Sunday, December 30, 2012

Kings Give Celtics The Royal Flush: 96-118

The Celtics were banished back to Boston by the Sacramento Kings to close out their disappointing road trip with a 22-point loss.

The C's are now 2 games below .500 and hold the distinction, according to Celtics Broadcaster Extraordinaire Mike Gorman, of being the first team since the 1977 Celtics to have lost three consecutive games by a total of 18 or more points each. The Kings have now won 6 out of their last 7 home games.

Things can't get much worse, but they CAN get worse. Thus far, the Celtics have remained turmoil-free with respect to finger pointing and accusations, which is positive because they'll need to come together to right their listing ship.

Now, don't get me wrong...they can and will get it together. As Celtics from Rajon Rondo (who returned after a one game absence due to a hip injury) to Kevin Garnett to Coach Doc Rivers have said, the team as a whole still plays too singularly. That is, there are 15 individuals who must figure out what it takes to play as one team.

On this night, you could almost hear each player running the defensive schemes over in their heads, which led to hesitancy that gave way to stiff and mechanical play that allowed the Kings to punch gaping holes in the Charmin-soft middle of the Celtics' defense to the tune of 56 interior points to the Celtics' 38.

Six Celtics scored in double figures, but it mattered not as the Kings buried them in a 4th quarter barrage of 3-pointers that put a game out of reach that was already slipping away thanks to a triple-double from reported malcontent DeMarcus Cousins and a performance from Isaiah Thomas that made stat checkers wonder if they had accidentally pulled up one of the old games of the Hall-Of-Fame Detroit Bad Boy himself.

I won't get into individual stats for the Celtics (or the Kings, for that matter. You can check them in the Box Score and Tale Of The Tape links if you REAAAALY want to), but the C's were once again out-shot (53.7% to 41.4% from the field and 50% to 31.8% from Threeland), out-rebounded (45 to 36), and out-run (20 fast-break points to 9).

Things don't figure to get any easier with a return to the Garden, however, as the Celtics return home to face the Memphis Grizzlies and old friend Tony Allen on Wednesday, but at least the Green will have two days off to turn their books to the same page. Maybe some trust exercises are in order, with someone standing on a chair while the rest of the team waits to catch them from behind as they fall.


Tale Of The Tape

Box Score

Saturday, December 29, 2012

C's In No Golden State After Loss To Warriors: 83-101

Well, at least they held it under 20 this time.

Okay, seriously...keeping this mercifully short...

As completely BS as this sounds, this was a blowout to be sure, but it was a different kind of blowout than the one the Celtics experienced against the Los Angeles Clippers.

The C's were down by 20 at a number of junctures during this game and I won't hem and haw on it: the Warriors played a good game. But, it was a game that the Celtics were able to climb back into even as late as the fourth quarter with some solid defense and shot-making. Unfortunately the shot-making -- or more accurately, the lack thereof -- is what really cost the C's the game.

The Celtics shot 36% from the floor to Golden State's 52.1% (and an NBA Jams-"he's-on-fire"-esque 63.2% from Threeland) making it a moot point that they got the Warriors to turn the ball over 19 times to their own 13, as well as rendering insignificant the points-in-the-paint disparity of 30 for the C's vs. 24 for Golden State.

True, it didn't help that Rajon Rondo was a scratch for the game with some hip and leg injuries (apparently sustained in Los Angeles) and the old plotline that features the Celtics getting outrebounded by their opponents (46-38 this time) returned like a dead soap-opera villain to add to an already heavy burden, but the Celtics just could NOT buy a basket for significant portions of this game. You can credit the Warriors "D" for some of it, but many of the missed shots were ridiculously open looks.

The glimmers of sunlight in this otherwise overcast performance were Courtney Lee's 18 points; Jared Sullenger's 12 points on 6-8 shooting, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and one strong statement about his grit as he sustained a whack to the nose but came back onto the floor with blood streaming down his nostril and over his lips before being summoned back to the bench to be worked on by cut man head trainer Ed Lacerte.

Jeff Green had a noteworthy 9 rebounds, but shot 2-11 as if trying to outdo Paul Pierce who shot a miserable 4-20. Jason Terry hit just 6-19 shots and Garnett -- one of the only Celtics to shoot 50% from the floor -- was the antithesis of aggressive, taking only 6 shots for the game.

The Celtics woeful road trip will come to a merciful end tomorrow night as they face the 10 and 19 Sacramento Kings. The C's will enter that game under the .500 mark for the first time this season since their 2-3 start.

