Wednesday, September 26, 2012

NBA Finals: Los Angeles Lakers (0-3) @ Boston Celtics (3-0) - Game 4

At halftime, the Los Angeles Lakers (and Kobe Bryant) had everything to smile about. But as the final buzzer sounded, the purple and gold titans would be looking forward to next year, when they hope for more satisfying results. Surely, Kobe Bryant cannot be content with being swept out of the NBA Finals.

However, tonight's conclusive victory for the Boston Celtics could not have come with lesser difficulty. After permitting physical play in the 1st three games, the referees cracked down on the Celtics, not allowing them to contest any shots without hearing a whistle. To their credit, the Lakers knocked down countless free throws as the 1st quarter dragged on forever and Boston had nothing but foul trouble to show for it.

To make matters worse, Steve Nash was more patient with the ball and had his best game of the Finals, after shooting too much in the first 3 games; and the reserve lineup for Boston barely compensated for the stars in foul trouble.

With nothing else to go on, Celtics coach Doc Rivers went "all in" and put the stars back on the floor. They could no longer be inhibited if Boston was going to stand a chance. Luckily, the desperate move worked. Not only the supportive home crowd, but also a blessing graced Boston as the Lakers' scoring efficiency dropped.

For the longest time, Metta World Peace and Antawn Jamison had helped maintain LA's lead, but Kevin Garnett went on a roll (despite 4 fouls), playing a crucial role in Boston's amazing turnaround with 26 points and 13 rebounds.

Once the Celtics got their legs back, they outran LA in the fast break. On the glass, Boston eventually out-hustled the Lakers in the rebounding department and took their first lead of the game, caused by finally gaining on-court flow. Boston never looked back, and neither did Paul Pierce, as he burned the Lakers with three-pointers in the final two minutes, stifling any hope LA might've had to make a comeback of their own.

The Celtics surged to a shocking victory of 85-104, the biggest losing margin for LA thus far in the Finals, and the one that ended their championship hopes.
Kevin Garnett was crowned the Finals MVP and deservedly so, averaging 17.8 points per game on 60% field goal shooting, 82% on clutch free throws, 9 rebounds a game, and for stomaching the foul trouble tonight and transforming it into a dominant victory.

Overall, as the NBA season comes to a dramatic finish, we look back at how the Boston Celtics only lost a single game in the Playoffs (courtesy of the Miami Heat). They eeked by their adversaries and narrowly won several games. But this isn't a sign of weakness; it's a sign of Boston's outstanding passion to win, to reach the coveted mountaintop of the NBA and they owe to themselves and to their tremendous resilience.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

NBA Finals: Los Angeles Lakers (0-2) @ Boston Celtics (2-0) - Game 3

Kevin Garnett had a tremendous performance, dunking it hard through the rim after an offensive rebound, the perfect answer in response to Kobe Bryant making a miraculous lay-up through two defenders with little time to spare. Like Game 2, it came down to the wire once again.

The Lakers, while playing well enough to have a chance, relied mostly on Kobe Bryant (30 points). Free throws by Rajon Rondo extended Boston's lead to 3 in the dwindling seconds, but a wide open corner 3 by the Black Mamba nearly sent the game into overtime, only for it to be overshot and smack off the side of the rim. The Celtics corralled the loose ball and the game was over.

In an excellent performance, the Celtics were simply hungrier tonight and looked comfortable trading blows late in the game against the star-studded Lakers.

This remarkable victory practically seals the championship for the Boston Celtics, but without a doubt, Kobe Bryant will come back even harder in Game 4, now that the Lakers is in a precarious win-or-go-home situation.

NBA Finals: Boston Celtics (1-0) @ Los Angeles Lakers (0-1) - Game 2

While the Boston Celtics still shot 50% to the Lakers' 44%, Los Angeles learned from their mistakes in Game 1 and came out with a much stronger and fluent effort in Game 2.

Kobe Bryant & Pau Gasol both scored 22 points and powered the purple and gold titans, hitting clutch shots down the stretch in what became a do-or-die finale in the STAPLES Center. Several lead changes, including a 3 point lead at one point by LA, and a dramatic finish made this one an instant classic.

Paul Pierce led Boston's charge and seemed to hit the biggest shot of the game, a three-pointer on the right wing after a hectic possession by Boston that narrowly escaped a turnover. After a timeout, the Lakers threw the ball to Steve Nash, who drained a responsive 3 of his own, evening the score at 92 in the highly contested showdown.

Instead of calling a timeout of their own, the Celtics raced the ball up court, threw the ball inside and then dished it back out to Kevin Garnett, who raised his arms and drained a mid-range jump shot, leaving scarce response time for the Lakers, who immediately called their last timeout.

Anxious, Boston, not wanting to lose the game, guarded the three-point line. "Overtime or victory" was the mantra in Kevin Garnett's mind as he ran out to guard the perimeter. Reading the defense, Steve Nash threw the ball into Dwight Howard, who elevated like Superman, with the intent of throwing it down over Roy Hibbert. But the ex-Pacer had other plans and as Howard attempted his flashy dunk, Hibbert extended an arm, somehow swatting the ball out of Howard's hands in mid-air. The ball fumbled, fell into Rondo's hands and the buzzer sounded, 94-92, as the Celtics went up 2-0.

For Los Angeles, this intense defeat may spell the end for their championship hopes because the next three games will be played in Boston. The Celtics only need to win 2 of them before the series shifts back to Los Angeles for a faraway Game 6.

This win reveals the intent Boston had since the genesis of this series, to utilize the 2-3-2 format as their only answer to LA's home-court advantage. The victory was achieved by stellar play once again by Josh Howard, who didn't have 29, but had enough, knocking down 3's, along with Kenyon Martin who spent most of Game 1 on the bench. Tonight, every Boston Celtic, including Rajon Rondo and Kevin Martin, hit a clutch shot that insured whatever lead Boston had throughout this competitive game.

NBA Finals: Boston Celtics @ Los Angeles Lakers - Game 1

The Boston Celtics brought their 'A' game to the STAPLES Center and left with a convincing victory, 101-85, courtesy of superior shooting and solid team chemistry on the floor.

The Los Angeles Lakers suffered from shooting woes all night, losing the shooting battle, 42% to Boston's 54%. Superstar, Kobe Bryant, only shot 30% (6-20) for a meager 14 points. Pau Gasol had a decent showing with 17 points and 10 rebounds, as did Dwight Howard (16 points, 13 rebounds). But LA's on-court flow, or lack thereof, was sorely distinguished from that of Boston, as LA lost the assists battle 17 to Boston's 24 and committed more turnovers.

Meanwhile, the Celtics addressed the issues that had cost them both regular season games against the Lakers, only losing the rebounding war by 5 and hitting the offensive glass to elicit plentiful rewards. Steve Nash finished with 21 points, but only 7 assists, another indication of LA's scrambled play. He was outmatched by Rajon Rondo, who while scoring 1 less in each category than Nash, was more effective at giving his teammates the ball, especially Josh Howard (29 points), who splashed in 7 amazing three-point shots by running around on the floor, using screens and defensive lapses to his advantage.

