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Final, Celtics 96-Trailblazers 78

Posted by Amalie Benjamin November 30, 2012 07:40 PM

Final, Celtics 96-78: There wasn't much doubt about this one. Even without Rajon Rondo, the Celtics had no trouble dispatching the Trailblazers at TD Garden tonight. Portland had little offense outside of LaMarcus Aldridge, who scored 23 points, while the Celtics got 19 points out of Jeff Green, back after injuring his right knee against Brooklyn on Wednesday.

It won't be quite so easy against Milwaukee tomorrow. But the Celtics were able to take advantage of a team that had scored just 33 point at the half, despite shooting 27 free throws.

Fourth quarter, 3:33, Celtics 88-71: We've got a Kris Joseph sighting. He's up from the D-League, and just entered the game.

Fourth quarter, 8:38, Celtics 83-64: The Trailblazers had crept a bit closer when the Celtics knocked down two straight three pointers to up the lead. The second was by Jeff Green, who now has 19 points in the game.

End of third quarter, Celtics 75-59: Jason Terry has 17 points. Jeff Green has 14. Paul Pierce has 12. With a tough road game against Milwaukee looming tomorrow night and a big lead over the Trailblazers, it looks like Doc is trying to get some rest for some of his starters.

Third quarter, 5:54, Celtics 69-45: More of the same. Aldridge up to 19 points for the Blazers, who continue to trail by more than three touchdowns. The Celtics have four players in double figures in scoring. The Blazers have Aldridge.

Halftime, Celtics 56-33: The good news for the Trailblazers is that they topped 30 points in the half, unlike that last trip to Boston. The bad news is that they're still down 23 points. (For the record, they shot 27 free throws and STILL only scored 33 points. That seems ... difficult.) Portland also had two assists in the first half. Two.

The Celtics, meanwhile, got 14 points from Jeff Green, 12 from Jason Terry, and 10 from Paul Pierce. Pierce added five rebounds.

Second quarter, 2:51, Celtics 46-27: By the way, when Portland played here in March, they scored just 30 points in the first half. It was 65-30 Celtics at the break. We're not that far off tonight. And Blazers not named LaMarcus Aldridge are 2-for-16 with 13 points. Aldridge has 14 of the team's 27.

Second quarter, 3:32, Celtics 43-25: My analysis: This Trailblazers team is not very good. I know I'm really going out on a limb with that one. In other news, Wilcox is back in the game.

Second quarter, 5:50, Celtics 39-22: The Celtics have a pretty balanced stat sheet tonight, with Jason Terry leading scorers with nine points, Green with seven, Pierce with five. Portland? Not so much. Aldridge has 12 of the Trailblazers' 22 points.

Second quarter, 8:59, Celtics 34-18: Quick seven points for Green, who becomes the leading scorer for the Celtics in this one.

Second quarter, 10:22, Celtics 30-18: Didn't look like there was much wrong with Jeff Green on that dunk. Green makes the foul shot as well.

End of first quarter, Celtics 25-18: The Celtics are 12-for-21 from the floor in the first quarter, with seven assists and 11 rebounds. The Trailblazers are 5-for-16, with one assist and seven rebounds. Jason Terry leads the team in scoring with six points so far.

First quarter, :52, Celtics 25-18: Doc said he didn't want to use Chris Wilcox in tonight's game if he didn't have to. Apparently he has to. Wilcox into the game with less than a minute to go in the quarter.

First quarter, 4:34, Celtics 17-7: As Gary Washburn pointed out on Twitter, pretty good ball movement so far for the Celtics. They have six assists on their eight baskets in this game. Meanwhile, the Trailblazers are 3-for-7 from the line. Not so good.

First quarter, 8:07, Celtics 9-4: Jeff Green, who Doc Rivers called 100 percent before the game, is riding the stationary bike over by us media types

First quarter, 10:00, Celtics 7-1: No Rajon Rondo tonight, obviously, so we'll see how the Celtics do with their point guard rotation. Courtney Lee gets the start against the Trailblazers. Jason Terry has gotten some work bringing up the ball so far. Brandon Bass has four points early in the game.

Green will play; Wilcox limited

Posted by Amalie Benjamin November 30, 2012 06:50 PM

Doc Rivers said that Jeff Green is being considered ready to go after injuring his right knee in Wednesday's game. He returned to the game against the Nets, but was then held out of Thursday's practice. He did participate in this morning's shootaround. Green said he ran into a screen and the knee buckled. It got sore immediately, but has improved since.

"He looked good," Rivers said. "Honestly he moved around really well in shootaround this morning, so we're viewing him as 100 percent."

Chris Wilcox, meanwhile, could play tonight after recovering from an illness, but Rivers would prefer it if he didn't have to play much or at all. Wilcox, with an open Fours menu in his lap before the game, said, "I just wasn't feeling too good. I was a little sick, but I'll be all right. Just trying to be cautious." Wilcox was not at shootaround.

With Rajon Rondo serving the first game of his two-game suspension for his actions in the fight against the Nets, Courtney Lee will start against the Trailblazers. Rivers said that the team will use a point guard-by-committee system.

"Everyone's going to be the point guard," Rivers said. "I told our guys, the entire team has to be ready for ball handling duties. It left us in a pretty tough spot. But we should be able to play through this and win games still."

Asked if the team has the possibility of rallying around the loss of Rondo, Rivers said he hoped that would be the case.

"They have to prove they can play," Rivers said. "We can function. We did in Brooklyn when Rondo didn't play, and we played pretty well, had a chance to win that game against a tough team and atmosphere. So we've done it.

"But you have to be prepared for injuries or suspensions or whatever. In the 82-game schedule, you're not going to be perfect every night with the exact lineup that you want, the exact guys. This is one of those situations."

Rajon Rondo suspended for two games

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff November 29, 2012 04:41 PM
WALTHAM -- Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo has been suspended for two games following his actions in the 2d quarter of Wednesday night's game vs. the Nets. Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge announced the length of the suspension on WEEI Thursday afternoon. In addition, Brooklyn's Gerald Wallace was fined $35,000 and Boston’s Kevin Garnett was fined $25,000 for "escalating the altercation," the league announced.

Rondo was contrite but not overly apologetic Thursday afternoon as he answered questions for the first time since the incident. It was pushing and shoving by Rondo and Nets forward Kris Humphries that set off a fight between players from both teams with 29.5 seconds remaining in the first half of Wednesday's game. Rondo said he ran over to Humphries to express his displeasure for what he thought was a hard foul on teammate Garnett.

"I thought the play on Kevin was a malicious play," said Rondo. "I got hurt last summer on a similar play like that, a guy going up in the air defenseless, on his way down.

"I don't think I did anything dirty. I didn't try to start a riot. I don't think it's more than just a pushing war that started."

While Rondo did not apologize for his actions, he did express some regret that he won't be available for his team's next game.

"I know I have to be out there for my teammates, that's the only thing about it," said Rondo. "But I was sticking up for my teammates. I'm not trying to start a fight. I'm not trying to be a bully."

This is Rondo's third suspension in 10 months. Most recently, he was suspended for Game 2 of a 2012 playoff series against the Hawks for bumping official Marc Davis. He was suspended two games for throwing a ball at another official on Feb. 19. On Thursday, he tried to differentiate between the incidents.

"Yesterday's actions were completely different from everything, I believe," he said.

Knowing he needed to speak to reporters or face a fine, Rondo sat around patiently while a scrum of reporters interviewed Celtics coach Doc Rivers. Leandro Barbosa, Courtney Lee, and Jason Terry will share the ballhandling duties in Rondo's absence.

Garnett on Kris Humphries: 'Dude's always been out of control'

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff November 29, 2012 01:32 PM

WALTHAM -- Kevin Garnett had some harsh words for Nets forward Kris Humphries following Wednesday night's fight at TD Garden. Garnett was the recipient of a hard foul by Humphries which set off a scuffle between players from both teams under the Celtics basket. Garnett addressed the situation on WEEI's Mut & Merloni show Thursday.

"When you watch film on the dude, he's always extra," Garnett said of Humphries. "We watched him on film the last time we played him in Brooklyn and he kind of gave Paul a similar type of foul, two hands, had something on it. Dude's always been known to be out of control. He's always tried to play the tough guy or whatever role you want to do it. It was a little extra, but it comes with the territory and it comes with the game. ... I guess they're trying to hold up to the whole Brooklyn mentality."

Garnett defended teammate Rajon Rondo, who could be facing a suspension after coming to Garnett's defense.

"Rajon doesn't like anybody messing with teammates or messing with brothers or family.," said Garnett. "It's been how it is since I've been here. We have each other's backs out there."

The Celtics are currently practicing at the team facility in Waltham. Garnett said the team has discussed the incident.

"Everybody's talked," said Garnett. "We all talked. When we came out of it it was like, 'Is everybody OK? Is everybody OK?' Just making sure that we as a group were OK."

More concerning to Garnett is the way the Celtics have played. The veteran big man says his team has to stop worrying about fouls and play with more physicality, especially on the glass. Brooklyn's 16 offensive rebounds were one reason Celtics coach Doc Rivers called his team "soft" after the game.

"There's only one way to respond," said Garnett. "I would never think that I would be on a team that would be called soft. I'm not a hardcore guy. I'm not a gangster or thuggish or anything like that. But I am what you call firm. I do play with a physicality.

"I don't really want to say that we're soft, because there's men in here. Where I'm from you don't call another man soft. ...Coach's assessment, it is what it is. Whether you take it as criticism or he's trying to make us better, it's your call."

In a bit of a lighter moment, Garnett was asked what he was going to get former teammate Ray Allen for Christmas.

"Absolutely nothing," said Garnett, after a long pause. "We have Secret Santas around here, and I want to focus on my Secret Santa."

Kris Humphries shows off battle scars

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff November 29, 2012 08:15 AM
Nets forward Kris Humphries showed the world what he claims was the end result of his involvement in a fracas Wednesday night at TD Garden.

Humphries was involved in a fight with Celtics guard Rajon Rondo and others that spilled into the stands near the end of the first half of their game.

humphries.jpg

Statement from officials regarding Rondo's ejection

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff November 28, 2012 10:54 PM

Referee James Capers, who was the crew chief for Wednesday night's game, issued the following statement on Rajon Rondo's ejection.

"Rondo initiated everything that proceeded after the foul. And when he and Humphries go into the stands, they are involved in a fight. Fighting is an automatic ejection."

Celtics fall to Nets after Rondo's ejection

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff November 28, 2012 10:05 PM

netsfight4.jpgGlobe Staff Photo/Jim Davis

The Celtics lost the game and may have lost Rajon Rondo for a few more after a fight broke out during the second quarter of Brooklyn's 95-83 win Wednesday night at TD Garden.

The Nets used a 38-12 run over a 13-minute span in the first and second quarters to take a 47-26 lead with 3:49 remaining in the second. With 25.9 seconds to go in the half Kevin Garnett was fouled by Brooklyn's Kris Humphries. Rondo came to Garnett's defense, shoving Humphries and setting off a fight that spilled over into the first few rows of the stands. Rondo and Humphries were ejected; Brooklyn's Gerald Wallace, who already had one technical foul, received a second and was tossed. Garnett received a technical. In addition to losing Rondo, the Celtics had nine turnovers in the second quarter.

The home team fared better in the second half but the hole was too much to overcome. The Nets shot just 40 percent from the field in the win. Brooklyn had 16 offensive rebounds after getting 18 the first time these teams played. Jerry Stackhouse had 17 points for the Nets. Garnett finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds for Boston.

Adding injuries to insult, Chris Wilcox left the game in the first half with an illness. Jeff Green left in the second with what the team called a sprained knee but returned to the game. Courtney Lee had his left wrist attended to after taking a hard hit from Reggie Evans but also returned. With the win the Nets improved to 10-4, while the Celtics dropped to 8-7.

7:53 4th quarter, Nets 76-65: The Nets are shooting 37 percent from the field and lead by 11. Unbelievable. Jeff Green has returned to the court but is not in the game.

9:20 4th quarter, Nets 73-63: Jeff Green has a sprained right knee and his return is "possible", according to a team spokesman.

End 3d quarter, Nets 70-55: Celtics stuck on 11 assists and 15 turnovers. Jerry Stackouse is the game's leading scorer with 14 points. The Celtics say Chris Wilcox is ill and is questionable to return to the game.

2:40 3d quarter, Nets 66-49: Paul Pierce is 1 of 6 at the free throw line. Very odd for him.

5:12 3d quarter, Nets 60-47: The Celtics are trying to claw back. It doesn't help that they haven't hit a 3-pointer today (0 for 4).

8:30 3d quarter, Nets 58-44: Trying to return to normalcy here. Courtney Lee playing the point for Rondo, who left the game with three assists. So the assist streak is over.

netsfight2.jpgHalftime, Nets 51-38: Tonight's game has taken on a new meaning after the ejections of Rajon Rondo, Kris Humphries, and Gerald Wallace. Rondo looks to be in line for league discipline.

26.2 seconds 2d quarter, Nets 51-35: Melee erupts here at the Garden under the basket near the Celtics bench. Not good. Players throwing punches. Someone is going to be leaving this game.

1:02 2d quarter, Nets 49-35: Technical foul on Gerald Wallace, who wasn't happy with a no-call on the offensive end that resulted in a steal by Rondo.

3:49 2d quarter, Nets 46-26: Chris Wilcox ran back to the locker room a few minutes ago and has not come back out. Jason Collins really struggling. Celtics are now 13 of 34 from the field.

7:15 2d quarter, Nets 41-26: This is getting bad for the Celtics, who have turned the ball over nine times. On consecutive possessions they couldn't get the ball over half court, prompting Rajon Rondo to walk to the scorer's table.

8:53 2d quarter, Nets 35-24: Andray Blatche has 10 rebounds for the Nets. The Celtics have 13 rebounds as a team.

10:00 2d quarter, Nets 31-20: Jason Collins is making just his second appearance of the season. His last appearance was also against the Nets.

End 1st quarter, Nets 28-20:Things got out of hand in a hurry for the home team at the end of the quarter as Brooklyn went on a 14-6 run. Jared Sullinger picked up two quick fouls, one in frustration, against the relentless Reggie Evans. The Celtics haven't attempted a free throw. The Nets are 4 of 6 on 3-pointers. The Celtics are plus-5 with Kevin Garnett on the floor and minus-13 without him.

2:44 1st quarter, Nets 17-16: Rondo's alley-oop to Chris Wilcox -- for his team-leading 14th dunk of the season -- got the crowd going. Joe Johnson found himself free for a pair of 3-pointers in transition that came much too easily.

6:51 1st quarter, Celtics 14-9: Doc Rivers gets a technical foul while sitting on the bench. He's understandably livid. Official Kevin Fehr gave him the tech, then walked to the other side of the court so Rivers couldn't talk to him.

The C's are humming on offense. They're 7 of 11 from the floor with five assists. Paul Pierce leads the team with two of them; Rondo has one.

