C’s Take on the Heat

The Celtics have yet another tough test on Sunday when the first-place Miami Heat come to town. Everyone knows that it is Ray Allen’s first game back in Boston since leaving, but we have a lot more on our plate than that. The Heat are in first place in the East once again. However, we always play them tough, and as of indexlast game, they are the worst rebounding team in the NBA, we are second to last. I know it’s not much, but they need to cling onto anything that they can to beat this team.

It’s not Ray Ray that we have to worry about, as he is only averaging 11.4 points in 25.5 minutes per game, both significantly lower than the rest of his career.  It’s another guy, named LeBron James, that is having a quiet but huge season. He is averaging 26.4 PPG (.7 lower than last season) but has raised his Assists per game up to 7.1 (from 6.2) and 8.1 Rebounds per game (7.9 last season). Below is a quick preview of how the teams match up. Who do you think comes out on top?

Heat Celtics
W-L 28-12 20-23
Points Scored 102.8 95
Points Allowed 96.9 96.4
Rebounds 39.1 39.5
Assists 22.5 23
Turnovers lost 13.6 14.6
Turnovers forced 14.9 15.7
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KG Gives Ray the Cold Shoulder

KG’s reaction to Ray Allen’s attempt at making peace was easily the best part of last night’s game. Would of been great to get win, but the fact that KG stuck it to Ray like this is just great. I wish Doc Rivers did the same. As far as I’m concerned, whatever positive memories I had of Ray Allen as a Celtic died when I saw him wearing a Heat Championship warmup during pregame.

Throwback Thursday – Celtics 2008

Gallery

This gallery contains 20 photos.

With this year’s Celtics (full) season only a few days away, why not relive the magic season that was 2007-08. Nothing better than sending Lebron home in the conference series and beating the Lakers at the Garden en route to … Continue reading

Tribute to KG Kick’s Off Chase for Banner 18

With the C’s preseason coming to an end last night, the countdown to Miami is officially on. The intensity of this game will only be that much higher with Benedict Allen on the opposite side of the court. But who defines intensity more than KG, who has expressed his clear anger with the move by breaking off ties with Ray. So here’s to Kevin Garnett and the chase for Banner 18 one week from tomorrow.

Celtics Summer League: Orlando Review

The Celtics led by coach Ty Lue had a bright start going 4-1 in the Orlando summer league, losing only to Detroit and beating up on the Magic, Pacers, Nets and Thunder respectively.

Player College Previous Team Position Age Height
Craig Brackins Iowa State Maine Red Claws PF 24 6-10
Dionte Christmas Temple Rethymno (Greece) SG 25 6-5
Jonathan Gibson New Mexico St Trabzonspor (Turkey) G 24 6-1
Jajuan Johnson Purdue Celtics PF 23 6-10
Kris Joseph Syracuse SF 23 6-7
Stephane Lasme Massachusetts Obradoiro (Spain) PF 29 6-8
Fab Melo Syracuse C 22 7-0
E’Twaun Moore Purdue Celtics PG 23 6-4
Jamar Smith Southern Indiana BK Prostejov (Czech) SG 25 6-3
Jared Sullinger Ohio State PF 20 6-9
Sean Williams Boston College Celtics / Mavericks PF / C 25 6-10
Larry Owens Oral Roberts Nets SF 29 6-7

Suprises in Orlando

Kris Joseph

Showed great length and wingspan (6-11), was flying all over the court. While Joseph had up and down shooting games, he found ways to make his mark by defending and hitting the glass. His shooting will improve, he has good form and is very confident on midrange jumpers, it just doesn’t extend to the three-point line yet.

Dionte Christmas

Got better and better as the week went along, finishing with his best game against the Magic with 21 points, including 19 in the first half where he had a stretch of 11 in a row. The surprise about Christmas was that he showed an all-around game. Known at Temple as a scorer and mainly a shooter, Christmas played tough defense (3 steals) and hit the boards throughout the week.

