It took another 7 game series, but the Boston Celtics are finally on their way to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Celtics won a great game at the Garden yesterday over Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers by a final score of 97-92. Paul Pierce was the big story for the Celtics, scoring 41 points and matching Lebron basket for basket for much of the game. Lebron put up 45 points in the Cavs losing effort.
The win at home was the 8th home playoff win for the Celtics this postseason. They have yet to win a road game. All home teams combined for a 22-2 record in the 2nd round of the NBA playoffs. If the trend continues the Celtics will be happy as they have clinched home court advantage for the remainder of the 2008 playoffs. The Detroit Pistons are hoping to buck that trend when they visit the Garden for game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday 5/20.
Boston Celtics Eastern Conference Finals tickets are now available.
After holding the Cleveland Cavaliers to only 72 points in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Final playoff series, the Boston Celtics defense came right back out to play shutting down Lebron and Co. again in their 89-73 Game 2 win at the TD Banknorth Garden yesterday evening. At home during the playoffs, Boston’s defense has now held opponents to an average of 75.5 points per game while they’ve averaged 95.7 per contest at the Garden.
The Celtics looked to be in trouble early, trailing by as many as 12 points midway through the first quarter. Cavalier’s center Zydrunas Ilgauskas led the early charge starting the game 6-6 from the floor, hitting mid-range jump shots with confidence on multiple occasions. After the1st quarter the Celtics trailed 24-17 and looked to be in for a long night.
That thought quickly evaporated into the rafters of the Garden as the Celtics bench came out in the 2nd quarter on a mission. They picked apart the Cavs defensively which sparked an offensive run in which they outscored Cleveland 13-3 during the first seven minutes of the quarter. The C’s bench would score 20 of the 27 points during the 2nd, putting the Celtics up at the half 44-36.
As the Celtics continued to ride the high wave of energy reigning down on them from their home court fans, the Cavaliers never were able to find the same rhythm from the first quarter. Lebron James’s offensive woes continued after going 2-18 in Game 1, he followed it up with a 6-24 shooting performance last night, and for the first time all season looked frustrated. The defensive tenacity of Paul Pierce and James Posey has been one of the main reasons for James’s struggles. He scored 21 points on the night, 9 coming from the free throw line.
“I’m a little shocked that he’s 8-for-42, but this is what we work on. We work on trying to contain him,” said Pierce, who also struggled in Game 1 going 2-for-14. “LeBron is what makes them go. And if we can somehow control him, we control their team. And with the help of the guys around me, we’ve been able to do that.”
While the Celtics continued to play great defense, their Big Three got back into the offensive swing of things after a poor showing in Game 1 where Kevin Garnett was forced to carry the load. In that game, Ray Allen went scoreless and Pierce only had 4 points but both were able to break out of it last night in the winning effort. Allen dropped 16 points and Pierce rebounded from his Game 1 performance scoring 19 on a 7-13 shooting display. Garnett chipped in with 13 points and 12 rebounds in his 32 minutes of action.
“It was good to see Ray get it going. I thought that lifted everybody up on our team,” said Celtics coach Doc Rivers, who called the first several plays of the second half for Allen. “I made a concerted effort. I told the coaches at halftime, ‘We’re going to him over and over again. We’ve got to get him going.’”
The teams will now hit the road and travel to Cleveland for Games 3 and 4, with one squad hoping to end the series and the other wanting to extend it.
“Being down 0-2, that’s a tough hole to dig yourself out of. But if we want to win the series we’ve got to do it,” James said and noted that last year Cleveland went down 0-2 against Detroit in the Eastern Conference Finals before winning four in a row to make it to the NBA Finals vs. San Antonio. “We’ve been in this situation before, and I’ve got to let them know that I’m not frustrated.”
His teammates must not be getting that message.
“He’s got to be frustrated,” Cavaliers guard Wally Szczerbiak said. “He’s such a good player. He puts so much on his shoulders.”
As the series shifts to Cleveland, the Celtics will hopefully pack their bags and bring along with them the same defensive intensity that they demonstrated in Games 1 and 2 in Boston. They already saw in Atlanta what can happen when the team relies too heavily on an offensive game, and lost three times in high scoring shoot-outs to the younger Hawks line-up. The key to having success on the road will be to continue to stress defense and shut down Lebron.
Easier said then done, but this Celtics line up looks more focused then ever on their quest for Green 17. Celtics Playoff tickets available for all potential games.
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.
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.
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.