9:11 1st quarter, Nets 7-6: The Celtics are struggling defensively. Kris Humphries got a wide open offensive rebound with three white shirts around him.

Pregame: We've got a good old-fashioned Atlantic Division battle tonight at the Garden as the Celtics take on the Nets.

"They're good, a good basketball team," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "Good balance, great size. ... they've had a great summer."

Rajon Rondo ejected after fight in second quarter

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff November 28, 2012 08:43 PM

netsfight1.jpgGlobe Staff Photo/Jim Davis

A fight erupted under the Celtics basket with 29.5 seconds remaining in the second quarter of Wednesday night's game against the Nets. Kevin Garnett took a hard foul from Brooklyn's Kris Humphries, which Garnett took exception to. Rajon Rondo came to Garnett's defense and began to shove Humphries, leading to pushing and shoving from both teams.

The scrum spread into the first few rows of the crowd. From the first row of the media section about 20 feet away, Rondo appeared to throw punches toward Lopez. It took about a minute for the players to clear as security staff from all parts of the Garden ran from the tunnel onto the floor.

After officials reviewed the play, the following fouls were assessed:

-- Humphries: One personal, two technicals, ejection
-- Gerald Wallace: One technical (his second of the game, leading to ejection)
-- Garnett: One technical
-- Rondo: Ejection

At the time of the ejection, Rondo had three assists, so his streak of double digits ends at 37 games. The Celtics trailed at the half, 51-38.


Rivers: Still no timetable for Bradley return

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff November 28, 2012 06:48 PM

Celtics coach Doc Rivers said before Wednesday night's game with the Brooklyn Nets that there is still no timetable for guard Avery Bradley's return to the court. Bradley had surgery to repair both shoulders in the offseason.

"I have no idea," Rivers said when asked when he thought Bradley might be back. "I don't check, don't ask. [Trainer] Eddie [Lacerte] will let us know."

Rivers said it's possible Bradley could see some time with the Developmental League's Maine Red Claws upon his return, but he wouldn't commit to a plan of action.

Game 15 preview: Nets at Celtics

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff November 28, 2012 03:01 PM

netsgame15.jpgWhen the Celtics and Nets played last Boston was without Rajon Rondo.

Rivalry renewed?

The first time these teams played, in Brooklyn Nov. 15, the Celtics were without Rajon Rondo and came away with a 102-97 loss. The Nets had 18 offensive rebounds. Asked Tuesday what the Celtics planned to do differently in their rematch with the Nets Wednesday night, forward Jared Sullinger said, "Box out."

The Celtics spent Tuesday's practice working on their pick-and-roll defense. Coach Doc Rivers said he was also concerned about the size advantages of Brooklyn guards Deron Williams and Joe Johnson.

"They can post up their 1, which they will a lot," said Rivers. "They'll post up their 2 and they'll post up their 3. It's rare that you have three in that position; all three guys are post guards. And they can shoot, too."

Rivers said the Celtics will have to double-team Williams down on the block, though he is concerned that helping too much will lead to easy offensive rebounds for Brooklyn.

The Nets are coming off an energizing 96-89 win Monday over the Knicks in the renewed Battle of New York. There's more energy in the Atlantic Division this season, and some of that will be on display tonight.

Here are the details for tonight's game:

Tip-off: 7:30 p.m.
Records: Celtics (8-6), Nets (9-4)
Broadcast info:CSNNE (Mike Gorman and Tommy Heinsohn), NBATV, WEEI/93.7 FM (Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell)

Probable starters:

Celtics: PG: Rajon Rondo SG: Jason Terry SF: Paul Pierce PF: Brandon Bass C: Kevin Garnett

Nets: PG: Deron Williams SG: Joe Johnson SF: Gerald Wallace PF: Kris Humphries C: Brook Lopez


Story lines:
Rondo's streak: Rajon Rondo has recorded 10 or more assists in 37 straight games. Magic Johnson holds the NBA record with 46. Heard some talk on the radio that Rondo's pursuit of the record might be taking away from the team, which seems a little contrived.

Defense: The Nets lead the league in defensive scoring at 91.3 points per game. The Celtics, meanwhile, rank 27th in defensive field goal percentage (46.3 percent). That's not good, and it's not Rivers's usual recipe for success. It's fine to say that Avery Bradley's return will help the defense, but the current players need to step up first.

Feeding Garnett: There was a lot of talk Tuesday about finding Kevin Garnett in the post early and often. Brooklyn's Brook Lopez presents a tough matchup for Garnett, which is one of the reasons the Nets are scary, It will be interesting to see just how much Garnett gets the ball tonight, because the Celtics are at their best when he is getting it.

@GlobeGaryDzen

Watch: Washburn on state of Celtics

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff November 27, 2012 08:25 PM




Globe NBA reporter Gary Washburn offers his take on where things stand with the Celtics, from how they've developed in the first month of the season to Wednesday's game vs. the Nets at TD Garden.

Defense the emphasis as Celtics prepare for Nets

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff November 27, 2012 04:43 PM

WALTHAM -- The Celtics spent nearly two hours Tuesday afternoon working on pick-and-roll coverages at their practice facility, according to coach Doc Rivers. Defense is Rivers's primary focus this early in the season, and he utilized an entire increasingly precious practice session to try and get his team's defense right.

"Teams take steps," said Rivers. "To win titles you take a lot of steps. The first step for us was buying in, and I think we've done that. But now we've got to get it right. Second thing is pick and roll. It never stops. I would love to find that team where there's perfection, and you show up and say, 'Guys, we have nothing to practice on.'"

Why pick and rolls? At least in the early part of this season, there's been an increased use of the play as quick guards take advantage of rules prohibiting defensive players from putting their hands on ball-handlers. Sunday night in Orlando, Jameer Nelson and Glen Davis ran an effective pick and roll against the Celtics that erased Boston's second-half lead and led to an overtime game.

"You can't touch anybody," said Rivers. "You can't touch above the free throw line. It's brought the small guard back in the league, it's brought the quick guard back in the league. I watched a game the other night and they never ran another play besides the pick and roll, and they won. It was unbelievable. The other team couldn't stop it.

"Hell, I don't know if I could play in the league with those rules. Or I could have been great."

-- Kris Joseph joined the Celtics at practice Tuesday. In two games with the NBA Development League's Maine Red Claws Joseph is averaging 25.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists. Rivers said the plan is for Joseph and Melo to float between Boston and Portland as often as time allows to experience practicing with both teams. Melo was in Waltham Tuesday but did not practice because the Celtics had "too many bigs", according to Rivers, who likes the arrangement.

"It's been a pretty good thing so far," he said.

Joseph said he is enjoying his experience with the Red Claws, who host their home opener Friday.

"Those guys down there are really good," said Joseph. "Even if you think about the guys on my team, I have Shelvin Mack who played with the Wizards, and Chris Wright who got called to Golden State. There's a lot of talent in that league. A lot of people, myself included, I didn't know how good of a league it was before actually being a part of it. It's been great. Being here and playing against these guys everyday definitely gave me a slight advantage, because I'm playing against some of the best in the world."

Joseph said that at the end of the day he wishes he could remain in Boston, but he admitted the front office made a good decision sending him down to get more playing time. He said he won't miss any Red Claws practices for Celtics practices.

-- Feeding Kevin Garnett on the post has been an emphasis for the team in recent days.

"Especially if we think he has an advantage," said Rivers. "I don't think our eyes are trained yet to look down there. I think we have to train players' eyes to look in the post off of pick and rolls and off of other actions. I think we're starting to do that. I think we don't do it enough. We're a ways away."

Said guard Courtney Lee, "If you get a post presence like KG on your team you've got to get the ball in the post. It makes everybody's job a lot easier when we get Kevin started early. When he starts dominating down in the paint, it makes the other team have to send another body down and it frees up the shooters."

-- Jared Sullinger and Rajon Rondo spent time running pick-and-roll offense after practice. It's a routine Sullinger said they've been doing for months.

"Rondo wants certain things," said Sullinger. "You've got to know his tendencies as a basketball player. Sometimes they're unexpected tendencies, but you've just got to know to expect the unexpected with Rondo. You've just got to keep playing and always have your hands ready."

Chat with Brian Scalabrine Monday at noon

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff November 26, 2012 10:30 AM

Former Celtic and current CSNNE broadcaster Brian Scalabrine stops by Monday at noon to take your questions about the C's, the NBA, and more. Stop by a little early to get your question in.

Final: Celtics 116, Magic 110 (OT)

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff November 25, 2012 06:08 PM

Final: Celtics 116-110: Celtics survive a serious scare, using some steady play from Kevin Garnett and 16 assists from Rajon Rondo for their second consecutive win. Garnett finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds. J.J. Redick had 21 points for Orlando and Jameer Nelson 20.

Overtime, 18.7, Celtics 114-110: After having a 5-point lead, the Celtics allow the Magic to get to within one possession. Jameer Nelson misses an open 3-pointer. Kevin Garnett, who was fouled, sinks one free throw. Orlando ball.

Overtime, 1:34, Celtics 113-108: The Celtics defense has begun to respond, making every shot tough for the Magic. Glen Davis missed a shot, leading to a Celtics fastbreak and Rajon Rondo made an uncontested layup. He has 15 points and 16 assists. Orlando ball.

End of regulation, Tied at 102: The Celtics had their chances with Kevin Garnett and finally Paul Pierce missing shots in the final moments. Pierce's jumper rimmed out as time expired. Rajon Rondo has 16 assists. Orlando makes 17 of 24 shots in one second-half stretch.

Fourth quarter, 30.4, Tied at 102: Kevin Garnett drains a jumper and both teams get stops. Celtics ball with 22 seconds left on shot clock.

Fourth quarter, 1:34, Magic 102-100: After Kevin Garnett slams home an alley-oop for a 3-point lead, J.J. Redick comes back with a 3-pointer off a screen and after a Boston turnover, Glen Davis scores a layup as the Magic continue their stunning run.

Fourth quarter, 2:51, Celtics 98-97: Would they be the Celtics if they didn't make one final run after playing so poorly in the second half? With Rajon Rondo back in the game, the ball is moving and Kevin Garnett is making plays. Celtics ball.

Fourth quarter, 7:05, Magic 95-91: Orlando has hit 17 of its last 24 shots and Jameer Nelson has been unstoppable. Even Josh McRoberts hit a 3-pointer. It's been one of those second halves for Orlando. Rajon Rondo remains on the bench.

End of third quarter, Magic 82-80: In a stirring turn of events, Orlando ends the quarter on an 8-0 run with Jameer Nelson scoring all 8 and the Magic shoot 76.4 percent in the period (13 for 17) and take the lead. Nelson has 15 points and J.J. Redick has 16 for Orlando.

Third quarter, 2:24, Celtics 78-72 The Celtics are playing subpar in the quarter, allowing the Magic to chip away at the lead and stay close. Rajon Rondo extended his consecutive assist streak to 37 games. He has 11 points and 11 assists. The Magic are 10-for-13 shooting in the quarter and J.J. Redick has 8 points in the quarter.

Third quarter, 10:57 Celtics 58-51 Doc Rivers had seen enough after 63 seconds, calling a full time out to gather his team for a little pep talk after a couple of turnovers to begin the half.

Halftime, Celtics 58-48: The Celtics played an impressive offensive half, shooting 48 percent and getting 36 total points from their starters, Rajon Rondo has 10 points, 9 assists and 5 rebounds while Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett each have 9 points. J,J, Redick, Arron Afflalo and E'Twaun Moore each have 8 points for Orlando.

Second quarter, 3:18, Celtics 50-40: The Celtics are shooting 55.6 percent in the second quarter and have scoring contributions from eight players as they attempt to produce their second consecutive strong game. Rajon Rondo has 8 points and eight assists while Leandro Barbosa scored 11 points in four minutes.

Second quarter, 8:18, Celtics 38-31: Leandro Barbosa just finished an impressive run of 11 points in four minutes but he also picked up three fouls in that span. The Magic are hanging around by being pesky around the boards and using individual scoring against the Celtics team defense. Orlando is not running many plays.

End of first quarter, Celtics 28-22: Leandro Barbosa scores 5 straight points and Courtney Lee drains a jumper at the buzzer as the Celtics try to create some distance. Lee looked confident against his former team, scoring 5 points in the quarter. Rajon Rondo has six assist. Arron Afflalo and E'Twaun Moore each have 6 points.

First quarter, 1:33, Celtics 21-18: The Celtics are getting good shots but are 9-for-22 shooting with three turnovers. Rajon Rondo already has six assists and former Celtics E'Twaun Moore has already canned two 3-pointers.

First quarter, 6:00, Celtics 14-10: The Celtics are off to a fast start, pushing the pace against the scoring-challenged Magic. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett each have 5 points while Rondo has five assists. Garnett also has four rebounds against Orlando younger Nicola Vucevic.

Welcome to Amway Center

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff November 25, 2012 05:30 PM

ORLANDO -- Hello from sunny Florida, where the Celtics will try to build off the momentum of their 108-100 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder and get a second straight win over the re-tooled Magic. The Magic feature two former Celtics in Glen Davis and E'Twaun Moore.

STARTING LINEUPS
BOSTON CELTICS (7-6)

PG Rajon Rondo
SG Jason Terry
SF Paul Pierce
PF Brandon Bass
C Kevin Garnett

ORLANDO MAGIC (5-7)
PG Jameer Nelson
SG Arron Afflalo
SF Maurice Harkless
PF Glen Davis
C Nicola Vucevic

Officials: Dick Bavetta, Josh Tiven, Michael Smith

Game time: 6 p.m.

TV/Radio: Comcast Sportsnet / WEEI

Pregame notes:

• Former Celtic E'Twaun Moore is averaging 11.1 points and shooting 43.9 percent from the 3-point line in 12 games for the Magic, six starts.

• The Magic are 28th in the NBA in scoring at 93.5 points per game..

• A few statistical notes: The Celtics are 1-5 when they trail after three quarters and 0-5 when opponents score 100 points. ... Rondo has 10+ assists in 36 consecutive games and could tie John Stockton for second all-time tonight. The NBA record of 46 is held by Magic Johnson.

• Maurice Harkless is the second-young Magic player ever to start for Orlando at 19 years and six months. Dwight Howard, at 18 years, was the youngest.

Celtics impressive against Thunder

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff November 23, 2012 11:44 PM

Impressive win for the Celtics Friday night. They took a lead on the Thunder in the second quarter and held on to it, claiming a 108-100 victory against one of the best teams in the league.

"I told the guys after the game, that was the team we were looking for. We made mistakes, we kept playing. No hanging heads," Doc Rivers said.

The Celtics withstood a combined 55 points from Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook with balance. Paul Pierce had 27, Kevin Garnett 18, Jeff Green 17 and Jason Terry 16 Rajon Rondo had 16 assists.

