I have been waiting for this since the opener. Please, please, please can we finally get a win in Boston?
Countdown to Z's return: Roughly 26 days
I would throw Powe out there against BOS. I bet he had this game on his calendar throughout his rehab. Even if he only plays well in short minutes, I bet he would bust it 110% out there in this one.
Not looking forward to this one. I don't see us winning this one with the way we are playing
Keep in mind that Boston is a much better team on the road than they are at home.
Pierce out is bad news for us. We coast against under-manned teams.
We're a much better team than the Celtics but still I have a bad feeling about this game.
LeBron's latest form is concerning me especially his decision making in the clutch.
It's all about being physical and imposing our will on the Cs. Perkins will play tough and so will KG, so we need to match their intensity. Mo Williams needs to come out tonight, no question, otherwise Rondo will abuse him. I'll consider KG and Jamison a wash and Lebron will be Lebron, but our guard play against their guard play will secure the victory.
I don't know, remember how we always play like shit against teams without their best offensive weapon? Lose to the Dirk-less Mavs, Carmelo-less Nuggets. That said, I'd still rather Pierce is out. Gives them one less guy to throw at LeBron. They'd really only have Daniels and I guess Tony Allen.
We know Boston is on the decline, so let's get them now.
Need to make every Celtic cry like Big Baby after the game.
Tawn needs to make Garnett work on the defensive end so he can't abuse Jamison on the offensive end.
A couple of shots to Garnett's stapled-together knee might also help
Pierce out should increase our chances of winning. But I was hoping to see them all healthy to see how we did against them when they are all healthy.
I feel you're going to be left wanting for a long time for these geezers to all be healthy.
If Paul Pierce isn't playing, then we have to beat these guys down and leave no doubt. If Mo gets it going, that could be a possibility.. I just don't think Bostons defense is quick enough right now to be able to stop us offensively. We have to use that to our advantage.
We need to establish our game plan early. Run often, these old men can't keep up with us, do not slow it to their pace.
I have such a hard time watching Celtics games and not cringing because of that ginger tool Scalabrine.
While I don't think this is a very big game (as I don't consider the Celtics contenders) I really want to win in Boston.
I'm really worried about MO guarding rondo & nate. If rondo starts tearing it up like he is capable of, I hope Mb makes changes fast. I would put LBJ on him to knock him off his game.. We CANT let him get going.
Rondo is a lot quicker than LBJ...
Why are you talking like LeBron is Paul Pierce and has no lateral movement? LeBron is one of the quickest players in the league.
On a side-note, I hope that old corpse Wallace chucks 3's when he's in. I love watching his 3's abuse the rim...
I think you made a mistake about where this game is taking place. I mean, with all these old people, shouldn't it be taking place at a nursing home somewhere in Boston?
Boston has given up many big leads this season.. So I wouldn't worry as much if we were down by 10+.
Rondo is abusing our perimeter defense.
This Rondo **** is ridiculous.
Why do we look so pathetic? What happened?
BOS is getting whatever they want. Post-ups, dribble penetration, P&R, whatever they want.
Oh how I remember the days when we were a good team.
Once again, LeBron blatantly fouled but you know afterward they are going to say it was a touch foul
Boston blows more double digit teams than most of the other big time playoff teams, so I have no doubts that the Cavs will come back in this one.
For some reason, this has been the story for the Celtics this season.. They are known for giving up big leads.
Another bit of good news is Rondo just played all of the first half. I doubt he can keep this pace up.
Hey how the hell can you play basketball your entire life and not learn any defensive abilities? You would think that wasn't possible but Parker is the answer
The "geriatrics" beat us down the court on that long rebound.
Take Mo off the court and put Gibson or West in, he's not giving you anything on offense and his defense is a joke.
Mo is officially back!
You know the Celtics are dead when Hickson steals the ball away from KG.
Nice to know we only have to play one good quarter against these guys.
Mo doesn't need to take anymore 3's But I love to see Rondo taking 3's
If we play Boston in the playoffs I'm going to get one of those "Shoot it Boobie Shoot it" shirts and change Boobies name to Rondo. Hilarious trying to watch that guy shoot in a game.
