The Post Up: Luck of the Celtics

by March 18, 2008
11

By: Holly MacKenzie

Boston Celtics. I was a hater, then a lover (because of KG), and now I am just scared of them.

Coming back from 22 down without Ray Allen, in San Antonio to get the two point victory? Sure, the Spurs had their chance to get the win but the fact that Boston got back in the game was impressive.

I bet Houston was watching that game. The Rockets/Celtics game is now even more “must-watch” than it was yesterday. Let’s go Rockets. Besides Celtic fans, who can honestly say they want the streak to end? Who can honestly say they don’t want more of Deke on the bench loving life?

Spurs dropping four in a row is an interesting little development. I know they usually coast in the regular season, but this season isn’t one to do that while you are in the West.

NBA teams should not, under any circumstances switch up the colors of their jerseys for a holiday. What’s next, orange and black on Halloween? Come on, guys. Apparently green makes the Knicks and the Bulls look worse than usual and it makes TJ Ford crazy. You guys see his ejection against the Jazz? He went a little crazy.

Speaking of the Bulls, we cannot not mention Chris Paul. The man’s middle-name is begging to be an expletive, he is just IT. He was brilliant in the fourth quarter and again, got the Hornets the victory. That three to tie it was great, but then the alley-oop to Chandler after that was nice. I thought the place was going to explode.

One little piece of Laker news before we go any further. LA is playing the Mavericks tonight. Dallas has won five in a row and are looking like they’ve got Kidd worked into the mix. After the horrendous shooting night in Houston, Kobe said he would be getting extra shooting time in. Mike Bresnahan’s Lakers Report gave this glimpse inside the Laker attitude/team chemistry during this mini-slump:

“Kobe Bryant made a quick delivery on a promise to work on his shot because it was too “flat,” an admonition he made after a woeful 11-for-33 shooting effort against Houston. He scored 24 points against the Rockets.
“I’ve got to get more arc on the ball,” he said. “For me, it’s just making little tweaks here and there, sharpening up the stroke. Once you get your reps in, it kind of puts it back into your memory bank.”
Bryant was joined Sunday night by Jordan Farmar, Luke Walton, Sasha Vujacic and Derek Fisher. They were there for 90 minutes, until about 10:30 p.m. Bryant couldn’t remember the last time he shot after a game.”I don’t know. I just felt like shooting and they wanted to come along,” he said. And they weren’t denied entrance by Mavericks owner Mark Cuban? Bryant smiled. “He’s hoping I opt out. He’s got bigger things in mind,” he said.”

Horrible to hear that Monta’s brother was found in his house having been shot in the back, this past Sunday. Very thankful to hear that he has since been released from the hospital. Prayers are going out to the Ellis family.

After an MRI that showed he is ready to play, the Gil-countdown is in effect. I don’t want him to rush it, but I do want to see him. I’ve known I was an Arenas fan for awhile now, but I didn’t realize how much until this year when I’ve had a season without him.

Detroit and Denver will be interesting tonight. A clash of styles if I have ever seen one. Of course the game of the night is Boston at Houston and I will be watching the LA/Dallas match up closely as well.

One more thing before we get down to recapping and that is a shout out to our girl CoCo, who is now writing over at thestartingfive.net. I’m looking forward to reading her stuff and I encourage you all to do the same.

Orlando 104 Cleveland 90

Despite their rough start in their match up against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Orlando Magic were able to shake it off and come back from a 10 point deficit to take down Cleveland 104-90, last night. Trailing 45-40 at the half, the Magic put together a strong third quarter to take control of the game, outscoring Cleveland 33-27, on their way to taking a 73-72 advantage into the fourth quarter. They knocked down five of their 14 three-pointers in a five-minute span of the third to swing the momentum in their favor. Things started to unravel for the Cavs in the final period as they struggled from the floor, going scoreless for over four minutes. They were held to only 18 points while Orlando put in 31 on their way to the victory. Dwight Howard had 23 points and 13 rebounds for the Magic, Rashard Lewis scored 21 points, Hedo Turkoglu scored 18 points to go with 7 rebounds and 5 assists and Maurice Evans added 10 points. LeBron James led Cleveland with 30 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists. Delonte West scored 16 points and Sasha Pavlovic had 14.