Tale Of The Tape

Box Score


Boston Celtics vs. Sacramento Kings
Sunday, December 30, 2012
9:00 p.m.
Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, CA

Fairweathers: You...Must...Chill!

Listen up, has been said in this space numerous times, there is no need to panic.
With the possible exception of location, situation and number of people in the room, this is a nearly flawless reenactment of what you have sounded like more or less, since the season began for the Celtics that fateful night in Miami.

But, as has also been stated here in times almost too numerous to list (almost), if you are the Bill Paxton circa the movie "Aliens" of your circle of friends (if you don't recognize this behavior in any of your co-C's fans, then...BINGO! He is you), then you should sit down, take a deep breath...hug close your favorite teddy bear, stuffed rabbit or Linus blanket and read the entirety of ESPN's Chris Forsberg as he posts the final Mailbag of the year 2012.

Though I'm the kind of guy who hates to give away surprise endings to movies and books, I feel that it is my duty as one of the true GreenHeadz of the world to prevent you from doing something you might horribly regret in the very near future (like declaring your allegiance to the Miami Heat or claiming that you were a New York Knicks fan all along).

Among the many excellent, wonderful, insightful pithy, intelligent points that Mr. Forsberg makes in response to some of the clammy, hyperventilating C's fans sending emails from their sweat-soaked mobile devices:
Q: Well, should the panic button be pressed? -- @RRP88 (via Twitter)

A: You guys know me by now; I'm not a panic-button guy. Are there concerning signs with this team? Absolutely. Is there any reason to believe Boston can't achieve its ultimate goal because of a 14-14 start? Absolutely not. What leaves me incredulous is how fast we forget recent history. The Celtics were 15-17 in a shortened season last year and ended up minutes from a trip to the NBA Finals. Boston went 27-27 down the stretch in 2010 and came within minutes of topping the Lakers in Game 7.

 And then there's:

Q: Do you think the Celtics can win a championship as they are constructed now? I don't think they're even close. -- @FrenchLickNick (via Twitter)

A: I do. Maybe I'm swimming in a vat of green Kool-Aid over here, but there's enough pure talent that Boston absolutely can compete for a title.
So, do yourselves a favor, my sweaty friends...check out the entire column. It should help you sleep a little bit more soundly. At least until the next game.

Friday, December 28, 2012

More Good Holiday Cheer: Rondo Brings Gifts, Smiles To Dorchester Kids

It's that time once again...time to put the game to the side for a moment and focus on the charitable efforts that some of the more socially conscious members of the League undertake from time to time.

This past weekend, Boston Celtics Maestro Rajon Rondo went out and bought $15,000 worth of toys and electronic gifts, which he later drove over in a U-Haul truck to distribute to the children of the Blue Hill Boys and Girls Club. Sticking around to challenge all comers for Connect Four supremacy, Rondo embodied the spirit of the season of generosity with his gift-giving and sharing by donating his time.

The Boston Celtics official website has the full story and even features a video of his antics while shopping at South Bay's Target in Dorchester.

Death By 1,000 Cuts: Celtics Gutted By Clippers 106-77


If Doc Rivers suited up in his old Clippers uniform at halftime, cast a spell on the rest of the team to make them believe that he was still their starting point guard and then proceeded to strategically turn the ball over on every single possession to put their opponents in prime scoring position, the Celtics STILL wouldn't have won this game.


If a member of the Celtics paid the Staples Center maintenance team to "accidentally" shut off the lights at the start of the 3rd quarter, the Celtics STILL wouldn't have won this game.


If the Celtics played patient, team-oriented basketball and stayed home on defense, they might still have lost this game because their new 10 is still learning how to play together with the original 4 in Doc's system and the Clippers happen to be one of the best teams in the League, but they DAMN sure wouldn't have lost this game by a ludicrous 29 points -- their worst loss of the season and the worst loss vs. the Clippers in Celtics team history.

Look, I don't want to pile on with the negative commentary about this team because I am still a firm believer that they're going to figure it out and turn it around for a great Playoff run. But, the one thing that there is just never EVER an excuse for is not trying and not playing hard, which is what this team did once their second and third attempts to cut into the lead were rebuffed by Chris Paul (11 assists), Blake Griffin (15 points, 8 boards) and company.    