Rondo in the 3rd quarter: 3 assists, 1 point, 0-1 FG, 1 rebound. Surprising turnaround from the first half.
I COULDN'T believe that we are 28th in the league in free throw shooting. That is just GROSS.
Big Baby is such a flopping bitch. He's 300 pounds. That's not a charge.
Refs make the previous offensive foul right by compensating.
Travel on Delonte, but I LOVE HIM, best PG on the team!!!!
I love all the Cavs but DeLonte just may be my favorite..lol..it is hard to choose but other than a bad game or 2 last year vs. Orloando he has brung it in big games and he gives it to Boston
Nice to see the Celtdicks missing layups now as well. This has been typical of their season so far, but they will start executing again at the end of this game. Hopefully our offense is in complete rhythm by then.
The Celtics need to put to bed. These 8:00 games are a bit too late for those old men
Lol @ Celtics 27% 2nd half shooting
Is Davis the fattest player in the league? Dude has bigger boobs than all the Celtic's cheerleaders combined...
Wow at those refs. Unbelievable. They want Boston to win.
Do this in the playoffs Mo, and we're winning a title!!!!!!
Perkins has the crabbiest demeanor in the league. Cheer up, dude.
Did JJ Hickson just rip the ball right out of Garnett's hands?
Finally these guys woke up. If you don't let Rondo run free through the lane, the Celtics are not hard to defend. You only really have to worry about Allen running off of screens.
The refs just gave KG the pity foul call.
Do you guys think they serve Metamucil on the sidelines for Garnett and Allen?
Celtics LOL how far you have fallen
Kg sure is quiet out on the court now that he's a gimped bitch
LOL at Rondo shooting 3s. This isn't the HORSE competion.
Guys, we should trade Shaq while his value high. Clearly we're better without him.
Was Shaq's injury a blessing in disguise? We've found Boston's weakness...
There's a reason Atlanta gives them fits, old guys can't guard athletic freaks. JJ, Moon, LeBron, Delonte, Mo. Boston has no answer.
We bullied them ******, we bullied them And I always thought the easy way to beat the Celtics was to go small, Atlanta just runs on them.
KG needs to retire, he has his mvp and ring.
Boston's weakness is the fact that they have no offensive weapons outside of Ray, and he is primarily a jumpshooter. They got unlikely offensive production from both Rasheed and Rondo in the first half, and the law of averages states that that wouldn't happen over the course of the entire game. Not really a surprise that they cooled off in the second half.
This game only confirms what I have been saying the whole season: The Celtics are no longer contenders for the title.
Atlanta, Cleveland, and Orlando are definitely the top 3 teams in the east. Boston is the clear 4th, well behind the top 3, but still comfortably ahead of the rest of the teams.
I really hope we get them in the 2nd round, let Atlanta and Orlando duke it out while we hammer the Celtics in 5 games.
Celtics will get demolished by all three by going small they can't keep up.
This is one of the best wins this season.. No doubt about that. I just knew the C's were going to give up a double digit lead, seeing that's what they have been doing all season long...
Cleveland Cavaliers (44-14) at Boston Celtics (36-19)
Thursday, February 25
8:00 PM ET
Game #56, Home Game #26
TV: TNT, TSN2
Radio: WEEI, WTAM
Referees: Scott Foster, David Jones, Sean Wright This is the second of 4 meetings between these two rival teams. The Cavs are healthy while the Celtics are still battling injuries and trying to get back to being healthy. Paul Pierce will probably miss his second game with the thumb injury, while his replacement, Marquis Daniels, is also questionable because of flu like symptoms. One thing we do know is that no matter who is guarding him, LeBron James will likely get his points, especially since he never fouls in spite of barreling into the lane, knocking players out of the way like bowling pins on every play. The key will be for the Celtics to stop his teammates from getting their points.
Cleveland is in first place and 6.5 games ahead of Boston. Since they face each other 3 more times, including this one, these games are big in terms of the standings. The Celtics could make a move toward closing the gap between the two teams or they could lose ground quickly in these head to head matches. Both teams are 7-3 in their last 10 games and Cleveland is 19-10 on the road while the Celtics are 16-9 at home.
