The Boston Celtics took a major advantage against the Miami Heat as they won in Miami and can now go home to close out the series. The Celtics have gone from the “old” Celtics to a winning team. TD Garden will surely be roaring when the C’s return home for Game 6 and KG will be doing the same. The men in green have all the momentum heading home.
“They jumped on us at the beginning of the game and we just told our guys to just hang in there. Just hang in there. Don’t overreact. Hang in there. The longer we’re in the game, the better we’ll play.”
– Celtics coach Doc Rivers
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combined for 57 points but not a single other player registered in double figures for the Heat. For the Celtics, Garnett had 26 points and 11 rebounds while Paul Pierce scored 19 points.
The 76ers got a stirring victory over the Celtics as they stunned the men in green with an 18 point comeback.
Down big and on the verge of having to go into Boston to fight for their playoff lives, Andre Iguoldala came up big, knocking down key shots including a shot clock beating triple.
Iguodala high scored for the Sixers with 16 points while Evan Turner also had 16 but shot at just 5-22 (22%) from the field.
“I thought, for the most part, we played decent defense. We just didn’t do it well enough in the last four or five minutes.”
– Boston forward Garnett.
Rajon Rondo was the Cs best, or at least close to it, with 15 points and 15 assists while Paul Pierce had 24 points on one knee.
Yet it seemed that the offence did not go through Garnett enough, as he had only 9 points. When he has a big night and gets lots of touches, the Celtics seem to win. When he does not, they appear to struggle. An interesting thought to carry into Game 5 in Boston.
A vintage performance from Kevin Garnett and yet another triple double from the seemingly unstoppable Rajon Rondo just allowed the Celtics to clear the Sixers at home; 92-91. Few players seem to have the ability to control the flow of a game like Rondo can, who almost always knows when the right time to pass and when to score. Rondo finished with 13 points, 12 rebounds and 17 assists in a dominant performance. Rondo continues to show that he is the most important Celtic, helping them win even with Pierce having a minimal impact.
“I feel we have better basketball in us. I’m sure as the series goes on we will have no other choice but to get better. Whatever is asked of me is what I am going to do.”
The Sixers did leap out to a big first half lead, led by Iguodala who finished with 19 points on the night, but the Celtics continued to grind all night as they whittled down the sizeable lead. Powered by the crowd, the Celtics kept up their seemingly unstopable form at home and took an important 1-0 lead.
“I didn’t think I would play the way I played tonight. I didn’t get a nap today so I didn’t know what to expect. I came up with some rebounds, I came up with some assists and it just happened to be a triple-double tonight.”
– Rondo on whether he expected to get a triple-double in Game 1
Atlanta win: 74-83 (Atlanta lead 1-0)
Josh Smith had 22 points and pulled down 18 boards as the Atlanta Hawks took full advantage of their home court as the won their first game of the series against the Boston Celtics. Kirk Hinrich provided a big lift, giving the Hawks a 12 points on 4-6 shooting from downtown. The Hawks jumped out to a big lead early and were only just able to fend off a determined Celtics fight back.
The Celtics did not hit a single three as Ray Allen continued to sit out with his bung ankle. The C’s certainly missed his presence as they did not hit a three for the game. Rajon Rondo had 20 points and 11 assists before being ejected after a stoush with a referee. Perhaps the most important decision that will be made in this series is whether the league decide to suspsend Rondo. Kevin Garnett had 20 points as well.
“I was upset about the call, and I said something [to Davis]. As I was walking I thought he stopped, and my momentum carried me into him. It’s out of my control [whether he's suspended]. My teammates all thought that I was obviously in the wrong. They may see that I bumped him, but I didn’t intentionally chest-bump him. I know the rules.”
It’s doubful whether this loss will effect a veteran team like the Celtics that much. They’ve been in this situation and know that it is not the be all and end all. The return of Allen is essential as it opens up lanes and shots for all others as they have to stick right on Ray. No help will be coming from the two guard as Allen will hit that shot with an iota of space. No injuries for either side.
