This marks the first time in the KG Era (formerly Big 3 Era) that the Boston Celtics did not win the Atlantic Division Title. The New York Knicks have clinched their first Division Crown since 1994. It looked like either the Nets or maybe even the Celts had a shot a few weeks back, but then New York went on their current 13 game win streak.
The last time the Knickerbockers won the Atlantic, Patrick Ewing was in his 9th season in the league. Ironically, Doc Rivers was also on that team. However, he only played in 19 games that season. On a side note, Carmelo Anthony passed Lebron James for most jerseys sold over the past year.
I know that the Knicks have been playing lights out, but I still don’t fear them as much as some other teams. Carmelo can score, but typically (with the exception of one 28 point game) is quieter against us that other teams. The person I most fear on that team is sixth-man J.R. Smith. Smith is a spark off the bench and has already scorched us for 32 and 24 points. Do you think they are the favorites in the East to take down the Heat? Or do the C’s still stand a chance? After last season, I am done counting Boston out. The Celtics take on the Nets tonight.
The Celtics were up by as many as 10 during tonight’s game against the Denver Nuggets. However, the Nuggets, who were on a 9-game winning streak coming into tonight’s game, made it a game late in the 4th quarter. The Celtics seemed to have the game wrapped up when they got robbed by a call. At least that’s how it looked on every single replay that they showed. It looked like two Denver players clearly knocked the ball out of bounds. This would all be okay If they didn’t review it. But they did. They spent two minutes looking at a play from every angle and it still seemed like they got the call wrong. Denver then tied it up with 0.8 seconds left on an easy layup.
In the first overtime, the Nuggets got off to an early lead. However, Jeff Green made a clutch 3-pointer from the corner to tie it up at 99 a piece with one minute remaining, eventually forcing a second overtime. Pierce made an unbelievable 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds left in the 2nd OT to tie it up yet again. However, it was really close as the officials reviewed where his foot was, and it was about a centimeter from the line, thankfully. Eventually, the Celtics were able to win the game 118-114 and extend their win streak to 7 games. They are now 27-23 on the year.
Pierce led the C’s with 27 points, but also was only 7-of-20 shooting from the field.. He was also able to add 13 rebounds and 8 assists. The bench played huge for us. Jeff Green scored 17 points and played amazing all around. Jason Terry has stepped it up as of late, putting in 26 of his own. JET made five 3-pointers in the contest. He also had 15 against the Lakers the other night. Avery Bradley played great defense as usual and scored 13. Garnett was off early, but really stepped it up in overtime adding 20 points and 16 rebounds.
The Celtics now have only two games until the All-Star break next weekend. They will travel to Charlotte tomorrow to take on the league’s worst team—the Bobcats. The Bobcats are 11-39 this season and allow 103.0 points per game. On Wednesday, the C’s will take on the Bulls who are 30-20 (4th place in the East) even without their MVP Derrick Rose. With Rajon Rondo injured, Kevin Garnett will be the only Celtic player represented at the ASG next Sunday.
The Celtics lost their 4th straight game last night when the Memphis Grizzlies came to town, but there is some good news. Avery Bradley is now back and said that he felt great out there. However, the rest of the team didn’t seem to be feeling it. We were out-rebounded 39-27 and only 4 C’s registered double-digits in points. Garnett had 12, Pierce had 17 (both of them had 7 rebounds), Jeff Green had 10 points off the bench, and Rondo contributed 11 points and 10 assists. This is only the 3rd game out of the last 8 that Rondo has registered double-digit assists, after doing it virtually every game at the beginning of the season while chasing Magic Johnson’s record. Memphis is a great team, but we need to play a lot better than this if we want to get anywhere.
The Celtics are 2-8 in their last 10 games and sitting on the outside of the playoffs looking in. They are now 14-17, which is a shocker to all of those who know how talented this team is. We need to turn it around and send a message this Friday when we play the Indiana Pacers who are currently in 4th place in the East and have a 19-13 record. They are 8-2 in their last 10 and allow only 90 PPG which is 2nd in the league behind the Grizzlies.
It seems as though Rajon Rondo has set an NBA record for most consecutive games with 11+ assists at 28 games. Everyone thought that he failed to do it after he tied the record last week, when he only got 10 assists in the stat book. However, today, the league statisticians went back and looked at the tape and saw that he assisted Brandon Bass in the 3rd quarter of that game, but the assist was given to Terry. So its official, Rondo solely owns that record.
It seemed to end again on Monday night against the Bulls. But wait, once again it seems as though he had an assist that the scorers are looking into now. If they award it to him, he will have an active 29 game streak going.
Most people could care less about that record. He is on pace for another record, if he can keep up the solid play and I don’t jinx him. He is 3rd all-time with a 31-game streak of double digit assists. He is behind John Stockton (37 games), and Magic Johnson (46 games), probably the two best point guards of all time. The Celtics play tonight against the Jazz. Go C’s!
On a side note: Fab Melo and Kris Joseph have been assigned to the D-League with the Maine Red Claws, just as Danny Ainge anticipated.
Although the Celtic’s defense has not been living up to their reputation lately, they still improved to 4-3 on the season with a win over the Bulls, 101-95, so there’s something to be happy about. That’s not the only positive note. Just as most (including myself) predicted, Rondo had a huge game matching up against former Celtic Nate Robinson. He has had a double-double in every game this season and missed the triple double by 1 rebound (20 points, 10 assists, 9 rebounds).
The Celtics won against the Bucks on Saturday to improve to .500 after dropping a close one to the 76ers on Friday. Pierce scored 49 points between the two games, as he has been on fire already this season. Playing like the Pierce we have all grown to love, the Celtics continue to look like they are playing better together.
The C’s will play the Rose-less Bulls tonight, who are still a very strong team considering they lost their MVP. They will also play the Jazz, Nets, and Raptors this week. As much as I hate Noah, the guy already got 20 rebounds in a game this season, and no one on our team has come remotely close to that. If we want to win tonight against the Bulls, we will need to get him off of the glass so our bigs can scoop up some second chance buckets. Even better news for the Green, it looks like Rose’s replacement Kirk Hinrich will be sidelined too. Rondo could be a big game changer tonight if that is the case. I know Hinrich can’t compete with him anyways, but a 3rd stringer will be blown out of the water.
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.