In Boston's front-court, Kevin Garnett had 14 points and Roy Hibbert's size helped Boston on the boards along with 2 monster jams. Paul Pierce (11 points, 35%) had a similar night to Kobe's, but luckily had other options to dish the ball to. The balanced effort on offense let everyone get rest on the bench, so when they came into the game, they were most effective. Kevin Martin strengthened Boston's lead with 13 points and Charlie Villanueva plopped in 12 points.

While LA stayed on Boston's heels, they failed to trim the lead to less than 6 and Boston's strong defense helped keep it that way. The Lakers should hope for a better scoring performance in Game 2 and try to increase the tempo despite Boston's urge to keep things slow in the half-court style. Ironically, Boston outscored LA in fast break points, 16 to 6. Regardless, Boston is definitely on the right path to a championship.

Looking Ahead: The NBA Finals

After a rocky start, the Boston Celtics have quieted the critics, surging past the Indiana Pacers (4-0), Chicago Bulls (4-0) & Miami Heat (4-1). While most of those games went down to the wire, the Boston Celtics proved they were the best team in the Eastern Conference.

Yet, meanwhile on the west coast, the Los Angeles Lakers tore through the Golden State Warriors (4-1), the Utah Jazz (4-0) and the San Antonio Spurs (4-1), proving why they'll have home-court advantage in the upcoming all-or-nothing series against Boston as the top dog in all of the NBA standings.

How will this historic showdown end? In 2008, the Boston Celtics defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in 6 games; and in 2010, the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics in 7 games.

Either way, the Celtics will have to fight their hearts out to win at least one of two in the City of Angels, a place that handed them two losses in the regular season, if Boston wants to limit this historic series to a 4-game sweep of the purple and gold titans because the series will then to shift to Beantown for 3 straight crucial games.

Can--and if so--how will Boston counterbalance the size, skill and presence of Pau Gasol and new Lakers center, Dwight Howard, while also dealing with Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, and the wily passing skills of Steve Nash?

ECF - Miami Heat (1-3) @ Boston Celtics (3-1) - Game 5

The Miami Heat hung around in the first half, but clearly weren't as offensively proficient and suffered when a "run to the Finals" by Boston in the 3rd quarter ignited the Heat's deficit to 20.

A collective effort by the Celtics emphasized a more controlled style of play that went unseen in South Beach, as both teams split victories. While they lost Game 4, Boston's vital victory in Game 3 allowed them the opportunity tonight to put away the defending champions.

The score was much lower than the past two games, reflecting more of Boston's half-court style as it presented too much imbalance for Miami's preferred up-tempo play. LeBron James didn't have a strong showing (only 7-16 from the field), but Chris Bosh poured in 30 points, along with a strong double-double by Dwyane Wade. Ray Allen did what he could to keep Miami in the game, but had another inconsistent showing that would lay shadowed by his great turn-in for Game 4 in South Beach.

To their credit, the Miami Heat never quit when Boston confidently and conscientiously pulled out their top contributors to start the final quarter as a way to rest for the looming Los Angeles Lakers, Miami utilized this weakness and kept their top scorers in the game to gain the necessary advantage. They cut the lead as they could, but 17 points by Roy Hibbert held them at bay, along with 11 by backup guard, Avery Bradley.

A timeout late in the final minute cast a gloomy face for LeBron James, who "knew" the game was over and this precognition became apparent as Boston stole the ball shortly after the inbound, leading to 2 made free throws by Roy Hibbert. Now trying to defeat the impossible, the superstar of the Miami Heat, LeBron James, nailed a pull-up jumper at the buzzer, perhaps proving that Miami is capable of winning but simply wasn't superior tonight, as the Miami Heat's championship dreams fizzled, 101-109.

ECF - Boston Celtics (3-0) @ Miami Heat (0-3) - Game 4

Ray Allen, after being hit-and-miss in the first 3 games of this series, lit the court up with 20+ points, serving as the x-factor in a much needed win for the Miami Heat. They were simply too fast, too strong and too unstoppable in the 4th quarter.

At one point, the Heat pulled away by 20, but 31 points by Josh Howard and a defiant surge by Kevin Garnett kept the crowd in a hushed silence. The Celtics cut Miami's lead to 5 late in the 4th quarter, but a terrible turnover sealed the must-win victory for the Heat, despite the fact that Boston came out strong to start the game.

Too many missed three pointers and poor on-court flow cost Boston tonight. While the Heat picked up an inspiring victory tonight, they now travel back to Beantown, away from their supportive crowd, a place where they lost the first 2 games, a place where they simply can't lose again.

ECF - Boston Celtics (2-0) @ Miami Heat (0-2) - Game 3

After two sub-par games, Rajon Rondo came alive in South Beach, scoring 32 monster points and leading his team to a dominant victory in Miami. Kevin Garnett turned in a powerful performance as well, and while Miami only trailed by 2 late in the 4th quarter, a corner 3 by Kevin Martin sealed the victory for the Boston Celtics who have shocked the world by forcing the defending champions into a corner that demands 4 straight victories.

Monday, September 24, 2012

ECF - Miami Heat (0-1) @ Boston Celtics (1-0) - Game 2

The Boston Celtics had no flow, and tried everything they could to lose the game. Miami certainly appreciated it, taking the lead early on and playing much better, but lacking the offensive consistency to maintain the lead later. Ray Allen was cold again as he was in Game 1, but the big 3 of South Beach scored plenty to make up for it, with Chris Bosh on fire with 36 points and 17 rebounds.

But a diligent effort, despite giving up offensive rebounds and countless turnovers, ultimately came to fruition for the Boston Celtics. The Celtics barely escaped with the stunning win, courtesy of Kenyon Martin, who made two huge plays down the stretch. The first was an unlikely basket as the power forward drove to the rim after a tip-in by LeBron James claimed the lead for Miami with only 14 seconds left to play. Martin's gutsy drive to the rim tipped the lead back into Boston's favor, only for Miami to score again with only 4.5 seconds to spare.

Paul Pierce, who was forced to play spectacularly in light of Rondo's terrible performance (full of unsuccessful drives to the rim), had 28 points but missed a step-back jumper. Life deflated inside of the TD Garden, as it looked like Boston was going to come up short with only 2 seconds left on the clock, but Kenyon Martin was there for the offensive rebound.

LeBron James was pinned beneath the rim as he was boxed out by Martin, and with no time to spare, Martin elevated and sought to throw the ball down through the hoop with a crowd-erupting dunk. "King James" frantically tried to contest the shot, but his hand got stuck somewhere in between, grazing the net and causing a deathly goal-tending violation for Miami as the ball was blocked from inside the hoop.

While Boston played terribly throughout the game, they did manage to make quite a comeback; and while Miami dominated the rebounding department, Boston (thanks to Kenyon Martin) pulled down the most important one. With only .4 left on the clock, D-Wade fired up a prayer that came up short, sealing a seemingly impossible 101-100 victory for Boston. The Celtics will be going down to South Beach with an unexpected 2-0 lead. While the pressure is all on Miami, Boston simply can't afford to play this horribly again.

ECF - Miami Heat @ Boston Celtics - Game 1

Shooting wasn't "hot" until the 2nd half, including a 3rd quarter that belonged to LeBron James (24 points) as he led a furious 12 point run to square the game against Boston, whose star players, Rajon Rondo & Paul Pierce, failed to find a rhythm all night.