While it's understandable that frustration can set in for a team with a new cast that's coming along slower than expected, no Celtic team from 2008 to the present has done anything but compete hard on most nights, even in blowout losses. Tonight, members of the Green appeared to get down on themselves and this led to half-hearted, lazy passes and 18 turnovers against a team that absolutely thrives on the run off of turnovers. The Clippers, meanwhile, only had 8 giveaways.

And, it wasn't just the turnovers...role players like Matt Barnes (21 points on 5-9 three-point shooting) and Caron Butler (14 points) joined super-sub Jamal Crawford (17 points) in throwing up 53 bench points against the Celtics' 29 pine points.

The highlights -- if you can call them that and maintain your integrity -- were these: Kevin Garnett had 16 points on 6-11 shooting. Courtney Lee had 12 rather inconsequential points. About the only real thrill offered by this game if you happen to be a Celtic fan was Paul Pierce's move into 24th place on the NBA's all-time scoring list, passing Elgin Baylor and his 23,149 points, with Adrien Dantley in the 23rd spot at 23,177 points looking over his shoulder at the rapidly approaching Truth.

Lowlights? Let me just sum the game up with this stat: Rajon Rondo and Jason Terry combined to shoot 8 for 22.

Folks, as I will get better. This team is going to figure it out. The houses that they pass along the journey may be dilapidated and painted with ugly pea-green paint, but the destination is Club Med. They just have to believe in each other and the system that Doc is preaching. It's coming, C's fans. Stay true. It's coming...

Next up: The Golden State Warriors on Saturday night at 10:30 p.m.

Tale Of The Tape

Box Score

Thursday, December 27, 2012

C's Fans Get Christmas Wishes Answered As Boston Gives Nets The Brooklyn Bounce: 93-76

Rondo showed Reggie Evans and the Nets the door in front
of a national audience during their Christmas Day tilt
Now that I've recovered from my food-induced Christmas coma, I'll state the obvious: fans got one major-league present from the Celtics, who rolled over the Brooklyn Nets, and the C's are now 1-0 to start the Jarvis Varnado era.

After much hand-wringing and countless fairweathers leaping from their bandwagon, the Celtics gave the naysayers pause as they treated their nationally televised game against the Brooklyn Nets like a coming-out party for their new-and-improved "Smother-D," handing the Nets their largest loss of the season.

As some of those Captain Francesco Schettino's slowly start to row their lifeboats through the shadows and attempt to climb back aboard during the High C's, allow me to throw a lightly moistened blanket over this mostly-excellent win.

To be sure, this Brooklyn Nets team is not the same team that the C's lost to 83-95 in the aftermath of Rondo's ejection during Krumphries-Gate, nor is it even the 97-102 team that the C's almost beat -- again without the Maestro -- near the beginning of the season. This is a dispirited group that has lost ten times over their past 13 games. That's right -- the Nets are 3-10 in December, and life didn't get any better for them in the game they played against the Bucks two nights after their pasting at the hands of the Celtics during the NBA's Christmas Day Spectacular.

This is not intended to take anything away from all of the things the C's did right in this game: the level of defensive ferocity; the improved offensive execution; a dominant night for Rondo with 19 points on 50% shooting, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals; Paul Pierce's masterful showcase of his ability to affect the game in so many more ways than just scoring with a season high 10 assists; the great contribution that the Celtics got off the bench from Jeff Green (15 points on 5-8 shooting including a clutch shot from Threeland) and rookie Jared Sullinger (16 points on 6-7 shooting , 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block and impressive defense on Brook Lopez and Andray Blatche).

No, the Celtics were aggressive and effective more than the Nets were inept and disjointed. After all, the C's did force 20 turnovers from the Nets and outrebounded their larger opponents 41-36 -- something you don't hear everyday when talking about the C's.

But, my suspicion is that the C's are closer to their recent Nets gain as opposed to their Bulls-crappy performance in their loss against Chicago a few games back. They're continuing to improve in fits and starts as they incorporate the new 10 with the 4 starters from last year (Avery Bradley should be back aaaany minute to make it 5 originals from last year), and we'll begin to see more and more games like the Christmas present and fewer like the Detroit debacle earlier in the year. There will be some clunkers to be sure, but the C's have been starting to figure out who they are (and are not), and the new players are beginning to understand what Doc expects from them night-in and night-out.

One thing's for sure,'s going to be an exciting game when the Celtics and Nets match up again on Wednesday, April 10th as the C's will undoubtedly look build their Playoff momentum and try to even the series against Brooklyn -- these teams do NOT like each other and it's almost certain that the Bad Blood will continue.