(All times American)
Game 1 - Sat. April 28, Philadelphia at Chicago, 1 p.m., TNT
Game 2 - Tue. May 1, Philadelphia at Chicago, 8 p.m., TNT
Game 3 - Fri. May 4, Chicago at Philadelphia, 8 p.m., ESPN
Game 4 - Sun. May 6, Chicago at Philadelphia, 1 p.m., ABC
Game 5 * Tue. May 8, Philadelphia at Chicago, TBD
Game 6 * Thu. May 10, Chicago at Philadelphia, TBD
Game 7 * Sat. May 12, Philadelphia at Chicago, TBD, TNT
Not to long ago, this playoff series didn’t really seem likely. The Sixers were much higher in the standings then their current 8th seed position and were looking to prove that a team could win without a true superstar in their lineup. This does not look likely to present much of a challenge to the Bulls, as there really is no “No Rose, no Bulls argument”. If Rose does start to prove a factor, as he surely will, Andre Iguodala may play some defence on him, much like LeBron James did at times. Perhaps one of the keys here will be that. Elton Brand against Carlos Boozer will be another key match up, with the two veteran forwards likely to have to score highly for their respective teams. Bulls will get the win here
Game 1 - Sat. April 28, New York at Miami, 3:30 p.m., ABC/R
Game 2 - Mon. April 30, New York at Miami, 7 p.m., TNT
Game 3 - Thu. May 3, Miami at New York, 7 p.m., TNT
Game 4 - Sun. May 6, Miami at New York, 3:30 p.m., ABC/R
Game 5 * Wed. May 9, New York at Miami, TBD
Game 6 * Fri. May 11, Miami at New York, TBD
Game 7 * Sun. May 13, New York at Miami, TBD
Possibly one of the more exciting match ups of the Eastern Conference. Great contests at multiple positions and superstars littered all over the place. The highlight will no doubt be the competition between LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, the two 2003 alumni likely wanting the win over their compatriot. Both teams love to get out on the fast break, but its not secret that a big step towards stopping the Miami Heat is halting the run of Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. Amare Stoudemire’s play against Chris Bosh will be interesting to see, with Bosh having to deal with the physicality of Stoudemire, something he has shown in the past to dislike. Tyson Chandler’s shot blocking and ability to fill up the paint will also be essential in stopping the drives of Wade and James. Possible upset, but Miami likely to get the win.
Game 1 - Sat. April 28, Orlando at Indiana, 7 p.m., ESPN
Game 2 - Mon. April 30, Orlando at Indiana, 7:30 p.m., NBA TV
Game 3 - Wed. May 2, Indiana at Orlando, 7:30 p.m., NBA TV
Game 4 - Sat. May 5, Indiana at Orlando, 2 p.m., ESPN
Game 5 * Tue. May 8, Orlando at Indiana, TBD
Game 6 * Fri. May 11, Indiana at Orlando, TBD
Game 7 * Sun. May 13, Orlando at Indiana, TBD
Injuries will definitely be the determining factor in this series. The Pacers have quietly gone about having a good season as they secured the number three seed and Dwight Howard’s injury will make their playoff run much easier. David West, Danny Granger and co. will have a much easier time scoring in the paint without Dwight’s intimidating presence in the middle. Howard is really the only defensively minded player on the Magic team and they will struggle without him. Hedo will have to turn back to clock and Ryan Anderson will need to play out of his skin to force David West to play defence all the way out of to the three point line if the Magic are able to fit the series win here. Unlikely though.
Game 1 - Sun. April 29, Boston at Atlanta, 7 p.m., TNT
Game 2 - Tue. May 1, Boston at Atlanta, 7:30 p.m., NBA TV
Game 3 - Fri. May 4, Atlanta at Boston, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2
Game 4 - Sun May 6, Atlanta at Boston, 7 p.m., TNT
Game 5 * Tue. May 8, Boston at Atlanta, TBD
Game 6 * Thu. May 10, Atlanta at Boston, TBD
Game 7 * Sat. May 12, Boston at Atlanta, TBD, TNT
Boston’s charge at the end of the season has them well place in this years playoffs. They avoid Miami and Chicago in the first round but the Hawks are no small hurdle to overcome in the first round. The Hawk duo of Josh Smith and Joe Johnson have been playing some of the best basketball of their careers, especially Josh Smith. But the suffocating defence and the inability of the Hawks to match up with Rajon Rondo should allow the Celtics to get the win here. Ray Allen could play a key role as he comes back from extended injury, and if he’s playing off the bench will provide a huge spark. Celtics to get the win here
Western Conference previews up before too long!
The Bobcats got about as close as they have for a long time to ending their nineteen game losing streak as they lost to the Memphis Grizzlies 80-85. The Cats were simply overwhelmed in the final quarter 28-15. Gerald Henderson had a career high thirty two points in the loss but it was Mike Conley and his twenty points that emerged victorious in the end as the Cats season from Hell continued.
Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo, as well as Mikael Pietrus, all sat out in the Celtics loss to the Atlanta Hawks. With only Brandon Bass filling his spot in the regular line up, the C’s fought well to keep the game close. Joe Johnson had thirty points to lead the Hawks as they got a leg up in their fight for home court advantage in the first round.
