Boston Celtics (18-4) at Chicago Bulls (8-13)
Saturday, December 12
8:00 PM ET
Game #23, Away Game #12
TV: CSNNE, CSN6, RTV, NBA TV
Radio: WEEI, WMVP
Referees: Tom Washington | James Capers | Olandis Poole
It is safe to say that after last year's epic playoff series between these two teams, there is no love lost between them. The Bulls remember all too well that 7 game series and they feel that they should have won it. Noah said that he circled the Celtics' games when the schedule came out. I'm sure Brad Miller remember Rondo every time he looks at the scars that Rondo left him.
The Celtics and Bulls are two teams who have been going in opposite directions. The Celtics are 9-1 in their last 10 games and have won 9 in a row. The Bulls are 2-8 in their last 10 games. The Bulls are playing in the second of back to back games, having beat the Warriors on Friday night. The Celtics had a day of rest but are in the middle of a 3 game road trip.
The Bulls have a starting quality PG coming off their bench and so the Celtics will very much miss Marquis Daniels in this one. Tony, Scal, Eddie, Sheed and Shelden will all have to step up to make up for his absence. The Bulls may be slumping but they can be dangerous if the Celtics don't take them seriously.
Probable Starting Matchups Point Guard
Rajon Rondo vs Derrick Rose
Ray Allen vs John Salmons
Paul Pierce vs Luol Deng
Kevin Garnett vs Brad Miller
Kendrick Perkins vs Joakim Noah
Rajon Rondo vs Derrick Rose
It is personal between these two point guards ever since they faced each other in the opening round of the playoffs last season. Rondo has clearly had the edge in their matchups so far. Derrick Rose will be looking for some payback. This should be fun to watch.
Paul Pierce vs Luol Deng
Luol Deng guards Paul Pierce as well as almost anyone in the league. His length seems to bother Pierce and he has struggled against him in the past. Unlike in the past, when Deng bothers him on defense, Pierce can just pass off to one of his waiting teammates.
Kendrick Perkins vs Joakim Noah
These two got into it a couple of times in the playoffs. Noah has to be one of the most irritating players in the league and he tends to get under his defenders' skin. But Noah plays hard and this should be a battle inside.
Keys to the Game Defense - Defense is the key to every game this season. The Celtics need to guard the perimeter as well as the interior because the Bulls have outside scorers as well as guys who can take it to the basket.
Rebound - The Celtics need to put out the effort to go after rebounds on both ends. When the Celtics get the offensive rebounds, it not only gives them second chance baskets, but it also prevents the Bulls from getting out on the break. The Celtics need to grab the defensive rebounds to prevent the Bulls from getting second chance points.
Keep Cool - The Bulls have a way of getting under players skins. This could be a physical game and we have some very combustible players. They need to keep their cool and not let the Bulls goad them into technical fouls.
X Factor Fatigue
The Celtics have been on the road almost forever it seems. They are playing in the 6th road game of their last 7 games. That will wear on a team. The Bulls are playing in the second of back to back games. The team that has the most focus and energy, especially on the defensive end, will get the win.
We have all seen LeBron James dancing during Cavs wins and it has gotten him on some opponents' bad sides. Joakim Noah took exception to LeBron's theatrics and called him out on it. Kevin McHale had a much better solution. Here's how they would have dealt with this situation in the good old days:
"If a guy was doing the Riverdance like that, coach would come over and say, 'Who's got the fewest amount of fouls of my big fellas?' " said ex-Celtic and TNT analyst Kevin McHale. "If you raised your hand, he would say, 'We will let him drive and then we will throw him on the ground.'
"When he is laying there we would say, 'Do you feel like dancing now?'
"And that pretty much solved the dancing problem."
Most of the talk on the Wizards boards was complaining about the referees. I didn't think they were all that one sided. They were letting them play and there were a lot of no calls on both sides. Although, those 5 seconds that it took Rondo to inbound the ball at the end were a very long 5 seconds. Wizards fans also complained about the flagrant call where Perk was pushed out of bounds on a layup. Perk doesn't flop. period. And it takes quite a shove to send Perk flying out of bounds like that. In case you haven't noticed he is a big guy. The flagrant was warranted.
