POST GAME DENVER

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POST GAME DENVER

Post by 112288 on Tue Feb 19, 2013 11:49 pm

Ainge: Unlikely to make deadline deal

By ESPNBoston.com

Though he acknowledged talking a lot of calls, Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said Tuesday he thought it was unlikely he will make a trade before Thursday’s deadline.

"It looks unlikely that anything will be done, other than possibly some players we will add to our roster," Ainge told the Boston Herald in Denver, where his Celtics face the Nuggets on Tuesday night. "Not sure yet of what that will be.

"There’s been a lot of conversation around the league, and we’ve been very busy. Trades are very challenging to make, and then on top of that we like our guys. I like watching this team play, I like the personality of our team. We just need to find a way to give them the best chance to win with the resources we have."

Ainge said he’s been fielding more interest than usual, as teams are trying to figure out whether the Celtics -- who sit a season-high four games over .500 but have lost three key players to season-ending injuries in the last couple of weeks -- are going to be buyers or sellers. At least publicly, Ainge has maintained that he isn’t looking to blow this team up.

Kevin Garnett has gotten the most attention, the latest rumors indicating the Clippers are making a run at him even as he has repeatedly said he will not waive his no-trade clause. In recent days, Garnett, Paul Pierce and even Rajon Rondo have made the rounds in the ever-frenzied NBA rumor mill.

The Celtics have lost Rondo (torn ACL), Jared Sullinger (back surgery) and Leandro Barbosa (torn ACL) to season-ending injuries while winning eight of nine games before the All-Star break.

"My first choice is always to try to win now, especially when you have unique players like KG and Paul," Ainge told the Herald. "That’s always the best option. But the injuries have at least allowed me to ponder other possibilities. It’s still going to be tough to convince me that’s what we need to do."



GAME STATS

REBOUNDS - CELTICS 39 /DEN 45.....Offensive - CELTICS 8 /DEN 10 ......Defensive - CELTICS 31/DEN 35
POINTS IN THE PAINT - CELTICS 32 /DEN 42
FAST BREAK POINTS - CELTICS 8 / DEN 11
FG - CELTICS - 35/79 (44.3 %) DEN 33/77 (42.9 %)
3PM - CELTICS 7/20 ( 35%) DEN 7/20 ( 35%)
FTM - CELTICS 13/16 (81.3 %) DEN 24/36 ( 66.7 %)
TO - CELTICS 12 / DEN 7
ASSISTS - CELTICS 22 / DEN 21
STL - CELTICS 6 / DEN 7
BLK - CELTICS 2 / DEN 3
PF - CELTICS 24 / DEN 17
BENCH POINTS - CELTICS 30 / DEN 26
TOTAL TEAM TURNOVERS (Points off turnovers) – CELTICS 13 (14) /DEN 7 (6)

NEXT GAME WEDNESDAY - AT LA LAKERS - 10:30PM CSNE/ESPN


POST GAME RECAP

CSNE

Celtics drop first game of trip to Nuggets, 97-90

A.SHERROD BLAKLEY

DENVER — The Denver Nuggets came into Tuesday's game against the Boston Celtics with a Mile High attitude after losing a game at Boston earlier this month that they felt they should have won.

That, coupled with a strong second half was just what the Nuggets needed to down the C's, 97-90.

Boston had a chance to make it a one possession game when Kevin Garnett missed a contested shot in the paint that was rebounded by the Nuggets.

Ty Lawson, who was fouled with 20.7 seconds to play, converted both free throws to seal the victory.

Boston had fell behind by as many as eight points in the fourth, but a 3-pointer by Avery Bradley tied the game at 84.

Denver got a quick 3-ball from Danilo Gallinari and then a put-back basket by Lawson to go ahead 89-84 with less than five minutes to play.

From there, the C's continued to play an uphill game which is a killer when you have to do it at 5,280 feet above sea level.

Yes, there were a number of players for both teams - probably more Celtics players - tugging at their shorts in hopes of catching their breaths Tuesday night.

Considering how the Celtics have been playing so far above their heads lately, you would have thought they would have been more than content to play in the clouds.

In many ways, the game had the makings of their first matchup which ended with the Celtics emerging with a 118-114 triple overtime victory.

While revenge might be overstating Denver's approach to Tuesday's game, there was no doubt that it was a topic of discussion among the Denver players and their head coach, George Karl.

"When you're a good team like the Celtics with that tradition, everybody wants to beat them," Karl said prior to the game. "So what gives them (Denver players) a little added advantage, I don't know. But I think our guys know we should have won that game in Boston. We have a loss because of it, and we have a three-game losing streak because of it. There will be some pride for us tonight."

Pride was indeed on display.

But more than that, the Nuggets simply made all the necessary plays at both ends of the floor that the C's simply could not contend with or match with a play of their own.