Tale Of The Tape

Box Score

And now we move to the...WestSIDE!!


Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Clippers
Thursday, December 27th, 2012
@ Staples Arena, L.A., California
10:30 p.m.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Melo Claws His Way To Absolutely Fab-ulous Night

Well, it certainly has been too long since our last update on the "Claws. I blame that on the fact that there was an abundance of Celtics news recently and the fact that I am completely full of sh**.

No, I have shirked my duty as a reporter of all things Celtic and let the rooks toil in obscurity (at least on this site!), but...SNAPPING SEA CRUSTACEANS!! Fab Melo has really forced the issue here!

Playing a rather innocuous game against the Erie BayHawks (6-4), the Maine Red Claws (7-4) started the game like many others...introductions, jump ball...and then IT happened. Fab Melo went crazy Bananaramas (hmmm, is there a new expression afoot?) all over the 'Hawks, recording 15 points, 16 rebounds and an epic 14 (FOURTEEN!!!) blocks!! This, needless to say, is a record for the NBADL.

Though he tried to make the 'Hawks have a Cruel Winter (nahhhh...not only not a new expression, I will heretofore pretend it never happened and strongly and aggressively deny it if ever it returns to haunt me like Jacob Marley...), but the 'Claws fell short 78-85.

I don't know about you guys, but I am waiting with some seriously baited breath for the moment when Doc proclaims, "Fab Melo's gonna win a game for us...I guarantee you that."

Oh, yeah...and the other Celtics rook Kris Joseph had a busy stat line for himself with 10 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 1 block. Joseph is averaging a hearty 19.5 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists during his time up north.

Check out a brief clip, or watch the entirety of the game and check out the stats here.

Friday, December 21, 2012

C's Get Bucked Up By Milwaukee: 94-99


Here's the bright spot: At least the Celtics don't face the Milwaukee Bucks again this year (good luck if we happen to meet in the Playoffs, though!).
It's late and I really don't have the energy left to explain what went wrong here.

What I will do is spend this very short post praising Paul Pierce.

though, for games like these, he might want to conserve his energy and just hire someone to go out on a mission to visit every single sports "expert" who has ever called him old and deliver the gentleman's glove-slap to their undoubtedly red-from-embarrassment face. This man is straight-killin' em at the ripe "old" age of 35. I mean...40 points two nights ago against Cleveland and now 35 on 13-23 shooting and 12 rebounds(!!) 5 assists and 3 steals with the key trifecta to send the game into overtime against the Bucks the following game? He is truly the truest Truth that ever spoke truth to power, and that's the truth.

So, details? Naaahhhhhhh.....I think I'll let the Tale Of The Tape do the work for me. Suffice it to say, the C's had 10-point leads at multiple junctures in this one and had several more chances to win the game, but it wasn't meant to be. The Bucks are just going to be that team for us this year and we're going to have to move on and get ready to show Brooklyn what's-the-what on Christmas.

Celtics that performed admirably? Jeff Green had 14 before Ersan Ilyasova knocked him from the game with an errant elbow that bruised his cheek and chipped multiple teeth, KG had 12, Rondo had 11 assists, Lee had 11...

The usual suspects put the antlers to the C's collective heinies...Monta Ellis had 27 points, 7 boards  and 5 assists. Larry Sanders laid his show on the Celtics once again with 17 points, 20 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks. Brandon Jennings had 12 points, 11 assists, 8 rebounds and 2 steals. Even Luc Mbah a Moute put the hoof down on the Green with 20 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists.

Hey, at least the C's held ol' pal Marquis Daniels to 0-5 shooting for the goose egg.

Bah. Humbug.

Box Score

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Truth That Ate Cleveland -- Paul Pierce Powers C's To Win Over Cavaliers: 103-91


Paul Pierce is The Truth.

That's probably all I should write for this post and leave it at that.

Of course, if you've ever read any of my other posts, you'd know that this is pretty much impossible for me to do.

So, here we go...

Paul Pierce was a Beast with a capital "Effing". I am compelled to talk about The Captain's performance without going into details of the game itself. He was THAT good. The stats speak for themselves: Pierce had 25 points already in the bank by halftime. He scored 17 points in the third quarter alone, going 6-6 from Threeland. He had 32 points by the end of the third. He ended the game with 40 points on 13 for 16 shooting, and added 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 1 block(!). For those people talking about age and declining abilities, shooting percentages, or whatever negative spin that's been hurled at The Truth this year (and over the past two years), this was The Captain's foam-hand-sized middle finger to all the haters.