Garnett played 32 minutes and was fresh at the end of the game when the Celtics secured the win.

"He's like a cell phone that you buy at 7/11. He was at 32 minutes. If you go to 33 then he's dead," Rivers said.

The Celtics are 7-6 and head out on the road next, playing in Orlando on Sunday.

Check out the Globe on Saturday for Gary Washburn's coverage of the game and a sidebar on Green, whose play off the bench was pivotal in the second half.

Final: Celtics 108, Thunder 100

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff November 23, 2012 07:36 PM

Game over: Celtics 108-100: Impressive win for the Celtics against a good Thunder team. Pierce led the way with 27 and Garnett 18. Rondo had 16 assists. Jason Terry with 16 big points.

Fourth quarter, 36.7, Celtics 106-98: Jason Terry may have just delivered the dagger in the form of a three-pointer from the left side. It came on an assist from Rondo, who has 16 of them. The Celtics have scored five straight.

Fourth quarter, 1:33, Celtics 101-98: The Thunder have scored seven straight and trail by three. Durant has 29 and Westbrook 26. Pierce has not had a good last few minutes. But he has 27. These last 93 seconds will be intense.

Fourth quarter, 2:52, Celtics 101-94: Big sequence there. Celtics up 10 with the ball and Pierce takes an ill-advised three early in the shot clock. It misses, OKC rebounds and Durant drained a triple. Time out.

Celtics have their starters on the court.

Fourth quarter, 4:20, Celtics 98-87: The Celtics have built the lead back up behind Pierce and KG. They have scored the last five.

Fourth quarter, 5:58, Celtics 93-85: The Thunder are trying to get back into it. They trimmed the lead to seven before Pierce was fouled shooting a three and made all three free throws. Ibaka then dunked in transition before Rondo threw the ball away.

With the lead down to eight, there's plenty of time left for OKC. The Celtics need to get back into a rhythm offensively.

Fourth quarter, 9:51, Celtics 84-70: The Celtics aren't letting up. Durant missed, KG rebounded and Pierce ended up with a three from the left side that he drained. The Thunder called time.

We're at a point where the Celtics have to put this one in the bag. Can't let a good win get away.

End of third quarter, Celtics 77-65: The Celtics outscored the Thunder 9-1 to end the quarter after OKC gave Durant, Westbrook and Ibaka a rest.

Jeff Green has 17 points to lead the Celtics in his first game against his old team since coming to Boston in a trade. Westbrook has 18 for the Thunder. Can the Celtics hold a 12-point lead in the next 12 minutes?

Third quarter, 6:44, Celtics 61-57: Spurred by several agile defensive plays by Perkins, the Thunder scored two quick hoops and Doc Rivers called time. Both were by Westbrook, who has 18 on the night. He's Spider-Man. Holy cow.

Third quarter, 9:26, Celtics 58-49: The Celtics scored 10 of the first 14 points of the period with Pierce getting seven of them. Rondo has 10 assists for the 36th consecutive game. It's the third longest streak in NBA history. Magic had a 46 and Stockton 37.

Halftime: Celtics 48-45: Exciting end of the quarter. Ibaka had a ridiculous put-back bunt off a miss by Westbrook with 7.1 seconds left. The Celtics came down and Rondo found Terry for a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Terry and Green lead the Celtics with eight each. Westbrook has 12 and Durant 11 for Oklahoma City. Rondo has nine assists.

Second quarter, 2:19, Tied 41-41: The Celtics are getting plenty off their bench. Jeff Green has 8, while Sullinger and Wilcox have 6 each. The defense is tightening up, too.

Second quarter, 7:36, Thunder 32-30: Down by seven, the Celtics got a 3-pointer from Pierce then a layup from Sullinger, who ran the court and grabbed a ball blocked by Thabeet. The Celtics are getting some solid minutes from their bench.

End of first quarter, Thunder 28-21: The Celtics cut the lead to 20-19 when Lee scored on the break on a feed from Rondo. The wondrous Westbrook then scored eight straight, hitting two threes and going coast-to-coast for a layup.

Green hit a tough fadeaway with 2.8 seconds left to bring the Celtics to within seven.

First quarter, 2:04, Thunder 20-17: Oklahoma City is shooting 60 percent from the floor. If the Celtics are going to start playing good defense, it hasn't happened yet, Durant has 9 points. The Rondo assist watch is at five.

First quarter, 5:55, Thunder 14-11: One quick impression is that neither of these teams seems interested in offensive rebounding. The creaky old Celtics can pass it off as getting back on defense. But Oklahoma City doesn't have that excuse. There are, so far, no offensive rebounds in the game.

Rondo has three assists already. Durant leads all scorers with five.

Start of game: The Garden is rocking for what could be one of the more entertaining games of the season. Terry, Garnett, Rondo, Bass and Pietce taking the floor against Westbrook, Sefolosha, Perkins, Durant and Ibaka.

Hang out for updates.

Welcome to the Garden for Thunder-Celtics

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff November 23, 2012 05:38 PM

Good evening from the Garden and tonight's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. After Wednesday's 112-100 loss against the Spurs, the Celtics face another premier team from the Western Conference.

STARTING LINEUPS
BOSTON CELTICS (6-6)

PG Rajon Rondo
SG Jason Terry
SF Paul Pierce
PF Brandon Bass
C Kevin Garnett

OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (9-3)
PG Russell Westbrook
SG Thabo Sefolosha
SF Kevin Durrant
PF Serge Ibaka
C Kendrick Perkins

Officials: Derrick Stafford, Eric Lewis, Derek Richardson

Game time: 7:30 p.m.

TV/Radio: Comcast Sportsnet / WEEI

Pregame notes:

• The Celtics have lost two straight while the Thunder has won three straight.

• Oklahoma City won both games last season, 97-88 at the Garden on Jan. 16 and 119-104 at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

• A few statistical notes: The Celtics are 1-5 when they trail after three quarters and 0-5 when opponents score 100 points. ... Rondo has 10+ assists in 35 consecutive games. The NBA record of 46 is held by Magic Johnson. John Stockton is second at 37.

Back with more later on.

UPDATE, 6:55 p.m.: Here's some of what Doc Rivers was talking about before the game:

On Kendrick Perkins dropping some weight the last few years: "He's eating less. Or better foods. But, listen, he's a pro. Perk understands as long as you're in this game, you've got to do different things to be a better player. He's had a couple of knee injuries, I'll take some weight off. It's not going to change who he is. He's a a tough guy, even skinny. He's still going to be who he is. The scowl is still going to be there."

On Serge Ibaka: "He's just a good basketball player. He's a perfect complementary player for them. I'm always hesitant calling him a complementary player because that's not good enough when you talk about Ibaka. He blocks shots; he rotates on defense; he makes the open shot, which stretches the defense. It's terrific."

On Russell Westbrook: "Westbrook's a great player, that's where I always leave it with him. [Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski] and I had a hilarious conversation about him. He said, 'How many 'How many 'oh-expletive' guys are there in the league? Westbrook is one of them. You see Westbrook and you're the guard on the other side, you're saying 'oh expletive' before the game starts. That's what Westbrook is. He's an athletic freak."

On the Celtics' play of late: Rivers said the Celtics spent more time watching film during their shoot-around today than shooting around. They're trying to get themselves fixed defensively.

Perkins still emotional about returning to Boston

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff November 23, 2012 12:15 PM


It's his second time back in Boston since the controversial trade that sent him to the Oklahoma City Thunder, yet the feelings of return are similar for Kendrick Perkins, who will start at center tonight as the Thunder faces the Celtics.

Perkins was the team's anchor for 6 1/2 seasons before the February 2011 trade and is still a wildly popular figure among fans. While other observers say the Celtics' defense, allowing a whopping 107 points per game in six losses, has not been the same since his departure.

"Going against guys that you played with for a long time, won rings, went through wars with, still brothers over there," he said. "But at the end of the day, we're still trying to win games."

Perkins will oppose close friend and mentor Kevin Garnett, who is now the Celtics' starting center. Garnett was the team's power forward the last time the team's met.

"I'mma check him," Perkins said. "He's a brother. I take a lot of advice, I learned (from him). But we're both trying to win. One thing I know about Doc (Rivers), KG, Paul (Pierce), they're not satisfied so they're probably not satisfied with the team's defensive effort."

Popovich cracks some jokes after a satisfying win

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff November 21, 2012 11:16 PM

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is a fun guy to talk to. His postgame press conference was in the hallway outside the locker room and Popovich was holding his sneakers and his suit jacket.

He didn't want to loiter, but he dropped a few good quotes on his way out.

On second-year guard Gary Neal scoring 12 points: "His job is to shoot the ball. Other than that he got no clue. He did what’s supposed to do."

On occasional bricklayer Tiago Splitter going 5 for 5 from the foul line: "That amazes the free world, when he makes those free throws."

Popovich, when he wasn't cracking jokes, was impressed with his team's 112-100 victory against the Celtics and the speed with which they played.

"I felt like we had a pretty good pace, we wanted to keep up a good pace," Popovich said. "You can’t get it unless you get a stop and get a board. That’s why I thought the boards were so important for us because they fueled some offense for us.”

San Antonio shot 58 percent from the floor and outrebounded the Celtics, 41-25. They had six players in double figures.

"You know, offensively you score 100 points, you’re pretty happy," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "But we just let a team shoot 58 percent against us. We let a team shoot 50 percent from the three against us. And it’s tough to win a game, you shouldn’t win a game, if that happens.”

The Celtics (6-6) host the Thunder on Friday. Their defense will have to get a lot better.

Have a good Thanksgiving, everybody. Be safe.

Final: Spurs 112, Celtics 100

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff November 21, 2012 07:44 PM

Game over: Spurs 112, Celtics 100: Too much Tony Parker (26 points), Tim Duncan (20 points, 15 boards) and Tiago Splitter. Yes, Tiago Splitter. He had 23.

Rondo had 22 points and 15 dimes. Pierce added 19 and Garnett 14.

Fourth quarter, 1:35 p.m., Spurs 108-98: There go the Celtics. Two empty trips then a phantom foul on Garnett gave Splitter (21 points) two free throws. The crowd is fleeing for the streets.

Fourth quarter, 3:15 p.m., Spurs 104-98: Here come the Celtics. Down by 12 (104-92) they have scored 6 straight to get back in the game and get the crowd going. Rondo has 5 of the points and has 22 on the game. Tony Parker (24 on 11-of-16 shooting) has been tremendous.

Fourth quarter: 8:03, Spurs 94-82: Celtics are trying to hang in there. The Spurs were up 16 but the Celtics have the last two hoops. They need to make something happen soon.

The Spurs have six players in double figures and are shooting 60 percent. It's a clinic.

Fourth quarter, 9:53, Spurs 89-76: The Spurs scored 7 of the first 9 points of the quarter and Rivers called time. Splitter is abusing Sullinger.

End of third quarter, Spurs 82-74: The Celtics cut the lead to 76-74 with 2:14 left when Jeff Green scored on Splitter. But the Celtics were blanked the rest of the quarter as an awkward lineup couldn't get in much of a flow.

Splitter was active, his best sequence coming when he blocked a shot by Sullinger then beat the rookie back down the court for a transition dunk.

Celtics played better defense in that quarter. It has to continue if they are going to get a victory.

Third quarter, 4:28, Spurs 71-69: The Spurs built their lead to 71-64 as their run reached 9-2. Than Rondo hit a jumper and Pierce a 3-pointer from the right side. Gregg Popovich called time.

Third quarter, 6:08, Spurs 66-62: The Celtics started the quarter with a 14-4 run and took a 62-60 lead. Rondo has five assists in the spurt and a bucket. He has 10 assists, giving him 35 games in a row with at least that many.

Garnett had three of those baskets.

The Spurs punched back with a 6-0 run and Doc Rivers called time. The Celtics are moving the ball well and obviously are trying to get KG involved.

Halftime: Spurs 56-48: San Antonio is shooting 56 percent from the field (22 of 39) and has made six 3-pointers. Tony Parker (14 points, 4 assists) is outplaying Rajon Rondo (4 points on 1-of-6 shooting). Kevin Garnett (4 points, 1 rebound) has been invisible.

Second quarter, 8:27, Spurs 38-36: The gentleman's agreement not to play defense continues. San Antonio's Tiago Splitter is fun to watch. He seems to have little regard for his body as he flings himself around the court.

End of first quarter, Spurs 30-27: High-scoring quarter, especially with so many older players on the floor. The Celtics shot 10 of 19 and the Spurs 13 of 22. Can't figure on 56 percent shooting continuing all night. If so, the Celtics are in trouble. They are 0-4 when the opponent scores 100+ points this season.

First quarter, 2:50, Celtics 23-18: The Spurs built a 17-14 lead behind bulky DeJuan Blair. The Celtics have outscored the Spurs, 9-1, since, fueled by Paul Pierce.

First quarter, 6:31, Celtics 14-13: Lively game so far with the Celtics forcing the issue offensively. Jason Terry has 8 points. The teams are 11 of 19 from the field. All five Spurs starters have scored.

Welcome to the Garden

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff November 21, 2012 06:52 PM

Good evening and Happy Thanksgiving from the Garden. PeteAbe here, pinch hitting on the Celtics Blog for two games.

It's one of the premier games of the season as the Celtics host the Spurs. It should be fun watching Rajon Rondo go up against Tony Parker and KG take on Tim Duncan.

STARTING LINEUPS
BOSTON CELTICS (6-5)

PG Rajon Rondo
SG Jason Terry
SF Paul Pierce
PF Brandon Bass
C Kevin Garnett

SAN ANTONIO SPURS (8-3)
PG Tony Parker
SG Gary Neal
SF Danny Green
PF Tim Duncan
C DeJuan Blair

OFFICIALS: Ron Garretson, Mark Lindsay, David Jones.

Pregame notes:

• The Celtics officially waived Darko Milicic. Gary Washburn said not to expect any sudden roster moves. The Celtics are going to be careful using final roster spot. Darko's locker was cleaned out and his name plate gone.

Milicic left the team to attend to his sick mother in Serbia. Doc Rivers said it was "unemotional" for the team because Milicic was not with the team very long.

"I’d liked to have had that opportunity, I thought we were building him," he said. "But you know how I feel about all the other stuff outside of basketball. I think that’s more important."

• Rivers on the Division III guard Jack Taylor scoring an NCAA record 138 points on Tuesday: "I don't think I could do that in a gym by myself."

• Doc said that Paul Pierce does have a sprained ankle. He laughed, saying at first he thought Pierce was faking it get of practice on Tuesday.

"When he actually did sprain his ankle, I honestly thought, 'This is the I-can’t-practice-tomorrow injury coming up.' And it actually happened to be an ankle. But he’s OK," Rivers said.

• Pierce is 25th in NBA history with 22,803 points. Duncan is 26th with 22,756.

We'll have updates during the game.

