Tag Archives: basketball

Celtics Sneak Past the Jazz 107-102

Nick Green

A Celtics victory over the Jazz is nothing to write home about — Boston typically yawns its way through any game not against the likes of the Lakers or the Heat. That said, I watched all of last night’s Celtics game in an effort to get my first glimpse of this new look Celtics squad. It was a hell of a game, with a few notable happenings worth sharing.

1) Ray Allen scored 20 of his 25 points in the last 7 minutes of the game, including 3-3 shooting on ridiculously off-balance 3-point attempts in the fourth quarter. He iced the Jazz and ultimately won the Celtics the game.

2) Newcomer Nenad Krstic had 11 points and 8 boards, while new arrival Jeff Green made an unbelievable block with the game on the line. A solid start for the new guys.

3) Kevin Garnett, who has been receiving quite a bit of flack on this blog for his dirty play of late, was up to his tricks once again — except this time they all worked out perfectly. This included a scuffle with Al Jefferson at the far end of the court, leading to a frustrated Jefferson charging Garnett in a desperate effort to score on the ensuing possession. Garnett forced Jefferson into traveling, getting the ball back for the Celtics at a key moment. Even better yet was when Garnett decided he had to stall the game and fix the padding around the edge of the backboard in an effort to give a winded Paul Pierce an additional moment to catch his breath before shooting a free throw. The look Garnett received from the ref was priceless, but Pierce made the shot.

4) The Jazz’s Derrick Favors, the 3rd overall pick in the 2010 draft class, is a beast. I’d look for him to be a good player for a long time to come.

The Celts have a really easy stretch of games coming up, starting with the Suns of Wednesday night.

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Ray Allen or Reggie Miller? Who Takes the Last Shot?

Ray Allen or Reggie Miller

By Matt Moore, howiGit Contributing Writer, Boston, MA

As the Celtic’s Ray Allen closes in on Reggie Miller’s all-time record for three pointers made in the regular season, it’s only fitting to pit the two sharpshooters against one another.  Going into Friday’s game against the Bobcats, Ray is only (34) 3-pointers behind Miller’s mark.  There are two ways to approach this matchup, one being which is the better player and the other being which would you want taking the last shot with the game on the line.  For me, the latter is a more interesting question because their career statistics show very similar numbers:

Miller played 18 seasons with Indiana after being selected 11th overall back in 1987. He made 2,560 3-pointers with a 39.5% shooting percentage.  Overall, he averaged 18.2ppg, 3rpg, and 3ast with a 47.1% field goal percentage. He made 5 All-Star teams and didn’t win a Championship.

Allen is in his 15th season, his third with the Celtics, after stops in Milwaukee and Seattle. He’s made 2,526 3-pointers with a 39.6% shooting percentage. His career line includes: 20.5ppg, 4.3rpg, and 3.7ast with a 45% field goal percentage. Ray has made 9 All-Star teams and has won one ring.

The stats show that this a player comparison is pretty much a wash. Ray has the edge in 3-point percentage and points per game. Miller has him in shooting percentage and 3-pointers made, at least for a few weeks.  The advantage Ray has is that he is still playing, and doing so at a high level – he is enjoying his best season as a Celtic.  Statistically, they are similar talents. However, if I had to say who is the better player then I would say Allen.  He’s just a better overall talent.

But the real question is this: If you need a 3-pointer at the end of the game, do you draw up a play for Ray Allen or Reggie Miller?  My initial reaction is to give the ball to Ray.  Now am I biased because he plays for the Celtics? No. I’m biased because I don’t like Reggie Miller and I never really have.  Something about the way he carried himself on the court always annoyed me, as did the way he kicked his legs out while shooting in an effort to get cheap calls.

That said, you can’t deny that Miller has hit some big shots in his career in even bigger games.  He played in 144 playoff games, and shot 39% from three (Allen has played in 101 games, shooting 40.1%).  Everyone remembers the 8 points in 8.9 seconds against the Knicks in the ‘95 playoffs.  In Game 4 of the ‘98 Eastern Conference Finals he hit a three with .7 seconds left to beat Jordan’s Bulls 96-94.  In 2001, Miller gave the eighth seeded Pacers a 1-0 series lead against Philadelphia in the first round when he hit a game-winning three with 2.9 seconds left. The next year Miller did all he could to stave off elimination against the top-seeded Nets in the first round.  In Game 5 he hit a buzzer beating three from 35 feet to force overtime. His dunk with three seconds left in overtime also led to double overtime, where the Pacers eventually lost and were eliminated.

Allen’s résumé isn’t as extensive in regard to the playoffs.  In 2009 he hit a game winning three to beat Chicago in Game 2 of the second round.  He hit 8 threes in Game 2 against the Lakers in last years Finals. He’s also come through during regular season games.  Celtics fans may remember winners in 2007 against the Raptors, the insane play against the Bobcats, and in 2009 against the 76ers and Charlotte again.  And this is just with Boston.

