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Monday, November 24th, 2008 at 9:17 am  |  41 responses

The Post Up: Celtics/Raptors Game Observations

With special guest recapper, Chris O’Leary.

by Holly MacKenzie

All of the Gatorade, energy drinks and water in K.G.’s locker… probably to make up for the buckets of sweat and energy he expends each game just in intensity.

Having a conversation with the fantastic Celtics PR guy that included him showing off his championship ring to me and telling me some of their pregame routines and rituals was one of the highlights of my day in an otherwise painful loss.

Leon Powe is a gracious, humble and very, very personable guy.

Kendrik Perkins is a bigger man than you can imagine. He is solid.

Eddie House is a joker, and I think he keeps the guys loose when they need it.

Kevin Garnett doesn’t just command respect, he owns it. When the man walks into a room, the energy follows, whether he wants it too or not. The best? Watching some of the younger guys take him in, in awe, in the same way that we all are.

Paul Pierce being sneaky, bailing on postgame as we are all tied up with Kevin. Brotherhood indeed.

Rondo and Powe talking about Air Force 1’s.

Spotted Pregame: Ray Allen. He is out shooting early as per his usual routine. Gets a lot of shots up, almost all looking beautiful as they leave his hands. When he is finished, he goes over and shakes the hands of the kids who were rebounding for them, thanking them and making their year with a genuine smile.

Spotted Postgame: Ray Allen. Fulled dressed in an impeccable suit, standing in the opening to the showers straightening his shirt and jacket, looking in the mirror before he comes out to greet the media. He is meticulous, he is tailored he is Ray Allen.

Stay classy, Ray-Ray.

Raptors.

Somber mood that comes along with a loss like this.

I spent the majority of my time in the Celtics locker room for an upcoming project you’ll see soon enough. When I did make it over to the Toronto side of things, it was pretty empty.

The scene certainly was not as jovial as the pregame one, where Jamario Moon had been rapping Lil’ Wayne.

J.O. with a smile on his face but a heavy heart. With the way he hates talking about his knee, it hurts to see him struggling and having to talk about and deal with that troublesome injury that just can’t seem to leave him break free.

He says he has a pinched capsule, but should be ready for Wednesday.

Here is hoping that whenever he is ready, he comes back healthy and healed.

Bosh who is courteous as always with the media, trying to remain positive in the eye of the storm. The game is over, it’s time to look forward. Is there a better guy in this league at spreading the wealth when things are good and shouldering the load when they aren’t?

DonatorChris Bosh is a special player and an even more special person in this League.

Chris Bosh is also the new spokesperson for the Boys and Girls Club of Canada and passed along a $75,000.00 donation of his own to the foundation.

Looks like we can all look for Roko Ukic to get some time as Jose Calderon’s back up in these next few games. After giving Will Soloman a shot for the past few games, now it is Roko’s turn.

Roko brought some good energy in the fourth when Coach Mitchell inserted him into the lineup alongside Calderon. He had back-to-back steals, an and-1 and also a layup. It will be interesting to watch him improve and get comfortable. Even if I will miss the Will Soloman experiment.

My college-self was happy to see Hassan Adams get into the game as Mitchell waved the white flag. Remembering him at Arizona, I think this is the first time I’ve seen him play this season.

Anyway, those are a few observations from me to you, from the game yesterday. I was there working on a project like I said, so sorry I don’t have more from the coach’s press conferences.

I will say that Doc Rivers is a great guy with the media. Having never dealt with him before, I wasn’t sure what his demeanor would be like, but he was a pleasure. He is also a huge fan of the television show “24”.

He also does not know how to use Tivo.

Okay, enough from me. Chris O’Leary will have a fantastic piece for you coming up shortly, detailing VC’s return to the ACC. Michael Tillery will be chiming in with game notes from the Philly victory over Golden State that went down yesterday.

In addition to my “game observations” above, you are also going to be treated to a guest recapper (I think he wants to feel like a “guest rapper”), today as Chris O’Leary busts a recap or two for you. Hanging out with Chris O, Marcel and Skeets from Yahoo! was pretty great. It was like a Canadian bloggers convention. In a bar. Where people got in fights and also proposed. It was a good weekend.

One more thing? What is with the goggles this year? First Amare, then Caron now Vlad-Rad? As if he wasn’t enough of a space cadet.This reminds me of the guys all jumping on the tights bandwagon a couple of seasons ago.