Now, getting into the heart of the game itself:

Cleveland came into the Boston Garden with even more of a foul fragrance than the Celtics even after their failure of a road trip through Texas and Chicago, in which the C's finished 0-3. The Cavs are a dreadfully awfully terrible 5-22 on the season, though to be fair, sparkplug and youthful team-leader Kyrie Irving was sidelined for 11 of those games.

Still, the reality was that the Cavs were 1-9 in December. The Celtics helped to even that loss-column figure by handing them their 10th defeat in 11 games.

This, of course, would come only after the C's survived yet another comeback scare from an eager opponent that wouldn't just roll over because they faced a deficit.

In spite of the heroics of P2 and sidekick of the night Rajon Rondo, who continued in attack mode with 20 points, 8 assists, 4 boards, 2 steals and a block(!), and despite the fact that the Celtics held an 18-point advantage in the middle of the third before allowing Pierce to take a breather, the Boston bench allowed an Irving-led Cleveland run of 17-0 that extended into the 4th quarter and essentially put the game back into contention.

Eventually, the Truth won out (sorry...TOO easy) and the Cavs were sent packing their sad-sacks for another City as the Celtics stopped their skid at 3 while increasing their home winning streak to 4.

Not that it would have made the difference for the win, but Anderson Varejao was out for Cleveland with a bruised knee and probably helped the C's as they managed to stay even with the Cavs in total rebounds with 35 apiece.

Jason Terry started and had a respectable 15 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds and a steal. Kevin Garnett was subtly substantial with 12 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks and 1 steal. Oh yeah...I almost Jason Collins started over Brandon Bass this game and his most significant stat of the night was fouling out in just 23 minutes of play.

Next up, a Milwaukee Bucks team that has beaten the C's in two-out-of-three games so far this year.

Box Score & Tale Of The Tape


Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Friday, December 21st, 2012
7:30 p.m.
@ The Boston Garden in Boston

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Celtics Gored By Noah & The Bulls: 89-100

Out of sorts.
Under the weather.
Need I go on? The Celtics look like a disorganized, almost dispirited bunch. No two ways about it.
The C's got a big game from Rondo, who appeared to be getting back to himself and then some, but seemed to run out of gas after his third quarter heroics just when it was clear that the Celtics needed someone to throw on a cape and fly them home.
Rondo, who finished with 26 points, 8 assists, and 2 rebounds, came out with great energy and played like he truly wanted this game, but his third quarter explosion, it seemed, was about all he could muster as fatigue may be starting to creep into his still-young bones.
The rest of the C's seemed to be waiting for someone else to do it for them, and after the third quarter, only Courtney Lee (14 aggressive points on 7-11 shots) seemed to have anything going. Kevin Garnett also had his moments -- most of them coming in the first quarter, unfortunately -- but he, too, faded as the game wore on. He cranked out 10 points and 8 boards and Paul Pierce managed 16 points against his most difficult all-around NBA cover in Luol Deng (who scored 21 points of his own). Brandon Bass had another nearly-forgettable night, save for his 8 rebounds. After that?  
There's just something missing from the play of this team right now and it's difficult to really put a definitive finger on it. There's a ho-hum energy emanating from some of the bench players at this point as they seem legitimately puzzled, particularly on defense. Jared Sullenger reverted to "welcome to the NBA, Rook" status tonight, Barbosa showed aggression in meaningless minutes and Jeff Green continues to make doing very little look very easy.
When you have former Celtic Nate Robinson outscoring the entire bench by himself, you have a problem. He scored 18 points in just 13 microwave minutes, shooting 5-7 from Threeland and being a general nuisance by flexing and yapping into the nearest opponent's ear. And, while this post is mostly about the Celtics and their disjointed play, I have to tip the cap to Joakim Noah for notching his second career triple-double with 11 points, 13 assists(!), and 10 rebounds to go along with 3 blocks and 1 steal. Carlos Boozer (which rhymes with "abuser") roughed up the C's with 21 points and 12 boards.
The questions that are being asked with increasing repetition and volume: Do we need another big? Maybe. I still don't think I'm entirely ready to conceed that point, because I still believe that it comes down to desire and hustle and we're just not showing it by boxing out and working for position. Do we need a backup point to truly give quality bench minutes to Rondo? It would be nice, but I think the return of Avery Bradley should help by moving Pierce to the point forward role while Rondo is on the pine with Bradley ball-hawking and running the floor. Do we need to make a trade? I think any trade, barring an impact player at the center position, will keep the C's in learning mode for a longer stretch and whatever we get may not be any better than what we have.
At this point, the game feels lacking in any consistent flow which has, in turn, caused the Celtics to play with an individual and less-than-team-first mentality.
Look, I am by nature Mr. Positivity when it comes to the Celtics, but I kind of liken the experience to being the biggest dog-lover in the world: you reeeeeeally love your buy them all kinds of great toys and might even buy them little outfits and a tiny replica couch for them to sleep on ( real dog sleeps on the floor and only wears a collar!!!), but you still get kind of upset after the third or fourth time you come home to find a pile of sh** waiting for you in the bedroom.  
Ultimately, I think Paul Pierce phrased it best...:
"We're still searching for an identity. We're supposed to be a defensive team, and then we're giving up 100 points a game. We need to figure out who we wanna be."

