and the 105-103 loss to the Miami Heat on March 18th with the flu. He returned last Wednesday when the Celtics traveled to New Orleans to take on the Hornets. Doc Rivers said Garnett aggravated the injury in the 104-94 defeat at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks on Friday. Garnett did not suit up in the loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night. Then Garnett went for an MRI on Sunday.
With a hobbling Garnett, the Celtics suffered too many breakdowns against the Mavericks with Brandan Wright exploding for 23 points and eight rebounds. After the Celtics got off to a hot start, the Mavericks were able to control the paint and get important rebounds from Wright and Vince Carter when the Celtics pushed the Mavericks’ advantage into single digits. The Celtics’ pick-and-roll defense also suffered without Garnett on the floor.
The Celtics were also without guard Courtney Lee against the Grizzlies. Lionel Hollins and the Grizzlies coaching staff took advantage by inserting Jerryd Bayless with Mike Conley in the backcourt whenever Avery Bradley was on the floor. Bradley is more of an on-ball defender while Lee can cover the other guard. With two weak defenders in Jason Terry and Jordan Crawford, Bayless erupted for a career-high 30 points to lead the Grizzlies to a 110-106 victory over the Celtics. Rivers was forced to empty the bench with the Celtics facing a double digit deficit in the fourth quarter. The reserves got the Celtics back in the game, but the deficit was too much to overcome.
The Celtics are fighting for potential home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs while to trying to avoid getting the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference to face the Heat.They are four and a half games behind the fourth place Brooklyn Nets while only two games ahead of the eighth place Milwaukee Bucks. There is a crucial home game against the New York Knicks on Tuesday night. The only good news is that Lee is expected to be back on the floor against the Knicks.
While the team is already depleted by injuries, the last thing the Celtics needed was to hear that they will be without Garnett, who is their emotional leader and best defender while there is only 14 games left in the regular season.
March 21, 2013 by
Forward Jeff Green nearly carried the Boston Celtics to a win over the Miami Heat.
The Boston Celtics showed they still provide problems for the Miami Heat on Monday night even without Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett on the floor. Despite the consensus that the Celtics are an aging, slow team, they showed that they can match the Heat by pushing the ball up the floor and beating the Heat in transition.
In the past, both Rondo and Garnett gave Erik Spoelstra and the Heat coaching staff fits because the Heat did not have anyone who could defend them even in a half-court offense. If Spoelstra put LeBron James on Rondo, then Rondo would be able to find a smaller defender such as Mario Chalmers on Paul Pierce or getting screened to free up former Celtic Ray Allen.
Jeff Green rose to the occasion in the 105-103 loss to the Heat on Monday and gave Celtics fans a glimpse of what could have been if Green did not have an aortic aneurysm in his heart last year. Like Rondo, Green can match the athleticism and size of James and Dwyane Wade. Green is 6-9, 235-pounds with the ability to be a top player in the NBA. These intangibles were why then-Seattle SuperSonics and current Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti traded Allen for Green during the NBA Draft in 2007. Green has never been an aggressive scorer despite leading Georgetown to the Final Four in 2007. When the Thunder could not afford to keep Green, Presti sent him back to the Celtics for Kendrick Perkins in 2011. What Green gave the Celtics on Monday night is exactly what Danny Ainge and former Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan were saying when they received the most talented player in that deal. The Thunder may have benefited in the short term with Perkins’ interior defense and the lunch-pail mentality that he brings to the court. The Celtics were just unlucky with Green’s heart condition or else they could have went to the NBA Finals last year.
Read the rest of this entry →
March 07, 2013 by
The Boston Celtics like Terrence Williams’ court vision.
The Boston Celtics have continued to make roster moves after the trade deadline ended on February 21st. They signed Terrence Williams to a deal for the rest of this season with a conditional option for the 2013-’14 season and they brought in forwards D.J. White and Shavlik Randolph on 10-day contracts.
Since the Celtics were down to 10 players on the roster, including Fab Melo, they were relegated to taking players who were competing overseas or in the NBA Development League. Randolph, White, and Williams all played in the Chinese Basketball Association.
Williams was a lottery pick (11th overall in 2009) for the then-New Jersey Nets out of Louisville. The 6-foot-6-inch forward dealt with maturity issues and was sent to the NBADL by ex-Nets coach Avery Johnson. He was eventually released by the Nets in 2011 and he played sparingly for the Houston Rockets. Then the Sacramento Kings claimed Williams off waivers and he played in just 13 games for the Kings. The Celtics like Williams’ size at the guard position and playmaking skills. Williams has seen the court in five games for the Celtics since he was initially signed to a 10-day contract on February 18th. He has also missed two games because of a Coach’s Decision. Williams is averaging 2.6 points per game with 1.6 assists.
White saw four minutes of action in the 83-81 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night. He contributed with two blocks and he attempted just one shot. The 6-10 forward out of Indiana University was also a first round selection (29th overall) by the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008. White has played four years in the league. After his minutes dropped off in his second and third seasons with the Thunder, he was let go. The Charlotte Bobcats scooped White off the waiver wire. He played in 24 games in 2010-’11 for the Bobcats where he averaged 19.4 minutes per game and 8.5 points to go with 4.4 rebounds. In 2011-’12, White played in 58 of the 66-game shortened season and he started 11 of those games. His numbers decreased across the board. The veteran can be a solid depth player with his athleticism and he can help the Celtics inside the paint. He played for the Shanghai Sharks after he was unsigned by an NBA team.
Randolph came from Duke University and he was undrafted. He has bounced around the league for five seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers, and Miami Heat. The 6-foot-10-inch forward has not played in the NBA since 2009-’10. Randolph averaged 32 points and 14.5 rebounds in 28 games for the Foshan Long Lions of the CBA. Randolph has yet to enter a game for the Celtics because he was signed last Friday.
Williams could have an expanded role as he learns the Celtics’ schemes. He also practiced for the Celtics last summer. Meanwhile White’s mid-range jump shot could help the Celtics if Kevin Garnett or Chris Wilcox is out of the game. Randolph is another player whose size could be useful in case the Celtics need him. Both White and Randolph are trying out with the team.