Speaking of Perk, the headlines have all been about Rondo stepping up late to lead the Celtics to the win and Ray scoring his 20,000th point. But Perk should be getting some props for yet another very solid double double night. He had 16 points on 5-7 shooting to go with 11 rebounds and 2 blocked shots. He also got to the line 11 times. And the rebound he got after the Wizards missed the two 3's to try to tie the game was huge. He also hit one of two free throws to put the game out of reach. Perk has been so solid and so consistent this season.
Ray Allen had a big night in more ways than one. A big Congrats to Ray for passing the 20,000 point threshold for his career. Quite fittingly, his 20,000th point came on a 3 pointer. In spite of being one of the smoothest jump shooters in the game, Ray has been going to the hoop a lot more this season and several times he has dunked in spectacular fashion. Here is his big dunk from last night as he put Andray Blatch on a poster.
Speaking of dunks. Rondo had a pretty spectacular one himself. A few days ago I posted the picture of Rondo jumping over a teammate for a dunk when he was at Kentucky, so it is no surprise that this kid can dunk. Last night, the Wizards were daring Rondo to beat them. He took them up on the dare and did just that. One night after missing a triple double by one rebound, Rondo scored a team high 21 points and dished out 11 assists. 2 of his points came on this spectacular baseline dunk.
Pierce has one of his disappearing games last night shooting 2-8 from the field for 12 points with 5 rebounds and 2 assists and 2 steals. It seems as though Pierce goes with the flow of the game. When his teammates are on, like they were last night, he lets them do the work. But when they are off, he steps up and takes over the game. KG had 17 points and 5 rebounds. Ray had 18 points and out rebounded KG with 7 boards for the night.
Tony Allen actually looked pretty good last night. He played 17 minutes and scored 8 points on 4-5 shooting, pulled down 3 rebounds and got 2 steals. He did have 3 turnovers, but none of the type that you think "How dumb is this kid?" Hopefully he can grow from here and actually help the team while Marquis is out.
In other good news, the Jazz beat the Magic last night and so the Celtics sit atop the East all by themselves. Also, the Lakers STILL have played only 4 road games.
The Wizards fans were mostly complaining about their own team or complaining about the referees. Sad for fans to lose that much faith in their team. At least their team wasn't blown out.
Should be interesting to see which Caron we see tonight. Butler always seems to have something special for the Celtics, or Paul Pierce in particular.
Not getting my hopes up concerning Arenas, but I'd really like to see him match Rondo's intensity and take on the challenge rather than going into "I'm a PG" mode.
Knowing this team, we'll probably win, Then turn around and lose to the Nets and Timberwolves.
Bettors seem to think there is a possibility of the wiz making a game of it. Not a 10+ point spread…
We have their number which is nice. I wouldn’t be surprised if we won, we like playing on TNT and we usually play up to the level of our competition. Then we will go a lay an egg at Indiana.
I disagree with the majority I guess. I think we’re looking at an ugly, ugly loss tonight…. And a blowout win on Saturday.
Omg miller’s glasses. His hair is better though. No more roots
Why is Blatche guarding Pierce?
Intense Garnett's being intense (again)
Irony: Reggie “Kick my legs out to get contact” Miller talking about petty fouls.
Yeah really. Pierce grabs the jersey – holds Blatche – and Reggie calls it “petty”…Maybe if Pierce punched Blatche – Reggie would give him a call
It is somewhat sad to see the Celtics get more cheers from the crowd than the supposed home team.
That always makes me sick, but I'm used to it over the years. Front-running, non-fans.
Lol, we're in the penalty with basically 9 minutes left in the quarter. That has to be some sort of record.
And Gil blows the opportunity by clanking both free throws. Fitting.
This team is such an embarrassment. Blow it up!
About to turn this one off, its starting to get ugly what are they on a 40-17 run...
In other news...
Caron needs to go...
Gilbert get your head out of your ass for the love of god...
Haywood will leave us in free agency
And I need a beer...
Whistle came after the contact which gave Perkins time to shoot. Bad officiating as usual
Some of us wanted Rondo over Pech
Wizards with 0 rebounds in the 2nd quarter?!?!?! How does that even happen?!?!
Really, that takes some serious effort. You'd think a ball or two would bounce in your hands, at least by accident.