LA Lakers 118 Sacramento 108

On their way to the NBA’s best record at 11-1, the Lakers let things get sloppy in the fourth quarter and allowed the Sacramento Kings pull to within four points, after leading by as many as 19 in the opening minutes of the fourth. Unfortunately for the Kings, these lazy Lakers were just a tease, allowing them to get close, then shutting them out as they had to put Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher and Pau Gasol back into the game to finish the Kings off. While the Lakers finished the game shooting 51%, they allowed the Kings to come in at 53% in addition to their turning the ball over 18 times, an uncharacteristically sloppy game from them this season. Bryant finished with 24 points and 6 assists while Gasol finished with 16, Andrew Bynum scored 15 points to go with 10 rebounds and Trevor Ariza added 11 points, 5 assists and 11 rebounds off of the bench. The Kings had a 24-point effort from John Salmons while Bobby Brown added 21 points and Jason Thompson scored 15.

Boston 118 Toronto 103

This was a game that was over in the first 12 minutes. Maybe even the first five. Trailing 32-20 at the end of the first quarter, the fans had already shifted from booing Kevin Garnett to booing their beloved Raptors. This was a bad one. At one point the Celtics were up 21-6 and the Raptors simply could not get anything to go on the offensive end. With Rondo pushing the ball early and keeping Jose Calderon on his heels, the Celtics ran circles around the Raptors, going ahead by as many as 24 points in the game. After 14 minutes of play, Jermaine O’Neal’s knee took him out of the game as it simply was not stable enough after a nasty fall during the game against the Nets on Friday. While Rondo was pushing the tempo, the rest of the Celtics fell in line, with Ray Allen connecting on 5-7 three-pointers as Boston ended up shooting better from the floor (61%), than the free throw line (60%). Allen finished with 21 points on the night as Kevin Garnett and Rondo each ended up with 15 and the Celtics had seven players in double figures. Chris Bosh led Toronto with 24 points while Andrea Bargnani, Anthony Parker and Jose Calderon each finished with 14 in the loss.

Chris O step in:

Minnesota: 106 Detroit 80

Anyone else starting to wonder what’s going on with the Pistons? They look like a head-turner for every contender in the league one week, and have since been hammered by the Celtics and have dropped three out of their last four overall after Sunday’s 106–80 thumping from Minnesota.  Randy Foye led Minny with 23 points and a career-best 14 assists. I’d talk about Detroit’s top performers, but as a team the Pistons shot 37 percent. It just doesn’t seem right to give shine to an individual (like, say Tayshaun Prince) when such a crappy collective effort gave Minnesota (‘Sota!) they’re third win of the season and their first on the road. Too bad the T-Wolves had a 0–8 start. And too bad they’re the T-Wolves. At the risk of sounding Holinger-esque, check this stat: the Pistons are 0–3 on Sundays this season, dropping those games by an average of 18.7 points per game. Is grandpa’s cough syrup factoring into this at all?

Denver 114 Chicago 101

While Iverson and his new team have struggled (4–5 post-trade record) to fit the little guy into hs new home, Chancey Billups and the Nuggets are doing fine, winning game number eight out of their last ten in Sunday’s walk over the Chicago Bulls. Denver was led in the scoresheet on Sunday afternoon by Kenyon Martin, who went a spotless 10–10 from the field as part of his 26 points and eight rebounds. Ben Gordon put up 28 points, three assists and five boards for the Bulls, who, like the Pistons have dropped three out of their last four. Denver made sure their own streak continued by ripping off a 13–1 run with five minutes left on the clock to put the game out of reach. Billups had 21 points and eight assists in the win, with two other players on the Nuggets (Nene and Carmelo Anthony) both added 21 each.

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  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Does anyone else think the Nuggets are a serious threat now……I’m really starting to wonder…..they’ve been really good.

  • http://slamonline.com Holly MacKenzie

    I’m a little in shock as well, Eboy. Obviously, I knew Chauncey was a great point guard, but he looks like that missing piece. I don’t know what the hell happened in Detroit last night. Happy to see Foye have a career-night though.

  • http://myspace.com/embracedfla Bryan

    They are playing some very good basketball E but I don’t know if they are a threat to make it past the second round.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Shia, maybe the rudderless enviornment they ran without a true point is the one thing that kept them from getting past the first round before, I don’t know if ANY of the top Western conference teams would want to see them for seven games.

  • http://myspace.com/embracedfla Bryan

    I do like the way Melo is playing though.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    I still like that a cat named Bobby Brown is getting run in NBA games.

    “Everybody’s talking, all this stuff about me, why can’t they just let me live?”

  • http://www.hoopmixtape.com Simon S.Y Lawy

    Lakers are getting lazy…

  • http://lastknickstanding.blogspot.com Bryan

    Looking at the standings you might be right. They’re playing better basketball than everyone besides the Lakers. I just don’t have very much faith in them at this point. I like the way Melo is playing and I like Nene too, I just don’t know if they can keep it up.

