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Post by 112288 on Fri Jan 04, 2013 10:38 pm




Rapid reaction: Celtics 94, Pacers 75

By Chris Forsberg |

BOSTON -- Rapid reaction after the Boston Celtics defeated the Indiana Pacers 94-75 on Friday night at TD Garden:

The Celtics produced their best defensive effort of the season, limiting the Pacers to a mere 31.8 percent shooting (topping their previous best in limiting Portland to 34.8 percent back in late November). Kevin Garnett scored a team-high 18 points on 8-of-16 shooting with seven rebounds before being ejected for a flagrant-2 foul with 8:24 to play, while Rajon Rondo added 18 points, seven assists, and five rebounds. Paul Pierce and Courtney Lee (13 points apiece) joined the double-figures party, while Jared Sullinger chipped in seven points and 10 rebounds before he inevitably fouled out. Tyler Hansbrough scored a game-high 19 points, while David West added 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Pacers.

A one-possession game midway through the second quarter, the Celtics embarked on a 17-4 burst over a four-minute span to open a 15-point cushion. Not only did Boson's defense harass the Pacers into 2-of-8 shooting with three turnovers, but Boston made 7-of-8 shots at the other end, spearheaded by four buckets from Rondo. Pierce added six points on the burst that left Boston out front 42-27 with 3:14 to play in the first half.

Garnett earned an automatic ejection after being tagged with a flagrant-2 foul after making contact with the face of Hansbrough with 8:24 to play in the game. The Celtics were already up 23 at that point. Hop HERE to read more.

The Celtics didn't just snap a four-game losing streak -- avoiding what would have been the third five-game losing streak of the Garnett era (two five-game skids last year) -- but did it convincing fashion. Gino Time rolled on the JumboTron with Boston out front 90-70 with 2:35 to go. You get the feeling Garnett was being held down in the back, unable to enjoy the American Bandstand montage after being ejected.

There's the defense everyone's been looking for and it came against an Indiana team that had won nine of its last 11 entering Friday's game. All that said: 1) The Pacers are an atrocious offensive team and aided Boston's cause with their allergy to making shots and 2) Before anyone gets too excited, let's see the Celtics build off this one. Boston had a solid Christmas Day effort before embarking on a four-game stinkfest. Alas, a win is a win is a win. And this was a pretty one that Boston desperately needed. Doing it with their preferred lineup should deliver a nice confidence jolt. The Celtics don't get much time to savor this one as they are off to Atlanta to play the Hawks on a second night of a back-to-back. Boston is 4-5 on the tail end of consecutive games this season and a mere 2-5 on the road in those situations.



New lineup sparks Celtics past Pacers, 94-75

BOSTON — The Boston Celtics have had impressive wins this season, with most doing little to build momentum going forward.

But Friday's 94-75 victory over Indiana felt different if for no other reason than the lineup being different ... sort of.

Boston's impressive performance was fueled in part by Doc Rivers' decision to put Brandon Bass back in with the first unit, giving the Celtics the same starting five it had when it closed out last season with a 14-5 record that catapulted them into the postseason where they advanced to the Eastern Conference finals.

It was a strong game for the Celtics (15-17), a night that could not be dampened even by the ejection of Kevin Garnett in the fourth quarter after he was whistled for a flagrant-two foul (automatic ejection) on Tyler Hansbrough.

Boston, snapping a four-game losing streak with the victory, still have quite a ways to go before they are a legitimate contender again.

But Friday's win was certainly a step in that direction.

The Celtics could not make shots in the first quarter, which has usually led to a huge early deficit that they would spend the rest of the half trying to cut into.

But despite shooting just 29.2 percent from the field in the first, Boston was only down 16-15 courtesy of some tough, gritty defense.

That defensive intensity was sustained in the second quarter. And when you throw a slew of shots starting to fall from several Celtics players, the C's pulled ahead by as many as 15 in the first half before settling on a 47-35 lead.

Two important developments in the first half were critical to Boston's strong play.

For starters, Rajon Rondo was as aggressive as we've seen in weeks offensively, tallying all 10 of his first-half points in the second quarter. He finished with a team-high 18 points, seven assists and five rebounds.

In addition, Boston was getting a much-needed boost of energy from its bench and Courtney Lee was leading the way.

