The Celtics begin their playoff series against the New York Knicks on Saturday at 3 P.M. at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks were real hot at the end of the season, winning 16 out of their last 18 games and clinching the Atlantic Conference for the first time in a long time. The Celtics, however, only won 4 out of their last 10 games. But if last year tells us anything, it’s that this team is built for the playoffs.
The following stats were taken from ESPN.com:
I do not want to count the Celtics out, even if the Knicks have been playing extremely well, but if the C’s want to take this one, I am willing to bet that it’s going to go 6 or 7 games. Is this team built for that? The Knicks have many dangerous weapons, especially the scoring champion of the regular season—Carmelo Anthony. He is averaging nearly 29 PPG. They also have 5 others that average in double-digits, including J.R. Smith who is averaging 18.1 PPG and hasn’t started a game all season. Tyson Chandler is their big defensive presence who can out rebound us consistently, and Amar’e and Felton who can put home 12-18 points on any given night.
The Celtics were led once again by Captain Paul Pierce. Pierce had another great season averaging 18.6 PPG and logging over 33 minutes per contest. Jeff Green has really stepped up ever since he dropped 43 against the Heat. He also put in 34 against the Pistons, and over 20 in many other games. KG is still solid with his mid-range jumper and if he can stay healthy, he should be able to help with his 7.8 Rebounds per game. Avery Bradley has been off for about a month, but still tenacious on defense, and we need him to keep that up. The Knicks can shoot so we need to make sure that we are pressuring the ball enough to make sure they don’t feel comfortable. Let’s go Celtics!I do not want to count the Celtics out, even if the Knicks have been playing extremely well, but if the C’s want to take this one, I am willing to bet that it’s going to go 6 or 7 games. Is this team built for that?
The Knicks have many dangerous weapons, especially the scoring champion of the regular season—Carmelo Anthony. He is averaging nearly 29 PPG. They also have 5 others that average in double-digits, including J.R. Smith who is averaging 18.1 PPG and hasn’t started a game all season. Tyson Chandler is their big defensive presence who can out rebound us consistently, and Amar’e and Felton who can put home 12-18 points on any given night.
In case you missed it over the weekend, the Celtics made a couple of new acquisitions in order to add more depth to their bench. First, they added 6’9” Power Forward DJ White. White has played with both the Thunder and the Bobcats during his 4 years in the League. He was formally a 1st round pick out of Indiana and averages 6.8 PPG and 3.6 RPG during his career. He played the first part of this season in China where he averaged 21.6 PPG and 9.7 RPG on the season for the Shanghai Sharks. He has signed with the C’s for a 10 day contract.
Next, they went out and signed 6’10” Shavlik Randolph who played for Duke 5 years ago. I’m guessing we signed him to this 10 day contract strictly for his size. He has only averaged 2.4 PPG and 2.4 RPG over his career and has never racked up many minutes no matter where he has played. At least he can add some size to the line up after we traded Collins last week for Crawford. We don’t need him to score, just to clog up the middle a bit and maybe grab some boards in the mean time.
Most importantly, the Celtics offered hardworking guard/forward Terrence Williams to a multi-year contract. T-Will was on a 10-day contract with the Celts but will now be here to stay. Good for him! Even though he has only averaged 3.3 PPG, 2.3 RPG, and 1.5 APG, Terrence gives us a spark off the bench and has proven that he can score when he needs to. The Celtics will travel to Philly on Tuesday to take on the 76ers.
The Sacramento Kings (who probably won’t be known as that for long) come to the Garden tonight to take on the Rondo-less Celtics. We are better than them in every category except rebounds and points (barely), even though we are going to miss Rondo’s 11.1 Assists Per Game. After beating the Heat in double OT on Sunday, this should be an easy game, but ya never know.
There has also been speculation that we were trying to acquire their hot-headed star Demarcus Cousins for Bradley and Sullinger and maybe something else. I hope this doesn’t happen since I would then be stuck with a Ray Allen and Jared Sullinger shirt and nothing to do with them. Anyway, tune into our Twitter (https://twitter.com/BostonSB) tonight for periodic updates and follow us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/BostonSportsBlog)
Obviously, we learned last year that no one should count the Celtics out early. They were awful at the beginning of last season and still made it to game 7 against the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals. However, we barely beat the Wizards, and lost against the Bucks, two teams that we should beat night in and night out. Pierce is playing incredible, Rondo’s defense has gotten stronger, and KG is always reliable, even after a tough shooting game on Saturday.