That HAS to be a record. It has to have at least tied a record since you can't have negative rebounds.
What's most frustrating is watching a team like Houston battle, scrape and claw to a 12-9 record despite not having Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady. They do it with lock-down defense and incredible team chemistry. Then you have us - a team with great talent, no chemistry and pathetic defenders and defensive effort.
I'd rather watch a bunch of bums play like last year (McGuire, James, Dixon, etc.) than watch this team of overrated, overpaid chumps.
Don't put anything past this team.
The Washington Jumpshooters = The Most Embarrassing Team in the NBA
About damn time they called KG with a moving pick. He does it ALL THE TIME.
What an awful foul by Stevenson. Not only was it dangerous, he didn't even do it right since Perkins still got the basket!
What I don't get is how the Celtics can reach in so many times and ALWAYS get all ball (according to the Referees)…..
Ray Allen's still got it Criminally underrated player.
I like how the refs waited until Rondo’s elbow was firmly in Blatche’s neck before giving him the call.
Why is Rondo getting calls that Gil isn’t getting at home?
.... Because Rondo plays for the Boston Celtics
Celtics are pushing the Wizards around and we’re not responding. The more aggressive team always gets the calls. Fact of the NBA.
Arenas has not really given the Referees any opportunity to call a foul – he hasn’t been driving…Rondo – on the other hand, ……………… well, he plays for Boston.
Pierce's ball denial ruined that whole possession
Wish one of our big 3 could bring that kind of defensive effort
We're a defensive sieve right now
The foul on JaVale McGee was a flop by Ray Allen….
Don’t get me wrong…. Boston is the MUCH better team… But this game would be much closer if the fouls were equitably called…Every time Boston reaches in on Defense – they get “all ball”….
Every time Washington reaches in – WHISTLEEvery inside shot by Boston – the shooter is “bumped” – AND ONE
Every inside shot by Washington – no call.AND – I still think that Ray Allen flopped – That Ray Allen CHARGED into Blatche (regardless whether he took the hit “square” or not **** )
Referees called a reach in foul on a Boston player !!! Mark the date and time…
They called a moving screen- – - I think I might faint
Yeah, I seriously didn’t expect this from the Wizards, or from the refs for that matter. Let’s see how long it lasts…
Time for the Referees to re-take control of this game….Wizards will not be allowed to make a game of this…. The Referees need to get Boston some easy shots, and some trips to the line…..
Ray Allen I hate you. That is all.
Rondo can undercut Jamison while he’s in the air, causing him to fall hard – potential injury… regular foul…A little push in the back by Stevenson is a Flagrant?
Shelden was holding Haywood there
No he wasn’t – if he were, the Referees would have called it.
Good effort to tie it at 94.
Getting hacked away but refs aren't trying to give the Wizards any calls now.
They're not fooling me like the Redskins did when I thought they'd beat New Orleans.
This Wizards bunch is a sorry lot. They'll lose. I'm watching but I'm not expecting anything but a loss.
Rondo’s passes are creating havoc inside
3 second violation Wow, the refs are pushing for Boston tonight.
Isn't that what Donaghy said? Find some call – defensive 3 seconds…. Ticky tack foul… palming Anything that could almost be called on every play – and change the entire tempo of the game…
Oh please.... Don’t let Eddie House get hot….
How was that not an and 1?
Because Pierce has 4 fouls… and he plays for Boston
Actually it wasn't Pierce. With the magic of DVR – Butler was clobbered by KG AND Perkins…
Of course it was Perkins... I think hes one secretly one of the dirtest players
Celtics get away with freaking murder.
Finally a no call goes the wiz way Gil def got away with a push off
Rondo gets a stuff…. But did anyone else see KG with the moving screen?
So what? It's not like Arenas hit the screen. He stood and watched Rondo go baseline.
Was gil getting boo'd? How many Celtics fans are there?
Gil's been terrible down the stretch. Didn't guard Rondo, didn't hit his shots. Hibachi and the swag died two years ago. This is just a mediocre PG right now earning a max contract.
This team is a bunch of losers right now.
Brilliant, foul Ray Allen.
I hate all these bandwagon Celtics fans in our arena
Rondo had like 20 seconds to inbound the ball!!
