What a great weekend for Boston sports fans. Pats win, Peyton loses, and the Celtics extend their win streak to 5 games with a win over Houston, 103-91, on Friday night. For now, let’s just focus on the C’s. When I wrote this article a little over a week ago, we were on a 4 game losing streak and playing some of the toughest teams in the league. Now the Green and White are riding the hot hand going into a game against a 9-27 Charlotte Bobcats team on Monday night.
On Friday, the Celtics were ready to play. Garnett scored 17 points and grabbed 8 boards. Pierce shot lights out for 23 points while Courtney Lee dropped 14 of his own. Once again, Jared Sullinger came up huge, scoring 14 points but grabbing 11 boards off the bench. He only missed 1 shot and is developing into an amazing role player. Sullinger is leading all rookies in +/-.
Rajon Rondo has been a little off recently. I mean he is playing great basketball for anyone else, but according to his high standards that we have come to know, he isn’t that great. He only had 8 assists last game and 8 the game before, bringing his league-leading average down to 11.1. Once he gets going again we should be able to put up some serious points. The return of Avery Bradley on the defensive end has been huge as well, as he covers the opposing teams best player in every game.
The Celtics won both games that they played this weekend, topping the Pacers 94-75 and the Hawks 89-81. The C’s are currently sitting at one game below .500 (16-17) and take on the Knicks, who are second place in the East.
On Friday, against the 19-14 Pacers, Kevin Garnett scored 18 points and grabbed 7 boards before being ejected for scuffling with Tyler Hansbrough. Rondo added 18 while Pierce and Courtney Lee both scored 13. Jared Sullinger had 10 rebounds (4 offensive).
On Saturday, against the 20-12 Hawks, the C’s had a tougher task. After being down most of the game, they came back on Rondo’s back. Rajon had a triple-double with 14 Points, 10 Assists, and 11 Rebounds. Paul Pierce scored 26 points while grabbing 9 boards and Sullinger added 8 Points, 9 Rebounds.
The Celtics extended their win streak to 3 games after beating the Jazz 98-93 last night at the Garden. Rondo only had 6 points before leaving in the 2nd half with a hurt ankle. They said that he could come back but didn’t want to risk it. He did record 10 assists so he is still in the chase of the record, but did not hit the 11 mark.
Paul Pierce continued to show he can still play with 23 points, including three 3-pointers. Jeff Green stepped up big and put up 16 points in 27 minutes, while Garnett added 11 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists (one of which is worth watching if you check out ESPN today). He tossed it behind his back to Barbosa and it looked like he knew he was going to before the ball was even near him.
Speaking of Leandro Barbosa, talk about a great pick up. He hit 6 out of his 8 shots and put up 16 points while recording a game-high +13 points. The weirdest part about this game for me was that Jason Terry didn’t take one 3-pointer. I know it doesn’t matter since we are winning, but we are gonna need some outside shooters when we play bigger teams like the Lakers. The Celtics play the Nets tonight in Brooklyn at 8 p.m.
Last week, we took a poll about who you guys think has been the biggest star of the pre-season for newcomers, and I included Jeff Green because he was injured last season. Jared Sullinger won with over 50% of the votes, and Jeff Green was tied for second with Courtney Lee and Jason Terry, all with roughly 12% of the votes. Everyone keeps going on about how good our team is going to be because of our depth but here are some reasons why each player will succeed in our system.
Jared Sullinger: Rookie that fell to us in the draft, should have been a high lottery pick if not for an injured back last season. Not too many rookies get minutes in our system, but Jared could be starting some nights. KG and Doc Rivers have both said that he has a very high basketball IQ and does not play like a rookie typically does. He has adapted to the Celtics’ system real quick, and is not timid out on the court. He rebounds consistently and shoots right when he gets the open look, rather than hesitate and up fake 15 times like a lot of smaller big men like himself. And good news for C’s fans: Garnett said he is “giving him the book, teaching him everything I know”.
Yesterday, it was reported that a few rich guys are trying to bring the NBA back to Seattle. The SuperSonics were there for 41 years before becoming the Oklahoma City Thunder. They also are interested in buying an NHL team and moving them there as well. They aren’t strapped for cash. One of the partners included in the deal to build a $490 million arena is Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer.
They still need some approvals before it can become definite. Apparently, these guys are huge Sonics fans and have been trying to get a team back there since 2008 when they left.
The Celtics (15-13) look to take on the Chicago Bulls (24-7) in a rematch of last Sunday where the Celtics came on top 95-91. The Celtics are coming off of a surprising loss to the Detroit Pistons last night while the Bulls are coming off of an easy win over the Sacramento Kings. The Bulls are likely to be without both Richard Hamilton and Derrick Rose. Rose has missed the last four games with a back injury. With Derrick Rose out, C.J. Watson, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah, and Luol Deng have all taken over bigger scoring roles. The Bulls are 6-2 this season when Derrick Rose does not play. For the Celtics, Kevin Garnett, Mickael Pietrus, and Jermaine O’Neal are all day-to-day, while Brandon Bass is out until after the All-Star break with swelling in his knee. Both Pietrus and O’Neal played last night. Kevin Garnett sat out last night with a hip flexor, although Doc did say that he looked great in the morning shootaround. The Celtics are 4-5 on the road this season while the Bulls are 10-1 at home. If the Celtics are to win, expect Rondo to have another big night. He had 35 and 32 points in the last two games while pushing the pace for the Celtics to create somewhat of a new identity for the team.
Tune in at 8:00 tonight on TNT to watch the Celts take on the Bulls.
