Rose Outshines Rondo, Boston

19 04 2009
Boston Celtics' Kevin Garnett (right) is not yelling "Freedom" like William Wallace, but he was not able to energize his teammates like Ray Allen (left).  (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

Boston Celtics' Kevin Garnett (right) is not yelling "Freedom" like William Wallace, but he was not able to energize his teammates like Ray Allen (left). (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

By Brendan Tyman

Yesterday, the Boston Celtics looked like William Wallace at the end of “Braveheart” when he is about to be executed. Fans realize that they are playing without their Big Ticket, Kevin Garnett, and the possibility of another championship is nearly unlikely.

There was that little bit of hope for a great run, but Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls quickly evaporated that optimism among the Boston faithful with a 105-103 overtime victory in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. The Bulls took away home-court advantage.

All five of Chicago’s starters scored in double-figures. Rose led all scorers with 36 points and 9 assists before fouling out with 10.3 seconds left in the contest. Joakim Noah added 11 points and 17 rebounds in helping Chicago dominate the paint. Ben Gorden tallied 20.

Throughout the game, the Celts looked out of synch especially on offense where there was no ball movement. Players were just stagnant.

Rajon Rondo posted 29 points, grabbed 9 boards, and dished out 7 dimes. Paul Pierce, who missed a free throw that would have put the Celtics ahead with 2.6 seconds left, finished with 23. Ray Allen failed to reach double-figures in scoring and was 1-12 from the floor, including 0-6 from 3-point shooting.

The Green do not want to stop believing, but things look bleak. If the C’s continue to compete like they did yesterday afternoon, it will be hard to see another celebration coming in June, unless it is from the other squad that plays at the Garden.





Never Underestimate the Heart of a Champion

16 04 2009
Kevin Garnett may be out for the playoffs, but the Boston Celtics are not done yet. KG likely out for playoffs  (Reuters)

Kevin Garnett may be out for the playoffs, but the Boston Celtics are not done yet. (Reuters)

By Brendan Tyman

Go ahead, Stephen A. Smith, pick your boys LeBron James and Kobe Bryant to meet in the NBA Finals. Everyone in America take the Chicago Bulls (Boston’s first round opponent) as your Cinderella team in the Eastern Conference. The Boston Celtics should not even compete in the playoffs without Kevin Garnett. Like Herm Edwards once said, “This is why you play the game.”

The Celts may be better off without KG because he has not proven to be fully healthy. Is Garnett the most indespensible player on Boston? Maybe, but they still have last year’s NBA Finals MVP, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen (a.k.a. Jesus Shuttlesworth). The C’s have one of the best point guards in the NBA in Rajon Rondo (he can shoot now).

Off the bench, Leon Powe and Tony Allen are back and healthy. They have Stephon Marbury who can start on some playoff teams.

Garnett is a big loss and you cannot replace him, but the heart of the tiger is still there. The Celtics are 18-7 without him this season. Now let us watch and see if someone can dethrone the defending champs. The postseason has just become an even playing field.





Garnett Out At Least Next Four Games

31 03 2009
The Boston Celtics need their emotional leader, Kevin Garnett, in order to put up their 18th banner. (Copyright 2009 NBAE  (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Boston Celtics need their emotional leader, Kevin Garnett, in order to put up their 18th banner. (Copyright 2009 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

By: Brendan Tyman

Kevin Garnett will be out for at least the next four games with the aggravation of the sprained knee he suffered in the battle against the Orlando Magic last Wednesday. He has sat out the last two games in Atlanta and at home versus Oklahoma City.

This means that KG may be back for the final three contests in the regular season to get his rhythm and timing back. March has really hurt both Garnett and the Celtics. There have been numerous injuries the Celts had to endure including Rajon Rondo’s sprained ankle, Leon Powe hurting his ankle, and Glen Davis also spraining his ankle.

Garnett had returned when the team played in San Antonio and was inserted into the starting lineup in a few games before being shut down.

Head coach Doc Rivers hopes to have a healthy Garnett for the playoffs as Boston is behind second-place Orlando by percentage points.





Escape In ATL

27 03 2009
Celtics' point guard, Rajon Rondo gets his arm caught between Atlanta's Joe Johnson's body and arm in the second half of Boston's victory. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Celtics' point guard, Rajon Rondo gets his arm caught between Atlanta's Joe Johnson's body and arm in the second half of Boston's victory. (AP Photo/John Amis)

By: Brendan Tyman

The Boston Celtics struggled to hold a lead late in the contest, but they survived Joe Johnson and the Hawks’ furious rally. Without Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo saying he felt his legs were like “a 42 year old’s,” the Celts won 99-93 and held a double-digit advantage for the majority of the second half.

Glen “Big Baby” Davis stepped up and had a double-double in the first half. He finished with 19 points and a career-high 12 rebounds after being inserted into the starting lineup with Garnett nursing a sore knee. Ray Allen had 22 points and Paul Pierce added 21. Eddie House and Stephon Marbury came off the bench to score in double figures with 12 and 11 points, respectively.

Johnson led Atlanta with 22 points and hit some 3-pointers to close the large gap. The Hawks cut their 17- point deficit to just 4 on a Johnson trey before Pierce made four free throws to clinch the result. Mike Bibby tallied 19 points.