-- Paul Pierce - Captain, Legend, Truth
Box Score & Tale Of The Tape

Monday, December 17, 2012

Hookin' Up Facials, & Rimshots & Throwdowns...
Gettin' It Started 
-- As Always --
With One Of The Game's Most Emphatic Dunkers
While the Celtics haven't necessarily been tearing it up these days in the win column, Jeff Green has been Worthy of his reputation as a Dunkzilla and Captain Paul Pierce has spoken his Truth to the rim over the past couple of games. Here, then, for your viewing pleasure are two of Boston's Finest proving once again that they have the right stuff. Enjoy.
The Captain gives a five finger salute to the Alamo during the Spurs/Celtics game on December 15, 2012.
Maestro Rajon Rondo throws the "Alley" to Jeff Green's "Oop."

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Rockets' Red Glare Blinds Celtics, San Antonio Spurred To Win Over Boston By Parker & Neal

I preface this blog by saying that, though I, like many, many of our kind, love the Boston Celtics and one of my greatest passions is to watch, root for and talk about the Celtics in just about any and every instance...there are a few things that even I can admit take precedence over the game.

My heart goes out to all of the families and friends touched by the horrendous evil that befell Newtown, Connecticut this week. There are no words to adequately express the feelings of sadness...only the hope that there can somehow be a day when the painful moments are fewer and far between replaced by the happy memories of those who have been lost to the world.

With that, I will press ahead with the games:

Fits and starts. That's what it's going to be for the Celtics as they look to fine-tune their defensive rotations and get their offensive players marching in synch heading toward the second half of the season in February.

Speaking of appeared that Rajon Rondo was on the outside of it for most of the night against the Houston Rockets. Yes, I understand that he got another double-double with 15 points and 13 assists with 4 steals. But he also had an uncharacteristic 7 turnovers and seemed to be in the midst of one of those days caught up in an affliction that my aunt used to refer to by its clinical name: "The Dropsies." He just seemed a little bit out of sorts and the rest of the team was also just a little bit off somehow. The game plan seemed keyed in on stopping Jeremy Lin and James Harden, which they did to mixed results, but it also allowed the unheralded Greg Smith to blast off for the stratosphere and help put away the C's in the fourth Quarter.

I could tell you that Captain Paul Pierce had an off night, scoring 18 but on 1-6 shooting, or that Kevin Garnett scored 14, but would that change the score? No. It wouldn't. Celtics lose 89-101.
Really, the standout moment was watching Doc, Courtney Lee and Kevin Garnett go over to a still deeply grieving Rockets Coach Kevin McHale and give him some love, the latter embrace bringing him to tears. McHale had recently returned to the sidelines to resume coaching duties following the death of his 23-year-old daughter, Alexandra. This was an extremely touching and personal moment played out before the cameras and as sad as it was to get a window into his pain, it was inspiring to see that there are players who recognize the truly important things in life and that it's about so much more than themselves or how well they can put a ball in a basket.


Now, I'll have to admit...I got caught out in the Christmas shopping rush tonight and didn't make it to watch the game. After reading a couple of other blogs and watching some of the game tape, though, maybe I'm kind fortunate that I spent the evening bouncing off of ravenous hordes of mall zombies and over-sugared screaming-while-texting tweenagers.

Apparently, these are the things that happened on the second night of the C's back-to-back Texas two-step:

Rondo continued his mini-funk, kicking away another 7 turnovers and failing to get to double figures in assists for the first time in 44 games (not including his ejection game against the Brooklyn Nets). Previously, he had gotten into double-digits in 42 of his past 43 games played. Clearly, he's not sharp and appears to be playing tired, and one can only hope that it's just a tiny hiccup in what has been a tremendous season for the League's best point guard. 