Talk about beating the odds. With both Rondo and Allen sidelined with injuries, an undermanned Celtics team left it all out on the court to win BIG against an 11-4 Orlando Magic squad last night at the Garden. The Celts held the Magic to just 56 points, while putting up 87 themselves. Struggling out of the gates this year, the Celtics have sneakily been solid defensively, ranking third in the league while holding their opponents to an average of 88.3 points. On the other hand, our woes come in the form of offense, where the C’s are ranked 26th in points scored, averaging around 89 per game. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You’re not going to compete with the best teams in the NBA when you can’t score.
Luckily the C’s proved me wrong last night, as their defense shone through. Sticking out were Avery Bradley and Sasha Pavlovic, as both stepped into starting spots and held their own defensively while also putting up a combined 15 points. If anything, last night’s win was a big mental boost for the team which has definitely been suffering harsh criticism over the past few weeks and rightfully so. The team has gone in spurts of brilliance but never quite long enough to hold out for the big wins. Example, coming within a point of Chicago in the 4th quarter just to watch Rose and crew rip our hearts out down the stretch. Anyways, there is talent on this team, no doubt. We showed last night that we can compete with the best of them. Throw Allen and Rondo back into the mix and continue blending in the newcomers with the team’s historic chemistry, we’ll be alright.
Surprise, surprise, the Heat won. As if anyone gave the Celts a chance in the first place. I may sound like a broken record with this, but again I feel good about the team. Not often are you going to hear that about a team starting off the season 0-2. With 3 minutes left to play the Celtics had Miami within three points. What killed them for the second game in a row was the slow start. They found themselves digging out of a hole once again. I mean a 39 point second quarter is inexcusable. It just can’t happen. The defense needs to step it up. They can’t give up 69 points in a half, even if it is to Lebron and the Heat. Excuse me, especially if it’s Lebron and the Heat. Rondo wasn’t exactly as outstanding as on Christmas Day but he quietly put up 22 points and continues to be the glue that’s going to hold this team together. With that said, Ray’s going to do Ray. Give him the ball with .05 seconds and an inch of space and watch what he does with it. But that stuff is a given. What the Celts need is a bench that can keep them in games. Brandon Bass continued to show what he can do tonight and even Keyon Dooling showed some veteran fire late in the game with 13 points off the bench. If it wasn’t for Miami’s rookie point guard Norris Cole and his miracle shooting down the stretch, the game could’ve went either way. Throw Mickael Pietrus into the mix and return the Truth, C’s win this game for sure. Again, it’s hard to sit here with an 0-2 team and be happy, but you can’t be too worried. Anyways, things can only go up from here, right?
If you didn’t catch it on Twitter this morning, I was lucky enough to be at the Waltham practice facility today for Celtics Media Day. For the most part, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Players come out sporting their team’s gear and are introduced to a number of media outlets. But after seeing and hearing all the Celtics players today, I feel pretty good about going into the season. All the big names were amped up to be back on the court, especially KG. They displayed a collected, confident presence about the team and an eager mindset to get the new guys settled in. The rookies were excited to start their careers on such a historic team, alongside several future hall of famers. Even Jeff Green was feeling good about things, as he was spotted taking shots prior to the event’s start. His message was simple: Don’t listen to the rumors. Keyon Dooling, a new face to the organization, expressed his excitement of becoming a Celtic, despite the 5 other teams he has been a part of. He even laughed off the incident he had with Ray while he was still on the Sonics. Overall a very friendly, funny guy. With some lingering doubt heading into the season prior to media day, spirits were high in Waltham today. I left the facility feeling much better than I have in the past few days. The boys are back in green and eager to put banner 18 up into the rafters. Good news all around for Boston Celtics fans!
ESPN’s Chris Broussard reported earlier today that the Celtics are still in the running for Hornets point guard Chris Paul. Reportedly the Celtics have offered Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green, and two future first-round picks.
First off, I am all for the Celtics making a run at Paul but this trade makes absolutely no sense to me unless one thing comes from it; and that is if they are able to get Dwight Howard to join up with Paul here in Boston. I am content with trading away Rondo for Paul, and even including one or two draft picks.
Yes, Paul is better than Rondo, not by a landslide, but he is better. How can you also throw Jeff Green into the deal along with two first-round picks though? Let’s reverse back to last season. The Celtics gave up Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to land Jeff Green, so they must have some faith in him. I was one of the few who were not very upset when that deal went down. Jeff Green is a quality player who has averaged just less than 16 PPG as a starter in the NBA. Then you are also going to throw in two first-round picks? I think the Hornets would be stupid not to take the offer, but that’s not the argument here.
Lets just say that trade does happen. How do the Celtics get Dwight Howard? Does anyone actually think Orlando would deal Howard to the Celtics in exchange for what is left on this roster? Obviously they wont trade Pierce. So what is left? You have no draft picks to trade, and no young talent without Green. Orlando doesn’t want Allen or Garnett. They would much rather ship him to L.A. for a Bynum/Gasol combination. Not only do they get more value for Howard, they also keep him out of the conference. So assuming they can’t land Howard this is what their future will look like in three years or so. Chris Paul. That’s it. Allen, Pierce and Garnett are all on their way out and the Celtics would have no picks to draft a quality player, and no Jeff Green to help build around Paul.
The fact that they are willing to trade Rajon Rondo and his underpaid $11 million a year contract, along with the only other player on the team with some upside, and include two first round picks just to have a somewhat minor upgrade from Rondo to Paul just doesn’t make any sense to me. Not to mention they will have to sign Paul to a deal paying him almost double of what Rondo makes.
Some people will try to say if we get Paul, Howard will follow here next season when he is a free agent. The only issue is that Howard won’t be a free agent. If he won’t resign in Orlando they will trade him. There is no way they take the chance Cleveland took and just let their star player walk away and get nothing in return.