A viewer's guide to watching the Celtics

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff November 21, 2012 12:58 PM

docguide.jpg

We're a little more than three weeks into the season, and the Celtics haven't exactly looked like world-beaters. With a 6-5 record and without a particularly brutal schedule (at least in terms of strength of opponents), they haven't played to the level that got them to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals last season. But instead of worrying about the ins and outs of every too-close game with the Wizards and surprising loss to the Pistons, Celtics fans would lower their collective blood pressure by considering the big picture over the day-to-day.

It may be tough to brush off losses, but you can bet that Doc Rivers isn't sweating the small stuff. The Celtics were 15-17 at least year's makeshift All-Star break. Rivers couldn't have been happy with the record, but he must have been confident enough in the process, because panic never set in. At the end of the season, the Celtics were right where they hoped they'd be, and you could argue that they exceeded expectations by making it to a deciding game with the Heat.

With that in mind, the following serves as a kind of viewer's guide for watching the Celtics through the early part of the season. Focusing on the process over the results, these are plays that I watch for in a typical regular season game. They're plays I rewind my DVR for when I watch a game the next day. They're plays that help me decipher, in my own mind at least, how well the Celtics are playing regardless of the score. The following is a list of things to watch for, and things to ignore, as you watch the Celtics over the next month or so.

Give new rotations a chance: Ten Celtics are currently playing 13 or more minutes per game as Rivers experiments with different lineups. Some new lineups perform well. Others are spectacular flops. The point is not to get too concerned over whether a lineup of Leandro Barbosa, Jason Terry, Jeff Green, Paul Pierce, and Jared Sullinger gets outscored by eight points in five minutes. That's a lineup you'd never see in a playoff game, where Rivers is likely to limit the rotation to eight players, with a ninth getting time here and there. Every lineup isn't going to work, and that's OK.

Forget about minutes: Don't get bent out of shape over the day-to-day rationing of playing time. If Jeff Green plays 25 minutes one night and 15 the next, it doesn't mean he took a step backward. If Courtney Lee barely sniffs the floor in a game, it doesn't mean he's in the doghouse. Ignore the knee-jerk reactions that come with playing time for one game and instead focus on how a player performs in the time allotted. If Green plays all of his minutes with the first unit, that's significant. If he plays in crunch time, that's also big. Efficiency and shooting percentage are also things to consider.

Rebounding does matter: It's early, but the Celtics are currently 21st in the league in total rebounding and last in the league in offensive rebounding percentage. The Celtics are no longer built to be among the league's best rebounding teams, so you shouldn't be worried about rebounding differential, per se. What you should worry about is poor rebounding effort. Failures in boxing out. Poor defensive rotations that lead to wide-open put-backs for the other team. Rivers will tell you that rebounding differential isn't a focus, but the Celtics ranked second in the NBA in total rebounding during the championship season of 2007-08 and the next season in which they went 62-20. Rebounding does matter, and it's always something to keep an eye on.

Stop focusing on Avery Bradley's absence: Bradley is a big part of the plan for second half of the season, and there's a tendency to believe that the Celtics' perimeter defense will be vastly improved upon his return. That may be true, but it masks the deficiencies the Celtics have in playing pick-and-roll defense with their current roster. Instead of wishing for Bradley, Celtics fans' time would be better spent trying to figure out how Rajon Rondo, Courtney Lee, and Jason Terry can defend the league's best backcourts. Another key here is the Celtics big men; Kevin Garnett seems to be the only one who can adequately defend the play at this point. If Jared Sullinger improves in this area, he'll be an even bigger asset.

rondoguide.jpgPay close attention to Rondo's chemistry with the new players: Ask Ray Allen about this. If you've got good chemistry with Rondo, you're golden. That's what happened to Bradley last season to get him into the starting lineup. How Rondo uses various teammates is one of the most fascinating things to watch on this team. In focus this season are Lee, Terry, Green, Sullinger, and Chris Wilcox. Does Rondo look for [insert new teammate here] on the break? Does he trust [teammate] with the ball in crunch time? Look at Rondo's face after [teammate] makes a turnover. Lots of fascinating stuff here.

Ride out Sullinger's growing pains: Immediately after the NBA Draft in June, fans were debating whether Fab Melo or Sullinger was the better pick. Five months later and Sullinger is competing for a spot in the starting lineup while Melo is in the D-League. Our perceptions of Sullinger have changed drastically in a short time, and because of that it's unrealistic to expect Sullinger to adapt seamlessly to the NBA. Just because he plays great one night doesn't mean something's wrong if he has an off game the next night. Evaluate Sullinger compared to other rookies and you'll cause yourself a lot less grief.

Are the veterans being efficient?: With limited minutes, the total numbers won't be there for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce during the season. Instead of worrying about scoring averages, give Pierce and Garnett the good 'ole eye test. You've seen these guys play enough over the years. Do they look as good as in years past?

Rondo's control: One of my favorite parts of watching basketball is seeing all the little things Rondo does during a game that don't show up in the stat sheet. During a game last week Rondo had Pierce open on the wing during a 4-on-3 break. As Pierce called for the ball, Rondo drove the lane. "Oh no, he missed him" I thought. Wrong. Rondo kicked the ball out after drawing two defenders into the lane, giving Pierce an even more wide open 3-pointer than he had before. In other words, Rondo was in total control. The other plays I look for from Rondo are the ones where he creates an easy basket out of thin air, usually with a bounce pass. If Rondo is making these kinds of plays, he's doing just fine.

So this isn't a one-way conversation, what are some of the things you watch for during a typical regular-season game? What worries you? Which stuff do you brush off? Happy Thanksgiving, all.

Rivers: Darko 'most likely' won't be back

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff November 20, 2012 02:04 PM

WALTHAM -- The Celtics are expected to have an open roster spot as coach Doc Rivers said Tuesday after practice that Darko Milicic is not expected to return to the team after attending to his ill mother in Serbia.

Milicic, expected to serve as the primary backup to Kevin Garnett at center, has played just five minutes this season and left the team before Sunday's game against the Detroit Pistons to spend time with his mother. Rivers said he saw an immediate change in Milicic's disposition when he found out the news about his mother and doesn't expect the former lottery pick back.

"Most likely (he's gone), yeah," Rivers said. "Honestly the stuff with his family has been going on for a while. We've talked about it three or four times. It's probably 50-50, but once you get the one side working, it's always going to win out. It doesn't look like (he'll come back."

Rivers said the Celtics are in "no rush" to sign a player to fill Milicic's roster although players such as Kenyon Martin and Derek Fisher are available.

The Celtics are Milicic's sixth team and he has gained the reputation of having bouts with confidence.

"His mom gets sick; he's not playing, the whole sickness, it happens," Rivers said. "I didn't fight it much. I told him he's got to do what he thinks is right. I am going to support him one way or the other. But it's been going on for a little bit now. You could see a change when he found out she wasn't doing well, no doubt about that."

Pistons 103, Celtics 83

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff November 18, 2012 07:43 PM

Final: Pistons 103-83: An awful performance for the Celtics, who get pounded by the 1-9 Pistons, who have six players score in double figures. Rajon Rondo extends his assist streak to 34 games but needs until the final minute to do so.

Fourth quarter, 2:10. Pistons 96-79: It's going to be a long plane right back to Boston for the Celtics, who turned in their worst performance of the season. The offense was putrid and the defense allowed way too many easy baskets. A disappointing effort all around.

Fourth quarter, 6:07. Pistons 85-67: The Celtics are turning in their worst performance of the season and unless something dramatic happens, they will be handed their worst loss of the season. The Celtics have been pathetic offensively for the past two-plus quarters. Meanwhile, Rajon Rondo has six assists and needs four in the final 6:07 to extend his streak to 34 games.

End of third quarter, Pistons 71-57: A 15-4 Detroit run nearly put the game away but the Celtics score the final 4 points of the quarter and are banking on a Pistons collapse in the fourth quarter. After shooting 10 of 16 from the field in the first quarter, the Celtics are 12 of 38 in the past two quarters, scoring 32 total points. The Celtics are going to need an inspired run to take this one.

Third quarter, 3:44, Pistons 63-53: The Celtics are 11-for-33 shooting (33 percent) since the first quarter and their lack of hitting open shots is killing their chances of stealing a win. Jason Terry just missed two open 3-pointers while Brandon Bass is 3-for-9 shooting and is 10-for-30 in his past three games. The Pistons are shooting 50 percent and are led by Jason Maxiell's 13 points.

Third quarter, 9:05, Pistons 54-45: The Celtics score the first bucket of the quarter and then allow the next 6, including the final two on a Greg Monroe streaking layup after yet another turnover. Jason Maxiell has 11 points for the Pistons and his shooting is making a big difference because the Celtics are leaving him open.

Halftime, Pistons 48-43: The Celtics shoot 7 of 22 in the quarter and fall behind by as many as 8 against the energetic Pistons, who have gotten 7 points and six rebounds afrom Jason Maxiell and 8 points off the bench from Corey Maggette. Besides Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo, the Celtics are 10-for-29 shooting. Rondo has 10 points and five assists.

Second quarter, 1:04, Pistons 46-40: Celtics are struggling mightily offensively in the quarter, missing 14 of 20 shots, while the Pistons are just going to work on the Celtics defense. Detroit is shooting 50 percent.

Second quarter, 3:45, Pistons 38-36: It's no surprise that the Pistons are giving the Celtics problems. They are playing harder and with more energy than the Celtics. while Rodney Stuckey and Corey Maggette have combined for 14 points. The Celtics are 4 of 15 from the field in the quarter.

Second quarter, 8:00, Pistons 34-31: The Detroit reserves are making a difference. Rodney Stuckey and Corey Maggette have come off the bench to score while the Celtics keep making silly mistakes. Stuckey and Maggette have combined for 14 points. Kevin Garnett has 7 for the Celtics.

End of first quarter, Celtics 25-23: The Celtics shot 62.5 percent in the quarter but lead by just 2 because of six turnovers and eight Detroit free throws. The Pistons attempted 10 free throws in the first period and are pounding the ball in the paint. Rajon Rondo has 7 points, 4 assists but 3 turnovers.

First quarter, 2:55, Celtics 20-15: Rajon Rondo just canned his fourth 3-pointer of the season and the Celtics are hanging on despite a series of mistakes and turnovers.

First quarter, 6:10, Celtics 15-9: The Celtics are off to a positive start, spreading the ball around offensively and getting points from all five starters. Paul Pierce just drained a 3-pointer for his fifth point. The Celtics are 6-for-10 shooting.

Welcome to the Palace at Auburn Hills

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff November 18, 2012 06:55 PM

The Celtics play a very dangerous game tonight at Auburn Hills against a Pistons team that has been deplorable but playing better of late. The Celtics are on the final game of a four-game, five-night journey, so expect Doc Rivers to use the bench. With two days off until the San Antonio Spurs come to town Wednesday, expect veterans such as Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to play extensive minutes.

STARTING LINEUPS
BOSTON CELTICS (6-4)
PG Rajon Rondo
SG Jason Terry
SF Paul Pierce
PF Brandon Bass
C Kevin Garnett


STARTING LINEUPS
DETROIT PISTONS (1-9)

PG Brandon Knight
SG Kyle Singler
SF Tayshaun Prince
PF Jason Maxiell
C Greg Monroe

Pregame notes:


  • Former Piston Darko Milicic is not available because of a personal matter. It is uncertain when he will return to the team.

  • Rajon Rondo will play and considers himself healthy enough after missing Thursday's game against Brooklyn with a sprained right ankle. He returned to record 20 assists on Saturday.

  • The Celtics have lost their previous two meetings in Detroit.

  • OFFICIALS:Scott Foster, Mark Ayotte, Gary Zielinski<

Final: Celtics 107, Raptors 89

Posted by Staff November 17, 2012 12:11 PM

Jason Terry and the Celtics offense took flight in the second half, stringing together a 16-3 run to close out the third quarter and lead Boston to a 107-89 victory over the Toronto Raptors Saturday at TD Garden.

But it was the defensive effort in the final two quarters that impressed Celtics head coach Doc Rivers. While Boston struggled to distance itself from the Raptors in the first half, they forced Toronto to shoot a paltry 43.8 percent in the final two quarters, while outscoring them 60-47.

"[Toronto's] zone didn't hurt our offense, but it killed our defense," Rivers said. "Every time we missed a shot, the guy guarding you is not the guy you should be guarding, so we had cross-matchups and were running across the court trying to find our own guy. I thought that really bothered us.

"But then I thought we got a little more organized in the third quarter when we came out and we stuck with it. No matter what you do offensively, it was our defense that won the game."

There were plenty of sharp performances from the Celtics, like Rajon Rondo's 20 assists, which tied a season-high, or Jason Terry's 20 points, which led all scorers.

But rookie Jared Sullinger stole a share of the spotlight, finishing with 12 points and 11 rebounds, both career bests, to record his first career double-double.

In the Celtics last game against the Brooklyn Nets Wednesday, the 6-foot-9 forward played just 7:39.

"I just had to channel my energy to the next game," Sullinger said. "I wasn't upset I didn't play a lot [Wednesday], I was just upset we lost. So that's my main priority – to win."


Final, Celtics, 107-89:
Boston used an 11-6 run to close out the victory against the Raptors. Boston outscored Toronto 60-47 in the second half, and Jason Terry led all scorers with 20 points. Rajon Rondo and his 20 assists led the Celtics offense, while Pierce and Garnett added 19 and 15 points, respectively. Sullinger recorded his first NBA double-double, finishing with 12 points and 11 rebounds, both career highs. Andrea Bargnani and John Lucas led Toronto with 15 points each.


Fourth quarter, 2:52, Celtics, 103-83:
Celtics offense now running full stride in the final quarter. Three starters have reached double-digit scoring: Terry (game-high 20 points), Pierce (19) and Garnett (15). Sullinger with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Fourth quarter, 8:31, Celtics, 85-69:
Sullinger now has his first career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, both career bests. Rondo is doing a fine job creating open looks, and has 20 assists, which ties his season high.

End of the third quarter, Celtics, 79-64:
After a timeout at the two-minute mark, the Celtics went on an 8-2 run to close the quarter. Terry (18 points) shocked Boston's offense back to life with three 3-pointers in the quarter. Rondo is pacing the offense with 19 assists, Pierce still leads all scorers with 19 points, and Garnett has 15.

Third quarter, 1:55, Celtics, 71-62:
After two free throws from Andrea Bargnani cut the Celtics lead to 63-61, Boston went on an 8-1 run for a more comfortable 9-point lead. The run was sparked by a pair of 3-pointers from Jason Terry (15 points), and a layup from Sullinger.

Third quarter, 4:20, Celtics, 61-57:
Boston is called for the 3-second violation, and now the Raptors trying to cut the deficit to two points. Boston with 12 turnovers, Toronto with 8.

Third quarter, 8:49, Celtics, 51-47: After the Celtics jumped to a 51-42 lead, Toronto answered with a 3-pointer from Jose Calderon and a jumper from DeMar DeRozan to inch back within four.