If it wasn't Lawson breaking down Boston's defenders, it was Gallinari raising up for a 3-pointer or Kenneth Faried aka the "Manimal" giving the Nuggets multiple possessions that added up to a 78-70 lead for the Nuggets going into the fourth.

For most of the game, it was a relatively close contest with neither team pulling away.

And leading the way for the most part was the guards for both teams.

Boston got a strong offensive showing in the first half by Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee who each had 12 first-half points. They finished with 17 and 15 points, respectively.

Meanwhile, Lawson was a perfect 5-for-5 from the field in the first half and had 12 points. The Nuggets also got a solid start from Gallinari who led all players at the half with 13 points. They each finished with a game-high 26 points.

Although Boston led most of the first half, they needed a last-second jumper by Lee to take a 50-49 into the break.

As the third quarter progressed, the tempo seemed to ever-so-slightly shift more and more in favor of Denver.

Shots that went down in the first half for Boston, weren't dropping as often. And the Nuggets were getting contributions from others besides Lawson and Gallinari.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

WEEI 93.7 FM

FALSE START: CELTICS STUMBLE IN DENVER TO OPEN SECOND HALF 02.19.13 at 11:27 pm ET
By WEEI

In their first game following the All-Star break, the Celtics couldn't keep pace with the Nuggets in a 97-90 loss in Denver.

Playing a Nuggets team that, at 23-3, is one of the most dominant at home in the NBA, the Celtics' balanced offensive attack proved insufficient. After arriving at halftime with a 50-49 lead, the Celtics were outscored, 29-20, in a game-changing third quarter, with the eight-point deficit entering the final period proving too much to overcome.

In defeat, the Celtics featured five scorers in double figures, led by Jeff Green's 20 points off the bench on 8-of-12 shooting. Avery Bradley chipped in with a season-high 17.

However, Paul Pierce struggled both from the floor (shooting 2-for-14 en route to 10 points) and with foul trouble, fouling out in the final seconds of a game in which he contributed to a night in which the Nuggets attempted more than twice as many free throws (34) as the Celtics (16).

The Nuggets were led by forward Danilo Gallinari, who had 26 points, and guard Ty Lawson, who had 24 points along with six rebounds and six assists.

Boston is now 8-16 on the road with four games remaining on the current Western Conference swing. The Celtics are 28-25 on the season.

112288



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Re: POST GAME DENVER

Post by mrkleen09 on Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:38 am

A 20 FT difference in a 7 point game where the Celtics were just as aggressive as the Nuggets?

Doc was heated at the end of the game, as well he should have been.

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Re: POST GAME DENVER

Post by 112288 on Wed Feb 20, 2013 10:37 am

MrK,

I did not have the Boston feed. What was Doc pissed off about, what was he saying and at which players?

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Re: POST GAME DENVER

Post by mrkleen09 on Wed Feb 20, 2013 10:51 am

Doc said that they played hard and he felt the refs missed a number of big calls down the stretch.

He said Galanari (sp) intentionally pushed off on Bradley (no call), that Faried was out of bounce by a foot (foul called on KG), the Terry got hacked on the arm (no call) and that those were big no calls in a close game.

When the other team has 15 more points at the FT line - in a 7 point game, you have to scratch your head.

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Re: POST GAME DENVER

Post by sam on Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:04 am

112288,

I can't speak for Mrkleen, but I think Doc was pissed primarily about the calls (or no-calls) near the end. He made it a point to talk about how great a first half they played. Then he said they didn't sustain it in the second half as each player seemed to be wanting to win the game on his own and the team concept suffered accordingly. If he was downright pissed at the team—as opposed to regretting how it turned out—I've seen him a lot more pissed than that.

What shocked me more were some of Heinsohn's comments about Paul Pierce. I can't recall all of them (perhaps someone else can), but Hawk had a lot to say about Paul's diminished skills. One thing I do remember was Tommy's comment on how Pierce has always depended on beating opponents with a great first step, which he no longer possesses. He even went so far as to say something about how sad it is to watch. Pretty strong stuff!

Those comments, coupled with visuals of the play where Paul got stripped and lay flailing fruitlessly on the floor as Denver took off down the floor, really hit home with me; and, for the first time, Josh Smith was looking pretty good to me. I thought it almost prophetic that, as Paul lay helpless on the floor, Jeff Green raced downcourt, blocked the shot and turned it into two points for the Celtics. (I think I have that right; if not, it makes a good story.)

A true bittersweet sequence that's not easy to erase from the mind.