After catching up, the Miami Heat played hot potato with Boston, both teams losing and reclaiming the lead multiple times until the 4th quarter got underway.

Despite Chris Bosh's big game of 26 points, the Heat started to miss shots down the stretch and whatever damage had been done to Boston quickly vanished as its two "Kevins", Kevin Martin (24 points) and Kevin Garnett (26 points, 12 rebounds), along with a surprise offensive turnaround by Josh Howard (who hit huge three pointers in the 4th after being cold beforehand) put the game out of reach for Miami, despite the shocking efforts of D-Wade and LBJ.

Rajon Rondo, even on an off night, had 14 points but it was Boston's eager effort to take the first game that granted their wish tonight as their defense stayed strong, holding Miami back at 90 points compared to their 103.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

ESF - Boston (3-0) @ Chicago (0-3) - Game 4

The Chicago Bulls have played hard since the outset of this hellish series against the Boston Celtics, who were simply more consistent and frankly hungrier by comparison, and it blatantly showed tonight.

While both teams were weary, Boston still proved they could knock down shots. Chicago looked more haggard; no longer were they bustling up and down the court. While Rip Hamilton hit a three to start the game, such brilliant play was only a tease of something greater, something that would never come as the stars of Chicago had their lowest numbers of the series, as did Boston, who simply came to win against a "winded" Bulls team.

Despite some heroics by Derrick Rose, and only losing by 4 when the final buzzer sounded, the Bulls simply couldn't overcome a seemingly perpetual 10 point lead and cerebral play by Boston as a whole. The Celtics were collectively patient and defensive mistakes by Chicago provided Kevin Martin (25 points) with too many open three pointers.

With the lead, Boston retired their stars in the 3rd quarter, trusting the bench could finish off the beleaguered Bulls, who had nothing but incomplete drives to the rim and flat shots to offer. A few less mistakes, and maybe the series would be 3-1, but beating the Celtics (or any team) four straight times is a tough task to achieve. Losing Game 3 by blowing a 20+ point lead was the poison that has ended Chicago's hopes for a championship.

ESF - Boston (2-0) @ Chicago (0-2) - Game 3

The facts would tell you that Boston's shooting efficiency finally hit a brick wall in the Windy City tonight as the Celtics were busy staring at an 18 point hole to start the 2nd half, meaning at least a 5 game series against the Chicago Bulls, who came out firing away with accuracy and out-hustling Boston on the boards. Why? Because Kevin Garnett's shot refused to fall and Rajon Rondo was being clobbered in the paint, leading to thunderous blocks and clear path dunks for Chicago.

"The Truth", however, would tell you that Paul Pierce would play savior to his one and only team, the Boston Celtics, knock down several three-pointers, while big men KG and Roy Hibbert would corral the necessary rebounds for an 8-0 run, a miraculous effort that saw Boston defiantly tie the game with no time to spare in the 3rd quarter.

The 4th quarter was a circus. Kevin Garnett had 5 fouls, a scary spot for Boston, who despite KG's shooting troubles, needed the size in the paint to stop Derrick Rose from silencing Boston's comeback hopes. But in a gritty, pie-facing showdown, the Celtics somehow, aided by Paul Pierce's leadership, a 3 by Kevin Martin and more than one offensive put-backs gave Boston a 6 point lead as the final minute of regulation ticked down.

Yet, Chicago's energy level was off the charts tonight. They charged down the court, stampeding over Boston's measly 6 point lead and taking a 1 point lead with little time to spare. So what did Kevin Martin choose to do off the inbound? He charged back at Chicago, taking on two Bulls in the paint with a gutsy drive to the rim as the ball floated into the hoop.

With only 4.7 seconds left on the clock, a defensive lapse gave Joakim Noah a perfect drive to the basket, but Roy Hibbert and Charlie Villanueva were there to respond to the threat. The ball went up, rattled, spun, bounced, but finally failed to fall in, freezing the Bulls inspiring series-changing effort with a 108-107 victory for Boston instead.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

ESF - Bulls (0-1) @ Celtics (1-0) - Game 2

The shooting efficiency that kept the Bulls in striking distance for Game 1 didn't stick around for Game 2, as Chicago missed too many shots to stay close against the fiery Celtics, whose shooting fared better but lacked the magic from Game 1.

Less than magnificent shooting aside, the Bulls stayed on Boston's heels in the 3rd quarter, tying the game after trailing through the first half. But turnovers and those same missed shots saw Boston's lead climb back up to 10 as the Garden went wild, courtesy of Kevin Martin (21 points) and Paul Pierce (17 points).

Rajon Rondo made some dazzling plays as well (16 points, 8 assists), along with Kevin Garnett (14 points, before resting in the 4th), Josh Howard (15 points) and big man Roy Hibbert (10 points, 7 rebounds).

Chicago's energy level noticeably dropped. Did they put all their eggs into one basket, i.e. Game 1? Derrick Rose might've powered his team with 33 points and 9 assists, but Carlos Boozer had an off night after a huge showing in Game 1, along with Rip Hamilton (only 9 points).

While Luol Deng played well again (23 points), and Joakim Noah found his spots on the boards (21 rebounds, 18 points), Chicago heads home to the Windy City with a 0-2 deficit poking at their horns, courtesy of the seemingly impervious Boston Celtics.

ESF: Bulls @ Celtics - Game 1

An instant showdown for supremacy erupted in Beantown! The Celtics crashed in their first 9 shots and Chicago nearly did the same. Who would be the first to miss, or lose an edge in just the 1st period? It was to be Chicago, who missed some free throws while Boston continued to pour on the offensive flurry, scoring 40 points before the 2nd quarter began.

This meant a daunting challenge for the Bulls, who were forced to come back, ever slowly, throughout the rest of the highly competitive game. They would trim Boston's lead, only for it to increase again. They cut the lead down to 7 to start the 2nd half, but then let it rise back up to 18. But Chicago wasn't going down without a fight.

Brilliantly, the Bulls went on an 8-0 run late in the nervous 4th quarter that had the Boston crowd cheering in approval of their team's excellent play while also worrying once reasonable but inaccurate shots began to miss from their stars. Luckily, a shot by Paul Pierce stretched Boston's lead back up to 6, until Chicago sliced it down to 2, only to watch Rajon Rondo sink a pair of successful free throws.

The worst part about Chicago's resilient effort tonight was when they practically handed the ball to backup center, Roy Hibbert, after Rondo made his free throws, the ball passing right into the big man's hands, before he made the Bulls pay with 2 more free throws. A missed 3 by Rip Hamilton, then a missed 3 by Derrick Rose sealed the victory for Boston by a 4 point margin after Carlos Boozer rattled in a shot near the rim beforehand.

Rajon Rondo (22 points, 10 assists) celebrated with the crowd, feeling much better after having to sit in the 2nd quarter after getting a second troublesome foul. Having bounced back, and even nailed a couple of three pointers, Rondo had reason to be joyous. And so did Kevin Garnett (16 points, 12 rebounds) who held Joakim Noah in check on the boards, only letting rare offensive rebounds by Derrick Rose slip through his fingers. Kevin Martin (23 pointshelped hold off the hungry Bulls with plenty of offensive flair, finding precious advantages on Chicago and making them count with splashy shots. Josh Howard had a modest showing with 13 points, but a crucial three-pointer in the 4th quarter. Both forwards, Charlie Villanueva and Kenyon Martin, dipped in double figures.