  • http://www.hoopmixtape.com Simon S.Y Lawy

    Denver is gonna be a threat to lakers, maybe…

  • Michael

    Eboy, arent they still banking on K-mart and Nene staying healthy? Risky strategy

  • http://www.hoopmixtape.com Simon S.Y Lawy

    don’t get injure, Denver… yeah, i mean NENE and K.martin.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Well, sure…..but EVERY good team is one injury away from a key player to being either strong and contending or shi*ty and BETCATlike.

  • FK in T-Oh

    Holly, you didn’t mention the Raptors shoot around slight-of-hand with Jermaine ONeal staying in the locker room for the dramatic walk out.

    It was maybe the only thing to cheer all day for the Raps (that and Moon’s late 1st half two-hand alley-oop)

  • Michael

    Eboy, I agree to a point, but that denver frontcourt is seriously lacking depth, after Kenyon and Nene it is who, exactly?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Cub Buenning

    Frontcourt depth still haunts this team (like most)
    But, they are now a serious threat because Chauncey has changed the culture.
    Melo averaging 9 boards a night! I said he could get 10 easy, if he just tried. Last night was another game, the “old” Nuggets would have most surely lost.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Cub Buenning

    With disappointing starts from SAS, NOH, and HOU the Nugs have to be considered major players in the west.
    Need a home series!

  • Bo Diddly

    I bet they regret trading Camby for an ant’s pubic hair now

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    “Eboy says:
    Does anyone else think the Nuggets are a serious threat now……I’m really starting to wonder…..they’ve been really good.” Look at my comments from the article about the trade I thought it made them into a contender.

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    EDDIE JORDAN GOT FIRED!!

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    EDDIE JORDAN GOT FIRED!!!

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    OMFG! Oh my fu(kin goody-good!! Eddie Jordan is gone

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    where the hell is mutoni at

  • http://slamonline.com Holly MacKenzie

    Mutoni is at a work conference all day, BET. Kinda crazy about Jordan though.

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    yeah, i went to NBA.com for my daily ‘Check NBA Highlight videos while Ms.Haynes isnt looking’ and a big red bar popped up that said Eddie Jordan got fired. He will get a job somewhere else, he is a good coach.

  • Drew

    The Nuggets are playing well, but they are not in the same class as the Lakers right now. But who is? The Nugs are playing as well as any other team in the West. They lack depth in the frontcourt, and if Nene goes down, they go down as well. But there is upside. Melo is playing better defense and rebounding like crazy. But he hasn’t shot well all year (even with AI). Melo, Chauncey and JR have all been cold as ice. If they start hitting their shots, they could take it to anther level.

  • mumadone

    Will Soloman? lol

  • Diesel

    Man, any team with a player taller than 6’10″ is just ripping the Bulls apart in the middle. This team has never needed a trade more.

  • http://lastknickstanding.blogspot.com Bryan

    Imagine if they had kept Camby ,cub.

  • k.o.

    Holly – do u really miss the will solomon experiment? really? Neither him or roko make for a stable backup, but from what i’ve seen of roko he seems a bit more composed and under control

  • RV

    I wonder if Yao’s dunk on Javalee McGee had anything to do with Jordan’s firing..

  • http://lastknickstanding.blogspot.com Bryan

    Dead.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Cub Buenning

    Shia, they would be a soft team with no post play on either side of the court. In other words, they would be considerably worse. Many of y’all know my take on camby. That deal was/is/will be one of the more intelligent moves the team has made.

  • tealish

    Aw, I’d rather you recapped the other Raptor game of this weekend.

  • http://slamonline.com Holly MacKenzie

    k.o. It’s kind of a joke. I do enjoy Soloman and I think he is a servicable backup. I have no illusions of grandeur about his talent/skill set, but I think as a backup he is fine. Roko obviously has more room to improve, he is not 30 years old. I look forward to watching Roko as I enjoy his fiery intensity.

  • http://slamonline.com Holly MacKenzie

    tealish, read Chris O’Leary’s VC piece.

  • http://lastknickstanding.blogspot.com Bryan

    Dang haha. I figured he’d help them rebound and provide more depth but I see your point haha.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Cub Buenning

    The depth part would be good, but honestly after years of watching him play in this system, he just always left his team void of post offense AND defense. Tough to be efficient/decent in the half-court when your center stands at the top of the key for most of the possession, while your wing and guards take turns trying to post their guy up.
    NENE’s presence is huge. He and Martin together are such a better defensive force than any combo including Camby.

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  • http://lastknickstanding.blogspot.com Bryan

    Well melo seems like the number one option in the post anyway. Well I haven’t seen any games but he should be. I see what you’re saying but perhaps playing a leader type like Billups would have helped as in Chauncey telling him to stay his as$ in the paint and protect the rim and box out. I dunno I don’t think Camby is a superstar or anything but it would be nice to have a shot blocker of his level back there when/if things do break down.

  • ClydeSays

    Nice work Holly. Loved the behind the scenes notes.

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