Jared Sullinger’s Passing Ability

Everyone knew Sully could play. If his back holds up and he adjusts to the size of the NBA everyone believes that he will be a steal. What we didn’t know about was his ability to pass. Faced with constant double teams, Sullinger looked and found the open man and made it easier on the guards as the Celtics looked to run their offense through him more and more throughout the week. He won’t see those double teams in the NBA, but the vision and ability to pass is only another positive to take from the first round pick.

Up and Down

E’Twaun Moore

In the one loss of the week, Moore was clearly outplayed Pistons guard Brandon Knight, seemingly struggling with the quickness. For a guy who is described as cool as extremely calm, Moore was frazzled from the start. The rest of the week Moore shined and showed his ability to run the point. He made good decisions on pick and rolls and had a great assist to turnover ratio. In the final game, he got into a little scoring battle with Christmas as they poured it on against the Magic.

Jujuan Johnson

Johnson showed that he could shoot over most players, but not much else. He hasn’t added much if any weight to his frame from his rookie season and was having a tough time on the blocks going against other players. He rebounded well during the week but was sometimes a little slow on his rotations. I’m holding Johnson to a higher standard because I expected big things from the former Big Ten Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.

Fab Melo

Melo truly had an up and down week, shocking everyone in the gym one game with a dribble drive and dish on one play and then throwing an outlet pass to Kris Joseph while he was sitting on the bench. He had some great blocks and showed good defensive ability, but didn’t have much of an idea on how to play defense against the pick and roll. It seems that he is going to need a full year under Doc to understand the complex Boston defense and figure out the rotations.

The Leap Year Rule

Leap Day. That magical day that disappears for three years before coming back. Besides the fact that most people don’t understand the point of it nor care to, it could mean good news for the Celtics’ second half of the season. Celtics Blog ran an article about this during the lockout, so I figured what better time to relive that article than on Leap Day itself. Introducing, the Leap Year Rule. This rule is strictly for Kevin Garnett. During his tenure in the NBA, KG’s career has followed an odd 4-year pattern of success, with the 4th year being a Leap Year. Let’s break it down.

1996 – Leap Year #1: Kevin Garnett Becomes KG – Drafted by a losing Timberwolves organization at the beginning of the 95-96 season, Garnett stepped into the NBA limelight. Coming off the bench during the first half of the season, Garnett began putting up all-star numbers and was inevitably put in a starting position during 1996. Oddly enough, his struggling Wolves started to win.

2000 – Leap Year #2: KG Reaches All-Star Status – With the turn of the millennium, Garnett led the Timberwolves to their first 50-win season in team history. He was named to his first career 1st Team All-Star position, as well as runner-up for the league MVP title. Oh, and just to put the icing on the cake, he went on to win a gold medal as a part of the 2000 US Olympic Team.

2004 – Leap Year #3: Garnett Continues to Rise – KG led the T-Wolves to their best season in team history, landing the #1 seed in the Western Conference. Despite his team getting knocked out in the Conference Finals, Garnett was the near unanimous vote for league MVP, with Shaq in 2000 being the only player to receive a higher percentage of votes for MVP.

2008 – Leap Year #4: KG Helps Raise Banner 17 – If I have to explain the year 2008 then you probably shouldn’t be reading this blog anyways. Joining Pierce and Allen, KG helped bring glory back to Boston for the first time since 1986, as the C’s trumped the Lakers to win the NBA Finals. Garnett was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year en route to reminding us that “Anything is Possible.”

2012…

20120229-163437.jpgI’m not making any promises, but the facts are laid out on the table. Something memorable is going to happen in KG’s career this season. I have two predictions and it’ll either be one or the other. My obvious prediction is that KG is going to help raise another banner in Boston this year. As unlikely as most would say that is, the underdog victory is no new feat in Boston (see New England Patriots circa 2001-02). On the other hand, as much as I want to say the C’s will win the championship, my second guess is that KG will retire. Another huge move in his career, although not exactly what we’ve had in mind. Now maybe both my predictions will come true and KG’s final Leap Year in the NBA will be his most memorable. It might sound crazy, but hey, it’s Leap Day!