The deciding factor in this first showdown of what promises to be one of many, was Boston's masterful performance on offense, all of its stars shooting above 50%. In the loss, Carlos Boozer devoured 34 monster points and 12 rebounds; Rip Hamilton splashed in 27, Luol Deng had 21 and, of course, Derrick Rose, just came up short of a win but did all he could with 20 points, dishing out 15 assists. To his credit, Joakim Noah pulled in 14 rebounds, but took some arrant shots down the stretch that only hurt Chicago's chances of pulling off a remarkable comeback in Beantown.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Pre-Game - ESF - Bulls @ Celtics - Game 1

Derrick Rose and the Bulls powered past the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1st Round and now await the determined Boston Celtics, who swept the Indiana Pacers with minimum difficulty.

However, the season series results favor Chicago (2-1) in this upcoming clash of challengers that would love nothing more than to replace the Miami Heat as the new NBA Champions.

The last game between these two teams shows that Chicago isn't perfect, either, though. Boston could wind up outplaying them. Yet only time will tell. Until the tip off for Game 1 begins, these superstars will simply have to wait. Then we'll see which of these strong teams is superior.

EQF - Celtics (3-0) @ Pacers (0-3) - Game 4

Danny Granger erupted for 37 points, and at first it seemed like Indiana was going to survive for at least one more game back in Boston. But "The Truth" said otherwise; Paul Pierce bombed in 25 points, shocking Indiana like a lightning bolt from beyond the arc. Josh Howard had 20 of his own points and hit some huge gutsy 3's that stretched Boston's lead out of reach. To Indiana's credit, they played well enough to stand a chance, but despite only losing by 7 in the final moments, the hunger they had in the first three games had faded into numbness mixed with too many turnovers and missed shots.

EQF - Celtics (2-0) @ Pacers (0-2) - Game 3

Once again, Danny Granger had a big game (29 points) and the Pacers turned in their best effort of this series so far. But it was still not enough once the Celtics went on a run in the 3rd quarter and maintained their new lead through the rest of the game.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

EQF: Pacers (0-1) @ Celtics (1-0) - Game 2

Despite 28 points by Danny Granger (pictured above) and a run by Indiana in the 3rd, Game 2 saw more of the same from Boston, who took a 2-0 series lead with an 86-103 victory. The win was powered by fluent team play, 18 by Josh Howard and a big game by KG. Boston led by 27 at one point, and although Indy cut it down to 12, Boston was simply too strong down the stretch as the lead rose again.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

EQF: Pacers @ Celtics - Game 1

The Celtics shot 68% in the 2nd quarter, leaving Indiana in the dust for the rest of Game 1 of the Eastern Quarter Finals, winning 94-121 at home as all 12 Celtics scored.

There was reason to celebrate after a rocky genesis to this series in the 1st quarter, a quarter that saw Indiana play gutsy ball, only for Boston to storm back.

However, Josh Howard continued his hot streak (18 points), including a steal off an inbound play followed by an immediate three-pointer from the corner. When Boston is leading by 20+, the play made a mockery of Indiana's focus that clearly faltered after the 1st quarter, along with their shooting efficiency and inconsistent defense.

Clearly, Indiana must play harder to even stand a chance.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Boston wins last 2 games

A bitter rematch with the Chicago Bulls, who've dominated Boston so far this season, turned into a blowout win on the road and sweet payback for the Celtics. Boston returned home to close out their season, and boy did they do it with authority!

The Milwaukee Bucks were competitive in the first quarter, but started shooting terribly from the field. The lead for Boston revved to 20, then 25, then 30, then 35, and ultimately ended at 55 points!

A triumphant, to say the least, performance at home bodes well for the Boston Celtics, who by doing so secure the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference. They've drawn the Indiana Pacers in the opening round of the Playoffs, and while Josh Howard didn't win Sixth Man of the Year (courtesy of Lakers forward, Antawn Jamison), he certainly played strongly to the end, preserving leads for Boston. The Lakers might've won best record overall with 68 wins, but Boston was right on their heels with 66 powerful victories. The Celtics are ready to bring home the gold.

Boston (64-16) finally claims #1 Seed in East

After resting their stars for a series of games that mostly ended up as wins, the Boston Celtics brought out their starting lineup to take on the Spurs (who beat them in their last meeting). After a gritty 1st quarter, Boston climbed to a 14-22 lead and continued to increase it by halftime.

The Spurs started shooting poorly, and Boston realized its stars had done enough for a blowout victory.

Afterward, the stars continued to rest on the bench for the next few games as Boston defeated the OKC Thunder and Sacramento Kings. Before long the Knicks were waiting to host the Celtics in Madison Square Garden. The stars certainly returned to the floor. However, just like their last battle, Boston clawed out a small lead by halftime and strengthened it in the 3rd, boasting an unprecedented lead, 75-57.

Carmelo Anthony's shot was off that night, but New York fired back, slimming the lead down to 8 at one point, only for Boston's strong play to continue and cap off the victory. Whether these two teams will clash in the Playoffs? We can only hope.

After the big game in NYC, Boston breezed past Toronto & Milwaukee and it was then that they overtook the defiant Miami Heat for the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference. As of now, the Celtics have a .5 game lead on the defending champions and a tough rematch against the Chicago Bulls, followed by one last meeting with the Bucks to close out the season.

Either way, Boston should be proud about their outstanding effort.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Nuggets buried by Celtics

Ty Lawson and the Denver Nuggets certainly shot well tonight in Boston, but the Celtics were playing stronger on defense and more consistently on offense. Most of Denver's shots came from behind the 3 point line (which isn't a bad thing), but they failed to make other easier shots and it cost them gravely.

After an all-reserves effort against the Jazz, Boston gave each of its stars a cameo in separate quarters (except for Kevin Garnett) and let Roy Hibbert (14 points, 18 rebounds) & Charlie Villanueva (23 points) get some developmental minutes on the floor which they certainly made the most of, playing tough and smart all night.

Kevin Martin came in off the bench for his 'cameo' and had the best brief showing of all the stars that mostly stayed on the bench, nailing 3's to help secure a lead for Boston. Josh Howard (30 points) did the rest, and while Danillo Gallinari and Andre Iguodala kept the Nuggets within reach, this game simply belonged to the Celtics.

Josh Howard leads Celtics over Jazz

Josh Howard recently played for the Utah Jazz before being acquired by Boston. He provides a spark off the bench and fills in for Boston's big men when they go cold. Tonight? He demolished his former team, scoring a career high 62 points.

With only 12 games remaining in the regular season, Boston put "beating Miami for #1 seed" on the back burner and rested their stars tonight, who saw no playing time. The reserve unit played the entire game, consisting of: Fab Melo (C), Lou Amundson (PF), Josh Howard (SF), Carlos Delfino (SG) and Avery Bradley (PG).

Utah's stars, on the other hand, were involved, meaning Mo Williams, Gordon Hayward, ex-Celtics Jeff Green and Brandon Bass, and Al Jefferson. However, what they didn't expect was to be outplayed by Boston's reserve unit and be emphatically destroyed by Josh Howard.