End of the first half, Celtics, 47-42: After opening the second quarter with a 13-point lead, the Celtics left the door open for the Raptors, who pulled within four points. But a 3-pointer from Pierce stretched the Celtics lead to 47-40, and then DeMar DeRozan answered with a layup to pull his team within five at the break. Pierce leads all scorers with 13 points, while Toronto's John Lucas has 11. Jared Sullinger has looked strong under the glass, leading the Celtics with 6 rebounds. Rondo has a game-high 11 assists, and Jason Terry chipped in 9 points.

Second quarter, 1:32, Celtics 47-40: Rajon Rondo now with 11 assists. The point guard has reached double-digits assists in 33-straight games.

Second quarter, 3:26, Celtics, 40-36:
The Raptors are starting to heat up towards the end of half with an 8-2 run, forcing the Celtics to call another timeout. A pair of 3-pointers from Jose Calderon and John Lucas, and a basket from Ed Davis have cut the Celtics lead to four.

Second quarter, 5:55, Celtics, 38-28: Celtics take a timeout midway through the second quarter. On the heels of a 3-pointer from Jason Terry, Boston maintains its double-digit lead.

End of the first quarter, Celtics, 30-17: Boston closes the quarter with a 12-6 run, which began with a score from Rondo with 3:50 to play. Paul Pierce with 8 points, Rondo with 4 points and 7 assists.

First quarter, 4:22, Celtics, 18-11: Doc Rivers uses his first timeout of the game. Pierce with 8 points. Rajon Rondo already has 6 assists, and looks to be moving around just fine.

First quarter, 8:40, Celtics, 12-5: Kevin Garnett with the bucket for the Celtics. Paul Pierce leads all scorers with 6 points.

We're about five minutes from tipoff at the TD Garden.

Projected starting lineups:

Celtics:
Rajon Rondo
Jason Terry
Paul Pierce
Brandon Bass
Kevin Garnett

Toronto Raptors:
Jose Calderon
DeMar DeRozan
Dominic McGuire
Andrea Bargnani
Jonas Valanciunas

Doc Rivers: Rajon Rondo will play vs. Raptors Saturday

Posted by Staff November 17, 2012 11:49 AM

After missing Thursday night's game against the Brooklyn Nets, Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo will play Saturday against the Toronto Raptors, coach Doc Rivers said.

Rondo sprained his right ankle Wednesday against the Utah Jazz.

"He looks fine," Rivers said. "He's good."

When asked if Rondo would get taken out of the game, Rivers indicating limping would be a concern.

"The eyes always tell you," Rivers said. "It's not brain surgery in that regard, especially with a guard. You can limp around as a big and still be effective because you're big, but guards are pretty easy."

In eight games this season, Rondo is averaging 14.3 points per game, 12.6 assists and 4.9 rebounds.

Final: Nets 102, Celtics 97

Posted by Staff November 15, 2012 08:21 PM

Fourth quarter, :24, Nets, 97-95: Paul Pierce missed two free throws, then hit a 3-pointer, the Nets calling a timeout, and clinching the result with free throws by Deron Williams and Joe Johnson.

Fourth quarter, Nets, 95-92: Jeff Green's 3-pointer cut the Celtic deficit to 1 before Deron Williams hit two foul shots.

Fourth quarter, Nets, 89-87: The Celtics hit a 2:58-plus scoring drought as they failed to get into transiton and struggled in their half-court offense.

Fourth quarter, 5:04,Tied, 87-87: The Celtics went with Courtney Lee at point guard for a long stretch of the quarter.

Fourth quarter, 8:57, Celtics, 81-80: Reggie Evans' free throw following a steal pulled the Nets within 1 point 2:42 into the quarter.

End of third quarter, Celtics, 79-74: The Celtics gained control with a combination of defending (the Nets went 7:16 with only one field goal) and a dropoff from Net point guard Deron Williams.The Celtics fell behind by as many as 13 points. Then, they went on a 23-4 run over the next 7:29, Paul Pierce converting five successive field goal attempts..

Third quarter, 2:30, Celtics, 73-71: The Celtics' kicked into a defensive mode and they scored 12 consecutive points, all in transition, over a 1:54 span, Leandro Barbosa tying the score, 69-69, with 5:19 remaining. Paul Pierce committed his fourth personal foul with 5:13 left, then waved off coach Doc Rivers' intention to replace him with Jeff Green, drilling two jumpers in a 39-second span.

Third quarter, 6:41, Nets, 69-62: Leandro Barbosa converted a 3-pointer and Paul Pierce scored in transition with a banked-in 3-pointer and a layup as the Celtics went on an 8-2 run over a 1:47 span. But the Celtics continued to struggle with Deron Williams' playmaking.

Third quarter, 10:18, Nets, 62-52: Paul Pierce scored in transition for the Celtics and the Nets called a 20-second timeout as Deron Williams received treatment for what appeared to be a right ankle injury. Williams returned to action after the tiemout.

End of first half:,Nets, 59-50: The Celtics struggled to find an offensive rhythm in the half-court with Rajon Rondo (ankle) out of action. And they also failed to both get defensive stops and keep the Nets off the offensive boards. The Nets had 15 offensive rebounds in the opening half.

Second quarter, 2:53:, Nets, 47-44: The Nets' starters returned for a 7-0 run over a 1:10 span. Leandro Barbosa scored 8 points in the opening 8:10 of the quarter for the Celtics.

Second quarter, 6:15:, Tied, 38-38: After trailing by as many as 9 points in the opening quarter, the Celtics rallied against the Nets' second unit.

End of first quarter, Nets, 31-26: Deron Willams led the way with 5 points and 5 assists for the Nets. Jason Terry scored 7 points for the Celtics.

First quarter, 59.6:, Nets, 31-24: Jason Collins made his Celtic debut and converted his first field goal attempt.

First quarter, 5:52, Nets, 19-11: Deron Williams took control at the point for the Nets.


Rajon Rondo arrived early at the Barclays Center for treatment in an attempt to recover from a sprain right ankle Thursday night. And Rondo said before the Celtics’ game against the Brooklyn Nets he was “going to try to play.”

But, 40 minutes before the scheduled start of the contest, Rondo was ruled out of action, coach Doc Rivers said.

“I don’t actually know, I didn’t even ask,” Rivers said of the diagnosis of trainer Ed Lacerte. “I asked how he was doing. I pretty much assumed he wasn’t going to play because of the way he was walking this morning. We just did our little walk-through at the hotel with (Leandro Barbosa). And we’ll try to play that way.”

Final: Celtics 98, Jazz 93

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff November 14, 2012 07:40 PM

FInal: Celtics 98-93: Mo Williams jacks up another 3-pointer in the final seconds and Kevin Garnett sinks two clinching free throws for the team's third straight win. Paul Pierce led Boston with 23 points but Leandro Barbosa and Jeff Green were pivotal with 16 points each. Paul Millsap led the Jazz with 20 points. Al Jefferson picked up 13 points with 14 rebounds.

Fourth quarter, 12.7, Celtics 96-93: Mo Williams misses runner. Garnett rebounds and Pierce hits 2 FTs, Jazz ball

Fourth quarter, 32.3, Celtics 94-93: Kevin Garnett just missed a jumper that could have put the Celtics up 3. The Celtics went 2:32 without scoring and watched Al Jefferson score 5 straight points. Jazz ball.

Fourth quarter, 2:53, Celtics 93-90: The Jazz aren't going anywhere tonight. They are now pounding the ball into former Celtic Al Jefferson and he's producing. He just got fouled and will have two free throws when action resumes. Rajon Rondo still has not returned after twisting his ankle in the third quarter.

Fourth quarter, 5:20, Celtics 88-84: Things are getting testy at the Garden as Jeff Green just completed a thunderous dunk on Al Jefferson. But the Jazz are staying close as Randy Foye just hit Utah's seventh 3-pointer of the game. Rajon Rondo has not returned since rolling his right ankle but Leandro Barbosa has played solid point guard.

Fourth quarter, 7:36, Celtics 82-76: Celtics are hanging on and Kevin Garnett just had one of the prettiest passes you'll see, a behind-the-back job to Leandro Barbosa for a layup. Barbosa has been critical with 16 points in 15 minutes. Paul Pierce leads the Celtics with 21 points. Paul Millsap has 18 and eight rebounds for Utah.

End of third quarter, Celtics 73-70: The Celtics were leading by 8 but Gordon Hayward sparked a 10-4 run. Mo Williams has been key with 14 points and five assists. Rajon Rondo is back on the bench after spraining his right ankle.

Third quarter. 3:38, Celtics 66-60: The Celtics are on a 12-4 run, sparked by Leandro Barbosa, who has 11 points. Rajon Rondo is in the locker room after apparently spraining his right ankle on a drive to the basket. He has 10 assist, all since the second quarter.

Third quarter. 6:45, Jazz 56-54: The two teams are going back and fourth and after the Celtics score 5 straight, the Jazz come back with 5 in a row. The Celtics are being outrebounded 32-21 and Kevin Garnett has been a non factor with 4 points and 2 rebounds. Paul Pierce leads Boston with 13, same as Utah's Paul Millsap.

Halftime, Jazz 46-44: The Celtics were ahead 5 points with the ball and then went cold and the Jazz end the quarter on a 7-0 run, including an easy putback from Al Jefferson and streaking layup from Mo Williams. Williams has 9 points and Paul Millsay and Derrick Favors have 10. Favors has one field goal but has been to the free throw line 12 times. The Celtics have taken 13 as a team.

Second quarter, 2:58, Celtics 42-37: The Celtics have forced Utah in to 11 misses in 14 shots in the second quarter but the Jazz have attempted 10 free throws in the quarter. Rajon Rondo had no assists in the first quarter but he has four in the second.

Second quarter, 5:48, Celtics 34-31: The defensive pressure is increasing and the Jazz are relegated to forcing up shots. But the Celtics have to stop fouling. Derrick Favors is about to attempt his 12th free throw in 8 minutes because he's getting hacked. He is 0 of 2 from the field.

Second quarter, 8:51, Jazz 28-27: Leandro Barbosa sparked the Celtics' run to begin the quarter but scoring the first 5 points of the period. But he then missed two free throws that could put the club ahead. The defense is improving and the Celtics trail only 16-11 in rebounding.

End of first quarter, Jazz 25-20: As expected, the Celtics are struggling on the boards and Courtney Lee fouls Randy Foye driving with 0.3 seconds left and gives him two free throws. Paul Millsap and Mo Williams have combined for 15 points on 7-for-11 shooting.

First quarter, 4:10, Jazz 14-8: After allowing two transition baskets, Celtics coach Doc Rivers calls a quick timeout in anger. The Celtics are again struggling early at home.

First quarter, 5:55, Jazz 8-6: The Celtics started off with two quick baskets but are already getting beaten badly on the boards (9-3) and the Jazz have four players with 2 points each. The Celtics are 3-for-9 shooting with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett 1 of 6.

Celtics-Jazz lineups, pregame notes

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff November 14, 2012 06:54 PM

The Celtics return home for one game tonight against the Jazz before heading to Brooklyn for their first regular-season game against the Nets. The Celtics are going with the same starting lineup that won games in Milwaukee and Chicago.

As for the Jazz, they are coming off a triple-overtime victory at Toronto. Utah is fifth in the NBA in scoring and sixth in rebounding. Its big men are going to give the Celtics some issues under the boards.

STARTING LINEUPS
BOSTON CELTICS (4-3)
PG Rajon Rondo
SG Jason Terry
SF Paul Pierce
PF Brandon Bass
C Kevin Garnett


STARTING LINEUPS
UTAH JAZZ (4-4)

PG Mo Williams
SG Gordon Hayward
SF Marvin Williams
PF Paul Millsap
C Al Jefferson

Pregame notes:


  • The Celtics sent Kris Joseph and Fab Melo to NBADL Maine to get some experience. Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he was considering keeping Joseph for depth but both need minutes.

  • RIvers said shooting guard Courtney Lee is going to have to get comfortable with his role because not that many players are going to be called for him. He is averaging 4.9 points per game and is 2 for 13 on 3-pointers..

  • The Celtics have won four consecutive home games against the Jazz.

  • OFFICIALS: Mike Callahan, Brian Forte, Eric Dalen

Game 8 preview: Jazz at Celtics

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff November 14, 2012 04:33 PM

jazzpre.jpg

Old friend Al Jefferson returns to TD Garden Wednesday night as the Utah Jazz (4-4) take on the Celtics (4-3). Jefferson was a fan favorite in Boston, and there's no question Celtics fans would have loved to have him stay. But considering how well Kevin Garnett has played well into his mid-30s, there's not likely to be anyone who wishes for revisionist history on the blockbuster deal that sent Garnett to Boston for Jefferson and a package of players.

The Jazz are an interesting bunch. Jefferson, Paul Millsap, and Derrick Favors make for an exciting, dynamic frontcourt. Mo Williams seems rejuvenated (19.6 points, 7.4 assists per game), and Gordon Hayward is a big guard who can score. The Celtics don't have a great matchup for Hayward, but Utah also lacks a true superstar. Should be fun.

As always, though, early-season games are more about your team than the other team. The Celtics have won four of five games after starting the season 0-2. The four-man "rotation" of Brandon Bass, Jared Sullnger, Courtney Lee, and Jason Terry has gotten a lot of attention, but I'm also curious to see how Paul Pierce plays Wednesday night and in the coming weeks. After limping through the stretch run last season, Pierce can prove that injury, not age, was the cause by playing well this season. Balancing the want to prove himself and the need to pace himself will be key.

Rajon Rondo leads the league with 12.9 assists per game. He led the NBA last season with 11.7 assists per game. He just keeps getting better.

Gary Washburn has you covered Wednresday night at the Garden. Enjoy the game.

Celtics assign Fab Melo, Kris Joseph to Maine Red Claws

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff November 14, 2012 12:11 PM

The Celtics have assigned rookies Fab Melo and Kris Joseph to the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Development League, the team announced today. The move is not unexpected, and it allows the young players a chance to see some playing time. Melo has not seem game action this season, while Joseph played three minutes in a game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Nov. 2.

Melo, a 7-foot center, was drafted with the 22d overall pick in this year's NBA Draft. His Syracuse teammate Joseph was taken with the 51st pick. Fellow rookie big man Jared Sullinger is seeing plenty of playing time in his inaugural season, but Melo is a longer-term project.

Final: Celtics 101, Bulls 95

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff November 12, 2012 07:44 PM

Final: Celtics 101-95: The Celtics finish off an impressive effort with some stellar late-game execution. Kevin Garnett dunks a Rajon Rondo alley-oop with 41.9 left and then after two missed free throws by Taj Gibson, Brandon Bass streaks for an open dunk and the Celtics are over .500 (4-3) for the first time this season. Rondo finishes with 20 points, 10 assists and 8 rebounds.