The Cavs are in the midst of playing 6 of 9 games on the road and will play 4 of their next 6 games away from home. The Celtics are in the middle of a 3 game home stand. The Celtics won the first meeting between these two teams on opening night as they beat them in Cleveland 95-89 so the Cavs will be looking to make a statement and to pay them back for that opening night loss.
Leon Powe is expected to make his first appearance of the season in this game. Most Celtics fans will be cheering for Leon while rooting against his team.
Probable Starting Matchups Point Guard
Rajon Rondo vs Mo Williams
Ray Allen vs Anthony Parker
Marquis Daniels vs LeBron James
Kevin Garnett vs Anderson Varejao
Kendrick Perkins vs Shaquille O'Neal
Rajon Rondo vs Mo Williams
Mo Williams is capable of putting up big numbers and Rondo will need to keep his defensive focus to keep Mo in check. He also needs to keep up his aggressiveness on offense if the Celtics have any chance of winning this.
Kevin Garnett vs Antawn Jamison
After a very rocky start on his new team, Jamison has settled down and is playing well. However, if there is a weak spot in their starting 5 it would have to be Jamison who is still learning the plays and rotations for his new team. Hopefully KG will continue his strong play of the last few games and he will be able to get the best of this matchup.
Kendrick Perkins vs Shaquille O'Neal
Perk is one of the few players in the league who has been able to stand his ground vs Shaq. Perk recently said that Shaq is very physical to play with the way he throws elbows. Hopefully Perk will be up to the task of defending him without catching one of those elbows to the face or shoulder.
Keys to the Game
1 Defense, Defense, Defense -Defense wins games and it wins championships. The Cavs are tied with the Lakers for the biggest point differential (+6.6). But, the Celtics are lead the league in points allowed (93.8) while the Cavs are tied with the Heat at 3rd (95.0). The team that plays the stingiest defense will take home the win.
2. Take care of the basketball - The Celtics have been going through periods in games recently where they have a flurry of turnovers. They have to keep their focus and avoid turning the ball over.
3. Play 48 Minutes - This goes along with the second key. The Celtics have to be focused from the tip off until the end of the game. They can't afford to come out flat or lose their focus for any period against a team like the Cavs or they will take full advantage of it to put the Celtics away.
4. Rebound - The Celtics have to improve their rebounding. When opponents get offensive rebounds, the Celtics give up second chance points and Shaq, Lebron and Varejao are all very good at getting tip ins and put backs. When opponents get defensive rebounds it keys their fast break for easy baskets at the other end. The Celtics have got to box out and to fight for rebounds and not allow the Cavs to beat them to them.
Emotional X Factor
Leon Powe's return to the court for the first time this season.
[Discuss on CG Forums!]
Back in the fall of 2007 I wrote several articles on the Aces and Spaces makeup resulting from emptying the cupboard to assemble the Big Three. The youngsters Rondo and Perkins plus the addition of Posey and House and later PJ provided just enough support to bring home the championship with the All-Stars still in their prime. Fast-forward two and a half years and the team is much more balanced but also less dominating.
Certainly the Big Three have dropped off with time. We all expected as much all the while hoping against hope that they would defy logic and withstand the ravages of age. Alas, no elixir from the Fountain of Youth appeared and we are left with the Pretty-Good Three. On the other hand the hoped-for progress of Rondo and Perkins has been a pleasant surprise. Together they comprise a starting Fierce Five that, when healthy, may actually surpass the Big Three and Kids. The caveat of course is "when healthy." With aging stars there is no legitimate reason (hope, but not reason) to expect them to all be healthy at the same time, nor to stay that way. Hence the supporting cast has become much more important.
I would posit that part of the reason for the string of nagging injuries to the Big Three (or at least Pierce and Garnett) has been the unavailability of the supporting cast assembled by Danny Ainge. The backups have put their thumbs on the problem; or rather their thumbs have been the problem. Big Baby's brain fart of a rumble with his pal and Marquis Daniels' torn tendon have resulted in two thumb surgeries that have cost the pair 55 games missed (and several more sub par while working back into game shape). Also Tony Allen has been slow to recover from his maladies dating back to last season. The consequence has been to deny the team the opportunity to blend and develop a smooth working relationship or rotation. Also a casualty has been the chance of rest for and reduced load on the Big Aging Three and the oldest member of the cast, Rasheed Wallace. Finally, Doc, rather than dialing up the combinations to exploit mismatches and cover weaknesses, has been reduced to cobbling together lineups from those physically able to perform.