New Orleans 108 Chicago 97

With Chris Paul still on a sore ankle and with David West watching the game rather than playing in it, the Chicago Bulls had a good opportunity to steal a game from the Hornets on the road. While the two teams were even throughout the first half with the Hornets leading by only one at the break the Bulls took over in the third quarter as they opened the quarter with a 14-4 run. They went up by as many as 12 points before closing the quarter up 84-75. In the fourth the Hornets battled back and thanks to an impressive 37-point effort from Paul, tied the game at 96 on his three-pointer with 2:47 remaining. From there it was all New Orleans, as Paul fed Tyson Chandler for an alley-oop and then Bonzi Wells knocked down free throws before scoring to extend the Hornet lead to six. New Orleans outscored Chicago 15-1 to close out the game while outscoring them 33-13 in the latest fourth quarter collapse for the Bulls. In addition to his 37 points, Paul added 13 assists and 3 steals. Peja Stojakovic scored 21 points to go with 10 rebounds, Bonzi Wells added 19 off of the bench and Julian Wright had 14. Ben Gordon scored 31 points off of the bench for the Bulls as Drew Gooden scored 23 points to go with 12 rebounds as Luol Deng and Larry Hughes each added 16 points in the loss.

Atlanta 105 Washington 96

While the Wizards are closer to getting their squad back at full strength last night it was the Hawks who were in fine form, dropping Washington 105-96. With the victory the Hawks now have a three-game winning streak as well as ownership of the final playoff spot in the East, leading New Jersey by one-half game for the eighth spot. While Atlanta led early, they would surrender their lead and trail by one in the third quarter. From there, they were able to regain control and lead 84-77 at the start of the final period. Early in the fourth the Hawks extended their lead to 10 points and the Wizards were unable to gain any ground the rest of the way through. With the loss the Wizards fell to 33-33 on the season. Atlanta was led by Mike Bibby and his 23 points. Joe Johnson scored 18 points to go with 10 assists, Josh Smith scored 17 points to go with 8 rebounds. Al Horford had 12 points, 15 rebounds and 6 assists and Josh Childress added 16 off of the bench. Antawn Jamison had 25 points and 9 rebounds for the Wizards. Brendan Haywood scored 16 points, Roger Mason had 14 points and Caron Butler added 12 points, 7 rebounds and 8 assists.

Boston 93 San Antonio 91

The Boston Celtics managed to grab a win against the Spurs in San Antonio last night. It was one impressive game as the scored only 11 points in the first quarter, trailed by as many as 22 points and managed to come from behind and get the two-point victory, knocking off the Spurs 93-91. After the Spurs led 28-11 at the end of the first quarter, the Celtics began to chip away at the lead, bit by bit and trailed only 70-68 at the end of the third. While Ray Allen missed the game with an ankle injury, new Celtic Sam Cassell chipped in by scoring 17 points in his absence, including a three-pointer with 46 seconds left in the game to give the Celtics the lead. With 9.6 seconds remaining in the game, Boston led by four, their largest lead of the game. The Spurs would not go away and a basket by Tony Parker was followed up by a Bruce Bowen steal off of the Boston inbounds with two seconds on the clock, giving the Spurs a chance to tie the game or take the win. With the game on the line, Robert Horry missed a three-point attempt and the Spurs lost their fourth straight game. Paul Pierce had 22 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists for Boston while Kevin Garnett added 21 points and 8 rebounds. Rajon Rondo scored 20 points and Cassell added his 17. Manu Ginobili had 32 points to lead San Antonio. Tony Parker scored 17 points to go with 8 assists and Tim Duncan had only 10 points and 8 rebounds in the loss.

Utah 96 Toronto 79

While the Raptors opened up their game against the Jazz by staying even with them for the first three quarters their chances of keeping up ended when the fourth quarter hit. Already without Chris Bosh, they would lose TJ Ford in the fourth after he blew up after being called for an offensive foul and was ejected from the game. It didn’t really matter as the outcome was all but decided thanks to a 24-4 run by Utah to open the final period after trailing by one at the start of it. Utah outscored Toronto 31-14 in the fourth after being outscored 27-18 in the third. The win was Utah’s 19th straight at home, tying a franchise record. Utah shot 55% from the floor while holding Toronto to 40% as they lost Mehmet Okur in the first quarter to the stomach flu. It didn’t end up mattering as they got performances from their usual core of Deron Williams (21 points) and Carlos Boozer (13 points 10 rebounds), in addition to big nights from Kyle Korver (17 points), and Ronnie Price (13 points). The Raptors were led by Jose Calderon’s 16 points and 7 assists. Rasho Nesterovic had 13 points and 12 rebounds, Anthony Parker had 11 points and Jason Kapono added 9 points.

The Rest…

Mike Dunleavy dropped 36 to help the Pacers drop the Knicks 110-98. Danny Granger added 26 points and 11 rebounds as Zach Randolph had 21 points and 14 rebounds for New York. Al Jefferson had 22 points and 13 rebounds and Marko Jaric added 10 assists and the Timberwolves used a strong fourth quarter to defeat the Clippers 99-90 in Minnesota last night as they overcame a 34-point effort from Corey Maggette. The Grizzlies stopped a four-game skid by blowing out the Bobcats 98-80. Juan Carlos Navarro had 21 and Mike Miller added 18 points and 13 rebounds for Memphis. Derek Anderson scored 17 for Charlotte in the loss.