What A Night, What A Series

3 05 2009
Chicao Bulls center Joakim Noah can only pray that his team pulls through after fouling out in the last minute of Game 7. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Chicao Bulls center Joakim Noah can only pray that his team pulls through after fouling out in the last minute of Game 7. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

By Brendan Tyman

The Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series between the Boston Celtics and the Chicago Bulls provided more drama than a teen romance. There was everything from all of the overtimes (7 in seven games) to all of the buzzer beating treys launched by Ben Gordon and RayAllen.

Game 7 was anticlimatic compared to the other six games of the series in which four went into overtime. The score was not decided until the final minute and there was no extra time.

The C’s used a 22-2 run in the second quarter to spark a 109-99 victory over the Bulls. This stretch lasted 7:40 and it got the Garden roaring.

After the contest, Paul Pierce walked back to the locker room looking as weary as Max Baer in “Cinderella Man.” after his bout with Jimmy Braddock.

In this final edition of one of the best series of all time, the Celts’ bench came alive as Eddie House made all 5 of his jumpers (including four 3-pointers) and scored 16. Brian Scalabrine added 8. Mikki Moore even got on the scoreboard with 4 points. Ray Allen and Paul Pierce led the team with 23 and 20 points, respectively.

Ben Gordon led all scorers with 33. John Salmons really struggled after lighting up Boston in Game 6 with 35 points, as he only shot 3-12 from the field. Derrik Rose posted 18 points. Joakim Noah grabbed 15 boards before fouling out in the final seconds.

A few things taken from this series is Boston is still resillient and they are battle-tested. If the Bulls resgin Gordon (impending free agent) this summer and with Luol Deng coming back, they could be a very frightening squad. Just ask Doc Rivers.





Celts Lose Heartbreaker

26 04 2009
Boston Celtics' Paul Pierce pleads an official to call a foul. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Boston Celtics' Paul Pierce pleads an official to call a foul. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

By Brendan Tyman

With an opportunity to put Chicago in a deep hole, the Boston Celtics could not take advantage.

Ben Gordon hit a 3-pointer with 4.5 seconds left to force another overtime period and the Bulls overcame a late rally by the C’s to win 121-118. The Eastern Conference quarterfinal series is now even at 2 going back to Boston for Game 5.

Of course, the contest would not have made it into overtime if not for a Ray Allen trey with 9.8 ticks left in regulation. Both teams battled it out and it was fairly close for the whole game as neither squad held a double-digit lead.

Paul Pierce led all players with 29 points, but shot ineffectively for most of the game.  Allen added 28. Rajon Rondo posted another triple double with 25 points, 11 rebounds and assists.

Derrick Rose went for 23 and nearly had a triple double with 11 boards and 9 dimes. Gordon tallied 22. There were six Bulls who scored double figures.

Now the Celtics will have to make another trip to Chitown, which is something they did not want to do.





“Cinderella” Story

23 04 2009
Boston Celtics Stephon Marbury (left) and Paul Pierce (right) were able to enjoy a laugh after sitting out the final few minutes of the Celtics rout of Chicago in Game Three.  (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Boston Celtics Stephon Marbury (left) and Paul Pierce (right) were able to enjoy a laugh after sitting out the final few minutes of the Celtics rout of Chicago in Game Three. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

By Brendan Tyman

The real question in this series is who is the underdog in the Celtics-Bulls series? The Celts are the defending champs yet Chicago was favored by 5 going into Game Three tonight.

Boston overcame the loss of Leon Powe to devestate the Chicago faithful 107-86 in front of a sold out United Center crowd. After losing the first game, the C’s hold a 2-1 advantage in the first round series.  They jumped to an early lead and did not step off the gear. They led by as many as 30 points in the final quarter.

Paul Pierce broke out for the first time in this series leading all players with 24 points. Rajon Rondo (20 points and 11 rebounds) had another great night and showed he is one of the best pure point guards in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Stephon Marbury came off the bench to post 13.

The C’s forced 22 turnovers and the Bulls to shoot 38% from the floor in their best defensive performance in the series.

Ben Gordon came back to Earth and scored 15 points, but was shut down for most of the contest. Joakim Noah added 10 boards.

The Celtics are reminding their fans of the 2003-’04 New England Patriots. People have underestimated them because of the injuries, but they continue to display that desire to win.

Keep wearing those slippers because they look good in green.





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.





Allen, Celtics Overcome Bobcats, Ugly Performance

1 04 2009
Boston Celtics' point guard, Rajon Rondo, tries making a layup under the outstretched arm of Charlotte's Juwan Howard in the Celts' arousing win at TD Banknorth Garden.  (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Boston Celtics' point guard, Rajon Rondo, tries making a layup under the outstretched arm of Charlotte's Juwan Howard in the Celts' arousing win at TD Banknorth Garden. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

By: Brendan Tyman

Ray Allen was not shooting the ball well and the Celtics had one of their worst games of the season. The Charlotte Bobcats were going to beat the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston in back-to-back nights. The unexpected happened as the C”s came back from a 12 point defecit to defeat the devastated Bobcats 111-109 in double-overtime.

The ‘Cats were ahead 85-73 with about 5 minutes left in the game and things looked bleak for the Celts. Rajon Rondo began driving to the hoop and finding open guys near the basket for easy layups. In the final couple of minutes, Charlotte was winning 91-85 and Eddie House hit a big jump shot. In the final seconds down 93-91, the Celtics took the ball and Rondo forced a foul driving to the net. He made both free throws to send the battle into the 1st overtime.

In overtime, the contest was back-and-forth until it appeared the Bobcats had control when they grabbed a few offensive rebounds and controlled the ball for about a minute. They were able to convert with 4 seconds left on the shot clock as Boris Diaw hit a jump shot to give the Bobcats a 101-98 advantage. Allen drilled a trey to bring another extra session.

Like the first overtime, the second was very similar as both squads were trading buckets. With 2.1 seconds left, Allen nailed the game-winning 3-pointer. Although, the game was not in hand until Raja Bell’s shot clanged off the rim.

Paul Pierce led the Celts with 32 points. Allen who shot 4-14 before knocking down 4 out of his last 6 shots from the field added 22. Rondo finished with 21 points and 9 assists. House came off the bench to score 18. Kendrick Perkins also redeemed himself blocking some shots to key the late run and also grabbed 12 rebounds.

Charlotte had 7 players finish in double-figures with 3 of them recording double-doubles. Gerald Wallace (the Celtics-killer) netted 20 points and had 10 boards. Emeka Okafor had 12 points and 10 rebounds. Raymond Felton handed out 12 dimes to go with his 14 points. Diaw accounted for 17 points and Bell scored 12. Then Vladamir Radmanovic and D.J. Augustin both came off the bench to get in double-figures with 10 and 14, respectively.

The Bobcats coerced the C’s to commit 24 turnovers, but the Celtics attempted 26 freebies to just 7 for Charlotte.

Due to the Orlando Magic losing to the Toronto Raptors, Boston has climbed back into second place with just six meetings remaining in the regular season. If these next couple of weeks was anything like tonight, then the fans will be feeling excited about the crew’s prospects in the postseason





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.