Thanks again to Celtics Blog for the tip.

Celtics-Cavs Preview

The Celtics (15-17) look to start off the second half of the season with a win against the Cleveland Cavaliers (13-18). The Celtics have lost 7 of their last 8 games and their last 5 straight. This is the deciding game of the season series as both the Celtics and Cavs have both won one. Kyrie Irving had the game winning layup in the first game as the Cav’s went on a 12-0 run to beat the Celts by one. Two days later the Celtics almost blew a 22 point lead against the Cav’s but managed to hold on for a 3 point win.

The Celtics are supposed to get Rajon Rondo (suspension), Brandon Bass (Knee), and Chris Wilcox (Groin) all back to play against the Cavs. Look for Rajon Rondo to come out and attack the basket early on in the game as he came out during the All-Star break and took the teams struggles on his shoulders. When Rondo attacks the hoop early, it bodes well for the Celtics chances. Getting both Bass and Wilcox back will be huge for the Celtics as they are two of the better rebounders for the Celtics and Varejao has killed the Celtics on the board this year. They will both bring an offensive presence to the Celts as Bass is deadly with his jumper and Wilcox is Rondo’s favorite player in the transition game.

Keys to the Game

Turnovers

Until the Celtics can consistently stop turning over the ball 15+ times per game, this is going to be on here. The Celtics are turning over the ball the 8th most in the NBA. It doesn’t matter how good of defense they are playing because of all the easy buckets they are giving up from rebounds and turnovers.

Rebounding

The Celtics rank dead last in rebounds per game, they are getting outrebounded by their opponents by over 3 rebounds a game. Getting Chris Wilcox and Brandon Bass back will definitely help the Celtics. The Celtics have to look to box out Anderson Varejao who had 9 and 20 rebounds in the two previous games.

 Marquee Matchup

     vs.    

The marquee matchup tonight is Rajon Rondo vs. Kyrie Irving. Rondo is coming off a two game suspension and the All-Star game while Kyrie is coming off the MVP of the Rising Stars game where he scored 34 points off 8-8 shooting from 3. Look for both players to attack the paint and be very active all over the floor. Whichever player wins this matchup will likely win the game for his team.

All Star Break Grades – Shooting Guards

Player

Points

Rebounds

Assists

Blocks

Steals

+/-

PER

Ray Allen

14.5

3.1

2.8

.14

.79

+73

15.3

Positives: At 36, Ray is showing that he still has it. He is 3rd on the team in minutes played with 33.9 per game and is constantly in motion. Due to a great diet, conditioning, and hard work Ray has aged the best out of the big three. He has taken less physical contact than both Paul and KG but the way his body has kept up is a testament to Ray. He is shooting 43.5% from 3 and almost 94% from the line. Ray opens up the floor for everyone else with his shooting. The way that he runs around on the floor, not only works to get him open, but wears out the opposing player.

Negatives: Can’t really take players off the dribble. Other than defending Kobe Bryant, Ray is just an average defender. He needs to cut down on his turnovers, because when he is not the primary ball handler he should be able to average less than 2 a game.

With no other real quality shooting guards on the roster Doc has to rely on Ray in both wins and losses. Hopefully his legs will be able to handle the rest of the strenuous season because if the Celtics are going to make a run, they’re going to need Ray’s shooting.

Grade: A-

Player

Points

Rebounds

Assists

Blocks

Steals

+/-

PER

Marquis Daniels

2.8

1.7

1.3

.26

.43

+7

6.0

Positives: Marquis is a smart player, who rebounds and hustles. His skills aren’t the greatest. But he defends hard and is a favorite of Doc’s.