Boston broke out to an early lead, but Utah stayed in the game, only to lose to Howard's scoring fury in the final minutes. Mo Williams nailed a 3 late to trim a 7 point deficit, but Boston's victory had already been cemented due to Howard's freakish explosion. His huge scoring total clobbers a previous season high of 37 points.

Celtics finally lose in Dallas

There comes a time when every thing must end, and tonight the Dallas Mavericks snapped Boston's 13 game winning streak.

The outcome wasn't immediately obvious, however. In fact, Dirk Nowitzki (who finished with 31 points, 20 rebounds) got into foul trouble in the 1st quarter. A weird quarter that started out slow in scoring for both teams, but ended with a 25-16 lead for Dallas.

Even though Boston was having trouble defending the boards, the rim, and knocking down shots, they stuck around until the 4th quarter when Dallas stretched their lead to 15+.

Nothing in the world could bring Boston back into this game. They just kept shooting poorly, turning the ball over and failing to stop Dallas on the other end whenever they managed to score a bucket. After cutting the lead to 9 to end the 3rd, Boston had nothing left.

OJ Mayo scored 20 for Dallas, Shawn Marion had 14, Vinsanity had 12, and center Chris Kaman yanked down 18 rebounds. Clearly, Dallas dominated the boards as Boston fired away from three-point land to no avail, making only 15-47 overall. Boston's shooting woes were highly visible, 35% compared to that of the Mavericks (52%).

This will undoubtedly hurt Boston's already slim chances of overtaking the Miami Heat (who won't give an inch) in the standings, but with only 13 games left in the season, perhaps Boston should concede the #1 spot to Miami and start resting their stars for the most important time: the playoffs. Maybe they'll still win enough, and somehow surprise Miami.

Celtics grind out win at home against Rockets

The Celtics struggled with poor shooting all night, but made them when it mattered most, outlasting the young Rockets, led by Jeremy Lin (19 points, 6 assists) and recent trade acquisitions, Ben Gordon (20 points) and Tyrus Thomas (17 points, 18 rebounds). Chandler Parsons had 16 as well, but the game-changer was Paul Pierce (31 points) for Boston.

Both teams weren't shooting the lights out, but 19 from KG, 20 from ex-Rocket, Kevin Martin, some hopeful scoring by Kenyon Martin (10 points) and 9 & 9 by Roy Hibbert kept Boston in the game. Thought Rajon Rondo had an icky night, he finished with 8 crucial points and 7 assists.

Boston's win proves that it's not how you fail to shoot well, it's when you score. Especially when Houston failed to tie the game or take a lead on two attempts in the final minute. Lin's Rockets made Boston's legs shaky with anxiety, but Boston survived.

Celtics control Knicks in 4th, 103-94

Last time, the boisterous Knicks came into Boston and left with a victory. This left a sour taste in Boston's mouth, and once the players met at center court for the tip off, the action exploded once again!

Whenever the Celtics blocked a shot, another Knick was there to shove it back in their face by throwing the ball down with a monstrous dunk. Carmelo Anthony (32 points) was in top form and so was Amare Stoudemire (22 points, 10 rebounds). New York was absolutely deadly on the fast break and Raymond Felton (17 points) dished out 12 assists to his speedy teammates.

Initially, it looked like another upsetting loss for the Celtics, the signs being poor shooting by KG, Pierce & Rondo and continued struggles by their forwards, Kenyon Martin & Charlie Villanueva, who've lost their shot as of late.

But Boston wasn't going to surrender so easily. Displeased by his shot not falling, Rajon Rondo (10 assists) reverted to what he does best, driving to the rim for 16 points and infuriating Marcus Camby with 4 personal fouls, all of which gave Boston free points at the free throw line. And the free throw line was one of many things that kept Boston in the game, along with adequate defense (minus a few lapses on the boards) and patient sharing of the ball.

Roy Hibbert was a heavy presence for Boston, scoring 14 points inside and leading both teams on the glass with 17 rebounds. All the same, both teams were in each other's faces all night and it wasn't until Boston pugnaciously clawed their way to a 9 point (65-56) to end the 3rd quarter that things began to change in Boston's favor.

Once the final period was underway, Boston surged to a 15 point lead, courtesy of splendid shooting by Kevin Martin (10/17 for 24 points) and Josh Howard (15 points). In fact, Josh Howard and Carmelo Anthony had a mini-dunk contest with each other for a few possessions before things got serious again.

In the paint, KG heeded Rondo's solution and scored 16 points off dunks and close shots at the rim, including 6 free throws. Paul Pierce reeled in 15 points as well, and even Charlie Villanueva hit a big three-pointer (his only shot in the game). The rest of the contest was spent by New York chipping away at Boston's commanding lead that was a testament of their hard work to outplay the visiting Knicks.

While New York (especially Anthony and late heroics by Jason Kidd) stayed relevant on the score board, time was simply not on their side and they'd been blitzed by Boston.

Lethargic Pistons dominated by Celtics

After a tiresome battle with Cleveland, the Celtics were able to take a breather tonight because the Pistons came into Beantown with anything but a fight.

Detroit was outscored by nearly 15 in the 1st quarter, a telling sign of the outcome for this one-sided affair. Boston's stars spent the next 3 periods on the bench and turned to their reserves to handle this easy win that was secured by intelligent play.

Charlie Villanueva shot well, Avery Bradley dished the ball to and fro, but the main attraction was Josh Howard, who made the crowd's collective jaw drop, splashing in 30 footers like clockwork and dunking on the fly for 36 points in another outstanding effort.

Mercifully, the buzzer eventually sounded, capping off a 10th straight victory for Boston. However, they still trail the Miami Heat for the top seed in the Eastern Conference and are set to take on far more competitive foes in the next week.

Pesky Cavaliers humbled by powerful Celtics

Kyrie Irving's spunky Cavs came into Boston with their eyes on the prize. They captured a 13 point lead at one point, but the Celtics scrambled and clawed their way back.

The game was neck-and-neck in the closing moments, but a pair of free throws by Kevin Garnett broke an ugly tie and finally, mercifully sealed the grimy victory for Boston.

Strong play by Josh Howard, dazzling drives to the rim by Rajon Rondo, solid defense by Roy Hibbert, and proficient three-pointers by Kevin Martin helped Boston climb past the mountainous deficit and prove a point to the Cavaliers in the process.

Tonight, experience beat youth and earned the Celtics their 50th win.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Pacers outshot by Boston

The Pacers took some threatening leads in this game, but the Celtics fired back, reclaiming the advantage down the stretch.

"The Truth" splashed in his trademark fade-away shot, raising Boston's lead to a comfortable margin, forcing Indy to fire up 3's and play the fouling game. Rajon Rondo hit his free throws, and so did former center, Roy Hibbert, who made scoring tough for the Pacers all night.

While Danny Granger, DJ Augustin and ex-Pistons, Rodney Stuckey, played hard, Indy left Beantown with a humbling loss due to efficient play from Kevin Martin, backup PG, Avery Bradley, and Kevin Garnett.

Celtics stifle eager Grizzlies at home

Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Martin took care of the Grizzlies, who were shooting the lights out in Boston, but ultimately came up short in the final moments, especially after Rajon Rondo nailed a huge 3 to solidify an insurmountable lead for his team. Josh Howard, fresh off a heroic performance in Milwaukee, cooled off on the score sheet but still played well.