Amare Stoudemire’s return to the starting lineup was met with what many feared-a loss. With STAT playing at the power forward, the Knicks were anemic offensively, with Carmelo Anthony only having twelve points in the loss. Despite getting the Knicks right back into th playoff race, Mike Woodson’s biggest challenge lies before him: getting these two All Stars to work together.
Vince Carter nineteen points off the bench eclipsed Brandon Rush’s twenty point equivalent as the Dallas Mavericks too down the Golden State Warriors. Klay Thompson had twenty eight points as the Warriors played without center/forward David Lee.
The Lakers-Spurs series continued to sway from side to side as the Spurs used a massive third quarter to blow out a slow Laker team. Despite Kobe Bryant returning to the lineup the Lakers struggled offenseively all night, as the Big Three for the Spurs combined for a total 61 points.
Despite a slight scare, the Oklahoma City emereged triumphant as they beat the Sacramento Kings. Kevin Durant had a double double with 29 and 14 whle James Harden followed his career night with 20 points.
Chris Paul had 28 points and also handed at 13 assists in a win for the the Los Angeles Clippers as they defeated the Golden State Warriors. Despite having four players scoring 20 points or more including Nate Robinson’s 28 on return; without David Lee the Warriors were unable to get over the line.
Luke Harangody had 16 points and 10 rebounds after being handed the start for the Cleveland Cavaliers, who won against the Washington Wizards. All five starters scored in double figures for the Cavs while Jordan Crawford had 19 for the Wizards.
Kevin Garnett’s 21 points and 12 rebounds proved more than enough as the Celtics easily disposed of the New Jersey Nets. Rajon Rondo also had 14 assists to keep his streak alive.
Rudy Gay’s 26 point 12 rebound double double combined with OJ Mayo’s 20 off the bench tore through the Utah Jazz as the Grizz won 98-103. Al Jefferson and Devin Harris had 20 points apiece.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for 78 points as the Oklahoma City won against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Durant had 43 to lead the pair while trade bait Michael Beasley had 26 for the shorthanded Wolves.
The Milwaukee Buck’s playoff hopes took a shot as they lost 105-99 against the Indiana Pacers. Monta Ellis had 20 points to lead the Bucks, but Roy Hibbert’s 23 points and a balanced Indiana attack came out on top.
The Suns lost to the Spurs as Steve Nash did not register an assist. In the battle of the veterans, Tim Duncan had 19 to lead the Spurs while Sebastian Telfair’s 21 led all comers.
The Boston Celtics appear to be going through the same kind of routine that this veteran team do every year.
They start fast, fade and then make a sudden run to the playoffs, where they are as dangerous as any team in the league. Even though it seems to happen every season, it’s still somewhat unexpected when they pick themselves up.
Boston have a knack for coming up big when it counts
Their win against Miami on Monday (our time) was huge. They showed the world that they can beat the best in the East. Not just beat, but in this case completely maul.
Their definite advantage against Miami at the point guard position shone through with Rajon Rondo turning in a massive triple double, absolutely dominating Mario Chalmers.
Injuries like usual will play a key part in their playoff hopes.
Ray Allen is currently out with a bung ankle, which- as a shooter -he relies on his usually unfailing legs for lift and stability. The hope is that he will be able to return and still shoot and play at the amazing level that he had been.
Allen’s health will be a key factor, as will Kevin Garnett’s ability to continue playing at the centre. The Celtics have been a much better team after KG accepted Doc Rivers request to play as the man in the middle.
KG gives up little to most of the centres in the league and is able to general the Celtics still suffocating defence. Defence is something that has stayed consistent.
They currently have the 3rd best defence in the league and are still able to match it against the best offensive teams in the NBA, as shown by their win against Miami. This could very well be the last year that these three are together.
Free agency and Danny Ainge could tear the Big Three apart, as early as next season. But if there’s one thing these Celtics have, it’s pride and they will want to go out with a bang.
No team will want to play the Celtics, this team knows how to win in playoff time and always seem to have that extra gear to go to.
With the extra motivation of their limited time together, expect to see the Celtics when it comes to the business end of the season
Ryan Anderson’s 7 threes paced the Orlando Magic as they took down the Toronto Raptors by 16 points. Dwight Howard also had a double double, scoring 23 points including 7-10 from the free throw line. Gary Forbes top scored for the Raptors with 21 points while Linas Kleiza had 18 points off the bench.