Negatives: Daniels is having a terrible season so far. He has lost his minutes in recent games to Sasha Pavlovic. In the last five games he has played 14 minutes combined and scored 0 points. He had been turning over the ball and was looking frantic out there. Not something you expect from an 8 year vet. In the game against the Thunder the other night his +/- was -17 in only 5 minutes of playing time.

Grade: D

Player

Points

Rebounds

Assists

Blocks

Steals

+/-

PER

E’Twaun Moore

3

.7

1

.13

.3

-4

8.8

Positives: E’Twaun has been a big surprise for the Celtics. People weren’t expecting much from the second-round pick. He had his best game of the season against the Orlando Magic in the comeback game. He had a career high 16 points and shot 4-4 from three in only 18 minutes. The emergence of Avery Bradley has severely cut into Moore’s minutes as the season’s progressed. He has a positive future for the Celtics but from here on out, I do not see him getting any big minutes this season.

Negatives: Still not sure where E’Twaun fits, is he a point guard or a shooting guard? When he comes off the bench he needs to provide a spark for the Celtics every game like he did in the Magic game. It’s a tough job to do but he has to do but it doesn’t come easy for 2nd round picks in the NBA. ­

If the Celtics had more depth on the team, I would be guessing that E’Twaun may be spending this season with their D-League affiliate. Unfortunately the Celtics do not have that luxury and E’Twaun is going to get only sporadic playing time for the rest of the season.

Grade: C+

 

Click here for Point Guard Grades

Celtics Mavericks – Keys to Game, Rondo Suspension

The Celtics (15-15) look to rebound as they have lost their last three as they take on the defending champs the Dallas Mavericks (20-12). Both teams are coming off of losses yesterday as the Celtics lost to the Detroit Pistons 96-81 in a game where Kevin Garnett did not play due to undisclosed personal reasons and Rajon Rondo was ejected. The Mavericks are looking to recover as they were the latest to be hit by Linsanity as the Harvard grad went for 28-14 against them. This is the 3rd game for the Celtics on a 5 game road trip. The Celtics will be without Rondo (suspended), Bass (Knee) , and may also be missing Kevin Garnett for a second straight game. The Celtics are 4-7 on the road this season while the Mavs are 12-5 at home.

Image

Rondo Suspension

David Stern isn’t winning many fans over this season, and his suspension of Rondo 2:30 hours before game time surely will not win him over any more in Boston. The Celtics point guard has been suspended for the next two games after he was given a technical and then tossed a ball at a referee and finally ejected. While tossing a ball at a referee is of course not acceptable, the referees officiating the game were horrible and Stern should account for that. The suspension was to be expected though and the Celtics will likely go with Avery Bradley in Rondo’s place for the next two games. They are 13-4 when he plays over 10 minutes.

Keys to the Game

Turnovers

The Celtics turned the ball over 24 times against the Pistons, shooting any chance they had of getting a victory in the first half. They have to take better care of the ball against a great Dallas defense

Rebounding

The Celtics have been getting killed by teams with offensive rebounds and second chance points. They gave up 16 offensive rebounds to the Pistons the night before, when the Pistons were using two or three point guards on the floor at the same time. The Celtics need to start boxing out and preventing the opportunity for second chance buckets.

Pushing the Pace

Even with Rondo out for the game, the Celtics need to push the ball. The Mavericks have one of the best half-court defenses in the NBA. According to Synergy Sports they are ranked fourth right behind the Celtics. The Celtics are averaging about 97 offensive possessions per game and I would like to see that number climb up past 105. The half-court offense has struggled and especially without Rondo, the Celtics should look to push the pace.

Ball Movement

Finally the Celtics have been getting way to stagnant with the ball. They have been taking tough shots at the end of the clock. Players are deferring to each other way too much and the chemistry especially with the second unit has been lacking. The Celtics need to start passing the ball and moving it around to have a good game.