Rudy Gay, Zack Randolph and Mike Conley fought hard, but a risky choice in the final seconds (in which they only trailed by 3) burned them, as Rajon Rondo drove from one of the court to the next, raising Boston's lead to 5.

Had Boston missed on that possession, undoubtedly Memphis would've blitzed out on the fast break and fired up a 3 from Gay, Ellington or Conley. It was a gutsy move that didn't pay off, as Boston closes the season series with 2 wins overall.

Celtics shock Bucks on the road

Struggling all night, it looked like the Boston Celtics would come up short in Milwaukee, especially with Brandon Jennings, Samuel Dalembert and Monta Ellis maintaining a lead for the Bucks whenever Boston tried to cut it down.

Moreover, the odds against Boston increased tenfold when Rajon Rondo fouled out in the 3rd quarter. Without their play maker, how could Boston possibly come back?

Yet, in the background, Josh Howard was knocking down shots. By the time he reigned in 30 points, the Bucks had no choice but to start worrying. The problem is, at the same time, the other Celtics stopped struggling on the offensive end. A shot here, a shot there, including a huge 3 by Howard, and the score was miraculously tied.

A responsive three-pointer by Milwaukee in the final minute seemingly shoved Boston back into place for good, but immediately afterward, sharpshooter Kevin Martin made up for all of his inefficient shooting percentage tonight, knocking down a surprising 3 of his own, tying the game once again.

A missed shot by Milwaukee, and a successful one by Boston gave the Celtics a lead they would never lose, pulling off a shocking upset, courtesy of gutsy intelligent focus and 37 points by Josh Howard.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Boston Celtics (45-15) clinch Playoff Berth

Although Miami Heat did it first and still holds a white hot lead in the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics are not far behind on Miami's heels. They've officially clinched a spot in the Playoffs. It might not be a surprise, given their great win/loss record as the #2 in the East, but it is a much needed source of validation that the only way is up for the defiant Celtics.

Wizards stun Boston, but not for long.

When what seemed like a blowout in the making suddenly flipped, a weary batch of Celtics were forced to fight for a victory at home. Shocked, Boston was forced to recall their stars from the bench after a surprising run by Washington. Thinking it wouldn't last, Boston relaxed on defense and they got bitten for it.

The Wizards worked their magic over Boston and nearly stupefied them into submission, but the Celtics took one look up at the rafters, full of championship banners, and rallied back, especially Kenyon Martin, who came in for Charlie Villanueva (who had a good game, but went cold in crunch time, needing to be substituted) and equally shocked the Wizards (led by John Wall and Jordan Crawford), cutting Washington's previously insurmountable lead to ribbons.

Still, Washington didn't back down and it was anyone's game down the stretch. But the Wizards missed some crucial missed shots and Boston was able to lift their lead to 3. When Washington missed a retaliatory 3 on the next possession, the contest was decided once Rajon Rondo was fouled and made a pair of free throws.

Celtics barely survive in Philly, sweep season series

After two blowout losses against the Celtics, the 76ers, led by Thaddeus Young (27 points), returned to splendid form in Philadelphia, before a raucous crowd that must've gone home proud after their home team gave a spectacular effort that just fell short of triumph, at least to an official degree. They gave Boston their toughest fight yet and could've quite easily won the game, had not a brilliant fade-away by Paul Pierce to lift Boston's lead to two possessions with little time to spare splashed into the basket.

Sheer resilience by Boston finally cooled a constant surge of up-tempo play by Philly, a period in which Boston was helpless to defend the run-and-gun style of the Sixers. KG, Kevin Martin, Roy Hibbert and Rajon Rondo showed up in one of their toughest stands yet.

Jrue Holiday and Andrew Bynum chipped in for Philly's remarkable fight, but ultimately came up short in an instant classic showdown.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Bobcats pulverized by Celtics

Josh Howard and Kevin Martin dominated the visiting Bobcats. Jason Terry scored nearly 30 against his former team, just a week or so after being traded to Charlotte, leading a grim effort by default, as everyone else except #2 pick, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist came to compete in Boston. Charlotte nearly trailed by 50 at one point, as Boston's stars rested for the majority of the game.

Pistons outmatched by Celtics

While Detroit came out strong against the visiting Celtics, eager to pull a second straight upset against Boston, only Tayshaun Prince and former Celtic Paul Millsap performed well. Kevin Martin and former Piston, Charlie Villanueva, took care of business, breaking out for a vast lead in the 4th quarter and quieting the crowd in Detroit.

Joe Johnson's big night spoiled by Boston

Despite a big lead in the 1st half and 40 amazing points by Joe Johnson, the Brooklyn Nets fell short after a mighty 13-2 run by Boston. All of a sudden, their lead was gone and Boston had already taken an equally large one for themselves.

Partly due to efficient play by Boston but unfortunately also caused by poor decisions by Deron Williams, who chose to shoot rather than feed the white hot hands of Johnson late in the 4th when the Nets still had a chance to strike back against the Celtics, despite Boston's spectacular play.

All the pieces were in place to lead Brooklyn's charge, including scary tough play by Gerald Wallace, who had a chance to cut Boston's lead by 1 and also a chance to tie it with a three-pointer late in regulation, but Williams chose not to, missing several shots in the final minute. Rajon Rondo finished things off by nailing clutch free throws.

Celtics blow past Cavaliers

Future "best PG", Kyrie Irving and energetic play by Anderson Varejao gave Boston a decent challenge in Cleveland, but fell behind in the 4th quarter. The win gives Boston satisfaction for squaring the season series against the team that handed them their first loss of the season.

Celtics edged by visiting Knicks, 108-106.

This game was defined by 2 players: Kevin Garnett and Amare Stoudemire. The former went mad for 42 points and 10 rebounds, but the latter made the most important shot of the game when he crashed into the mountain known as Roy Hibbert but somehow got the ball to drop through the net after a desperate three-pointer by Kevin Martin (22 points) rattled in to tie the game with only 10 seconds left in the high-tempo showdown in Beantown.

With 4.2 to spare, Boston sought a victory, not overtime, thus the possibility to blow the roof off the TD Garden belonged to Kevin Martin. But Boston struggled to make a clear inbound, and after scrambling past the 3-point line, the sharpshooter missed his chance as the ball veered long off the back of the rim, causing the anxious crowd to fall into a sudden coma of disappointment.

It was a sensational comeback that was cut short by Martin's misfire, Amare's reckless miracle "shot", poor shooting by the other "K-Mart" (3/10) and silly misses by Rajon Rondo (17 points, 13 assists) & Paul Pierce (19 points), both of whom went 8-17 on the floor. KG's astounding performance is quite the contrast to theirs, and it's a shame that Boston couldn't complete an otherwise dazzling comeback.

30 points by Carmelo Anthony, 26 more convincing points by STAT, 18 points & 14 assists by Raymond Felton, a couple of unforgivable defensive lapses in the final two minutes, and a pair of shots by Marcus Camby (13 points, 15 rebounds) late in the 4th held Boston at bay when a lead change rode on NY's heels.

Celtics pull away against spunky Nuggets.

