Beating the Odds: C’s Avoid Anticipated Collapse

Celtics Competing:  I’ll admit I was one of the many who threw their hands up and said, “What are we going to do now?” when I heard Rajon Rondo was out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL. Well, since then the Celtics have responded to everyone’s questions the old fashioned way…by simply winning.

The Celtics have won eight of their last nine games with impressive victories over the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets, and Chicago Bulls . More importantly, and surprisingly, the C’s have done so without the likes of Rondo, Jared Sullinger, and more recently Leandro Barbosa (all out for the remainder of the season due to injury).

Winning Ways: With the loss of Rondo and Co., Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jeff Green have led the team on the floor along with assistance from Jason Terry. Here are their numbers for the month of February:

Pierce: 17.1 PPG with 8.9 RPG and 7.3 APG

Garnett: 16.6 PPG with 10.3 RPG and 1.4 SPG

Green: 14.4 PPG with 4 RPG and 1.7 BPG

Terry: 13.1 PPG with 3.7 APG

Avery Bradley, Courtney Lee, and Brandon Bass have also contributed, each averaging 8 PPG.

The Celtics have used a no “pure point guard” philosophy in their 8-1 stretch without Rondo, and so far it has worked well.

Playoff Probability: Although Boston is finding ways to win without a true point guard, they will have to add depth to their roster if they want to have a sure shot at the post-season. According to ESPNBoston’ Chris Forsberg, Coach Doc Rivers recently released his “shopping list” of what he felt the team needed to compete down the stretch:

“Well, I would say a ball-handling guard. It’s no longer a point guard, it’s just a guard. A guard that, if I had my perfect guard for this group right now, it would be a guard that can play multiple positions, that can shoot, and has some toughness. Then we need a big. You’re not going to find a center, so a 4. Obviously a 5 would be great, but a 4 that can stretch the floor, or a 4 that can rebound — just a great rebounding 4 that has skill. That’s the list.”

We’ll have to wait and see what kind of deals Doc and Danny Ainge can whip up in the weeks to come. As of today (February 15th) the Celtics are 28-24 overall and hold the seventh playoff spot/seed of the available eight in the Eastern Conference. Moreover, if the season ended today the C’s would make the playoffs. Of course, the season still has about 30 games to go and as we all know with any sport “anything can happen”.

Nevertheless, I whole heartedly believe Boston can continue their winning ways and place themselves somewhere between a fifth to seventh seed at seasons end. Honestly, at the rate the C’s are playing, they could even lobby for a fourth seed. We’ll just have to watch and see what happens.

Final Thoughts: With roughly 30 games left and only 10 healthy players on a 13 man roster, the C’s have their work cut out for them as they head down the final stretch. Will the Celtics make the post-season? If so, what playoff seed will they earn? Leave a comment below.

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Celtics Cap Mavericks in Double OT

Boston Beats Dallas: The Boston Celtics came away with a victory against the Dallas Mavericks last night in nail-biting double overtime fashion. The C’s beat the Mavs 117-115 at the Garden, thanks in part to a pair of Courtney Lee free throws in the game’s final seconds.

Lee’s made free-throws sealed the deal for Boston. Had Lee missed both of them, Dallas guard OJ Mayo’s 24 foot 3-pointer at the buzzer would have tied the game and forced a 3rd OT. Instead Mayo’s heroics were too little too late and behind Paul Pierce’s 34 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 steals the Celtics managed to sweat out a win.

Rajon Rondo also turned in a top performance for Boston with a double-double of 16 points and 15 assists. Rondo was a rebound shy of pulling off a triple double with 9 rebounds in the game.

Dallas’ top performers: OJ Mayo led the Mavericks in scoring with 24 points to go along with 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Shawn Marion also performed well with 16 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 blocks.

Fun Facts From the Game:With a score in the games first overtime, C’s forward Paul Pierce surpassed 23,000 points for his career. Pierce becomes only the 25th player in NBA history to reach 23,000 points.

Also, six Celtics players scored in double figures in this one. Pierce 34pts, Rondo 16pts, Kevin Garnett 16pts, Jeff Green 15pts, Jason Terry 10pts, and Chris Wilcox 10pts.

Back to Back Wins for Boston:With the win over Dallas, the Celtics are now the winners of two straight games. Boston will look to build off this win, and improve on their 12 and 9 overall record, as they hit the road to face Jeremy Lin, James Harden, and the Houston Rockets this Friday at 8pm from the Toyota Center.

C’s Squeeking By?

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.

Celtics Look To Pass the Buck In Their Home Opener

ImageHome Sweet Home: Tonight the Boston Celtics will look to bounce back from a season opening loss to the reigning NBA Champs, the Miami Heat, as they host the Milwaukee Bucks at TD Garden at 7:30pm. Paul Pierce and company will go up against the run and gun Bucks lead by point guard Brandon Jennings. Boston should have the upper hand in this match-up as the Celtics swept the season series last year winning all three contests against Milwaukee.

Likely Lineups: Let’s take a look at the toe-to-toe roster rundown for this one:

Celtics                                                                               Bucks

PG  Rajon Rondo                                                         PG  Brandon Jennings

SG  Courtney Lee                                                        SG     Monta Ellis

SF    Paul Pierce                                                         SF    Mike Dunleavy

PF   Brandon Bass                                                       PF     Drew Gooden

C    Kevin Garnett                                                         C   Samuel Dalembert

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Player Previews: No surprise the usual suspects for Boston will come up big in this one as Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, and Kevin Garnett will all do their part. But look for potential six man of the year award winner Jason Terry (8 points against Miami, 4 of 4 from the free throw line) to spark for a few scores and also keep an eye on another new guy in Leandro Barbosa (16 points against the Heat) who could become a solid swing man for the C’s.

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For the Bucks the dynamic scoring duo of guards Brandon Jennings (19.1 PPG last year) and Monta Ellis (20.4 last year) is always a deadly combo. Those two can simply light up the scoreboard when they’re both clicking. Another player to watch, if he gets the minutes, is backup forward Ersan Ilyasova. Ilyasova averaged 13 PPG with 8 RPG last season. He could see more minutes if his numbers continue to have a steady uptick.

When 2 Watch: As mentioned earlier the C’s home opener will begin tonight at 7:30pm. If your going to the game be sure to cheer loudly, drink responsibly and as always enjoy the game.

Sixth-Man Votes

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.

Tribute to the New Season

Gallery

This gallery contains 10 photos.

Well opening night didn’t exactly go the way we wanted, but hey, it’s only game one. At least Celtic’s basketball is back. So here’s to the NBA season starting on time! Similar Posts You’ll Enjoy

C’s Drop Opening Night

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.

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Final Preseason Rankings

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?

C’s Finally Here

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.

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Ray’s Departure

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.