Looked at it again – counted 7 seconds…. However the Referee was counting with his arm…Seemed like he was signaling really, really, really, really, really slowly with his arm… and got to 5 seconds just as Rondo passed it in….
Celtics get 12 seconds to inbound the ball…. The rest of the League only gets 5
Fitting end. I knew they'd lose
Had it not been for that second quarter epic run, not grabbing a rebound in the second period, and again completely blowing from the line we probably would have won.
The no-call on the 5 seconds is exemplary of how the league treats it's marquee teams. The ref's were not even counting, they knew it was the Celtics in bounding and there was no single ref on the court counting the 5 second in bounds.
This is a PERFECT example of how a game can be called relatively fairly and FIXED @ the opportune moment.
The league is a sham on the level of the WWE. The superstars and marquee teams are the only ones you are allowed to root for. As evidenced by Verizon Center crowds, they seem to have the idea right about who to root for.
It's mind boggling because on paper we have a solid team. Good defenders, players with offensive upside. We just can't finish a game to save our lives. Just a huge collection of mental midgets.
Wizards with 4 more made field goals than Boston… (including 2 more made 3-pointers)….
However Boston shoots 15 more Free Throws than Washington = GAME
Rondo said in an interview that the Wizards don’t get back on defense, and that he was going to take advantage. Guess what – that’s exactly what he did. After a promising first quarter, the Wizards failed to show up at all in the 2nd quarter. Zero rebounds – pathetic. How a team with any heart or any pride can fail to compete for an entire quarter against an elite team on national TV simply baffles me. Abe Pollin would have been ashamed of that 2nd quarter effort. THAT = GAME.
The referees allowed a lot of contact But the Wizards can’t use that as an excuse. Boston was getting hammered inside also. You just can’t spot a team like the Celtics a 15 point lead. Unlike the Wizards, the Celtics know how to hang on.
It really is a shame that the only way to select the all star starters is to have fans vote. Let's take a look at the early returns.
At this point in the voting, the forward spot is the most reasonable with LeBron James leading the voting with 649,327 votes and Kevin Garnett is second with 533,187 votes. I think that the voters have done a great job in this category picking two of the best forwards in the East. Here are the results at Forward:
Forwards: LeBron James (Clev) 649,327; Kevin Garnett (Bos) 533,187; Chris Bosh (Tor) 303,550; Paul Pierce (Bos) 131,379; Josh Smith (Atl) 109,404; Danny Granger (Ind) 100,122; Andre Iguodala (Phi) 75,146; Michael Beasley (Mia) 58,461; Hedo Turkoglu (Tor) 55,416; Rashard Lewis (Orl) 46,073; Luol Deng (Chi) 37,428.
The guard spot isn't too bad, but for Allen Iverson and Derrick Rose to be in front of Rondo, that doesn't seem logical. Here are the early results of the guard voting and the guards ahead of Rondo.
Dwyane Wade (Mia) 672,227; Vince Carter (Orl) 292,002; Gilbert Arenas (Was) 212,526; Ray Allen (Bos) 208,276 Derrick Rose (Chi) 196,059; Allen Iverson (Phi) 136,976*; Joe Johnson (Atl) 118,964; Rajon Rondo (Bos) 113,371; Jose Calderon (Tor) 68,084; Mike Bibby (Atl) 48,935.
The center voting is a complete joke. Dwight Howard deserves to be the starter. But for Shaq, Bargnani, Horford, Bogut, Lopez, Jermaine O'Neal, and Sheed to all be ahead of Perk is absolutely ridiculous. Here are the results at center.
Dwight Howard (Orl) 625,279; Shaquille O'Neal (Cle) 206,657; Andrea Bargnani (Tor) 67,310; Al Horford (Atl) 52,747; Andrew Bogut (Mil) 45,920; Brook Lopez (NJ) 39,420; Jermaine O'Neal (Mia) 38,956; Rasheed Wallace (Bos) 36,855; Kendrick Perkins (Bos) 19,408; Brad Miller (Chi) 17,188; Tyson Chandler (Cha) 14,062; Samuel Dalembert, (Phi) 13,969.
Come on, Celtics fans. I know there are more than 19408 Celtics fans out there who appreciate what Perk brings to the Celtics day in and day out and that he deserves more recognition than he is getting!!!
