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.

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“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.





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





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.





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.