It had been over two weeks since the Boston Celtics stepped foot in the TD Banknorth Garden, but it felt great to return home Wednesday night with a huge 92-87 win over the surging Cleveland Cavaliers. The C’s were in control most of the way which pleased another sell-out crowd of over 18,000 fans and brought them to their feet for the games final seconds.
Not only did Celtics supporters get to see a great game, they got to witness a piece of history as Lebron James became the youngest player in NBA history to score 10,000 points. He did it in 23 years and 59 days, which was more then a year faster then it took Kobe Bryant to reach the milestone when he was 24 years and 193 days old.
“It doesn’t make me happy to do it in a losing effort,” James said on NBA.com.”To be in the record books is a tribute to my teammates, myself and my family.”
The historic basket came on a thundering dunk with 4:54 remaining in the third quarter that cut the Celtics lead to 9 points (63-54) but 21 seconds later after a Rajon Rondo floater put the C’s back up by 11 and the double-digit lead held until the final minute of the contest.
“We had our hands full (with James), but I thought we did a pretty good job,” said Ray Allen on NBA.com, “I think we gutted it out.”
Allen led the Celtics in scoring with a 7-10 shooting performance, good for 22 points in 36+ minutes of action. Kevin Garnett also contributed with a double-double grabbing 11 boards, hitting for 18 points, and snatching a game high 4 steals. Paul Pierce and Leon Powe were also in double figures scoring 12 and 13 points respectively in the win.
At one point mid-way through the fourth quarter, the Celtics lead was as high as 16 points.
This is a big win for the club, especially coming off of a sub-par road-trip in which they went 2-3 over the week. Now, in the midst of a five game home stand, the Celtics hope to defend their home territory and stay a top of the East. The Cavaliers game was exciting, but the gem of this home stand is the match up on Wed. March 5th, vs. Detroit. The Pistons are currently 3 games behind the C’s for the top spot in the East, but the Celtics have not forgotten that it was the same Pistons who handed them their first home court loss of the season back on Dec. 19th.
In addition to the victory, the Celtics also announced yesterday that they had signed veteran PF/C P.J. Brown for the stretch run. Brown plays aggressive low post defense and once in game shape will be used off the bench when Garnett and Kendrick Perkins are in foul trouble. The leadership role he will assume immediately will be more influential than his physical presence on the floor. He’s not a selfish player and truly believes in the concept of team, and that’s exactly the type of guys the Celtics could use.
“First and foremost, [I'm] just try to be even more of a stabilizer on the bench, being there for the guys, being another pair of eyes on the bench, another voice in the locker room and keep them going in the right direction,” Brown said on Yahoo Sports. “I know I’m probably not going to be playing a lot here real soon, but just being there for the guys for whatever they need – encouraging, supporting and being the biggest cheerleader I can possibly be as of right now.”
Looking at the rest of the Celtics current home stand, they will battle it out with the Charlotte Bobcats March 29th, and then the Atlanta Hawks come to town for an April 1st contest. Mark your calendars if you haven’t already for the war with the Detroit Pistons on April 5th and to cap off the stand the C’s will welcome the Chicago Bulls to town for a game on April 7th.
The Boston Celtics were able to salvage their West Coast trip with two consecutive wins, finishing the trip at 2-3. Last night the Celtics dominated the Los Angeles Clippers 104-76. After struggling on offense and defense in their first three games on the trip the Celtics were firing on all cylinders last night. The Celtics once again used a balanced attack approach on offense, with Pierce and Posey scoring 17 points and Ray Allen adding 15. Kevin Garnett in his fifth game back from an abdominal strain added 11 points and 6 rebounds.
The Celtics will be back in Boston on Wednesday 2/27 to host the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs have won three straight since completing a trade that landed them Ben Wallace, Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak. This will be a great test for both teams. Celtics tickets are still available for this game.
After 3 consecutive losses to West Coast teams, the Boston Celtics were able to get back on track in Portland last night. The Celtics had dropped games to the Denver Nuggets, the Golden State Warriors and the Phoenix Suns before defeating the Trail Blazers 112 to 102 on Sunday. Paul Pierce led the way for the Celtics scoring 30 points with 7 rebounds and 5 assists. The effort from Pierce was no doubt an improvement from his awful performance in Phoenix on Friday. The Celtics were able to fight back in Portland after trailing by 17 points in the first quarter. Ray Allen added 19 points for the Celtics.
The Celtics will finish up their West Coast trip tonight with a game in L.A. against the Clippers. The Boston Celtics are back home on Wednesday night to face the new look Cavaliers. Great Celtics tickets are still available for Wednesday night’s game.