Jason Terry, on the other hand, appeared to have ingested some leftover Rocket fuel from the C's opponents the night before, scoring 17 points in the first half, but it turned out to be just exhaust fumes because after his return from the locker room after half time, he experienced some major Jet-lag, managing only a single
point for the rest of the game.   

Garnett continued his less-than-cordial relationship with Tim Duncan (see beginning of "game tape" link), and held him down to a decidedly un-Big-Fundamental night, scoring just 5 points on 2-13 shooting. But, Tony Parker, Gary Neal and Tiago Splitter? Well, you can watch the tape or check out the box score if you care to see for yourself. 

The crazy stats, considering the 15-point loss? The Celtics and Spurs had identical field goal percentage (46.9%), identical free throw percentage (75%), identical rebound figures -- offensive (11) an total (38), and points in the paint (38). The difference? Three-point percentage (37.5% for the Celtics to 48% for the spurs) and 17 turnovers to the Spurs' 12. Now, I've read a few comments about the refs not giving the C's a fair shake in this one, but I don't care if you had three Joey Crawfords out there, the refs don't cause 17 turnovers.

Other than that?

Friday, December 14, 2012

C's Shoot For Holiday Cheer At Children's Hospital, Boston Medical Center

With all of the attention that this blog has devoted to the Celtics' on-court actions, I didn’t want to let too many posts slip by without highlighting some of the good work that the team does off-the-court.

This past week, the team visited the Boston Children’s Hospital and Boston Medical Center’s pediatric hematology program at Top of the Hub’s Skywalk Observatory for two holiday-themed parties aimed at lifting the spirits of patients at each facility.

ESPN Boston
posted a nice article about the visits and several media outlets covered portions of the events, including this video
from Boston’s WHDH-Channel 7 that also includes Boston Bruins Coach Claude Julien and Bruins President Cam Neely shopping for toys and sports memorabilia to deliver to hospitalized children.

There’s also a great clip of the visit from NECN, reposted by, that features Kevin Garnett in a Santa Hat playing Connect Four with a young opponent and talking about the importance that he places on such events.

It appears most if not all of the team attended, from the players to the coaches, all on hand to try and help brighten the lives of children who can still manage to smile in spite of their difficult circumstances.

Keep up the good work, C's.


Boston Celtics vs. Houston Rockets
Friday, December 14th, 2012
8:00 p.m.
@ The Toyota Center, Houston, TX

Thursday, December 13, 2012

C's Big Double Overtime Win Against "Big D" A Big Delight: 117-115

Big "D"isrespect
The Dallas "Big D" Mavericks were in town last night to play the Boston Celtics and, oh, what Big "D"rama! The Mavs were without their Big "D"irk (Nowitzki, out with a sore post-surgical knee), and at first, it looked like the Celtics Big "D"efense was going to lead to Big "D"ominance as the C's ran up a 14-point lead into the early part of the third quarter before the Big "D"ownturn in defensive execution due to Big "D"isinterest on the part of the C's, which led to a Big "D"ip in their production allowing a Big "D"esperate Mavericks team to finally buckle down and begin to take advantage of the Big "D"oldrums, cutting into the Big "D"eficit until it became a Big "D"raw at 92-all.

Big "D"efense
Initially, the C's defensive gameplan was to treat O.J. Mayo like a Big "D"eal and work the Big "D"enial of the ball routine, which seemed to work, but that allowed Big "D"ahntay Jones to have a Big "D"ay, scoring 12 on 5-10 shooting. Unfortunately, the C's Big "D"elicatessen plan to "Hold The Mayo" began to unravel as he found his range and became Big "D"ialed in, ending up with 24 points on 10-19 shooting. The two Dallas point guards, (little "D"s Darren Collison and Derek Fisher) who were previously embroiled in a "who's the starter" controversy, managed to put that Big "D"istraction to the side and totaled 30 points, 10 assists and 8 rebounds between them, helping to ensure a Big "D"ate with a Big "D"ouble overtime game.

Big "D"rive
Throughout the game, there were Big "D"'oh moments from Jeff Green and Jason Terry who both missed on bunnies down the stretch and Dallas' Shawn Marion (who was otherwise all-around spectacular for the Mavs with 16 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists) became the Big "D"underhead by attempting to make a blind behind-the-back pass to Collison who was trailing him at a critical juncture. Instead, the ball bounced off of Collison's face (no doubt causing a Big "D"ent) and out of bounds.

