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 split their weekend games with a win over Toronto 107-89 on Saturday afternoon, and a loss to the Pistons 103-83 on Sunday night.
On Saturday, Garnett dropped 15, Pierce 19, and Terry 20. Terry connected on 4 of 7 three-pointers. My favorite thing about the game on Saturday was Jared Sullinger recording his first double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Rondo added 20 assists as well.
On Sunday, things didn’t seem to go right for the C’s. Garnett was able to drop 15 again, but Pierce only put in 13, before leaving in the 4th quarter with what looks like an ankle injury. Jared Sullinger had another big night though with 16 points and 5 rebounds. Things did get scary late in the game, with Rondo’s consecutive 10+ assist streak on the line. The last two minutes revolved around plays being called for him to get an open shooter to give the ball to. He failed to do so until a broken play left Jared Sullinger at the top of the key who hit a deep shot to extend Rajon’s chance at the record. He is now 3 games behind John Stockton for 2nd highest.
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.
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.
Here are a few things out of the Celtic’s practices this week:
Assistant coach Mike Longabardi has been tasked with focusing solely on the defensive side of the ball. Former assistants that also did this were Tom Thibodeau and Lawrence Frank, both went on to be head coaches elsewhere.
KG said Sullinger is a lot like Perkins was while he was here. He said he’s not the same kind of defender but is completely unselfish, moves the ball, and has a very high basketball IQ. Garnett went on to say that he loves having the rookie as a teammate already.
Their entire practice Tuesday was about defensive strategies. Doc said they went over cutting out the shooters, eliminating baseline drives, and communicating like his old teams were known for.
They are playing the Wizards again tonight at the Garden. I will be rocking the balcony seats so be sure to tune in since the election is over and there’s no other sports to watch.. Go Celts!
It was a great night for the C’s as their starters played a good amount of time and beat the revamped Brooklyn Nets with ease, 115-85. Even Nets Coach Avery Johnson said it looked like our starts went out there to send a message. That message was received. First off, we out-rebounded a team, which rarely happens. It also helped that we shout 11-19 from 3-point range.
Paul Pierce led the way with 18 points on 4-4 from behind the arc. He left briefly in the 2nd quarter after coming down awkwardly on his ankle on a made 3-pointer. He seems to be alright now, thankfully. Newcomer Courtney Lee also chipped in 18 points. Lee only missed 4 shots the whole night, 3 of which were 3-pointers. He also had a game-high 4 steals, which is a big step up from what Ray Allen could do on the defensive end for us last year.
Jason Terry added 15 points on a perfect 5-5 from 3-point land, Rondo put in 14 points of his own while narrowly missing out on a double-double with 9 assists, and Garnett couldn’t miss with 14 points of his own. Even rookies Kris Joseph (11 points, 5 rebounds) and Jared Sullinger (12 points, 6 rebounds) played great for the Celts. Sullinger recorded a team-high +23 while on the floor in 28 minutes of play.
It is great to see a team that is so deep this season. However, Bass went out in the first half with a bruised right knee and did not return. Remember, he was out last season for a bit with right knee inflammation, so we are waiting to hear more on that.
Which newbie do you think has been the brightest beam of light this pre-season?
The Celtics are finally back in the country, after winning one and losing one overseas. To their defense, the starters played about 10 minutes or less in their loss. Rookie Forward Jared Sullinger played huge for the Celtics and is now possibly looking at a starter’s role in some cases. Doc Rivers stated to ESPN that he thinks he will have many starting line ups. The typical one will be Rondo, Lee (Bradley when he returns), Pierce, Bass, and Garnett. Another possibility could be Rondo, Terry, Pierce, Sullinger, and Garnett. He may even start Darko Milicic sometimes since he is surprisingly good at shutting down opposing big men, and moving KG back to his normal Power Forward position.
Let’s get back to Sullinger. The rookie has received a lot of praise for his play overseas. Typically, Rivers won’t let rookies see too much floor time. However, he says that Sullinger’s IQ makes him act like a veteran, not a rookie. He doesn’t get scared or rush things, he lets plays develop and puts himself in the best position to make a play for the team. His biggest role is going to be banging down low with the big guys, grabbing offensive rebounds (Celtics had the worst offensive rebounding percentage of ALL TIME last season), and putting the 2nd chance points in the hoop. He is a decent defender but can score better than most. He is 6’9 and has long arms and a great mid-short range jumper. Rondo even dubbed him as “probably the smartest rookie we’ve had since I’ve been here”. Look for Jared Sullinger to have a big role on this older team this season.
What can you say about Rajon Rondo? He is the best player on our team. He is our young star. He is the leader of a team that has an average age older than he is. He is arguably the best pure point guard in the league (He and Chris Paul). Sure, Rose, Westbrook, and Williams are all great players, but no one sets up their team as well as Rondo in my opinion. And he is fun to watch!
ESPN recently ranked Rondo as the 12th best player in the league. He is the top ranked Celtic.
Last season, Rondo proved he could be consistent by averaging 11.9 PPG and 11.7 RPG in only his 6th year in the league. Without him consistently getting better, the Celtics wouldn’t be the team that they are today. He can score off the dribble, make unbelievable passes that make you rewind the DVR, and is a triple-double threat day in and day out.
When he keeps his head clear, he can control the tempo of the game more than anyone I have ever seen on the roster. If the team needs to run, he pushes them, if they need to slow it down, he will walk up the floor, looking for any way to expose the defense. There is no doubt in my mind that he will be an all-star, and my guess is a starter this season, and potentially in the top 5 for MVP voting at the end of the season if the Celtics are where I think they will be (knock on wood).
Rondo made everyone on the team fly out to Cali last week in order to get to work right away. He is becoming a true leader. This guy is our future, and you can expect him to do big things again this season. Below are his stats since we drafted him in 2006:
Our captain has been around for 14 years, and stuck with the team even when we sucked. Nicknamed The Truth, Pierce is still one of the most clutch players in the league and one of the best players in Celtics history, and that’s saying a lot. Bleacher Report came out with the all-time best Celtics and made a starting line up. Pierce was chosen for this accolade along with Bill Russell (11 titles), Bob Cousy (6 titles), John Havlicek (8 titles), and Larry Bird (3 titles). Other than the fact that he only has 1 title, Pierce deserves to be up here, and is behind only Havlicek on the scoring list all time. He is still about 4,000 points behind him, though.
Pierce was recently ranked as the 29th best player in the NBA. Pierce’s assists and points numbers have gone up last season compared to what they were in the past few seasons.
He is still one of the best players on this team and some say this may be his last season in green, but I’m willing to bet that we re-sign him, and he deserves it after all that he has done for the organization. He deserves, more than anyone, to retire as a Celtic, and Danny Ainge will most certainly feel the same way. His number 34 will be retired in no time. His stats are below, but i only put the last few seasons, since the former big 3 was formed and he was forced to take on a smaller role.