Fourth quarter, 49.5, Celtics 95-93:A game the Celtics have never trailed they could very well lose if they don't make another play. Luol Deng missed two free throws but Taj Gibson grabbed the offense rebound and flipped it back to Deng for a layup. Celtics ball.

Fourth quarter, 4:30, Celtics 89-84: The Bulls are making a furious run as the Celtics missed 10 of their first 12 shots of the quarter. The main culprit is Kevin Garnett, who is 1 of 5 in the quarter, missing several open shots. The Bulls bench has spurred the rally but starter Joakim Noah has been the most productive with 7 points in the quarter.

Fourth quarter, 8:47, Celtics 87-81: The Bulls are on a 7-0 run as they keep charging at the Celtics, Joakim Noah scored 5 straight points and Luol Deng just scored a basket and was fouled. The Celtics have played plenty well enough to win but need to make a few more plans to seal this one. Kevin Garnett should be rested. He's played just 21 minutes.

End of third quarter, Celtics 82-70: Jared Sullinger ends the quarter with his first NBA 3-pointer as the Celtics allowed the Bulls to cut the lead to 8. Rajon Rondo needs four assists in the final quarter to extend his streak to 31 games with at least 10. He has 20 points. Luol Deng has 17 for Chicago.

Third quarter, 2:59, Celtics 76-62: The Celtics have withstood Chicago runs with fluid offense of their own, Rajon Rondo has burned former teammates Nate Robinson, scoring 20 points with 7 rebounds and 6 assists. Brandon Bass had been a big spark with 14 points. Kevin Garnett is getting plenty of rest, having played just 18 minutes so far.

Third quarter, 5:53, Celtics 70-59: The Celtics have led by as many as 14 points but the Bulls stay within striking distance with offensive rebounding. Ten of their points have been scored by second chance. Luol Deng has 15 points and Carlos Boozer 14. Nate Robinson just canned a 3-pointer, his first of the game. Rajon Rondo has 18 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists.

Halftime, Celtics 58-46: The Celtics end the first half with a 7-2 run, including a 3-pointer from Jason Terry, who has 5 points. Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce lead the Celtics with 10 points each as they are shooting a blistering 59.2 percent. The Bulls are rabid on the boards and have a combined 23 points from Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng.

Second quarter, 2:05, Celtics 51-44: The Celtics keep making runs, and then the Bulls make runs to get back into the game. Boston led by as many as 13 after a 10-0 run but the Bulls have responded thanks to offensive rebounding. Jimmy Butler has 4 points off the bench.

Second quarter, 5:52, Celtics 41-38: The Bulls are hanging in there and the Celtics only hold a 3-point lead despite shooting 60 percent (18 for 30). The bench has come to play tonight with 14 points, including two buckets from Leandro Barbosa. Marco Bellinelli has 5 for Chicago.

Second quarter, 8:52, Celtics 37-30: The Celtics bench are trying to extend the lead and Courtney Lee, who went scoreless Saturday against the Milwaukee Bucks, already has 4 points while Jeff Green has added 4. The Bulls are shooting 46.2 percent and Luol Deng has 7 points.

End of first quarter, Celtics 33-27: The defense slipped as the Bulls scored 17 points in the final six minutes of the quarter to make the game close. Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo each have 8 points. Carlos Boozer has 10 for Chicago.

First quarter, 2:48, Celtics 25-18: The Bulls go on a 6-0 run behind Carlos Boozer, who is being active offensively tonight. And when he missed a free throw, Joakim Noah rebounded it and scored a putback. Paul Pierce has been aggressive also with 8 points while Chris Wilcox has picked up two early fouls in four minutes.

First quarter, 4:56, Celtics 21-10: The offense that was present in the second half against Milwaukee has returned through the first 6:43. The Celtics are shooting 66.7 percent from the field and the ball is moving crisply. Kevun Garnett has 7 points and Rajon Rondo 6.

First quarter, 7:51, Celtics 11-8: The Celtics are off to a good start against the Derrick Rose-less Bulls, especially Kevin Garnett, who already has 7 points against counterpart Joakim Noah, The Bulls have hit four of their first six shots but three makes have been contested jumpers.

Pregame: The Celtics look to get over .500 tonight with a win over the shorthanded Bulls.

Welcome to United Center

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff November 12, 2012 07:30 PM

CHICAGO -- The Celtics will try to get a win against the Bulls tonight without Derrick Rose in the lineup. The Celtics are trying to go above .500 for the first time this season following Saturday's 96-92 win at Milwaukee. Coach Doc Rivers said he will stick with the same lineup, meaning Jason Terry and Brandon Bass remain starters. Kirk Hinrich will not play tonight because of a sore right hip.


STARTING LINEUPS

STARTING LINEUPS
BOSTON CELTICS (3-3)
PG Rajon Rondo
SG Jason Terry
SF Paul Pierce
PF Brandon Bass
C Kevin Garnett


STARTING LINEUPS
CHICAGO BULLS (4-2)

PG Nate Robinson
SG Richard Hamilton
SF Luol Deng
PF Carlos Boozer
C Joakim Noah

Pregame notes:


  • Rivers said he doesn't understand the backlash about Mike D'Antoni getting the job, calling the former Suns and Knicks coach a "hell of a coach."

  • Darko Milicic, who has played five minutes all season, has fallen out of the playing rotation, replaced by Chris Wilcox. Milicic played extensively during the preseason..

  • The Bulls have won five straight games against the Celtics at United Center.

  • OFFICIALS: Joe Crawford, Mark Lindsay, Zach ZarbaSTARTING LINEUPS

    STARTING LINEUPS
    BOSTON CELTICS (3-3)
    PG Rajon Rondo
    SG Jason Terry
    SF Paul Pierce
    PF Brandon Bass
    C Kevin Garnett


    STARTING LINEUPS
    CHICAGO BULLS (4-2)

    PG Nate Robinson
    SG Richard Hamilton
    SF Luol Deng
    PF Carlos Boozer
    C Joakim Noah

    Pregame notes:


    • Rivers said he doesn't understand the backlash about Mike D'Antoni getting the job, calling the former Suns and Knicks coach a "hell of a coach."

    • Darko Milicic, who has played five minutes all season, has fallen out of the playing rotation, replaced by Chris Wilcox. Milicic played extensively during the preseason..

    • The Bulls have won five straight games against the Celtics at United Center.

    • OFFICIALS: Joe Crawford, Mark Lindsay, Zach Zarba

NBA unveils single-color Celtics jersey for Christmas Day

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff November 12, 2012 02:25 PM

nba-christmas-1.jpg

The NBA and Adidas released the designs for the single-color jerseys which will be worn by the teams playing on Christmas Day. The Celtics jersey (above, left) is of course, green. The jerseys worn by their opponent, the home team Brooklyn Nets, are black. You can see the colors of all of the other jerseys here.

FInal: Celtics 96, Bucks 92

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff November 10, 2012 08:42 PM

Final: Celtics 96-92 Kevin Garnett sinks the clinching free throws and the Celtics avenge last Friday's loss with their best win of the season. Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 25 points while Jeff Green added a season-high 12 off the bench.

Fourth quarter, 1.7, Celtics 94-92 The team exchange free throws and it's Celtics ball after Monta Ellis commits a lane violation after intentionally missing 2nd free throw.

Fourth quarter, 4.9, Celtics 93-90 Jason Terry and Paul Pierce each miss the first of two free throw attempts and Milwaukee still has life. Celtics defense has been brilliant down the stretch. Can they get one more stop?

Fourth quarter, 25.3, Celtics 91-90 The Celtics are 12 of 22 in the fourth quarter but are being hurt my former Celtic Marquis Daniels, who just sank an 18-footer for his 12th point as the Bucks close in. Celtics ball.

Fourth quarter, 2:39, Celtics 83-82 It's a battle royal between Monta Ellis and Paul Pierce, as the two exchange daggers as the Celtics and Bucks trade baskets. Kevin Garnett drained a go-ahead jumper and the Celtics just got a defensive stop. Ellis has 29 points and Pierce has 24.

Fourth quarter, 6:10, Celtics 74-72 Jeff Green is beginning to exert himself, scoring 6 points in the quarter, including a pretty one-handed layup to give the Celtics the lead. He has a season-high 10 points.

Fourth quarter, 8:10, Bucks 68-66 This game is getting physical and Larry Sanders and Jason Terry shared some words after Sanders was called for an offensive foul on Kevin Garnett. The Celtics are 1-for-6 from the field to begin the quarter. They are making progress but need some baskets.

End of third quarter, Bucks 68-64 Jeff Green is really struggling. He is 0-for-4 shooting with three turnovers and just missed two free throws that could have tied the game. Meanwhile, former Celtic Marquis Daniels scores 6 points in the quarter, including a runner to give the Bucks a 4-point lead. Paul Pierce has 17 points. Monta Ellis has 21 for Milwaukee.

Third quarter, 2:10, Bucks 62-61 As usual, the Celtics get outscored with Kevin Garnett out of the game, Milwaukee went on an 8-0 run to even the game at 55 and the two teams have been trading baskets since. Paul Pierce and Jason Terry each have 14 points. Monta Ellis has 19 for Milwaukee.

Third quarter, 5:55, Celtics 53-49 The Celtics, and especially Paul Pierce, have started the second half hot and the defense has increased its intensity as the Celtics try to extend their lead. Pierce has 6 points in the half and the Bucks have started off 2 of 10 from the field.

Halftime, Bucks 42-39 Celtics finish the half on a 6-0 run and Kevin Garnett missed an open jumper at the buzzer that could have made it 8. Still, the Celtics are playing strong defense, holding the Bucks to 40 percent shooting. But Monta Ellis has been the difference with 13 points. The Celtics are trailing by just 3 despite shooting 33 percent in the second quarter and 35 percent for the game. Garnett has 10 points.

Second quarter, 3:28, Bucks 38-30 The frustration is setting in. The Celtics just can't score consistently. The Bucks are shooting 41 percent and don't look as sharp as they did last Friday in Boston, but the Celtics are missing so many easy shots. Besides the trio of Chris Wilcox, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry, they are 2 of 19 shooting, both shots by Rajon Rondo.

Second quarter, 5:56, Bucks 30-24 This game is ugly and the Celtics are cementing that status by missing most of their shots. They are shooting 32 percent and anyone not named Chris Wilcox, Kevin Garnett or Jason Terry are a combined 1-for-17 shooting.

Second quarter, 8:30, Bucks 28-22: The Celtics just can't score consistently, shooting 33 percent from the field (7 of 21) and they are also giving up second-chance points to Milwaukee's active big men. Larry Sanders and Ekpe Udon have 8 points combined and five rebounds. Jeff Green has no points and three turnovers.

End of first quarter, Bucks 22-20: The Celtics are trailing by just 2 despite missing 12 of 19 shots in the quarter and getting a combined 1 point from Paul Pierce and Brandon Bass. The Celtics are playing solid defense other than stopping the pick-and-roll, But they are improving after looking terrible against the Bucks' bigs in the early going. Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry each have 6 points for the Celtics.

First quarter, 2:56, Tied at 18: The Celtics have contained the pick-and-roll and are spreading the wealth offensively. Chris Wilcox and Jared Sullinger each have a bucket off the bench.

First quarter, 4:48, Tied at 15: The Celtics are warming up offensively, especially Jason Terry, who already has 6 points. But they can't stop the pick-and-roll and the Bucks are going to it repeatedly. Samuel Dalembert already has 9 points, most of those on dunks because Rajon Rondo can't stop dribble penetration.

First quarter, 7:52, Bucks 6-5: The Celtics have coverted one field goal and are just trying to stay close early but the Bucks are helping out by missing seven of their 10 shots. Kevin Garnett already has 4 points.

Welcome to Bradley Center

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff November 10, 2012 08:01 PM

After saying that starting lineups were irrelevant, Doc Rivers made two changes to the starting five before Saturday's tipoff, inserting Jason Terry and Brandon Bass to replace Courtney Lee and Jared Sullinger. The Celtics want to have more early scoring with Kevin Garnett on the bench.


STARTING LINEUPS

STARTING LINEUPS
BOSTON CELTICS (2-3)
PG Rajon Rondo
SG Jason Terry
SF Paul Pierce
PF Brandon Bass
C Kevin Garnett


STARTING LINEUPS
MILWAUKEE BUCKS (3-1)

PG Brandon Jennings
SG Monta Ellis
SF Tobias Harris
PF Ersan Ilyasova
C Samuel Dalembert

Pregame notes:


  • Doc Rivers said he wouldn't be surprised if Phil Jackson returned to the Lakers

  • Luc Mbah a Moute is out after right knee surgery.

  • The Celtics will take Sunday off before Monday's game against the Chicago Bulls.

  • OFFICIALS: Scott Foster, Pat Fraher, Eli Roe

Final: 76ers 106, Celtics 100

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff November 9, 2012 07:47 PM

Final:, 76ers, 106-100: Another disappointing loss for the Celtics, who never led after midway through the first quarter and then allowed a 10-0 run over 2:21 after cutting the deficit to 4 early in the fourth quarter. Paul Pierce led Boston with 24 points but it was not a productive night for him. Rajon Rondo collected 20 assist but was outplayed by Jrue Holiday, who finished with 21 points and 14 assists. Evan Turner led the 76ers with 25 points.

Fourth quarter, 1:13, 76ers, 102-94: The 76ers set up Thaddeus Young for an easy jump hook and the Celtics turn the ball over on the next possession. It looks like another home loss for the C's, who are far from playing with any consistency,

Fourth quarter, 1:59, 76ers, 100-94: The Celtics have allowed too many defensive breakdowns and a layup by Jrue Holiday extended the 76ers lead to 12 but the Celtics are trying to make a late run.

Fourth quarter, 4:52, 76ers, 98-88: The 76ers seemingly put the game away with a 10-0 run but the Celtics respond with a 7-0 run to make it interesting again. The Celtics are OK offensively but they have to get ble to stop. They have been unable to stop the 76ers consistently all night. Paul Pierce has 19 for Boston. Jrue Holiday has 19 and 13 assists for the 76ers.

End of third quarter, 76ers 83-74: A solid quarter from the Celtics but Evan Turner scored 4 points in the final 37.2 seconds to helpy with a Philadelphia ahead comfortably. He has 18 points. Rajon Rondo has 12 points and-010 14 assists while Kevin Garnett has 14 for Boston. Dorell Wright has 15 for thnteresting agae 7-0 run to make it ia run but the Celtics respond wi76ers.

Third quarter, 2:17, 76ers 79-68: The Celtics are a couple of defensive stops from making this interesting but they can't get those stops. The Celtics have upped their shooting percentage to 44.4 by going 8 of 14 in the quarter but they have also missed three free throws when every point counts. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett each have 14 points. Jrue Holiday is outplaying Rajon Rondo with 16 points and 11 assists.