The Nuggets wanted more than a 4-piece when they tussled with the visiting Celtics, running up and down their floor in the Mile High City, nailing crisp shots to stay within striking distance before ultimately coming up short against Boston, despite a healthy start that activated the Celtics into comeback mode, as Denver was decisively outscored in the 2nd quarter 30-17.

In the loss, Denver, after failing to complete the comeback midway through the 4th quarter, started hitting shots again, sharing the ball well courtesy of Ty Lawson (21 points, 11 assists), but the clock worked against them as they narrowed Boston's pull-away lead to a final difference of 9 points, 112-103. Danillo Gallinari had a monster performance (35 points, 19 rebounds), leading the frenetic if not folly charge. Denver's supporting cast made things interesting for Boston: JaVale McGee had 16 points and 15 rebounds, Wilson Chandler had 12 points and Andre Iguodala had 14 points and 6 assists, while also playing hard on defense.

Although they were put on their heels in the 1st quarter, the Boston Celtics powered back on the road and Roy Hibbert (20 points, 20 rebounds) had his best outing yet as a member of the green team, using his imposing size and length to dominate the flailing Nuggets defensive line. Kevin Garnett had one less with 20 points and 7 rebounds, Kevin Martin had 20 and 11 assists, outperforming Rajon Rondo who had a modest showing with just 13 points and 6 assists by comparison.

The rest of Boston's bench played well and needed to do so, since "The Truth" was only 1-8 from the field and looked haggard all night. Josh Howard took Pierce's place with 11 points, Villanueva effectively gave 10 and Carlos Delfino chipped in 7. This victory once again proves that when Boston is shooting well, they become quite the formidable squadron.

Celtics breezily defeat Blazers.

LaMarcus Aldrige (12 points and 25 monster rebounds), seen above, had little to holler about other than Portland's poor shooting efficiency. The abysmal Blazers barely cracked the 60 point mark by the end of the 3rd quarter, and the Celtics stormed into Portland mad from their loss in Los Angeles.

Jonny Flynn tarried his way to 28 points and 9 assists by the time the final buzzer sounded, but Kenyon Martin rapidly scored 17 points for Boston, along with 16 from the other "K-Mart", the recently acquired 6'7" sharpshooter from Houston, a considerable spark by Roy Hibbert (14 points), 10 by Charlie Villanueva and 11 by "The Truth."

These less than spectacular tallies by Boston's roster may sound misleading, considering this was a one-sided contest, but it only emphasizes Portland's inability to compete.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Celtics fizzle against Lakers, lose season series 0-2

Kobe Bryant scored the first 8 points for the Lakers, and new Celtic Kevin Martin was ready to take him head on. On one exchange, both nailed 3 pointers. Each finished with 35 points, but Kobe Bryant's Lakers thundered above the insufficient Celtics via the troubling inability of Boston's stars to make shots.

Like their last meeting, it was a close contest until Boston's bleeding FG% finally flat-lined in the 3rd quarter, aside from Kevin Martin. The wounds began to show in the very 1st quarter when Paul Pierce (3-11) missed his first of many other good shot opportunities, courtesy of Rajon Rondo (19 points, 8 assists) who was forced to take on Pierce's weight and sorely failed to dazzle the crowd at STAPLES center with a brilliant offensive performance of his own. It's always a trial driving into a lane that is crowded by Pau Gasol (28 points, 16 rebounds, on 13/16 shooting) & Dwight Howard (24 rebounds, 14 points on 7/11 shooting). Tonight, Rajon Rondo simply couldn't bear overcome it.

Steve Nash's selfless 12 assists didn't help Boston either, nor did his 19 points, or Metta World Peace (13 points) and his pesky habit of poking at Boston's mortal wounds by dunking and nailing open shots, something Boston simply couldn't do tonight. From LA's bench, Antawn Jamison squeezed 8 more points out of the bumbling Celtics.

To make matters worse, Kenyon Martin got into foul trouble and didn't shoot the ball much, along with Charlie Villanueva. Their size simply couldn't match up with Gasol & Howard on the glass, which left Boston shorthanded on offense with only Kevin Garnett (20 points, 12 rebounds, on 9/18 shooting) and Roy Hibbert (4 points, 7 rebounds), who were left fatigued from having to play both sides of the game. Even Josh Howard struggled to score, altogether making the outcome more painfully obvious, in spite of eight stunning three pointers by a defiant Kevin Martin.

GM's Desk: Celtics sign Lou Amundson

GM's Desk - The Boston Celtics have agreed to a one year deal with Lou Amundson. The 6'8" blue-collar forward has traveled to many teams in his NBA career, but without question, he will be a solid contribution to Boston's bench, giving them even more size and another player to call in when their stars (Kenyon Martin, Charlie Villaneuva, Roy Hibbert & Kevin Garnett) need a rest.

Celtics outrun Kings

Rajon Rondo (19 points) and Paul Pierce (24 points) ran laps around the Kings, scoring the majority of their total scores in the 1st half. The Kings lived and died by the 3 ball tonight, and that's not to say that several of them did not splash in; they did, just not enough to come back and win.

Kevin Martin lit up the scoreboard as well against his former-former team, nailing shots from the far end for a total of 19 points, including a fade-away, step-back 3 pointer to end the 3rd quarter. After the first half, the Celtics relied on their reserves, wishing to rest their stars for the anticipated rematch against the Lakers tomorrow night in Hollywood.

With Coach Doc Rivers' confidence, the bench got the job done. Charlie Villanueva scored 10 points and grabbed 8 rebounds at PF, Josh Howard did his part with 7 points and Roy Hibbert turned in 4 points with 5 rebounds. The deciding factor of this game was Boston's energetic commitment to Sacremento's high tempo playing style, and how they excelled at it, with Paul Pierce crashing in long ball after long ball and Rajon Rondo spinning, twisting and clawing his way into the paint.

In the loss for the Kings, Marcus Thornton rained down 26 points, Jason Thompson gave 16 with 14 rebounds, Aaron Brooks dipped in 18 points and Tyreke Evans rolled in 16 also with 14 assists. If only their defense wasn't as loose as their free-flowing, run-and-gun style. Sadly, shots in the second half quit falling for them

Hopefully, these "new legs" from Boston will stick around, at least until they're through in Los Angeles.

Celtics snap Hornets' 9 game win streak.

New Orleans played much harder this time around, after giving the Celtics their first win of the season way back when, and nearly sent Boston home packing with a loss to mull over.

Sadly, 22 points from "The Truth", 21 from Rajon Rondo, 14 from KG, 12 from K-Mart and 18 pleasant points by the newest Celtic, Kevin Martin, was simply too much of an obstacle for NOLA to overcome.

In the loss, #1 pick, Anthony Davis had 22 points, but Eric Gordon led the way. It's obvious now why the Hornets kept Gordon over the busy trade-tastic summer, as he powered the Hornets with 28 points on masterful shooting. Roger Mason dipped in 24 points as well, and sharpshooter Ryan Anderson stretched the floor with 19 points.

In the win, center Roy Hibbert once again contributed 8 points and 2 more rebounds than his last game with 8 as well. Backup shooter Carlos Delfino also graced the court with his new green jersey, formerly of Houston as well with Kevin Martin, giving 11 points on stellar shooting on the wing.

This narrow defeat (112-105) bodes well for the rebuilding efforts of New Orleans, and this victory, courtesy of the dazzling debut by Kevin Martin, permits Boston to sigh in relief after trading away Jason Terry.

