After escaping from what could have been the biggest upset in NBA Playoff history, the Boston Celtics have refocused their attention to the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Eastern Conference Semi Finals match up which begins tomorrow night at the TD Banknorth Garden at 8pm. Boston will welcome Lebron James and Co. to town for another great series that has the potential to feature a little bit of everything.
“They’re a group that’s defending Eastern Conference champs,” said Kevin Garnett after yesterday’s victory. “To do anything, you’ve got to get through them. It’s good that we have home-court advantage. I think it should be a good series.”
Going into the 2008 NBA Playoffs, the Celtics appeared to be the heavy favorite coming out of the East, but after the Atlanta Hawks forced a 7 game series, capturing 3 wins at home against Boston, many are beginning to wonder if Boston has what it takes to be NBA Champions. The young and athletic Hawks showed the rest of the league that the Celtics are beatable on the road. Now it’s up to the Celtics to prove to the league that the losses were just a fluke and that they had the best road record in the league on the regular season for a reason.
The Cavs are coming off of a 4-2 series win over the Washington Wizards that featured some very physical play. Suspensions were enforced and both teams were on their toes if anything else was to escalate on the floor during the action. This intensity will carry over to the Boston series and Lebron knows that there is a lot at stake.
“We all know the history of the Boston Celtics,” James said before practice over the weekend. “They’ve been unbelievable to the history of the NBA and this year it was good to see them back at the top or close to the top. I haven’t played their in the post season yet, but it’s going to be fun.”
The Celtics will be focusing the majority of their defensive attention toward James, trying to limit his touches so that he can’t score or dish out assists. Garnett and James Posey will be covering him the majority of the time but there will be some rotations when Paul Pierce will have his hands full, and Glen “Big Baby” Davis may be in there to eat a few minutes if the others are in foul trouble.
If Cleveland wants to win this series they will have to do something that they could not do during the regular season vs. Boston, and that is win a game on the road. The two teams split the 4 game regular season match ups 2-2, with both teams winning their games on their home courts. The Celtics have the home court advantage for this Eastern Conference Semi-Finals match up and it could play a big factor just as it did for their first round series.
The biggest difference between these two teams is the depth of their benches. The Celtics have comfortably gone 8 or 9 deep all season long, while the Cavs are not as strong after their 7th man. This has the potential to wear a team down, and force starters to stay out of foul trouble. The Celtics averaged 22 free throw attempts per game in the ATL series, and will continue to take the ball to the hoop against the Cavs, forcing defenders to create some type of contact on many drives.
Everyone is excited about this series and for good reason, but when it is said and done with the team that can win on the road will be the team that advances to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Tickets are now available for Games 1 and 2 at the TD Banknorth Garden!
It has been a long time since fans in Boston have been excited about playoff basketball, so this time around they’re enjoying every minute of it. Celtic supporters were raucous in all 4 quarters of Boston’s second playoff victory over the Atlanta Hawks, in which they cruised to the 96-77 victory last night at the TD Banknorth Garden to take a 2-0 series lead.
Five Celtics scored in double figures, led by Kevin Garnett’s 19 point, 10 rebound performance which came on the night when he was awarded the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year trophy in pre-game ceremonies. When he was handed the trophy at mid-court, he motioned for his teammates to come over and join him as he accepted the award.
“It’s not one person but it is all of us that make up this award,” Garnett said.
The team then went out and backed up Garnett’s statement, contributing very evenly up and down the line up in another showing of pure domination over a Hawks line up that just can’t hang with the big boys.
“This has been an experience,” said Josh Smith of the Hawks, who dropped 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the loss. “When we return home, we are going to need our fans as much as ever.”
The Boston fans played a big role as the 6th man in games 1 and 2, getting into the head of Hawks starting point guard Mike Bibby. Bibby, a ten year veteran of the NBA, made some surprising comments regarding the local fan base after the game 1 loss saying that they were ‘fair weather fans who jumped on the bandwagon’.
Bibby certainly heard it last night from the Garden crowd, receiving boo’s every time he touched the ball, chants even reigned down on him in the 4th quarter when he was on the bench like, “Where is Bibby?” and “Rondo’s Better.” Combined in games one and two, Bibby shot 4 for 17 from the floor and only had 2 assists. Rondo, on the other hand, has been a leader on the court shooting 12 of 20 in both games with 17 assists and only 1 turnover.