Third quarter, 8:06, 76ers 63-54: The Celtics are playing better defense and being more aggressive offensively but the 76ers are finding ways to score. Rajon Rondo is pushing the pace and already has 7 points in the period. Kevin Garnett leads the Celtics with 14.

Halftime, 76ers 57-45: The Celtics allowed the 76ers to tally 34 points in the second period on 13-for-22 shooting. Only two Kevin Garnett baskets in the final minute avoided a bigger halftime hole. He has 14 points on 6-for-8 shooting. The rest of the Celtics are 10-for-32 for 31 points. The Celtics have to get more production from their starters. Evan Turner leads Philadelphia with 14 points.

Second quarter, 2:58, 76ers 48-37: Now the problem has become defensive as the 76ers are now shooting 51.2 percent, including 11 of 18 in the second quarter. Evan Turner has 7 points in the quarter and 11 overall while Nick Young has 10. The Celtics are shooting 35.3 percent and Paul Pierce just canned a 3-pointer and now has 8 points.

Second quarter, 6:16, 76ers 39-28: Besides Kevin Garnett and Courtney Lee, the Celtics are 2-for-19 shooting for 14 points. Paul Pierce has been putrid for the second consecutive game, 0-for-5 shooting so far with 3 points. Garnett and Lee have 14 points combined. The 76ers are shooting 47.2 percent with 8 points each from Nick Young and Thaddeus Young.

Second quarter, 8:59, 76ers 33-24: The 76ers scored 8 points in the first 1:20 of the period, six of those on 3-pointers by Nick Young. The Celtics are shooting just 30 percent and lucky to be so close. They have seven field goals compared with 14 for Philadelphia. Young has 8 points, Kevin Garnett has 8 for the Celtics.

End of first quarter, 76ers 23-20: It could be worse. The Celtics are 6 of 19 from the field and are relying on Courtney Lee until his teammates catch up. Kevin Garnett has 4 points in six months while Rajon Rondo has 3 assists. Evan Turner leads the 76ers with 6 points.

First quarter, 2:58, 76ers 17-13: Philadelphia has stepped up its defense and want on a 6-0 run to take a 5-point lead. Paul Pierce is off to another slow start, going 0-for-2 shooting with 2 points as the Celtics are 4 of 16 overall. Courtney Lee has 6 points, which is his season average. Rajon Rondo has three assists.

First quarter, 6:27, Celtics 8-7: A good sign for the Celtics, they are off to a strong start, especially Courtney Lee, who already has 4 points. Evan Turner has 4 points for the 76ers.

Welcome to TD Garden

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff November 9, 2012 06:55 PM

Believe it or not, the Celtics have a chance climb above .500 and won their third consecutive game against the shorthanded 76ers, who are missing big men Andrew Bynum and Kwame Brown. The 76ers will go with a quicker more athletic lineup, the type that usually gives the Celtics major trouble.

Jared Sullinger will start again tonight for Boston, which is trying to get the struggling Courtney Lee going. He is averaging just 6 points per game in 26 minutes. He said he worked on his jumper in Waltham during the Celtics' off day Thursday.


STARTING LINEUPS

STARTING LINEUPS
BOSTON CELTICS (2-2)
PG Rajon Rondo
SG Courtney Lee
SF Paul Pierce
PF Jared Sullinger
C Kevin Garnett


STARTING LINEUPS
PHILADELPHIA 76ERS (2-2)

PG Jrue Holiday -- 18 points per game is career best
SG Evan Turner -- leads 76ers in rebounding
SF Dorell Wright -- Still only 26 although in eighth year
PF Thaddeus Young -- Athleticism gives Celtics fits
C Lavoy Allen -- Key to 76ers pushing Celtics to seven games last year.

Pregame notes:


  • Doc Rivers expressed sympathy for fired Lakers coach Mike Brown: "I think it's awful. Five games into a season, that's hard to believe. Hard to believe when guys are injured. I haven't paid much attention but I don't think Dwight (Howard) at all during preseason or Kobe (Bryant). That's their mess. I just feel for Mike."

  • Kwame Brown is out with a strained left calf and Jason Richardson is out with a left ankle sprain.

  • Rajon Rondo has hit three 3-pointers this season though four games. He hit 10 last season in 53 games.

  • OFFICIALS: James Williams, Sean Wright, Rodney Mott

Final: Celtics 100, Wizards 94 (OT)

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff November 7, 2012 07:51 PM

Final: Celtics, 100-94: A really subpar performance for the offense, which again was choppy and inconsistent. The defense, again, won this game, holding the Wizards to 41.1 percent shooting. Kevin Garnett leads the way with 20 points and 13 rebounds but the Celtics have to get more out of Courtney Lee, who finished with 2 points in 19 minutes.

Overtime, 13.9, Celtics, 99-92: Wizards miss a series of opportunities to get closer and Kevin Garnett responds with two free throws. Washington ball.

Overtime, 37.7, Celtics, 97-92: Celtics get another stop and Brandon Bass scores on a breakaway dunk. Washington ball. Bass has 11 points and seven rebounds. Courtney Lee has barely played since the first half.

Overtime, 1:51, Celtics, 95-92: Brandon Bass scores the last 3 points for the Celtics, including a layup for a 3-point cushion. The Wizards are playing hard and their bench is killing the Celtics. They have scored 53 of the 92 points.

End of regulation, Tied at 88: Rajon Rondo dribbles down the clock because the play was botched and misses a 20-footer at the buzzer. Overtime.

Fourth quarter, 9.4, Tied at 88: Rajon Rondo cans a pull-up jumper and Chris Singleton responds with a streaking dunk after being left open. Celtics ball.

Fourth quarter, 33.1, Tied at 86: Celtics get a steal and Rajon Rondo hits one free throw. Chris Singleton gets fouled off the ball and hits both. Celtics ball.

Fourth quarter, 53.0, Celtics, 85-84: Some weird goings on here at the Garden as the Celtics force two turnovers, pick up two fouls, but gain just 2 points as Paul Pierce misses the second of two free throws and Kevin Garnett sinks two but not before his technical gave the Wizards a free throw. It's Washington's ball and the Wizards have played well in the fourth quarter.

Fourth quarter, 2:54, Tied at 80: The Wizards can taste their first victory while the Celtics have all types of problems offensively. Paul Pierce has 13 points but on 2-for-10 shooting and just turned the ball over on an ill-fated drive to the basket. Washington ball.

Fourth quarter, 5:21, Celtics, 77-73: The Wizards are playing hard despite shooting 40.3 percent and the Celtics don't have enough offense to put them away. The Washington bench is again the star here, with 41 of its 73 points. Kevin Garnett leads the Celtics with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Rajon Rondo has 11 points and 11 assists.

Fourth quarter, 6:58, Celtics, 75-69: After leading by 11 on two occasions, the Celtics cannot provide the knockout blow and the shorthanded Wizards keep hanging in there, about to attempt two free throws after the timeout. The Celtics are shooting 42.2 percent with 16 turnovers. The Wizards are at 40 percent but have stayed close with eight 3-pointers, including three from A.J. Price.

End of third quarter, Celtics, 66-58: In their best defensive stretch of the season, the Celtics outscore Washington, 10-2, in the final 2:56 of the quarter as Chris Wilcox comes off the bench and scored 6 points - 4 on free throws - in three minutes to spark the run.

Third quarter, 2:56, Tied at 56: The Celtics are struggling on offense but have three players - Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce - in double figures but are shooting 40.4 percent from the field. The Wizards are at 40 percent but keep getting key baskets, such as A.J. Price's 3-pointer to beat the shot clock just moments ago.

Third quarter, 5:50, Wizards, 51-50: The Celtics got off to a strong start but keep making silly mistakes while the Wizards just continue to hang on to the lead. Rajon Rondo drained a 3-pointer to get the Celtics closer. But this game could come down to the final minutes.

Halftime, Wizards, 42-37: The Celtics miss 13 of 19 shots in the quarter, including a wide-open 3-pointer by Courtney Lee to end the half, ending a disappointing half for the home team. The Wizards are struggling from the 2-point line (12 for 32) but had hit six of 15 3-pointers while Kevin Seraphin again is doing damage with 10 points. Rajon Rondo leads Boston with 8 points and five assists.

Second quarter, 2:50, Wizards, 38-34: Washington has canned 6 of 14 3-pointers to take the lead. The Wizards are 10 of 28 from 2-point range. The Celtics are again struggling from the field and have nine turnovers. This team needs work.

Second quarter, 6:08, Tied at 28: The Celtics are shooting 35.5 percent from the field and are allowing the Wizards, who are shooting 35.3, to stay close. The Wizards have hit back-to-back 3-pointers to tie the game. The Celtics' bench is 3 of 12 from the field so far.

Second quarter, 9:20, Celtics, 25-20: The Celtics are trying to extend the lead with their bench but they can't stop Kevin Seraphin, who leads the Wizards with 6 points in eight minutes. The Celtics are 11 for 26 shooting and the bench is 3 of 10.

End of first quarter, Celtics, 21-16: Boston ends the quarter on a 6-0 run after Washington briefly grabbed the lead behind two baskets from Kevin Seraphin (Yeah him). He has 4 points and two rebounds. Rajon Rondo leads the Celtics with 6 points and two assists. The Celtics already have five turnovers.

First quarter, 5:04, Celtics, 13-7: The Celtics are off to a good start despite shooting 36.4 percent so far. Kevin Garnett picked off seven rebounds in six minutes while Paul Pierce has 5 points. Bradley Beal has a 3-pointer for Washington.

Welcome to TD Garden

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff November 7, 2012 06:52 PM

The Celtics have a golden opportunity to reach the .500 mark with their second game in four nights against the Washington Wizards. The Wizards will be without John Wall (knee) and Nene (foot) but this is the same lineup that gave the Celtics issues in the final three quarters Saturday at Verizon Center.

Jared Sullinger will remain in the starting lineup Wednesday night, but he has to find a way to stay out of foul trouble.


STARTING LINEUPS

STARTING LINEUPS
BOSTON CELTICS (1-2)
PG Rajon Rondo
SG Courtney Lee
SF Paul Pierce
PF Jared Sullinger
C Kevin Garnett


STARTING LINEUPS
WASHINGTON WIZARDS (0-2)

PG A.J. Price
SG Bradley Beal
SF Trevor Ariza
PF Trevor Booker
C Emeka Okafor

Pregame notes:


  • Doc Rivers said before the game that Sullinger continues to impress him because he has a desire to rebound.

  • Wall said he has no timetable for his return but coach Randy Wittman said it could be in the next month.

  • The Celtics will have to do something to contain Kevin Seraphin and Jordan Crawford, who combined for 16-for-23 shooting for 40 of Washington's 86 points in 54 minutes. The Washington starters were a combined 9 of 35 from the field. Seraphin has scored in double figures in 16 consecutive games.

  • OFFICIALS: Monty McCutcheon, Bennie Adams, Kevin Scott

For Jared Sullinger, a chance to go beyond the comparisons

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff November 7, 2012 07:30 AM

sullingertop.jpg

It's been three games, but it's already obvious: Jared Sullinger can ball. Undersized and at times a step slow, Sullinger is going to be a useful NBA player. He takes charges, uses his backside to carve out space, and has a nose for the ball under the rim. On the occasions when his shot gets blocked by a taller opponent, Sullinger sticks with the play and often puts in his own miss. He makes up for any physical deficiencies with an extraordinary amount of skill. Sullinger is challenging for a starting job, and his stellar play may be the most exciting development for the Celtics in the early season.

The substance is all there. But there's something bothersome about the style of Sullinger's early NBA play. By the eye test, Sullinger plays much like a former Celtics draft pick whose stock fell on draft night, a great college player who projected lower as a pro. In fact, plug in the name "Glen Davis" for "Sullinger" in the first paragraph above and it still rings true. The comparison is bothersome not because Davis isn't a good NBA player, but because Sullinger can be so much more.

It's prudent to start by looking back at the good things Davis did, because a solid beginning in Boston was muddied by a less-than-gracious ending. Davis played sparingly in his rookie season, the season in which the Celtics won the title. But in his second season Davis averaged 21.5 minutes and 7.0 points per game. Starting in place of the injured Kevin Garnett, Davis exploded in the playoffs, averaging 15.8 points and 5.6 rebounds in 14 games as the team's starting power forward. He won a game against Orlando with a buzzer-beater. He was exceeding all of the expectations attached to being the 35th-pick in the NBA Draft.

Of course, Davis didn't earn the nickname "Big Baby" for nothing. He followed up his spectacular playoff performance by breaking his hand in the offseason in an altercation with his friend. The team's confidence in Davis dropped along with his minutes. Davis lost his spot in Doc Rivers's rotation.

davissully.jpgRivers let Davis back in the next season, awarding him a career-high 29.5 minutes per game. The results were mixed as Davis shot 44 percent from the floor and took more jump shots than Rivers thought prudent. Attitude and chemistry issues hastened a trade that sent Davis to Orlando for Brandon Bass.

It's much too early to say whether or not Sullinger will reach any of Davis's highs or sink to his lows, but the Celtics are using Sullinger in many of the same ways they used Davis. Start with rebounding; Davis was often the only Celtic crashing the offensive glass, a role Sullinger has assumed on this team. It's no secret Rivers isn't big on sending players to the offensive glass, but Sullinger obviously has a knack for it. He's providing a skill the team desperately needs.

Another similarity is the role Rivers gives to both players on defense. The image that prompted this whole comparison in my mind was of Sullinger hitting the floor and taking charges during the league's opening week. Davis excelled at the same skill, and both players have a knack for getting to the right spot despite less-than-fleet foot speed. With low centers of gravity, both players seem built to take the pounding that comes with taking charges.

While both Sullinger and Davis have a knack for being in the right place, Sullinger's basketball IQ extends further and has already led to praise from Garnett and Rajon Rondo. On Tuesday Garnett said Sullinger reminds him of former Celtics center Kendrick Perkins. Garnett is talking about the ability to play defense on a string and get to the right spot even when his own man is somewhere else. On a larger scale, he's talking about Sullinger's grasp of schemes on the other end of the floor. In both areas, Sullinger has proven to be a quick learner.

"Jared understands what we're doing," said Garnett. "He’s a no-nonsense guy. ... He's a great rebounder, his IQ is unbelievable. He can pass the ball and he reminds me a lot of Perk. Obviously, he's not the defensive player that Perk was, but as far as IQ, moving the ball and being unselfish, he's a great teammate."

You haven't seen them yet, but Sullinger has an array of offensive moves that rival those of any power forward in the game. In addition to put-backs, Sullinger has an ambidextrous junk game of hook shots, floaters, and turnaround jumpers that he perfected in college against constant double-teams. I had the chance to watch him from courtside when Ohio State played in the NCAA Tournament's East Regional in March and was blown away by how creative he can be and how little room he needs to get his shot off. In that way, Sullinger has much more offensive talent than Davis.