Celtics outduel the impressive Magic, 108-94

In what winded up being a duel for supremacy between Rajon Rondo (15 points, 7 assists) and Jameer Nelson (28 points, 11 assists), Kevin Garnett only missed one shot and soared to 28 monster points and 13 rebounds in an empowering victory by Boston. Paul Pierce & Rajon Rondo pulled off unbelievable shots in the final minutes that saw the lead bouncing back and forth between both teams, ultimately resting with the Celtics.

Prodigy center, Roy Hibbert, played better with 8 points and 6 rebounds, in a marginal effort by Boston's bench. Without question, this victory belongs to the stars. Josh Howard had another big game with 19 points and Kenyon Martin had 14 points, enjoying and proving why he deserves the starting PF position now that Paul Millsap is a Piston.

Despite the lopsided final score, Orlando played their best game against the Celtics, after being crushed in the last two disastrous meetings with Boston in Florida. Al Harrington had 19 points and 11 rebounds, Glen Davis had 10 and 13, and Hedo Turkoglu had 10 points and 5 assists. The Magic were apparently tired of being blown out by Boston and nearly sprinkled pixie dust over the hometown Celtics tonight, as any possession could've changed the outcome of the game.

A few precious missed shots by Jameer Nelson will mar his outstanding performance that all of Boston shaking their head in disbelief as he poured in the points and dished the ball to his teammates, but once he missed too many, the lead grew as Orlando desperately tried the foul-and-fire-a-3 solution in the final minute, being down by only 6 at the outset.

Celtics outscore Nets, 92-81

As they wait for Kevin Martin to officially don a Celtics jersey, the Celtics, fresh off their win over the defending champs, hosted the Brooklyn Nets and outplayed them for a 2nd straight win against Deron Williams, who poured in 31 points, but missed necessary shots down the stretch.

His supporting cast of Joe Johnson (12 points), Brook Lopez (12 points, 15 rebounds) and Gerald Wallace (15 points) contributed, but failed to outweigh 19 points each from Rondo & Pierce, 10 from newcomer Charlie Villanueva, 12 & 12 from KG and 11 from Kenyon Martin.

Boston simply outscored the visiting Nets, with several more players contributing while Brooklyn's bench failed to answer the call.

NBA Trade Deadline News: Kevin Martin shipped up to Boston

After acquiring promising center, Roy Hibbert, from Indiana in a three-team deal, along with his raw height of 7'2", Boston parted ways with recent addition Jason Terry in a second three-team exchange, a decision that was very hard to follow through with, according to Boston's GM, after remembering Terry's contributions so far to the team after signing with Boston in the off-season.

Celtics receive: Kevin Martin (SG), Carlos Delfino (SG)
Bobcats receive: Jason Terry (SG), Jared Sullinger (PF)
Houston receives: Ben Gordon (SG), Tyrus Thomas (PF)

While Terry had a monster game (38 points) not too long ago, he was the only other expendable piece Boston could afford to move without shattering their core (Rondo, Garnett & Pierce). The streaky clutch shooter, Terry, can certainly make tons of shots, but aside from catching the ball and letting it fly, he has difficulty driving to the rim due to his short stature for a shooting guard. So, when he goes cold against a tough defense, he simply isn't effective, forcing the pressure to score for Boston onto Pierce and Rondo.

Kevin Martin has been burdened by injuries in his career, but is a gutsy sharpshooter that can light it up from beyond the arc, hit contact shots and draw fouls. He's played for the Sacramento Kings and the Houston Rockets, and doesn't have the best speed or court vision to be a team leader. But Martin will certainly draw more attention than Jason Terry from the opposing defense and his greater height (6'7") will help him engage them as well when Martin uses his adequate first step maneuvers toward the rim. While he cannot drive to the rim on the level of Kobe Bryant or even new teammate Paul Pierce, Martin will be able to do more with the ball in his hands than Jason Terry and has a good eye for using cuts effectively.

This trade went through because Houston has been looking to trade Kevin Martin because of his recent injuries. They've given him time to mend those wounds, but with the trade deadline in sight, they deemed it finally appropriate to part ways with him as they look to rebuild. Essentially, they get a quality shooter back in Ben Gordon and also some energy from banger Tyrus Thomas, capable of cracking down on the defensive end as Houston struggles to refill a quality team.

This deal made sense for Charlotte because they get a more consistent shooter in Jason Terry who, despite his limited abilities, will draw attention away from rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Adding rookie forward Jared Sullinger from Boston will give him more opportunity to improve in the league, since Boston's starters demand so much playing time to be effective. Despite few minutes per game, Sullinger has managed to impress in his rookie year.

Parting with Sullinger will possibly alter Boston's future, but after acquiring Charlie Villanueva from Detroit, the Celtics were overloaded with big men and lacked enough speed and shooters, especially now by parting with Terry. Picking up supporting talents like Carlos Delfino will help fire up the offense Boston will be able to generate, spacing the floor.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Absolution for Celtics in thrilling OT win over Miami

This was the last chance in the regular season for Boston to slay their nemesis, the sizzling Miami Heat, who had won the previous 3 meetings before tonight's turnaround for Boston.

Rajon Rondo played wisely, never hoisting up any poorly devised jump shots and instead being patient when it came to crafting plays against Miami's pesky defensive line. He finished with 13 assists and a healthy 19 points (6-13 shooting), supplying a passionate team effort by the likes of Josh Howard (who caught fire to end a cold spell as of late), "The Truth" (27 points) and Kevin Garnett (25 points, 15 rebounds). KG stayed out of foul trouble, only committing 1 the entire game, as Kenyon Martin (13 points) and newcomer Charlie Villanueva (10 points, including a huge dagger of a shot in Overtime) devoted their time to playing hard and frustrating their adversaries tonight.

After a huge roster change, the Celtics struggled at first finding the common ground as a new collection of players took to the floor. Roy Hibbert (scoreless, with 7 rebounds) struggled to warm to his new surroundings. These things take time, but it has to feel good starting the adaptation process with a win against the #1 team in the Eastern Conference, who also happens to be the defending NBA Champions.

All night, Boston stayed competitive, refusing to be put out of their misery. The inconsistent play that doomed their last outing against Miami was nowhere to be found tonight. Everyone committed to defense, only allowing some lucky offensive rebounds on occasion, but efficiently locking down the Garden as they battled back from a deficit in the 2nd half to ultimately best their foes from South Beach.

Miami's pesky defense kept Paul Pierce from getting a good shot off in time to end the 4th quarter, a potential game-winning attempt, but in Overtime, "The Truth" was able to break free from his defender and give himself just enough room to hit his trademark fade-away jumper to seal Boston's lead.

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade (combining for 62 points in a stars-dominated effort) missed some crucial shots down the stretch, including a wide open wing 3 by the reigning MVP that would have kept Miami in the game. Chris Bosh had 19 & 19, a nice double-double in the losing effort. While Ray Allen, the former Celtic, continued to rub his old team the wrong way with 3 long ball shots, he was off (3/14 from the field) tonight when it mattered most. The most satisfying moments for Boston tonight must've been blocking LeBron James more than once on would-be rim killing dunks and rocking out with their ecstatic fans in the TD Garden.