Celtics head coach Doc Rivers had high expectations of the young point guard for the year, but never imagined this type of immediate production and contributions Rondo has made to the team.
“He puts so much time into his game so it’s nice to see a guy who works on it and see it come to fruition,” Rivers said. “He’s so ahead of the curve. He started last year with a great IQ, which always helps because then you have something to work with. And then he has this self motivation that he wants to be good, that he wants to be the best. And he has the stubborn streak that sometimes gets in his way, but he has learned to move that out of the way and allowed himself to be coached.”
On nights like last, the players make Doc’s job easy. The Celtics held Atlanta to another awful shooting night from the field at .383 % and out rebounded them 58 to 40. It was simply another display of dominance by the Eastern Conference favorites and makes one wonder if the Hawks are tying, or if this first round of the playoffs is simply a formality for them.
Along with Garnett scoring in double figures, the Celtics received 15 from Ray Allen, 14 from Paul Pierce, 12 from Rondo and 10 from Sam Cassell off the bench. Kendrick Perkins added 8 points and 9 rebounds in another solid game in the low post.
The series will now shift to Atlanta for games 3 and 4, with the Hawks hoping to have better luck in front of their home crowd. They will need to win at least one game to keep the series alive. The Celtics have other plans, and look to keep their quest for Green 17 alive.
Celtics Playoff tickets available for all potential games and rounds. Full refund for any game not played.
On Sunday night the Celtics and Hawks opened up their first round playoff series at the Garden. The C’s handled Game 1 much like the other three meetings between the two this season, notching a double digit win. Boston’s defense stifled the Hawks, holding them to 33% shooting from the floor.
In his first playoff appearance in four years, Kevin Garnett had 16 points and 10 rebounds. Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, both 3 years removed from their last playoff games, had 16 and 18 points respectively.
The C’s had another monster third quarter, stretching their lead to 18 and only allowing ATL two consecutive baskets once. Boston’s attack was balanced all night; 6 players finished with double digits in points, and the team spread the ball around with 22 assists. Boston had the benefit of 36 of their 104 points coming off the bench – keeping the Atlanta defense guessing all night, as well as keeping the starters fresh.
Rajon Rondo’s first playoff game was very impressive. Rondo scored 15 points; while piling up 6 rebounds, 9 assists, and not committing a turnover.
The series continues at 8pm on Wednesday night.
To the average fan, last night’s 92-77 Boston Celtics win over the Indiana Pacers was just another impressive effort that displayed dominating play on both ends of the court. To the diehard fan, it was much more.
With this victory at the TD Banknorth Garden, the Celtics reached two milestones that deserve some recognition. The win was the teams 60th of the season, the franchise has not accomplished this feat since 1986. Big deal, right? Wrong. The Celtics have gone on to win an NBA Championship 5 times after winning 60+ games in a year, the last being in 1986. Granted, back then the big three in town were a few guys by the name of Bird, McHale and Parish.
There’s a new trio in town these days and they’re hungry. Together Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen have made some noise in a city where basketball had been in a state of hibernation for years. The Celtics were so bad last year fans started cheering for losses so that we would have a better shot at the overall # 1 pick in the NBA Lottery Draft.
To go from a 24 win season to a 60 win season in one year is an accomplishment that should not go unnoticed. In fact, this turnaround is the biggest in NBA history, and there’s still 7 games remaining in the regular season. The Spurs had previously held the record for best turnaround in a season when they went from 20 wins in 1997 to 56 wins in 1998. Some guy named Duncan got drafted or something like that, but regardless, now the C’s hold the new mark.
The beautiful thing about this team and these accomplishments is that they could care less. They understand that they haven’t won anything yet and that they are preparing themselves for a run at a championship. When Coach Doc Rivers was informed about the historic turnaround in one season, his response, “Did we do that? Thanks for letting me know.”
Well they did do it, and it came in another onslaught, this time against the Indiana Pacers. Garnett led the way for Boston scoring 20 pts and grabbing 11 rebounds in 31 minutes of action. Allen netted 15 points, reserve Leon Powe played well off the bench dropping 14 points with 9 boards and Pierce chipped in with 13 points.