Sam

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Re: POST GAME DENVER

Post by bobheckler on Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:11 am

This game was lost for two reasons: ftas and some dumb basketball by the Celtics towards the end. MrKleen nailed it. They were living at the line. Part of the reason for that was that Paul Pierce simply could not stay in front of Danilo Gallinari and the other was because the refs swallowed their whistles at the end when KG was getting mauled on every entry pass and no fouls were called. Also, Pierce with dumb 3ptas, when they were unnecessary, Avery Bradley dribbling to the sideline where he could see Iggy waiting for him to trap him and steal the ball. It's one thing to deliberately draw a double, it's another to draw it where you can be swallowed up in the corner or along the sideline or baseline. Just some dumb basketball that resulted in avoidable empty possessions.

1. I thought the rest was going to be good for Pierce? Horrible game for him. 2-14 and 6 fouls? Bad decision making? Pierce is a rhythm player and he had none last night. So much for any idea of starting Green and have the aging Pierce come off the bench. I have no confidence Pierce's rhythm would get better doing that and Green seems to have settled into his role as a bench player. Besides, it doesn't matter who starts but who finishes.

2. Speaking of which, what a sad waste of a great game by Jeff Green. Despite being matched up against The Italian Irritant and Kenneth Faried he still managed to score a season-high 20 points on 8-12 shooting. He also had one of his now-becoming-famous come out of nowhere blocks. He is also overcoming his inconsistencies, and playing hard every game. If he still has a weakness, it's the one he admits he has, and that is rebounding. What's the biggest difference between Josh Smith and Jeff Green? Rebounding.

3. Bradley had a very nice game offensively, especially in the first half, but didn't stop Ty Lawson. Lawson is ridiculously quick but is it really that hard to stay in front of him? He is not a great shooter, why not force him to prove he can hit shots? 26 points by Lawson on 8-13 and 8-10 from the line. Lawson has bounced around the league a bit but has definitely found a home with George Karl.

4. Gallinari gave us heartburn in NY, now he's doing it in Denver. A 6'10", 225# SF, he and Jeff Green are the new models for 3s in the NBA. He tortured Pierce and Pierce, colder than the Arctic in winter, didn't reciprocate.

5. Kenneth Faried has, what coaches call, "a good motor". A very lively body that always seems to be around the ball. They don't run any plays for him, but he still makes things happen. 16 rebounds, 5 offensive. He reacts to the ball faster than any player I've seen in a while. He doesn't have some of the skills of other players but neither is he afflicted with "paralysis through analysis". It's like his synapses are twice as fast as everybody else's.

6. We stopped running in the second half. We. Must. Run.

I'd say that, between the 3OT game in Boston and this one, it wouldn't be unreasonable to say, if we are trying to figure out where we are in the NBA pecking order, that we are comparable to Denver. They match up well against us with Iggy, Gallinari, Brewer and Faried vs Pierce, Green and Bass; speed merchant Lawson vs Bradley and we have had some good, close battles. That's not bad, given that Denver has the 6th best record in the league and that's after a pre-all star game losing streak (started by us). At .528, we are 14th. That tells me we are playing better now, in February, than we were earlier in the year, better than our record says. No surprise there, we all know we've been playing better of late, but it's a handy benchmark. We've upped our game and are now competing well against a team that most likely will be in the 2nd round of the playoffs (getting to the WC Finals would require them to get past either SAS, OKC or LAC and that will be tough).

And it's just February. As Sam says, see me in April. A few more bodies, to keep the minutes down so we're fresh, and this could be fun.


bob


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Re: POST GAME DENVER

Post by mrkleen09 on Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:35 am

Really well said Bob.

Only thing I disagree with is that against a team like Denver - that runs for a living, the Celtics need to pick their spots to run. They need to run off missed shots and turnovers, but when Denver is back on D - the Celtics did the right thing in slowing things down and setting players up for better shots.

This was a good example of a game when they really missed Rajon. Everything KG got was contested, because Bradley, Lee and Pierce fiddled around with the ball for 19 seconds and then stuck KG with a tough shot with the clock running out - a position that even a stiff like Koufus could defend.

Bradley needs to improve his pick and roll offense - and getting the team into sets sooner and more consistently. You are not going to run as often in the playoffs and when the game slows down, his decision making still needs work.

Add in a few more intelligent decisions by Bradley and Lee - a few less hero ball plays by Pierce - and a few more calls that they deserved to get from the three blind mice - and the Celtics walk out with a win last night.


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Re: POST GAME DENVER

Post by Outside on Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:55 am

Good analysis, Bob. As usual.

One minor correction -- Ty Lawson hasn't bounced around the league but has instead been with Denver all four years of his NBA career. He was drafted by Minnesota but traded to Denver the same day.

I also think MrKleen is correct to point out that the Celtics need to pick their spots to run against a running team like Denver. They shouldn't stop running, but they should avoid getting into a completely fast-paced game that plays into Denver's hands. Having said that, there are precious few teams where that is an issue. Besides Denver, OKC comes to mind, and... and... the Warriors? Maybe? It's a short list. Otherwise, get out and run.