The Championship team featured an awesome first five and a strong sixth man in Posey. Beyond that were capable subs through the eighth spot (nine after the addition of PJ). The current team offers a strong starting lineup and excellent backups (although only backups) at four, maybe even all five, positions. An interesting side note is that these backups each offer a skill set considerably different from the starter at their position. This might even be an asset but it does mean that the substitutions are far from seamless and that the teammates must alter their mindset when playing with a backup rather than the starter. The starting five no longer offers the star quality of the Championship team but the younger duo are much improved and overall the group may average out about the same. Unfortunately since only one player has the ball at a time, superlatives have always had a greater impact than the averaged strength. I think few would argue that the second five on the current team is much stronger than the backups of the 2007-08 team. The ultimate question may be whether 48 minutes of excellent basketball can be as successful as 40 minutes of tremendous ball and eight minutes of holding the fort.
If the entire troop is in good form and all are contributing to the best of their abilities then this aggregation may carry the day. One aspect oft overlooked is that the starters for most teams take plays (and sometimes days) off. They don't get back on defense, or don't hurry down court trailing the break, or don't take that extra step to get in position. Sometimes this means an easy bucket for the opposition, sometimes a foul due to reaching from out of position, sometimes the break fizzles because there is no trailer, sometimes an opponent waltzes in to steal a rebound, and sometimes a player settles for a poorer shot because there is no cutter or screen. All these little sins of omission can be minimized by the utilization of depth. Fatigue makes cowards of us all--it is tempting to grab a rest, and stars are used to conserving energy when they are not in the center of the action. To truly take full advantage of the supporting cast Ainge has provided, each player needs to play hard every minute they are on the court. If they trust their teammates to take up the slack, and wear down the opponent, when they are on the bench then their own max effort upon their return will be against slightly tired defender. This is a recipe for success, but it must be ingrained. It won't happen "just because" when the push comes to shove and the play is for all the marbles.
It will be interesting to watch the integration of Nate Robinson into the team. Most ballyhooed has been his energy but I think there are other aspects that may be of even greater effect. Rondo has been noticeably tired late in some games. Nate's ability to spell Rondo should mean several things not the least of which is that Rondo should have more energy when he is playing. Advancing the ball past mid court should be much less of an adventure than with House playing the point. It should also be possible to get into the offense before the defense is set up and even if they get back there should be enough time to explore several options rather than one. When the shot clock does dwindle, Nate is capable of generating his own shot--a facet completely lacking in the second unit heretofore. His presence and the pick-and-roll attack should create ample opportunities for cutters and jump shooters alike. Nate assuming the point on the second unit allows Daniels to concentrate on backing up the swing positions. Pierce and Ray Allen should both benefit from this.
Finally, while the Celtics have a smothering half-court helping defense, they seldom challenge the advance of the ball. With Nate, Rondo, Tony, and Marquis they could make bringing the ball up court a difficult task. Even if they don't get the steal or 8-second turnover, bleeding off the 24-second clock would allow opponents little time to run through their offensive options. The beneficial counterpoint to this attacking defense is generating offense off defense. Those same four ball-hawks make a pretty potent lay-up drill.
Bottom line is that the stronger the second unit becomes, the more potent that allows the starters to be. As this team continues to morph from top-heavy talent to solid rotational strength, it could allow the offensive and defensive pressure to become unrelenting. Is Nate another step in that direction? Is it enough? Stay tuned.
Would it be too much to ask to beat these Scum in Green?
Game Plan: Just Let Rasheed and Rondo shoot as many perimeter shots as possible, force doc to use Nate.
Perkins will play like Russell tonight
Man that frontcourt is gonna be scary. Look what we've given up to guys like Nick Collison and Brad Miller. If they can bully us inside and snatch easy baskets then imagine what Perk/KG/Sheed are going to do. Sheesh.