This one wasn’t even close. Boston was off and running from the opening tip, going on a 9-2 run to start the game sealed with a KG slam that forced a quick Pacer timeout only 1:41 into the 1st quarter. Indiana coach Jim O’Brien just didn’t have any answers for the powerful offensive and defensive attack that the Celtics brought to the table in this one.
“I think they are the best defensive team in the league,” O’Brien said. “I think they play the hardest of any team in the league. I don’t think there is that much dispute about that. That’s why they are contenders.”
The Celtics caused the Pacers to turn the ball over 20 times and held them to a dismal shooting percentage of 35.6% from the floor on the night. A few bright notes for Indiana was the solid play from Jermaine O’Neal who came off the bench for the second straight game, scoring 12 points in 20 minutes. O’Neal had been sidelined for 33 games with a deep knee bruise. Troy Murphy also recorded a double-double going for 11 points and 10 rebounds in the losing effort.
The win also puts the Celtics magic number for the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs at 2. With the Detroit Pistons idle last night, the win increased Boston’s lead to 6 ½ games with only 7 remaining. With that said, there’s still work to be done and nobody wants it more the KG.
“We’re preparing for something way bigger than the present,” Garnett said. “I just don’t believe that you get to the playoffs and you wake up in the morning and blink and all of a sudden you turn it on.”
KG and the Celtics continue to turn it on every night; they just have to keep it going during the playoff run in their quest for Green 17.
Celtics playoff tickets are now available through Ace Ticket!
The “M-V-P” chants reigned down on the parquet floor as Kevin Garnett hit two free-throws late in the fourth quarter in his 30 point effort that lifted the Boston Celtics over the Phoenix Suns 117-97 yesterday evening at the TD Banknorth Garden. This was Boston’s first win vs. the fierce Western Conference opponents in six tries, and only their third win against the team since 2001.
In a game that was tied at the half 57-57, the Celtics came out and played an inspired type of basketball on the defensive end of the court that in return sparked their offensive production. The Suns were held to only 16 points in the 3rd quarter, an impressive stat considering they were coming off a 37 point 2nd quarter showing.
“You could hear the guys when we walked in [the locker room at halftime] saying, ‘We need to do this, we need to do that,’ said Celtics head coach Doc Rivers on boston.com. “And we said, ‘We need to do what we’ve done all year. We’re making no changes.’ And we were very stern; I was very stern about that. That we’re not going to make a change. We’re going to play it our defense… And so we went over what they were doing, and we showed if we played our normal defense, that we’re able be a better team than trying to change. And they did that in the second half. And they were all great at it. So it was a great lesson for us.”
After watching the Celtics performance last night, the rest of the NBA may have learned a lesson as well; you have to play hard for 48 minutes against this team or else you’re in for some serious trouble.
All of the Celtics starters were in double figures for points, led by Garnett’s 30. Paul Pierce had another great performance dropping 27 points on 9-16 shooting from the field and perfect 9-9 from the free-throw line. Kendrick Perkins contributed with a double-double grabbing10 boards and netting 13 points. Ray Allen had a quiet night but still produced 14 points and recorded a season high 8 assists in the win. Rounding out the five, Rajon Rondo also scored 14 points with 6 assists but more importantly kept Suns PG and former MVP Steve Nash in check.
“I just wanted to make Steve play defense on the opposite end,” said Rondo on boston.com. “I made a couple shots early, then I missed a couple, but I went back to it and still made my shots.”
The Suns had won 7 in a row before making their East Coast swing and were welcomed with two games against the top two teams in the Conference; Detroit and Boston. Detroit handed them a 109-105 overtime loss on Monday and the Celtics added to their woes with last nights pounding.
So, which team in the East is better?
“It’s a toss-up,” said Nash after the loss. “Both are terrific teams; two of the favorites, that’s for sure.”
Toss up or not, the Celtics currently hold a 6 game lead in the standings over the Pistons and with last nights win improve to a dominating 24-5 record against the Western Conference. Detroit’s record vs. the West currently stands at 20-8, the second best in the East only behind Boston’s.