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Re: POST GAME DENVER

Post by Outside on Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:59 am

Also, there's no doubt that Pierce's skills are eroding, but I still have the sneaking suspicion that he was just hiding in the weeds before unleashing his usual "on" game against the Lakers.

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Re: POST GAME DENVER

Post by sam on Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:48 pm

Good point, Mrkleen, about Rondo. This was one of only two games since Rondo's departure in which I found myself saying, "This is when Rondo would come in handy." The timing was near the end of the game, when it seemed as though every Celtic refused to throw a pass of less than 30 feet in length. For the most part, they were passes born of desperation rather than of opportunity. Cross-court passes that weren't picked off mainly because they were so high that the recipients had to leap to corral them. Denver seemed to have a ready-made response to critical situations. The Celtics seemed to be making it up as they went along.

It seems apparent that this mix of Celtics has learned quite well how to lend their respective strengths to a team effort. Whatever iteration of the team emerges after the trade deadline and possible free agent signings, the next step should be to develop some discipline out of all those individual efforts—especially down the stretch.

There's plenty of time to do that in the next couple of months. Just look at what strides have been made in a couple of weeks. What's going on now is reminiscent of Russel's Rule of Invisible Man (and I'm obviously paraphrasing): The threat of discontinuity can be as devastating as discontinuity itself.

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Re: POST GAME DENVER

Post by bobheckler on Wed Feb 20, 2013 1:18 pm

Outside wrote:Good analysis, Bob. As usual.

One minor correction -- Ty Lawson hasn't bounced around the league but has instead been with Denver all four years of his NBA career. He was drafted by Minnesota but traded to Denver the same day.

I also think MrKleen is correct to point out that the Celtics need to pick their spots to run against a running team like Denver. They shouldn't stop running, but they should avoid getting into a completely fast-paced game that plays into Denver's hands. Having said that, there are precious few teams where that is an issue. Besides Denver, OKC comes to mind, and... and... the Warriors? Maybe? It's a short list. Otherwise, get out and run.


outside,

Thanks for the correction. That'll teach me to write with being sure of my research first. Hmm, who was the point guard in Denver I was thinking of? Regardless, you are correct. Ty Lawson has been in Denver his entire career.

As far as the point you and MrKleen are in agreement on, that we need to pick our spots to run against Denver, I'll go along with that, overall, but we need to run as much as we can and produce results because we are not a team of bangers. IMO, that was more than we did last night ESPECIALLY in the 3rd quarter. Also, they had 3 players on the boards after almost every shot of ours. That made it too easy for them to run. I know Denver is an uptempo team, and they are very good at it, but I think Sully's aggressive offensive rebounding skills would have helped last night. Oh well. My point is that we cannot afford to let the other team significantly out-run us. Preventing that is done by a combination of more running and better offensive rebounding by us. Simply getting back on D won't stop a team like that from running it down your throat.

I'd add Miami to that list too. Except for SAS and possibly the Clips, you're talking about the top teams in the league. Coincidence?


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Re: POST GAME DENVER

Post by Outside on Wed Feb 20, 2013 1:49 pm

Bob,

Maybe you're thinking of Andre Miller? He's with Denver and has definitely bounced around.

I think you, I, and MrKleen are on the same page as far as the Celtics' need to run goes.

You're right that Sully was missed against Denver. As any reasonably knowledgeable observer of the Celtics' during the Russell era can attest, rebounding is key to the running game, and Faried's rebounding is what gets the running going for Denver. If a guy like Sullinger can reduce Faried's rebound totals by just a few, that can help offset Denver's advantage and translate directly into fewer points for them.

It's no coincidence that Denver runs a lot and has a great home record (23-3), taking advantage of the mile-high altitude that leaves other teams short of breath. They have a poor road record, however (11-18), so I think they'll be a tough "out" in the playoffs but aren't a serious contender.

I thought of both Miami and the Spurs when thinking of other running teams, but I didn't think of them in quite the same mode as Denver and OKC. Now that I think about it more, I think the Spurs belong on the list, but I think I'd still argue against Miami. The Heat have an opportunistic running game off turnovers with LeBron and Wade almost exclusively as the finishers, but I don't think running is as ingrained in their offensive DNA. Miami's running is mostly situational, while Denver and OKC run whenever possible.

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Re: POST GAME DENVER

Post by bobheckler on Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:32 pm

Layup? I think not.












Lee, at the buzzer. VERY nice ball movement, NOT a Pierce iso (thank God). Great job of keeping the 4.9 second shot clock in their heads.






Nice pass from Green to Wilcox running the floor.






Lee, to the hoop. He did that a lot, and well, last night.










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