We haven't seen many of these garbage moves yet from Sullinger in the NBA, even though he's been practicing them before games. Instead, the Celtics rookie is trying to learn the system. That's a good thing. Eventually he'll get more involved in the offense, and just how well he picks his spots will go a long way in determining how successful he becomes. Contrast that to Davis, who spent his final season in Boston bulling his way to the basket without purpose or pulling up for too many jumpers, and you can see why Rivers quickly tired of the Big Baby act.

In terms of IQ off the court, neither Davis nor Sullinger lacks for confidence, but at this early stage Sullinger seems to "get it" more. He carries himself with the air of someone who's been the best player among his peers for his entire life, but he's shown a deference to his veteran teammates. He has reasons to stay humble. At the press conference introducing the Celtics rookies, Sullinger said, "When I was younger, everybody said I was too big. Going into high school, they said I wouldn't be able to play that fast. Going into college, they said I wouldn't be able to keep up. It's just the way I live my life."

He played limited minutes in the season opener, but Sullinger had 14 rebounds (4 offensive) in Boston's two games over the weekend, more than any other Celtic. With that kind of production, he'll get more opportunities to prove himself.

Comparing Sullinger to Davis was inevitable. Comparing him to Perkins should inspire confidence in both Sullinger and in Celtics fans looking for the next lunch-pail-toting big man to latch onto. But Sullinger has the chance to be better than both players, especially on offense. With the right attitude and a little patience, Sullinger can show his doubters that, once again, he'll have no trouble keeping up.

Rivers puts pressure on Celtic reserves

Posted by Staff November 6, 2012 01:28 PM
WALTHAM -- Celtics coach Doc Rivers is challenging the team's second unit. The Celtics have started the season with a 1-2 record, the minutes of starters Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce will not increase in a win-at-all-costs strategy in upcoming games, Rivers said Tuesday.

The Celtics host Washington Wednesday and Philadelphia Friday, then visit Milwaukee Saturday.

"No, I'm not going to let them do more," Rivers said after practice Tuesday. "I'm going to play Kevin about the same amount of minutes.

"(Rajon) Rondo, you can go anywhere. But if we can't win with him off the floor we just won't win. And I told our bench that. We're going to play the minutes that I'm giving them and the bench is going to play the minutes they should get. And they've got to do something or we won't win -- it will be that simple."

Celtics getting defensive

Posted by Staff November 5, 2012 02:10 PM
WALTHAM -- The Celtics finally found a winning formula in their third game of the regular season, an 89-86 result against Washington on Saturday, but they are still performing below expectations, according to coach Doc Rivers.

"We had great first half in Washington, that is what we needed see," Rivers said of Saturday's game. "But we didn't sustain it and I just think everyone is starting to figure out to be a good team, you've got to actually work at it. It's hard work and you don't just show up, because you've got good names on a piece of paper, and become good. You have to work at it, you have to work hard at it, and it's exhausting."

The Celtics, who host the Wizards in a rematch Wednesday, are surrendering 101.7 points per game and opponents are shooting 48.1 percent from the field.

"I thought we played defense," Rivers said of the game against the Wizards. "We got into the ball, there was pressure. I mean, the first seven, eight minutes they struggled to get a shot off, let alone score a basket. But then, as the game went on, you could see us slowly moving away from it. And I don't know if that's breaking old habits from other places or that's conditioning. When you watch it on film, you think it's a little bit of both."

Final: Celtics 89, Wizards 86

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff November 3, 2012 07:11 PM

Final: Celtics 89-86 It wasn't pretty but the Celtics grind out a victory after failing to execute several plays in the final minutes. Jason Terry capped off the win with two free throws with 1.2 left. But the Celtics did not record a field goal in the final 2:35. Paul Pierce led Boston with 27 points and Rajon Rondo added 12 assists.

Fourth quarter, 49.7, Celtics 87-86 Celtics miss two chances to go ahead 3 with a botched alley-oop to Kevin Garnett and then a blocked Jeff Green layup by Trevor Booker. Washington ball.

Fourth quarter, 1:35, Celtics 87-86 Credit the Washington bench for its spirited comeback. Kevin Seraphin and Jannero Pargo sparked a 7-0 run to take an 86-84 lead. Paul Pierce came back with a 3-pointer and after a stop, Kevin Garnett missed a jumper that would have put the Celtics up 3. Wizards ball.

Fourth quarter, 4:52, Celtics 82-79 Well, the Celtics were in control just a few moments ago but consecutive jumpers by Jannero Pargo and then 5 straight points from Cartier Martin have the Wizards close again. The Celtics have scored 2 points in the past 3:11.

Fourth quarter, 7:40, Celtics 80-70 Consecutive 3-pointers from Jeff Green and Paul Pierce have given the Celtics some breathing room and Washington's Jordan Crawford, who had 21 points, is out of the game with what appeared to be a sprained ankle. Pierce has 22 points.

End of third quarter, Celtics 71-67 The Wizards end the quarter on a 15-6 run thanks to the unstoppable duo of Jordan Crawford and Kevin Seraphin, who are a combined 15-for-20 shooting for 35 points. The rest of the Wizards are 12-for-36 shooting for 32 points. Expect those two to play the entire fourth quarter.

Third quarter, 2:28, Celtics 69-62 Randy Wittman went to his bench and what do you know? The Wizards are on a 10-4 run as the Celtics can't stop Jordan Crawford, who has 18 points in 17 minutes, including Washington's last 8 points. He is keeping the Wizards in the game.

Third quarter, 5:44, Celtics 65-52 The Celtics are fighting off the pesky Wizards with some strong offense from Paul Pierce, who has 17 points and Kevin Garnett, who has 14. Brandon Bass is sparking the bench, completing a dunk off a fastbreak and a free throw. The Celtics are 7-for-11 shooting in the quarter. Rajon Rondo has 10 points and nine assists.

Halftime, Celtics 49-42 A subpar defensive quarter for the Celtics, who allow the Wizards to shoot 66.7 percent (14-for-21) in the quarter to climb back into the game. The Washington bench scorched the Celtics for 28 points, including 10 each from Kevin Seraphin and Jordan Crawford. The Celtics are shooting 51 percent with just six turners and should be leading by more. Paul Pierce has 12 points and Kevin Garnett 10.

Second quarter, 2:31, Celtics 42-37: We have a ballgame folks as the Washington bench outscored its Celtics counterparts as Kevin Seraphin and Jordan Crawford have combined for 20 points on 9-for-14 shooting. The Washington starters are a combined 4-for-17 shooting. The Celtics defense can't stop the pick-and-rolll and there needs to be adjustments. Rajon Rondo has 8 points, including two 3-pointers.

Second quarter, 7:40, Celtics 34-27: The Wizards are using their bench to creep back into the game. They have outscored the Celtics 15-8 in the second quarter thanks to hot shooting from Jordan Crawford and Kevin Seraphin. The Celtics have cooled off from the field and the defense is beginning to slip.

First quarter, 2:38, Celtics 19-7: The Celtics are playing like they are desperate for a win, pounding the Wizards with precision offense. Paul Pierce has 7 points while Rajon Rondo has four assists as Boston is shooting 50 percent from the field. The Wizards didn't score a true basket until Trevor Booker's layup with 3:53 left in the first period. Their first basket was goaltending on Kevin Garnett.

First quarter, 7:50, Celtics 9-2: Boston has come out with more energy as Paul Pierce began the night with a 3-pointer and Kevin Garnett has added two more baskets against the Wizards, who are playing without John Wall and Nene.

Welcome to Verizon Center

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff November 3, 2012 05:58 PM

WASHINGTON -- The Celtics will try not to follow the road of their archrival Lakers and go 0-3 tonight against the Wizards in Washington's home opener. The Wizards will be without John Wall, who is out with a stress injury to his left knee and Nene, who has plantar fasciitis in his left foot.

After going with Brandon Bass for the first two games, Doc Rivers has decided to start rookie Jared Sillinger for the first time against Wizards power forward Trevor Booker.

STARTING LINEUPS


STARTING LINEUPS
BOSTON CELTICS (0-2)
PG Rajon Rondo
SG Courtney Lee
SF Paul Pierce
PF Jared Sullinger
C Kevin Garnett


STARTING LINEUPS
WASHINGTON WIZARDS (0-1)

PG A.J. Price
SG Bradley Beal
SF Trevor Ariza
PF Trevor Booker
C Emeka Okafor

Pregame notes:


  • Doc Rivers said before the game that the Celtics have to come out with more passion but he isn't concerned about their mental approach.

  • Darko Milicic said he is trying to get into shape after missing preseason games with a sore right wrist but he is beginning to feel comfortable.

  • It could be another emotional game for Jeff Green, who is back in the arena where he played college ball, playing for the first time since his heart surgery in front of family and friends. Green has been inconsistent the first two games for the Celtics..

  • OFFICIALS: Joe Crawford, David Guthrie, Leroy Richardson

Final: Bucks 99, Celtics 88

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff November 2, 2012 07:52 PM

Final: Bucks 99-88: The Celtics make a late run to make the game respectable but the Bucks were simply the better team tonight and could be a darkhorse in the East. The Celtics had no life until the final quarter and were terrible defensively, allowing Milwaukee to shoot near 50 percent when the game mattered.

Fourth quarter, 2:54, Bucks 96-76: The Bucks responded from a Celtics 7-0 run with one of their own to end this one. The benches are being cleared and the sellout crowd is heading out. A disappointing effort, especially on defense for the Celtics.

Fourth quarter, 6:11, Bucks 85-70: A 4-0 run has prompted a timeout from Scott Skiles but the Bucks appear headed for victory. The Celtics are getting outrebounded 43-32 with Ersan Ilyasov a leading Milwaukee with 11. Paul Pierce leads the Celtics with six.

Fourth quarter, 8:47, Bucks 85-66: It seems the Celtics are headed to join the Lakers in the 0-2 club. Milwaukee has played well tonight, shooting 49.3 percent and getting 19 points and nine assists from Brandon Jennings, but the Celtics have been awful for the most part, committing 16 turnovers and shooting 40 percent. The defense has been the issue. Milwaukee is scoring layup after layup.

End of third quarter, Bucks 76-58: The Celtics score 28 in the quarter but allow 30. It's been that kind of night. The Celtics are just a mess offensively and Milwaukee is executing its offense to precision and have canned six of 13 3-pointers. The Celtics are shooting 37.5 percent from the field and are 2 of 9 of the 3-point stripe.

Third quarter, 3:44, Bucks 66-48: The Celtics cut the deficit to 14 with the ball but are being sloppy with the ball. Milwaukee responded with 6 straight points for a 20-point lead and the Celtics are getting desperate. They have lost 2 points on the margin despite shooting 6 of 11 in the quarter.

Third quarter, 6:41, Bucks 60-44: Kevin Garnett is getting hot but the Celtics can't stop the Bucks, who are beginning to shoot the lights out. Garnett has 10 straight points but the Bucks had countered with two 3-pointers in the quarter as they increase their shooting percentage to 49.1 percent.

Halftime, Bucks 46-30: The score is right. The Bucks are completely outplaying the Celtics, who shot 30 percent in the first half and their leading scorers -- Brandon Bass and Jared Sullinger -- tallied just 6 points. Brandon Jennings leads the Celtics with 15 points, including a floater in the final second of the first half.

Second quarter, 2:44, Bucks 42-26: The Celtics are struggling mightily, shooting 31.4 percent (11 of 35) with Jared Sullinger leading the way with 6 points. The starting five has scored 16 points on 7-for-21 shooting and Paul Pierce has three fouls and no field goals.

Second quarter, 5:00, Bucks 34-22: It's silent here at TD Garden where the Celtics are 2-for-13 shooting in the quarter and have scored 4 points in seven minutes. They are shooting 28.1 percent for the game and Paul Pierce is 0 of 4. Milwaukee is only shooting 41.7 percent but Beno Udrih has come off the bench for 7 points while Brandon Jennings has 8.

Second quarter, 8:44, Bucks 29-20: It's been one of those nights so far as the Celtics have missed 17 of 25 shots and committed eight turnovers. It seems the transition to championship contender is going to be a longer process than expected. Nine different Bucks have scored and they have 10 points from their bench.

End of first quarter, Bucks 25-18: Another porous defensive quarter for the Celtics, who allowed the Bucks to score 17 of the last 25 points in the quarter, including two uncontested dunks by Larry Sanders. Brandon Jennings has 8 points and three assists while three Celtics have 4 points, including Jared Sullinger.

First quarter, 4:30, Bucks 16-12: After a slow start, the Bucks have come out firing with an 8-2 run. Brandon Jennings already has 8 points and 2 assists while the other four starters have 2 points each. The Celtics are 5-for-10 shooting but already have four turnovers. Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo each have 4 points.

First quarter, 8:00, Celtics 8-6: The Celtics are off to a rough start but the Bucks have followed suit by missing eight of their first 10 shots. Kevin Garnett, Courtney Lee and Rajon Rondo each have a bucket for Boston.

Celtics expect home support

Posted by Staff November 2, 2012 07:32 PM

The Celtics expected to capitalize on crowd support in their home-opener against the Milwaukee Bucks Friday. The last time the Celtics played at home, they were given a rousing send-off, despite sustaining a decisive defeat against the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference playoffs in June.

“I will always remember the last minute of the debacle against Miami because of our fans,” Celtic coach Doc Rivers said before Friday’s game. “They were phenomenal and that’s something you don’t forget.”

Said Bucks coach Scott Skiles: “This is a tough environment. They’re coming off a game where I’m sure they didn’t play as well as they’d like and, generally, a team as good as they are is going to respond. And, it’s their home opener. We’re probably going to face a pretty good onslaught to start the game. We’ve just got to be ready for it, calm our nerves, and kind of play through whatever happens early on, and settle into the game.”

Rondo downplays foul on Dwyane Wade

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff November 1, 2012 03:09 PM

It's been two days since the Celtics were drubbed, 120-107, by the Miami Heat, a game that ended with a flagrant foul by Rajon Rondo on Dwyane Wade. Rondo put his arm around Wade's shoulder, and Wade called what he thought was a clothesline a "punk move."

Rondo does not expect to be discliplined by the league and thinks the incident is being overblown. Earlier in the fourth quarter, Wade slipped away from Rondo for a layup and Rondo drew a technical for arguing a non-call on Wade for hooking him.

"It's how it is man, what are you trying to do, get me fined? I cannot talk about the refs," Rondo said. "On that particular play, I asked [the official] what was the reasoning, I guess. I still had my mouthpiece in, The words didn't come out correctly at first anyway. I got the tech and that's what it is. I told him that if you see the film, I told him I thought he hooked me. I walked toward him and that's where the 'Respect the Game' rules come into play and [I was] popped with a tech."

He then talked about the flagrant foul on Wade: "I didn't think it was a hard foul. He sold it a little bit and that's basketball. They were up, he drove to the hole and I wouldn't give up a layup. It's as simple as that."

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