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.





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.





Under Pressure

16 03 2009
Boston's Paul Pierce can only watch as the Bucks' Richard Jefferson goes airborne for a layup in Milwaukee's win. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Boston's Paul Pierce can only watch as the Bucks' Richard Jefferson goes airborne for a layup in Milwaukee's win. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

By: Brendan Tyman

The Boston Celtics will not match last season’s win total after a devastating 86-77 defeat at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks in the Bradley Center. The Celts record now stands at 50-17 with 15 games left to play.

Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Rajon Rondo combined to shoot just 8 for 36 from the field. The leading scorer was Kendrick Perkins (26 points and 12 rebounds) and Leon Powe fouled out in the 3rd quarter.

Milwaukee’s Luc Richard Mbah a Moute played excellent perimeter defense as the C’s had trouble creating openings for their shots. Charlie Villanueva led the Bucks with 19 points and Richard Jefferson added 17. Keith Bogans almost posted a double-double (9 points and 12 boards) coming off the bench.

Despite not shooting well, Milwaukee kept the game close throughout the first half and took control early in the 2nd half. When the Celtics closed a 6 point deficit to two at the close of the 3rd quarter, the Bucks came out swinging in the final frame. Boston was not able to counter-attack as their shots were falling short.

This is the start of a tough week for the Celts as they play 5 games in seven days. Their next game is Tuesday night and if they want to earn home-court advantage, they need to start playing better because excuses are not good enough come playoff time.





Powe, Celtics Rebound From Short Losing Streak

14 03 2009
Boston's Stephon Marbury (left) and Leon Powe (right) trap Memphis' O.J. Mayo along the baseline during the fourth quarter (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia).

Celtics’ Stephon Marbury (left) and Leon Powe (right) trap Memphis’ guard O.J. Mayo along the baseline during the fourth quarter (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia).

By: Brendan Tyman

After enduring a tough week with Rajon Rondo and Glen Davis going down with injuries in successive games, the Celts received the perfect medicine with the return of Rondo. They also were fortunate to have the Memphis Grizzlies on their schedule.

The Grizzlies’ average age in their starting lineup is 21.6 years, which is younger than John Calipari’s starting lineup for the Memphis Tigers in the NCAA Championship a year ago.

Leon Powe gave another strong effort as he started for the second time due to a thin frontcourt. He scored a career-high 30 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, and blocked 5 shots. Ray Allen added 22 in leading Boston to a 102-92 victory at TD Banknorth Garden.

After a tough first quarter in which Rondo looked rusty coming off the ankle injury, the C’s bench came up big with Stephon Marbury playing his best game in the short time he has played for the Celtics. Marbury finished with 9 points and 5 assists.

Memphis’ Rudy Gay recorded 26 points. Rookie O.J. Mayo tallied 21 and Marc Gasol finished with a double-double (11 points and 15 boards).

With only a month left in the season, the Celtics hope to return some key men soon with Kevin Garnet hoping to come back next week.





Overcoming Adversity

7 03 2009

Leon Powe and Kendrick Perkins of Boston battle the Cavs' Zydrunas Illgauskas for the loose ball (AP Photo/Winslow Townson).

Leon Powe and Kendrick Perkins of Boston battle the Cavs' Zydrunas Ilgauskas for the loose ball (AP Photo/Winslow Townson).

By: Brendan Tyman

The Boston Celtics were without Kevin Garnet (strained knee), Tony Allen (thumb surgery), and Brian Scalabrine (concussion) to begin the game against the vaunted Cleveland Cavaliers. Yet, they found a way to come away with the 105-94 victory at a rocking TD Banknorth Garden.

This game felt like a playoff atmosphere as the crowd went crazy when LeBron James (5-for-15 from the field) missed a dunk in the opening quarter. There was some chippy play in the second half  with the C’s leading 54-48, when Glen Davis received a flagrant-2 foul on Anderson Varejao. Zydrunas Ilgauskas got a technical foul for going after Davis. James and Ray Allen matched each other’s technicals.

Despite a foul discrepancy (James and the Celts were both 9 of 12 from the line) that would have Phil Jackson crying and the bench being even more thin due to the loss of Davis, Boston increased their lead into double digits on multiple occasions (86-72 and 98-83) in the final frame.

Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 29 points. Leon Powe came up big with a double-double (20 points and 11 rebounds). Perkins and Davis each had 10. Allen finished with 17 points. Rajon Rondo came back from a twisted ankle in the 1st quarter to add 10 assists.

Mo Williams dropped 26 points and James added 21 for Cleveland.

Boston dominated Cleveland in the paint and had 31 assists compared to the Cavs’ 17. The one reason the Cavaliers stayed in this game was the large difference in free throws.

On Sunday, the C’s will go play Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic. Boston, Cleveland, and Orlando are fighting for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.