The biggest thing to note is the way these new players are mending together. Doc said that he needs to find a way to mix and match the second unit better. He started doing this by putting Jared Sullinger into a starting role, in which he played great. You can tell that he is still young and needs to work, but he has to be ahead of where most rookies are at this point in their careers.
Personally, I am not worried about the C’s this season, and neither should you. We have so much depth and about 7 people that can put up double digits on any given night. Once they get going, they are going to be a tough team to stop. Next up is the Wizards again on Wednesday at home. Hopefully we have this game won before 28 seconds in the 4th quarter.
Jason Terry has been voted as the most likely sixth-man award winner for this NBA season. JET received 11 votes, while Jamal Crawford earned 8. Ray Allen even got 4 of his own. Even Jeff Green was voted for once, even after his rough first game back.
With reigning sixth-man award winner James Harden starting for the Houston Rockets now (scored 37 points and added 12 assists in his debut), the field is wide open. Jason Terry has already won it once before while with the Dallas Mavericks. Leandro Barbosa even won it when he was with the Suns, and if he plays like he did in the first game, he could be a big surprise. But I’ll give my vote to Jason Terry because if he can help get us over the Miami obstacle, he will be seen as one of the key factors since we lost to them the past two seasons.
As expected, both Lebron James and Dwayne Wade score in the high 20’s while Lebron recorded his first double-double of the season (26 points, 10 rebounds). One of the most painful things to watch was Ray Allen dropping 19 points on his former team. Ray played 2 more minutes than Lebron in this game, which no one expected would happen.
On the other side, KG struggled for 9 points, but was able to add 12 rebounds. Paul Pierce played amazing in the first half and ended with 23 points while Rondo added 20 points and 12 assists of his own. The biggest surprise was Leandro Barbosa dropping 16 in only 16 minutes while going 3-3 from 3 point range. The newest acquisition already showed that he deserves to be here.
The final preseason power rankings are out, and there have been more than a few big surprises in the past few days.
Reigning sixth-man award winner, James Harden, was traded to the Rockets to play alongside Jeremy Lin. The Thunder did not want to give him the max deal that he deserved. They instantly dropped from #3 to #5, before even playing a game.
The Lakers dropped one spot from #2 to #3 in light of their 0-8 preseason and an injury to Kobe Bryant. However, they still have Howard, Nash, Bryant, and Gasol together when they are all healthy again, and that looks to be a dangerous team.
Spurs jumped up to #2 this week, but this may be short lived since Manu’s back has been bothering him lately, and they are a year older. However, everyone should know better than to count out the Spurs.
The Celtics jumped from #6 to #4 after they realized that no one in the East can compete with the Heat but us. It goes without saying, injuries will play a key part in this season, with our team getting older. However, we got younger and quicker over the offseason, and are even more motivated this season after coming within 48 minutes of a championship birth.
Assuming the Heat are #1 on the power rankings, who do you think should be #2?
The season is finally here! If you’re like me, you probably completely ignored baseball, patiently waited for hockey and football to start (still waiting on one of those), and have been following the C’s offseason very closely. We are a completely different team than we were last year. There are only 3 players from our ’08 championship team left (Pierce, Rondo, KG). However, many believe that this is the most talented and deepest team that we have had in ages. We couldn’t keep up with the Heat in the 4th quarter of games last year in the playoffs, so we went out and got some fresh legs and defensive specialists. We have Jeff Green back who will help on Lebron and Bosh, and drafted Sullinger who looks to rebound on every play, something we have been lacking over the years.
I have always been a big Ray Allen fan. He is one of a million, a dying breed. There are few pure shooters like him remaining in the league. However, he is starting to gain enemies due to his apparent dislike of the Celtics Organization. While Doc and Rondo and company have remained quiet, Ray has continued to talk poorly of the organization which he won a championship with. After being talked to by Pat Riley and the Heat Front Office, Allen has begun to talk about the positive times that he remembers from Boston.
He talks about all of his deteriorating relationships since he has taken his talents to South Beach, but at least acknowledges his time in Boston. He tells ESPN: “I’m always going to be a Celtic no matter what,” Allen said. “It’s always going to be in my veins. Once you live there and play for that team and win a championship, it doesn’t matter where you go. You’re always going to be a Boston Celtic.”
Personally, I am going to miss Ray, but at the same time, I think that we are a better team this season so it doesn’t bother me as much as it might bother other people. I do wish that he would stop putting former teammates and this organization down, but everyone should always remember him for his time in Boston and all those clutch moments, especially in the ’08 Finals.