Lee's defense coupled with some timely shots around the basket gave the Celtics a lift that seemed to energize both his teammates as well as Celtics Nation. He would finished with 13 points.

The third quarter featured the C's missing several shots in the first few minutes. But for a change, it didn't matter because the Celtics defense refused to allow the double-digit cushion built up in the first half to shrink.

And as the fourth quarter rolled along, the Celtics continued to play solid defense while most of their core guys spent most or all of the quarter on the bench, resting up for Saturday night's game at Atlanta.

There will be many theories as to how the Celtics were able to blow out an Indiana team that had won eight of its last 10 games leading up to Friday's game.

But more than anything else, the Celtics finally had players in roles that head coach Doc Rivers envisioned them being at the start of the season.

So it's not a coincidence that Friday's game was arguably their most complete performance of the season.

But Friday's success won't mean much unless they can use it similar to how they did last season and that's rack up multiple wins, home and on the road.

WEEI - 93.7 FM

By Ben Rohrbach

Kevin Garnett was ejected after a flagrant-2 foul on Tyler Hansbrough, and unless you came to watch him dance during Gino Time, it didn’t even matter. The Celtics ended a four-game losing streak with a resounding 94-75 victory against the Pacers.

Combined with the Thunder’s blowout of the 76ers, the Celtics (15-17) leapfrogged Philadelphia (15-19) into the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Garnett totaled 18 points and seven rebounds before his ejection.

Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo combined for a triple-double (31 points, 12 assists, 11 rebounds) while Courtney Lee (13 points) and Jared Sullinger (10 rebounds) showed positive signs. Here’s what else happened.


A Courtney Lee sighting: In Bradley’s return against the Grizzlies, Lee tumbled down the depth chart, playing just eight minutes in the blowout. Maybe that lit a fire in him. He played eight minutes in the first half against the Pacers, making 3-of-4 shots, grabbing two rebounds and playing aggressive defense. Even after the whistle, when he threw down a ferocious dunk running a 2-on-1 alongside Rondo, Lee impressed.

A lineup that worked: Celtics coach Doc Rivers has juggled lineups endlessly, trying to find one that will make things a little more exciting. Enter Garnett, Rondo, Green (?!?!), Lee and Sullinger, who started the second quarter and turned a one-point deficit into a 31-23 advantage with a little thing called effort. The C’s never looked back.

Big Three: Rondo, Garnett and Pierce combined for 49 points on 22-of-40 shooting (55.0 percent from the floor) to go along with 18 rebounds and 14 assists. It goes without saying, but generally the Celtics will go as far as that trio can take them, and on Friday night they looked like the Celtics of old. And not just old Celtics.


Cold first quarter: Bradley missed his first five shots, Jason Terry missed his first four and the Celtics shot just 29.2 percent (7-24 FG) in the opening quarter. Thankfully for Boston, the Pacers weren’t much better (7-20, 35.0%), and the Celtics trailed just 16-15 after the first 12 minutes.

Pass on Bass: Rivers continues to search for his best option in the fifth starter’s role. He’s tried Sullinger, Jason Collins and Brandon Bass, who got the nod against Indiana. Bass grabbed eight rebounds but scored zero points through three quarters. Back to the drawing board. Maybe it’s time again for Sullinger, whose plus/minus numbers alongside Garnett are off the charts.

Project Green-light: Rivers also said following the loss to the Grizzlies that he wants to find more minutes for Green, but he might have been the only player worse than Bass against the Pacers. Green was scoreless through the first 34:41 and if not for garbage time he might still be waiting for his first rebound.


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Post by Matty on Sat Jan 05, 2013 1:00 am

intersting, csne seems to indicate that Bass bering back in the lineup helped ful this win, while WEEI purposes thaat Bass's contributions will lead to Doc continueing to experiment.

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Post by cowens/oldschool on Sat Jan 05, 2013 1:11 am

start Sully

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Post by tardust on Sat Jan 05, 2013 9:21 am

Isn't it great to not be looking for what went wrong, but looking at all the good things for a change?
Cow- I don't really care if he starts or not, just want him to get 30 plus minutes if possible. He is a beast and getting better. When those rookie fouls go away this is a double double most nites. He played great on the ball defense against West as well.