I wouldn't be surprised if this was one of our more humiliating defeats.
Nate posterizes Lee........
Gallo is going to shut Pierce down.
Maybe he won't need to, that right thumb injury he's battling is vicious. At least he doesn't need a wheelchair for it.
Pierce officially listed as "doubtful" for tonight.
Pierce is always doubtful, he's a bum
This game will prolly be in the Celtics favor the whole game with that said I would like to see some sort of fight with KG
Nate plays like a chicken with his head cutoff.
The only thing I really hope to see is Chandler throw it down on Kevin Garfaggit.
We got the next slam dunk champ. Bill Walker
Perkins will destroy Lee in the post and Nate will probably score 50.
I am really starting to hate Garnett.
Bill Walker should play more. Let's try this kid out. We might as well even bring him back. 800,000 next year. A cap hold isn't much less than that.
Boston announcers just said David lee is the only good defender on the knicks front line.
Where the hell did this rumor get started?
Nate told them
You'd think House was a hall of fame player or something.
We have no size and we have no speed on defense. We can't win.
Seeing Boston run all these off the ball screens for Allen makes me cry -- why can't we do some of that for gallo
House= Total failure at PG
Great. D'Antoni took a 'shine' to House now. Next thing ya know he'll be starting pg.
Look. Nate all of a sudden wants to play defense.
I cant stop laughing at Nate defending Al. They are both stupids
Bad pass turnover on Nate Robinson"
Gallo got owned by Scallabrine...Excuse me while I go cry
Boston playing like theyre going thru the motions
What's going on with the Cs? They look crappy.
We lulled them to sleep.
I still can't fathom the fact Nate Robinson got a standing ovation.
Celtics really disinterested. No wonder they need Nate. At least he gets excited to play.
I think Rondo learned how to shoot during that Horse game versus Durant.
Garnett looks gimpy & done.
Awesome that were only down 4 after being down 14. I don't know who I hate more KG or Big Baby
Rondo bricks bounces right out to a teamate.. The guy shoots that bad..
Thank god daniels absolutely sucks
So weird seeing Nate on the Celtics.. Damn
Eddie plays point as good if not better point compared to nate.
Walker has a 3pt shot?? I'm now interested
It is clear the Celtics will strugle against fast teams.
AHAHAHAHHA Lee finally gets a block and it's against nate
Bring back Sergio and Tmac. House is killing us
Rondo is palming the **** ball.
Davis is a fat piece of crap
HOW IS THAT NOT A FOUL AGAINST DAVIS BARRELING OVER HOUSE TO GET TO THE BALL
That's exactly why Heinsohn called it a Tommy play. That's how the Celtics play man.
Glen "Fat Baby" Davis is what I've called him since day 1. It's simple and has a nice ring to it.
House needs to just be a spot up shooter or come around curl plays.....he should not be handling the ball often.
Celtics hacking and whacking...refs turn blind.
it's amazing this rag-tag bunch of bums are within 1 at this point against the Celts
Shell of former self McGrady beats shell of former selves Allen and KG. Nice.
House is not shooting well either. Why is he still in there?
McGrady getting superstar calls still lol.
Game over. Once Ray Allen plays Defense...
Ray Allen just jumped like he was still in He Got Game.
Getting blocked by Allen is worse than getting block by nate..
Maybe we'll win one more game this season... I doubt it.
Eddie House is the reason we lost. He's a Fawking chucker. I hate him and Harrington equally now. Thank you House.
You don't appreciate what you have, until its gone. Who do you guys rather have between House and Nate? At least Nate goes to the basket. House shoots 3 after 3 after 3. My eyes are bleeding.
Eddie House is so much better than Nate. I never questioned the trade once.
Yes, that is why the Celtics traded for Nate. House is so much better. What further pearls of wisdom do you have oh wise one?
They traded for Nate because they need someone off the bench who can go 1 for 5 with 10 minutes of burn, and is already thinking about his 4th dunk contest.
Does anyone else absolutely HATE Fat Baby? I can't stand this clown
Why is he a clown? He is playing hard. Throwing around your weight is part of the game.