What really makes the voting a joke, though is the fact that Tracy McGrady, who hasn't played a game this season, is on track to start in the game. Shouldn't we be at least voting on a player's contributions to their team, at least a little???
Hopefully the coaches will show a bit more reason when they pick the reserves.
Boston Celtics (17-4) at Washington Wizards (7-12)
Thursday, December 10
8:00 PM ET
Game #22, Road Game #11
TV: TNT, CSN HD, The Source
Radio: WEEI,. WJFK
Referees: Dan Crawford, Courtney Kirkland, Eric Lewis
The Wizards are a dangerous team because they are easy to take for granted because of their 7-12 record. They are 5-5 in their last 10 games and have lost their last 2 games. But, they are a talented team and are capable of beating any team on any night when things click for them.
The Celtics last played on Tuesday at home and are beginning a 3 game road trip. The Wizards have been off since Friday and so they will be well rested. However, sometimes a long rest will work against a team in that they come out rusty to begin the game.
ProbableStarters PG Rajon Rondo 11 PPG 9.2 APG 2.7 SPG
Rajon Rondo vs Gilbert Arenas
Gilbert Arenas always gets up for the Celtics because he still holds a grudge against them for not drafting him in the first round. Gilbert is a tough PG and Rondo is going to need to bring his A game on both ends of the court for this one.
Kevin Garnett vs Antawn Jamison
KG has been playing at very close to 100% recently. Jamison has also been playing very well for Washington and so this should be a good matchup.
Kendrick Perkins vs Brendan Haywood
This should be a good battle between a couple of defensive minded centers. Haywood is a good rebounder and shot blocker and Perk will need to use his strength to keep the taller Haywood away from the basket.
Keys to the Game
Defense - Defense is the key to winning every game. Over the Celtics last 5 games, they have rediscovered their defensive identity and hopefully this will continue in this game.
Rebound - The Celtics have struggled in this area recently and need to make an effort to improve their rebounding. Much of rebounding is effort and desire and the Celtics need to increase both in order to win the battle of the boards. The Bucks game was much closer than it should have been because the Celtics were allowing way too many second chance points.
Play Hard for 48 Minutes - The Wizards may be a bit sluggish to begin the game because of their layoff and the Celtics need to take advantage of this to build an early lead. They also can't let up or a team like the Wizards will make them pay.
Bench Play - With Marquis Daniels out, others on the Celtics bench must step up. Hopefully Doc won't be forced to over use the starters because the bench isn't producing. Eddie, Scal, and TA especially need to up their games to make up for the absence of Daniels. Giving Hudson some minutes at the point may pay dividends later.
The Celtics have just come off a 4 game road trip. They had one game at home and now begin a 3 game road trip. They have won 8 games in a row and are playing at a very high level lately. But, with Marquis Daniels being out for 6-8 weeks, that will change things for the rotation.
The Celtics now have to fill in behind Pierce along with behind Rondo. Tony Allen is one option but he is coming off his latest injury. He is definitely not an option to handle the ball. Seeing Tony dribble more than twice gives Celtics fans nightmares. Tony will be frustrating because he makes one good play and then a dumb play. Maybe while rehabbing from this most recent injury he grew a brain. We can only hope. JR Giddens has been inconsistent and doesn't appear to be the answer.
Eddie can move to point guard as he has been a solid option at that position. But that takes away from Eddie's strengths. My option would be to give Lester more minutes at PG. That allows Eddie to stay at the 2 guard spot. Then bring Walker back from Maine to fill in behind Pierce. I think Walker and Hudson have what it takes to make a contribution this season. Minutes for both now could pay dividends down the stretch.
I have been singing Perk's praises since his rookie year. His work ethic just impressed me so much that I knew this kid was going to be special. He worked too hard not to. I love the fact that finally Perk is getting the attention and praise he deserves. The latest is a great SI article about him by Brit Robson. He presents this quote from Perk:
"I'm a guy who never settles for a face-up jump shot. I'm going to get as deep in the post as possible," he said. "Some guys, even big guys, tend to settle. They spend the whole off season working on their outside game, trying to prove they can make that shot. I'm not one of those guys. Get to the rim: That should make sense to anybody."