Boston forced the pesky Hawks to shoot just 7 for 21 from international waters and uncharacteristic mistakes at the end of the game.





Late Rally Falls Short In Orlando

26 03 2009
Celtics guard Ray Allen shoots a jump shot in the first half of the game between Boston and the Orlando Magic. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Celtics guard Ray Allen shoots a jump shot in the first half of the game between Boston and the Orlando Magic. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

By: Brendan Tyman

In a battle for second place in the Eastern Conference, Boston fell to the Magic, 84-82, at the Amway Arena. Dwight Howard blocked a Paul Pierce shot with 3.8 seconds left that would have given the Celtics a lead.

Orlando went ahead early and continued to build on their lead even when Kevin Garnett was playing in the 3rd quarter. The score was 66-50 before the C’s began to climb back into the contest. They outscored the Magic 20-14 in the 4th quarter.

Howard (a.k.a. Superman) finished with 24 points and 21 rebounds. This was the 8th time Howard has recorded a 20-20 in his career. Rashard Lewis added 21. Courtney Lee hit some big shots and contributed with 11 points.

Pierce led the Celts with 26 points. Kendrick Perkins had a double-double with 11 points and 11 boards.

Howard dominated from the opening tip and Boston could not match the intensity. The Magic shot better than the first 3 times these teams met, especially from behind the arc. In the previous matchups, Orlando shot just 29% from international waters, but last night they made 40%.

The Celtics have included another road in their quest for a repeat.





It Ain’t Easy Being Green

18 03 2009
The Celtics' Kendrick Perkins is looking to drive against the Bulls' Joakim Noah. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

The Celtics' Kendrick Perkins is looking to drive against the Bulls' Joakim Noah. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

By: Brendan Tyman

The Chicago Bulls wore green uniforms for St. Patrick’s Day and everything seemed to come easily for them. Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics continue to lose not only games, but more players.

Players are falling faster than a rock in the air for the C’s as they lost Leon Powe to a bruised knee in the first few minutes of the ballgame. He will be reevaluated today. Then Rajon Rondo twisted his ankle in the 3rd quarter, but he was able to come back.

In a back-and-forth contest in which both teams surrendered a double-digit lead, the Bulls were able to take control late in the final few minutes and win 127-121.

Paul Pierce was the leading scorer for the Celts with 37 points. Rondo (26 points and 10 assists and Kendrick Perkins (14 points and 10 rebounds) both recorded double-doubles. Ray Allen added 17.

John Salmons looked like LeBron James last night as the Celtics could not stop him from driving to the basket especially in the 4th quarter. He finished with 38 points. Brad Miller’s size hurt the C’s as he chipped in with 21 points and 14 boards off the bench. Tyrus Thomas contributed 17 points including shooting 10 of 13 from the free throw line.

There were some controversial calls made throughout this game including technical fouls on Doc Rivers and Bill Walker late in the 3rd quarter. Rivers got ejected by Bill Kennedy (who should think about getting another job in the future) in the final minute with the result still not determined.

The Celtics are in real trouble right now having only two big men (Mikki Moore fouled out in the final frame) with the earliest possible return for Kevin Garnett being this Friday. They may be falling behind both Cleveland and Orlando soon if they do not get key players back for this crucial stretch heading into the postseason.





C’s Late Rally Falls Short

9 03 2009
Boston's Ray Allen goes up for a jump shot over Hedo Turkoglu of the Magic in the Celtics' tough loss versus Orlando yesterday  (AP Photo/Winslow Townson).

Boston's Ray Allen goes up for a jump shot over Hedo Turkoglu of the Magic in the Celtics' tough loss versus Orlando yesterday (AP Photo/Winslow Townson).

By: Brendan Tyman

Until an hour before game time, the Boston Celtics decided to start Stephon Marbury because Rajon Rondo was out after spraining his ankle in the win over Cleveland Friday night. This did not work out as the Celts committed nine turnovers in the first 12 minutes en route to an 86-79 loss at the hands of the Orlando Magic.

After the 1st quarter, the Magic imposed their will and showed that Boston has too many bodies missing. Orlando raced to a 51-33 lead at halftime. The first half was the worst half of basketball the C’s have played since the 2006 – ’07 season.

Add Glen Davis to the list of players out with sprained ankles and knees as he got injured in the third quarter.

Despite the awful play in the first half and losing more players to injury, the Celtics fought their way back into the game in the final frame. They were down 82-79 when Ray Allen (32 points and nine rebounds) missed a trey in the final minute.

Paul Pierce added 16 and Leon Powe finished with 12 points and 7 boards despite fouling out in the final seconds.

The NBA’s version of Superman, Dwight Howard, led the Magic with 18 points, 15 rebounds, and 5 blocks. Hedo Turkoglu (a Celtics killer) tallied 16 and Rashard Lewis dropped 15 points.

News surfaced that Kevin Garnett will not be able to play until Sunday at the earliest. Rondo is hoping to be back in the next game at Miami on Wednesday. It is still unclear when Davis will be in uniform again as he was walking on crutches after yesterday’s defeat.

They cannot afford to keep losing any more of these players coming down the stretch.