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Post by rickdavisakaspike on Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:45 am

Hopefully, this will shut up the local media yokels, some of whom were actually saying that the Celtics should start playing for lottery position. When the Cs are going well, you hear nothing from these yoyos; when they lose, it's like hyenas in the night.

What's been wrong up to this point is that Avery Bradley wasn't in the lineup. It isn't so much the plays he makes (20-foot jumpshots? when did he decide he's going to be Ray Allen?) as it is the way he plays - all-out hustle. That's what's been missing on this team. There's been too much pacing, too much false hustle. You can't get away with that when the guy beside you is goin like blazes.

More than anyone else, Rajon Rondo has been waiting for Bradley's return. Pierce says the team doesn't know who it wants to be. That's because the leader of the team, Rondo, the self-appointed captain, doesn't know who he wants to be. Pierce always led by example, as Bradley's so good at doing, but Rondo wants to be the guy to tell everyone else what to do, even Doc. That's okay, you can talk the talk so long as you walk the walk.

As he showed last night, with Bradley beside him, Rondo can do all the unpredictable and unexpected things he likes to do. He knows Bradley has his back, so he can cheat off his man and come up behind the big guys for the steal, or crash the boards, or double team. Last night, at times it looked as though Rondo was finally becoming Rondo, dusting off all those old, flashy moves on defense, as though he feels more freedom to be free.

So it comes down to the offensive side that Rondo has to learn what he needs to do, what he wants to be. The thing about a point guard is that he has to be humble, at least on the floor, and let his teammates carry the scoring load. I don't know if any team ever won a championship with the point guard being the primary offensive weapon, except for Magic's rookie year. Even Oscar Robertson couldn't do it.

There wasn't much of the strategy last night, but there's one thing Rondo can do that will transformn him on offense into the 'terrible beauty' he craves to be. Run, Rondo, run!


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Post by dboss on Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:53 am

Well that's more like it. 4 quarters of solid basketball.

The defense was significantly better.

It will still take a few more games for them to establish what we witnessed last night.

I was going to go to the Hawks game burr I refuse to pay the price they want for decent seats. But I'll be watching on TV.

The vail of uncertainty is being lifted.


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Post by sinus007 on Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:00 am

I don't know about change in the lineup. But the change in the team's attitude, IMO, was the primary reason for the last night's rout.

Once again, what a great pick Sully turns out to be. There was a discussion, in the other thread, about basketball fundamentals. I believe he's got it. He also knows how to be in the right place at the right time. (Is it a fundamental or a talent?)

The second name I'd like to mention is Lee. I agree with Mike Gorman - it's by far his best game as a Celtic. Excellent defense, we've seen before, but now it it was supplemented with aggressive and productive offense.

I hope they keep the same attitude in Atlanta.


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Post by tardust on Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:04 am

I think Lee was feeding off of Bradley. He didn't want the intensity to drop from the SG spot when he came in. Can you imagine a pressing team for a few minutes with Rondo, AB, Lee, KG, and PP? Hound the ball from he inbounds pass. I think that would be a good short term weapon to throw out there every now and then for short periods of time.

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Post by 112288 on Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:06 am

I am from the show me state so I am not sold on anything as of yet. Hey, we beat OKC and yet look where we are. Let's see how we do with Atlanta who is ranked 12th with 97.4 pts per game.

It still does not solve the Bass problem of him not scoring and with Collins playing you get 0 scoring out of him, so you are 1 man down in scoring with him in there. Same thing with Green. Which Jeff Green is going to show up on any given night. The one who is currently lost or the guy that looks like James Worthy.

The way you view this team (how far are you expecting them to do) is the measure in ones mind on how the team is performing.

FYI - Indy pacers are 29th in the league in scoring at 91.2 pts per game. Washington is last at 89.5 pts per game.


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Post by Outside on Sat Jan 05, 2013 1:29 pm

This game shows the Celtics are capable of playing very good basketball. By the time the playoffs begin, they need to show they are capable of sustaining this type of effort consistently from game to game.

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Post by bobheckler on Sat Jan 05, 2013 2:06 pm

We know we can beat good teams. We beat Brooklyn, convincingly. We beat OKC, convincingly. Now, we beat a very good Indiana team, convincingly. What they need to do now is convince us they can do this consistently. Hopefully, consistency began last night.

Frank Vogel went with the "dance with the ones who brung ya" theory of shot distribution and not the "feed the hot hand" theory. David West and Paul George took 42% of the Pacers' fgas, but only shot 25%.