Big "D"raw
It was, in fact, these kinds of forced and unforced Big "D"iscombobulated dumpoffs from the Mavericks players that ultimately did them in. By game's end, the Mavs had turned the ball over 28 times compared to the Celtics' 13, a Big "D"isadvantage for a visiting team trying to climb back into the game. A Big "D"-List performance by the referees didn't help anyone as they tried to pull a Big "D"ismantle of any momentum to the game with a few Big "D"erelection-of-duty calls and no-calls (some would call them Big "D"ogsh*t calls but, hey, it WAS Joey Crawford's Crew, so...Big "D"uh! I suppose that's why Mavericks owner Mark Cuban looked like a Big "D"**k yelling at the refs, but I digress...)
Despite a Big "D"rained 3-pointer by Vince (the original something-sanity) Carter, the C's administered a fatally Big "D"ose of Paul Pierce (in Truth-mode, scoring 34 points, grabbing 6 boards and 4 steals, and handing out 3 assists with 1 block), Kevin Garnett (in Big-Ticket-mode 16 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists,  2 steals and 1 block), and Rajon Rondo (in Maestro-mode and once again barely missing a triple-double with 16 points, 15 assists, 9 boards, 3 steals and 1 block). Also showing Big "D"etermination were Chris Wilcox (10 points, 6 rebounds, 1 block), Brandon Bass (9 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals), and Green with 15 points, 5 boards and one Big "D"unk.

Big "D"ominance: 23,000th career point scored
Rondo was simply brilliant all night, whether it was delivering one Big "D"ime after another, tenaciously guarding O.J. Mayo down the stretch, getting a Big "D"rive at a critical juncture as he did with .28 seconds left in the game, followed by a Big "D"efensive rebound -- Rondo, along with his mates, came through with the Big "D"eliverance, handing Dallas a Big "D"isappointment and all of the Boston GreenHeadz a Big "D"elight of a win, even though they likely caused a Big "D"rain on all of our energies and productivity at work for today, thanks to the game's late ending.

And, speaking of the game's extended timeline, I apologize for presenting this post with a Big "D"elay -- person's gotta rest...

Here are the Big "D"etails: Box Score & Tale Of The Tape.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

With 11-9 Season Thus Far, C's Hope For December To Remember

"Long December And There's Reason To Believe, Maybe This Year Will Be Better Than The Last."

   -- Adam Duritz, Counting Crows
Of course, last December didn’t officially start until Christmas Day because of the lockout, but the C’s were still a dismal 1 and 3 for the month anyway.  
This December, however, the deck is stacked with some fairly stiff challenges that should provide a good barometer as to how far along this current crop of Green has come and what categories, if any, they continue to lag in.  And, while it’s not a “make or break” month for the season, it will allow Doc Rivers and the players themselves to see how well the team’s 10 fresh faces are integrating with the core 5 as they continue to make their push towards Banner #18 in earnest.

The good news? The Boyz from Boston are 11-9 (2-2 in December) and only four spots out of first place in the Atlantic Division heading into the rest of their schedule for December. The not-so-good news? The Celtics have two road trips -- one three-game and another four-game stretch on the road.
The C's will kick off the first day of the rest of the month by facing a Nowitzki-free but dangerous Dallas Mavericks team tonight at the Garden before hitting the road against the Jeremy Lin/James Harden-led Houston Rockets (9-10), League-leading San Antonio Spurs (17-4), and the always-tough if Rose-less Chicago Bulls before returning home to host a better-than-their-record Cleveland Cavaliers with a fresh Kyrie Irving, who just returned to the lineup after sitting for the past 11 games with an injured finger. The C's end their 2-game home stand against the Milwaukee Bucks, a team that has won two-out-of-three games against the C's already.
The Celtics will then embark upon their road show with the "Christmastime In Brooklyn Spectacular" and then take a California swing against the Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors, and the Sacramento Kings to end the month.

While the C's appear to be heading in the right direction by flexing a beefier defense and an offense that features a more consistent and comfortable Jeff Green and Jason Terry, it remains to be seen whether the C's have it completely figured out. My guess is that they'll end the "Holiday Month" with more gifts under the tree than lumps of coal in their stockings. 

The Future begins tonight, GreenHeadz! Dallas Mavericks at the Garden! 8:00 pm!
LET'S GO, C'S!!!