The Celtics are home again on Friday with a rematch against the New Orleans Hornets. Led by another MVP candidate Chris Paul, the Hornets beat Boston last week in New Orleans so the C’s will be looking to settle the score with another strong showing tomorrow night.
It was supposed to be a great match-up that featured the Eastern and Western Conference leaders, but in the end a showdown that would only leave the Boston Celtics standing tall after an impressive display of defense en route to a 94-74 victory over the Houston Rockets, snapping their 22-game win streak. The streak which dated back to Jan. 27th was the 2nd longest winning streak in NBA history, only behind the 33-game steak the 1971-1972 L.A. Lakers team compiled in the midst of their championship season.
Fans in Houston definitely got their money’s worth in the first half of the contest, watching intense play go back and forth between the NBA powerhouses. Both teams were fired up, and tempers even flared before the opening tip when Celtics PG Rajon Rondo and Rockets PG Rafer Alston got into a shoving match that resulted in a double technical foul.
It was the Celtics who jumped out to an early lead but saw it slip away in the final three minutes of the period, capped with a steal and lay-up by Alston with only :03 seconds left on the clock. Alston ended the period with 9 points and the Rockets had a 22-21 advantage.
Houston jumped out to their largest lead of the game with 8:45 remaining in the 2nd quarter after Bobby Jackson netted a jumper to make the score 32-25 in favor of the Rockets. The Celtics fired back going on a 15-8 run to end the half, which ended with a Paul Pierce 3-pointer with :30 seconds left on the clock, tying the score at 40-40.
The second half was a different story, a story about defense.
Boston held Houston to a season low of only 34 points on 11-33 shooting (.33%) from the field in the half and capitalized on turnovers to turn a tied ballgame into a one-sided victory for the Celtics. At one point late in the 4th quarter the C’s took a 27 point lead on a powerful drunk by Kevin Garnett with 1:33 to play.
Rockets’ leading scoring Tracy McGrady was kept in check all night by aggressive, in your face defense, and the All-Star only scored 8 points on a 4 for 11 shooting display.
“It’s not disappointing,” McGrady said on yahoo.com. “It’s a hell of a team over there. They outplayed us. I’ve never seen a defense like that. I mean, if they play defense like that, night in and night out, the NBA is in trouble because that was defense at its finest.”
Garnett led the way for the Celtics recording another double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds in the win. In only 20 minutes of action, reserve PF Leon Powe scored 21 points while captain Paul Pierce chipped in with 20. The team was again without SG Ray Allen who sat out his third consecutive game with a sore left ankle injury.
With the loss, the Rockets fall back into a tie with the Lakers for the best record in the Western Conference at 46-21. The Celtics remain in charge in the Eastern Conference, now 5 games ahead of the 2nd place Detroit Pistons with the NBA’s best record of 54-13.
Up next, the Celtics continue their Texas swing after impressive wins vs. the Spurs and Rockets to face the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday 3/20 for the fourth game of a five game road trip. In the only meeting between the Celts and Mavs, Boston captured a 96-90 victory at home on Jan. 31st in a game where Garnett sat out with an injury and Pierce and Allen both hit for 26 points.
The Boston Celtics easily handled the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday, one day after losing at home to the Utah Jazz. The Celtics were without one of their Big Three on Saturday as Ray Allen sat out to rest an injured heel. Despite his absence the Celtics were in complete control, even resting Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in the fourth quarter.
Garnett had a game high 19 points for the Celtics while Pierce and Rajon Rondo added 13 apiece. New addition Sam Cassell finally got his chance to impress the team. Cassell added 10 points, 5 assists and 3 steals off the bench for the Celtics.
The Celtics were happy to get the win while also resting Pierce and Garnett. The Celtics will need the rest on their current road trip with games against the San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks. The Houston Rockets have won 21 straight games.
The Celtics return home on March 24 to take on the Philadelphia 76ers. Boston Celtics tickets are available for this and all remaining home games. Celtics Playoff tickets are also available.
It took the Boston Celtics 22 years, but with last night’s 111-82 victory over the Seattle Supersonics, Boston captured their first 10 game winning streak since the 1985-1986 season. Back then, the big three in town were a few guys by the names of Bird, McHale and Parrish. The trio would lead the Celtics to their 16th NBA title, the last the organization has seen.