1. Bradley is a difference-maker. You can just see the difference in the team's demeanor when he's on the floor. I loved watching him play 2-man perimeter defense with Pierce. Bradley's man kept trying to rub Bradley off a pick and Bradley just kept slipping through and staying between his man and the basket and not so far off that he had a good shot. Back-and-forth, back-and-forth, he kept trying to rub Bradley off and couldn't. Why can't Rondo do this? Bradley wasn't going super fast, or being super aggressive, he was just moving and watching his spacing. His offense is coming back too. Only 0-5 in the first half, but he was 3-6 in the 2nd half to end up at 3-11.

2. I made an offer to bobc on the Game On thread last night. JET for one of his dogs (the angrier one). I'm hoping bob's counter offer was just a negotiating ploy. Consider this, bob, if you make the deal you'll still have two dogs and one of them will be able to feed and walk himself. 6 points on 2-8 shooting (one of the points was a free throw on a technical, so no Tommy points there) in 15 minutes. Barbosa played 6 minutes and scored 6 points on 3-4 shooting. He might have scored more except that Courtney Lee suddenly decided he had to have the ball in his hands a lot more and score after Barbosa came into the game. If you're willing to be reasonable, my phone is never far away from me, bob.

3. As bad as KG's last game was this one was as good. He played monster defense on David West, who had an execrable shooting night. Part of that might be that KG swallowed him up whenever he came near the hoop. KG's ejection will be downgraded, I'm expecting. There was no intent to hit Hansbrough in the head, and that should have been taken into account by Jim Capers. The moral of this is that we should get out to big leads early, just in case something like this happens. It might have gotten ugly if KG got tossed in the 2nd.

4. Sully is the Beast of the Boards. I love offensive rebounding. I might have to get one of those life-sized fathead posters of him. Even if he didn't get the board he got a fingernail or two on it and that disrupted their transition to offense by preventing sure control and a quick outlet pass. That works just as well as Bradley applying full court pressure. He's struggling with his offense, but that's ok, I'm loving his rebounding and toughness. He fouled out, again, on another bullshit call. Again. Do not trade him, Danny, do not.

5. While the Pacer team was shooting like a bunch of blind men as a whole, Tyler Hansbrough was 7-11. He is the hardest working players on that team. After KG got ejected, the crowd booed every time Hansbrough touched the ball, including his brother Ben. Too funny. That's like booing Danny Ainge after Tree Rollins bit him, and then booing his son Austin too. I disagree with the ejection, but it wasn't Tyler's fault he got hit. Shame on Ben, though, for being related, right? Mobs, sheesh. I'm looking forward to 10 years or more of punishing battles between Tyler and Sully. Old school basketball.

6. Our old friend Gerald Green was 1-8 last night and 0-4 from 3. On defense, Paul Pierce ate him up. Somethings never change. He's shooting 37% on the season.

7. Unfortunately, Jeff Green's numbers aren't much better than Gerald Green's, except for his contract numbers. Other than a spectacular block to prevent a transition bucket, another forgettable night for Jeff.

8. Jason Collins came off the bench and played 15 minutes and was a +15. Just goes to show how useless that stat is for bench players.

9. A very nice game, on both ends by Courtney Lee. He did a very good job on defense, shutting down the explosive Lance Stephenson. Offensively, he played his usual game, until Barbosa came in and then he attacked the basket like a fiend. Hmmm. Is there a locker room thing going on with Barbosa? Still, I'd take this game from Lee anytime. People are drooling over the idea of a Bradley/Lee back court. I think that combo would be "offensively-challenged", shall we say, but they'd be absolutely lock-down on defense. For short periods, to disrupt the other team's flow and chemistry, why not?

10. We beat them in every category. We outshot them, both fg% and fgas. We had more steals, blocks and had fewer turnovers. We outrebounded them (Go Sully!). We out-assisted them. And most importantly, we out-worked them.

A tough game coming up tonight against a tough Atlanta Hawk team. They'll be angry, losing last night.



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Post by Sam on Sat Jan 05, 2013 3:15 pm

To anyone:

After watching this game, I found myself asking, "Self, how would tonight's Celtics effort fared against some of the gunners they faced in California?" Because, along with a great defensive effort and enough offense to get this job done, the Celtics did luck out when the Pacers missed open three-pointer after open three-pointer. Officially, they were 4-17, but it felt even worse than that.