Rodney Stuckey’s buzzer beater led the Detroit Pistons over the Washington Wizards. The Wizards gave up yet another big lead to the Pistons, something that has become a habit over the past couple of games. Stuckey high scored for the Pistons with 24 points.
The Boston Celtics cruised to an easy win over the Charlotte Bobcats, carried by Paul Pierce’s 36 points and 10 rebounds. Garnett kept his good run going, scoring 24 points, looking like the Garnett of old. Gerald Henderson led the Cats with 21 points
Indiana had a big win against the drooping Miami Heat, winning by 15 points. Danny Granger, matching up with LeBron James, had 24 for the Pacers as all 5 starters scored in double figures. James and Wade both had 24 apiece.
After their big game against the Hawks, the Jazz accounted for the New Jersey Nets with ease. Millsap had 24 for Utah while Deron Williams had 17 and 11 assists for New Jersey, but shot poorly, only 7-21 from the field. Gerald Green had 20 off the bench.
Without Stoudemire or Lin in the line-up, Carmelo Anthony finally returned to form, scoring 28 points and pull down 12 rebounds as the Knicks beat the Bucks. The injury plagued Knicks fended off the surging Bucks for a little longer in the battle for the 8th seed in the East.
JaVale McGee got the start and helped deliver a big win for his team as the Denver Nuggets triumphed over the Chicago Bulls. Ty Lawson took advantage of Derrick Rose’s continued absence, scoring 27 points. Afflalo also played big, scoring 22 for the Nuggets. CJ Watson led the Bulls with 17 points.
DeMarcus Cousin’s monster game was not enough to lead the Kings over the Rockets as they were defeated in OT. The Rockets had a big team game, with 7 players scoring in double figures. Patrick Patterson led the way with 24 off the bench while new recruit Earl Boykins had 10 points.
A big game from Chris Paul was more than sufficient as the Clippers beat the Hornets by 12. Paul had 25 points and 10 assists, while Blake Griffin had 20 points as well as 7 rebounds and 5 assists.
The ‘Cats horrific season continued as the 76’ers seem hell bent on proving that a team can make it far in this league of stars without one. 6 players scored in double figures for the visitors, with both Thaddeus Young and Jrue Holiday scoring 20 points to lead them. There was very little resistance from the Bobcats, but winning is far from Michael Jordan’s team’s mind at the moment. Kemba Walker put up some encouraging numbers, scoring 13 points and dishing out 5 assists backing up starter DJ Augustine.
The rookie combination in Cleveland is beginning to come together, with Kyrie Iriving and Tristan Thompson putting up big points between them. Thompson, handed the start, scored 27 points for the Cavs, while Kyrie continued on his charge towards the Rookie of the Year award with 26 points and 7 assists. Deron Williams scored 28 to lead all scorers for the Nets but could not contain the rookie sensation. Gerald Wallace also came up big for his new team, posting 27 points in the loss.
Joe Johnson’s 25 were not enough to overcome the combined efforts of the Boston Celtics Big 4. All of Pierce, Garnett, Allen and Rondo scored in double digits. Sharpshooter Ray Allen led the pack with 19 points, including 4-6 from behind the arc. Garnett also continued his mid-season revival with 16 points and 8 rebounds, and his defence was pivotal keeping Hawks star Josh Smith to 10 points on 5-20 shooting from the field.
Even a Derrick Rose-less Chicago Bulls were easily able to account for the Orlando Magic, sending the Floridian team to its second defeat in a row, both to the leaders of the East. The Magic struggled all night against a suffocating Bulls defence, with Orlando unable to score 20 points in any quarter, and hit rock bottom in the 4th with 11 points. Carlos Boozer paced the Bulls with 24 points whilst John Lucas continued with his surprising form scoring 20 points off the bench. Superstar centre Dwight Howard was the only one who offered any resistance with 18 points and 12 rebounds.
Trying to avoid an 8 game road skid, the Dallas Mavericks have come out of Denver with a win next to their name. Wilson Chandler played big minutes off the bench for the home team in his return to Denver, yet George Karl left JaVale McGee on the bench for the game, opting to play Kosta Koufos as the back up centre instead. Afflalo led the Nuggets with 24 but it was Dirk Nowitzkis near triple double of 33 points 11 rebounds and 6 assists that proved to be the difference between the two teams.
Steph Curry was absent for yet another game as the Kevin Love led Timberwolves took care of business at home against the Golden State Warriors. Love powered the ‘Wolves all night with 36 points and 17 rebounds. In a battle of the big men, David Lee also had a good game, with 25 points and 9 rebounds to lead the Warriors, but it was not enough to overcome the Love show.