Wow kg is a shell of what he once was.
Looking done these days. He's a role player now.
Is the fork officially stuck in KG? 15 years and bad knees and he's getting beat off the dribble by someone with arguably worse knees.
I wouldn't say that the Celtics are fully healthy. KG is looking better but still not 100% and Paul Pierce is definitely hurting. When both sides complain about the refs, you know that they are just terrible for both teams. When the opposing fans are thrilled with the officiating and see the obvious bad calls and non calls against the Celtics, you know that the Celtics are getting the short end of the stick from the refs. We will see this team again in Boston and hopefully then we will be healthy and not battling the thin air of Denver either.
Double digit win.
Gotta play tough all minutes. Celtics are a very
Celtics have been flat lately.
Should be a big win considering the fact that they blew a gimme at Washington and it being a national televised game and all. I keep saying I hope this loss to a bad team will be a wake up call but it never happens so we'll just leave it at that since in the playoff you won't see those teams.
Who in the hell knows? In the last 2 weeks we have annihilated the Lakers at Staples, gotten smashed at home by the Spurs w/o Parker, beaten the Cavs in Cleveland, and been beaten by double digits in Washington.
Melo will guard Pierce throughout the game because its no way Karl is having him chase Ray Allen off screens. If Melo doesn't fall for the pump fakes and close out on the 3, Pierce won't have a good game.
We perform well against good teams, but lose to bad teams...so if the theory holds true, then we will win this game.
A true test for the defense. Celts are 20-9 on the road, it’s a little confusing they have a very similar record to us but they are still playing the best team Defense in the NBA. We on the other hand have slipped back to 16th in defensive efficiency, that’s bottom half of the NBA.
C’s are having a really disappointing season. They haven’t got up for every game in this season and I’m just praying they don’t bring that focus tomorrow and let us get lots of shots up. Just a prediction Denver will either score 110+ and win or play a close game for 3 quarters and lose.
Watching the Cav's and the Magic with all their high priced additions - Leads me to believe – once again – you cannot simply buy a championship.
Davis flops a lot for such a huge dude
That was a fun first quarter to witness. 3 more to go.
And here comes the Denver "let teams catchup" Nuggets.
Nuggets are winning against an elite team Are they going to let them back in in the second half. “Tell of two halves”
Old man Ray is keeping them in this. Well that and we have started chucking up shots again
Something tells me we are going to blow this lead. We're too careless on the defensive end, not smart on the offensive end. It would be a shame if we do lose it.
Are Bahston fans incapable of calling their teams by their actual names
The Celtics are the C’s
And the Bruins are the B’s
Are they going to start calling the Red Sox the R’s
Nobody calls the Nuggets the N’s
Rondo is sucha drama queen Always stays on the floor for like 3 min after the foul and always ends up on the floor after a layup
Another horrible call! The Celtics can thank the refs for letting them back into the game.
U'd think the Nuggets were getting blown out the way the ESPN guys are killing them.
Why are all the ESPN guys saying Boston has no shot to go deep in the playoffs? They look good to me
Because its all about the Lakers and the Cavs per Mr Stern
Why is billups such a ballhog now?
Wow here we go I knew the selfish Nugs were gonna come out. Good to know there still here
When ty comes in He needs to run these old farts outta the gym
Boston's finally starting to look pretty all-around healthy, huh? Been a while...
Haha, the referees are definitely on the Nuggets side. Celtics barely are getting any calls even on OBVIOUS fouls. And tiny touches on Anderson results in a foul.
Celtics vs Nuggers & Referees. Amazing game.
18-31 from the line. They would be blowing out the C’s if they made the free throws
Thanks refs! don’t trade the refs!!
Pierce is blocking and altering jumpers
Oh, look at that... A non-call on Boston.
Nuggets need to put their best FT shooters on the floor
We're getting the calls but can't make the FTs
Combined free throw shooting this game - 58%
Melo has his best assist night of the season on the heels of his most selfish game of the season
I love how announcers talk about good teams that people don’t see on TV, but they never wonder why Cleveland, Boston and LA are on every Sunday.
Strong overall game The Celtics played really tough D in the last three quarters and we still found ways to score