However, one could opt for a positive spin by claiming the Celtics picked their poison correctly by focusing on good inside defense and denying penetration (the Pacers had only 32 points in the paint).

What I liked as much as the constant pedal on the metal attack (at both ends of the floor) was the fact that there was a lot of movement in the Celts' halfcourt game. Some of the time, they actually ran a three-man weave on the perimeter. One of the advantages is that a weave really moves the defenders around and also makes them susceptible to picks by the two non-weavers. I was in Yesteryear Hog Heaven watching that maneuver last night.

For those who like critiques of individual players, I would offer the following:

Rondo had an excellent game—but not a lot better than we should expect from night to night. He certainly didn't look "hip-impaired" last night. And KG went over-and-above in throwing caution to the winds as he jumpstarted a band that could be called "Iggy and the Igniters."

But, for my money, the game ball goes to two guys whose games have slowly been progressing in exactly the direction the Celtics need from them: Sully and Lee.

I believe Lee has steadily become a more stable, consistent contributor than Terry:

• At this juncture in the season, Lee is shooting .477 to .432 for Terry, and Lee's defensive superiority over Terry's is off the charts..

• Lee averages 4.7 misses per 36 minutes, compared with 6.1 for Terry. So it could be concluded that Terry's offensive game results in more empty possessions for the Celtics, while Lee's defensive game results in more stops than Terry's.

• The main reason for the discrepancy in misses and field goal percentage is that half of Terry's field goal attempts are threes, compared with only one-quarter of Lee's field goal attempts.

• That's why I call Terry more of a one-trick (three-pointer) pony than Lee (who features a much more diverse offensive arsenal (penetration, best Celtics finisher in transition, excellent mid-range game, and a three-point game that's only 6 percentage points below Terry's).

As for Sully and Bass, I have to give Bass credit for trying hard to improve his rebound input.

• Bass is currently averaging 7.4 rebounds per 36 minutes (including 2.3 offensive boards) compared with 5.2 rebounds (1.8 offensive) last season.

• But Sully is currently averaging 3.0 more rebounds than Bass per 36 minutes including 1.4 more offensive boards than Bass.

• Sully is much better passer than Bass (1.5 assists per 36 minutes for Sully, 1.1 for Bass).

• Any assumption that Bass is outscoring Sully per 36 minutes is bogus (Bass = 11.0, Sully = 10.6). Moreover, Sully currently seems more consistent than Brandon.

• Defensively, based on the paltry stats relating to defense, Sully and Bass are more even on a per-36-minutes basis:

Steals (each has 0.8 per 36 minutes)
Blocks (Bass has 1.0 and Sully has 0.9)

But it should be noted that Sully has achieved his stats while often asked to play the center position, which is obviously not his strength.

None of this offers definitive proof of who should start or play more minutes or play at crunch time. There are many factors other than stats involved in such decisions, and the decisions could differ from game to game and from opponent to opponent.

But, in general, I believe Lee and Sully are more in the mold of the direction in which this team is trying to head as the season wears on—reestablishing a dominant defensive game, upgrading the rebounding game, and fielding a more versatile, potent offensive game. And I believe both these guys have the potential to become even more valuable to the Celtics over the remainder of the season.

Go Celtics!


P.S. Oh, and by the way, I think it's great that the Celtics have a dynamic guy off the bench a la Vinnie Johnson. I hope he gets more playing time, especially on explosive transition units. Of course, I'm talking about Leandro Barbosa. While once again affirming that stats aren't everything, it's interesting to look at some comparative stats:

Points per 36 minutes: Barbosa 15.4, Terry 13.4
FG %: Terry 43.2%, Barbosa 41.4%
3-point %: Terry 37.8%, Barbosa 37.0%
Assists: Barbosa 4.0, Terry 2.5
Offensive Diversity (% of FGA attempted represented by 2-point shots rather than threes): Barbosa 24.2%; Terry 50.3%

I really like the fact that Barbosa can fly with every possession and can score in a great variety of ways.

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Post by mrkleen09 on Sat Jan 05, 2013 5:21 pm

The Celtics D was MUCH better last night. It all starts and ends on the Defensive end. Hope they can keep it up.

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