You just have to love that attitude. The art of the low post scorer has been dwindling so that there are very few true classic centers left in the league. But, Perk is one of them. Perk is the heart and soul of the Celtics' defense. Here is Doc's take on Perk's defense:
But Boston coach Doc Rivers cherishes Perkins' defense as much for his brains as his brawn. "[Assistant head coach] Tom [Thibodeau] does a terrific job getting our guys to communicate, but at the end of the day, Kevin and Perk are seeing things before they happen; they have such high basketball IQs and adjust to all the wrinkles," Rivers said. "The other thing that has happened to Perk to make him better is his focus. He accepts who he is and knows that his biggest value to the team is being our best defender."
This SI story echoes what I have been saying for years. Perk's value to this team won't be seen in the box score. He won't have gaudy stats, but he is at the heart of everything this team accomplishes. He sets great screens to get his teammates open shots. He boxes out to give his teammates a chance at grabbing rebounds. And, he consistently guards the opponents' best big men. And he does all these things as good as or better than any center in the league. He has been the most consistent Celtic this season. Every other player on the team has been up and down but Perk has been steady throughout the 21 games that the team has played so far. I really do love this kid!
“He never used to bring his book to class or take any notes,” said Doug Bibby, Rondo’s freshman geometry teacher and, coincidentally, also his basketball coach for the three years he spent at Eastern High School in Louisville, Ky. “There were quite a few times when I gave out a problem for the class to work on, and he would just blurt out the answer. I would kind of get (ticked) because I thought he was just being an (expletive).”
here are few people now who Bibby holds in such esteem, but he still sounds upset. Rondo, who admittedly has such a mind for numbers that he can do equations off the top of his head, enjoyed studying his older brother William’s math assignments. Rondo was secretly engrossed in subjects like trigonometry and finite math while his classmates were poring over simple algebra and geometry.
“He always wanted to know what X was -- he always tried to figure out what was ahead,” said William Rondo, who is five years older than his 23-year-old brother.
But Rondo’s ambitious course load didn’t prevent Bibby from almost combusting each morning.
“He’d blurt out the answer when I gave a problem to the class, but I wouldn’t do anything -- I’d give the kids another 10 or 15 minutes to work it out and come up with an answer,” he said. “Come to find out, the little jerk was right.
The article goes on to discuss Rondo's intelligence and how sometimes it leads to boredom when he gets the sets on the first walk through but has to stay focused through the entire practice as they repeat the sets over and over for others to get. It's a great read and I recommend that you check it out. Who would have thought that Rondo was a math genius? I had a couple of kids in my classes who were like that and I feel for Doug Bibby because they do drive you crazy! The photo at the head of this piece is from that Herald article. I loved the picture and wanted to use it here also.
Several of the Celtics are nearing or have just passed milestones. On December 8 against Milwaukee, Kevin Garnett passed Hal Greer for 25th All-Time in NBA history in scoring. He is just 190 points away from passing Celtics legend Larry Bird for the 24th spot.
Kevin Garnett became the 22nd player in NBA history to reach 40,000 career minutes when he played against the Orlando Magic on
November 20, 2009…He also became the youngest player in NBA history to reach that milestone at the age of 33 years, 185
days…KG beat the record that was previously established by Oscar Robertson (34 years, 39 days). In the last game against Milwaukee, KG moved into 25th place on the all-time scoring list, passing Hall of Famer Hal Greer.
Ray Allen needs 14 points to reach 20,000. He also needs just 63 points to move up from 33rd on the all time scoring list and bypass Tom Chambers for the 32nd spot. He should reach 20,000 tonight against the Wizards.
Also, Paul Pierce needs just 10 points to become the 46th player in league history to reach 19,000.
The Cavs have lost 2 in a row and look to be in dis-array. LeBron wasn't dancing on the sidelines last night. In fact he looked downright miserable. Teams who mock other teams like the Cavs have with their excessive celebrating in blowouts need to remember that sometimes it comes back to bite you. Their dancing wasn't like Gino or even waving towels, it was mocking and their opponents are remembering and not taking it very graciously. Teams are going to be playing them harder because they don't want to see the Cavs dancing at their expense.
The Lakers have won 10 in a row, but they should have an asterisk next to that in that they have rarely ventured out of their home arena 1/4 of the way into the season. They have played just 4 road games so far and lost one of those.