The new big three want that to change.
With another dominating performance by Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, the Celtics continue to control play vs. the Western Conference whom they are now 12-0 against at home, with a 20-3 overall record. Garnett and Allen each dropped 18 points in the win while Pierce chipped in with 14 points and a game high 11 assists.
“We are talking more than ever and we feel connected,” Garnett said on yahoo.com. “Any team can beat you in this league, but confidence-wise we are strong 1 to 12 and that is a rarity.”
The Celtics are getting the job done on both sides of the court holding opponents to only 88 points a game during the winning streak while averaging 105 points. Their defensive effort really showed in the Supersonics win by holding the team to a dismal .380 shooting percentage from the floor and an even uglier .071 percent from 3-point range.
“We are playing well on both ends,” Pierce said on yahoo.com. “We like to share the ball and it’s contagious and [we] are riding the wave at just the right time.”
The score doesn’t reflect the struggle early on in the first quarter for the Celtics who trailed until late in the period. Once they gained the lead by going on a 23-6 run that spanned from the first quarter into the second, they would not lose it again throughout the entire contest.
Supersonics rookie sensation Kevin Durant played a solid game scoring 16 points, but his play couldn’t lift his team who has now lost 10 of 11 and six in a row. “They went on a run and it was quick,” Durant said. “It got us off our guard.”
Every single Celtics player that logged minutes contributed in the winning effort. Veterans PJ Brown and Sam Cassell played solid minutes, each contributing with 3 and 6 points respectively.
The Celtic’s next home game is tomorrow night vs. the Utah Jazz who are also playing great basketball, winning six of their last seven. The two teams met in Utah early on in the season with Boston coming away with the 104-98 victory on Dec. 29th. After the Jazz, the C’s will hit the road for a five game trip out West where there will be no cupcakes. Boston faces Milwaukee, San Antonia, Houston, Dallas and New Orleans in the swing.
It will not be an easy trip, but with the big three on the floor and the luck of the Irish in their uniforms, the Celtics will hopefully continue to dominate the rest of the NBA en route to Green 17.
The Celtics have already clinched a playoff berth and 2008 Celtics Playoff tickets are now available.
For the first time in 16 years the Boston Celtics have reached 50 wins. The Celtics’ Big Three mostly downplayed this feat with much bigger goals in mind. “It doesn’t really mean anything”, said the Celtics’ Ray Allen. Allen enjoyed a great shooting night with 21 points. Kevin Garnett added 26 points and 12 rebounds in leading the team to its ninth straight win. Paul Pierce rounded out the scoring for the Big Three with 17 points. The Celtics were winners over the 76ers 100-86.
Sam Cassell also made his debut for the Celtics but looked rusty in limited time on the court. Cassell quickly picked up three fouls within four minutes of play.
The Celtics host the Seattle Supersonics on Wednesday 3/12 at the TD Banknorth Garden. Celtics tickets are available for this and all Celtics games including Celtics playoff tickets.
The Boston Celtics had a great weekend, beating the Bulls on Friday night 116-93, and dismissing the Grizzlies 119-89 a day later. Winners of eight in a row now, the Celtics have found their offensive groove once again. The Celtics have already clinched a spot in the playoffs and are looking to keep home court advantage with the best record in the East.
On Friday night the Celtics won in large part behind the strong efforts of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Pierce scored 22 points while Garnett added 16 points and 8 boards. Both sat out the 4th quarter to rest for Saturday’s game. Kendrick Perkins continued his great play of late with 14 points and 11 rebounds. The matchup with the Bulls could be a preview of the 1st round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, as the Bulls are competing for the 8th and final playoff spot. For the 2nd night in a row the Celtics were able to rest their starters in the 4th quarter.
Saturday night’s game with the Memphis Grizzlies featured more of the same from the Celtics. They jumped out to an early first quarter lead with strong performances from their starters. Ray Allen had a game high 23 points and Perkins had another impressive night with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Pierce and Garnett added 19 and 17 points respectively.
The Celtics will play the 76ers in Philadelphia on Monday night. They return home on Wednesday, March 12 to host the Seattle Supersonics. Celtics tickets including Celtics playoff tickets are now available.