So putting all these games up against each other proves what? Each has made big shots at various levels, be it in playoff games or regular season games.  Miller was the man in Indiana his entire career and had to make those shots for his team to contend.  Allen had similar situations in Milwaukee and Seattle, but now shares the load with Pierce and Garnett.  The knock against Allen is that he hasn’t played in the same number of big games as Miller, and has even disappeared a little when given the opportunity (0-18 shooting against the Lakers in 2010’s Game 3, for example).

Like I said, my first reaction would be to say give the shot to Ray.  But when you look at what Miller has done in big games, even on the road, you have to like you’re chances with him taking the last shot.  I don’t enjoy choosing Miller, but from an objective standpoint I have to do it. It hurts, but I’ll take Ray for the first 47.5 minutes, then Reggie to close it out.

And who knows, even if he misses, he may stick a leg out and get the foul call.

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Appreciating Tim Duncan

Tim Duncan San Antonio Spurs

I caught the late night edition Sportscenter last night before I crashed, and fought to keep my eyes open as I watched highlights of the San Antonio Spurs game. Between my closing eyelids I was able to make out Tim Duncan’s line for the game — 15 points, 18 boards, and 11 assists. “Tim Duncan gets no credit,” I said to my roommate. “Years from now when asked to name the best centers in NBA history, Duncan will be left off that list all to often.” A brief conversation ensued, and my roommate (a wise man) largely agreed. So here it is — I figured it’s time Tim Duncan got his due.

My initial reaction to Duncan’s numbers last night was this — If Rajon Rondo (who I love) had a 15 point, 18 rebound, 11 assist game the Sportcenter anchors would be on their knees worshiping him (as they often are). Sure, Rondo does this in a flashy, electric manner (which is worth something). But Duncan should not be penalized for putting up these numbers and yawning six times while doing it. That’s exactly how many times the commentators yawned as they watched him do it. Nonetheless, his contribution is the same.

Sure, he’s a somewhat boring, very fundamental player to watch. Sure, his personality is as exciting as your average plain graham cracker (not even the cinnamon or chocolate ones). All of this hurts his image, his legacy, and leads to his underrated status. But sit back and take a minute to tell me how you can under-appreciate this:

Duncan is 30th on the all-time scoring list, with only 7 centers ahead of him. All of those players have played many more games than he has at this point (he’s 34 years old). He is 24th all-time in rebounds and 11th all-time in blocks, again, playing far fewer games than the players ahead of him. His average game for his career is 21 points, 11.6 boards, and 2.3 blocks. In the playoffs he averages 23 points and 12.4 boards per game.

Those are nice numbers and all, but what really wowed me is this:

Duncan has played in every all-star game since the ’97-’98 season with the exception of the ’98-’99 season. In that same period he has won the Rookie of the Year award, 2 NBA MVP awards, 3 NBA Finals MVP awards (Kobe only has 2), and has made 12 NBA All-Defensive teams. He’s finished in the top 5 in MVP voting 9 times.

Oh yea, and he’s won 4 NBA championships. Considering he won the Finals MVP in 3 of those years, it’s fair to say he’s pretty responsible for those banners hanging in the rafters in San Antonio. Few players, if any, have had more to do with their team winning championships.

I appreciate Tim Duncan. The question is, do you?

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Shawn Kemp’s Top 10 Dunks

The top 10 dunks of Shawn Kemp’s career — there’s not much more to say about this as the video speaks for itself.  I think you’d be hard-pressed to find any other player with a better top ten list of dunks. This boy could leap. Oh, and he was 6’10 and came out of community college.

I’d suggest watching the video with sound. Pay special attention to Kemp’s pointing after the #1 dunk. Thank you to Mr. Patrick Klimm for passing this along.

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Celtics Win as Heat’s Growing Pains Continue

The NBA has taken a back seat as of late, and with good reason, as the NFL season hits full stride. But it’s tough to forget — this year is easily one of the most anticipated NBA seasons in recent memory, if not ever. And while I haven’t caught much of the Lakers yet this season, they are undefeated. The Celtics have looked very impressive, led by the play of Rajon Rondo, and have shown incredible depth. Which brings us to the newcomers on the block — the Miami Heat. I’ve now watched them play the Celtics twice, and the growing pains are very evident. Last night’s 112-107 victory was not nearly as close as the score suggests.

Ray Allen dropped 35 points and was 7-7 from behind the arc at one point, equaling Lebron’s point total for the game. Rondo had 16 assists and an incredible dunk (shown above), and both Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett had good games. In other words, the Celtics were clicking on all cylinders. Lebron’s 35 points aside, Dwayne Wade had 8 points and Chris Bosh played poorly.

Since Lebron’s trade to Miami, I have been one of the few who whole-heartedly and without hesitation bought into the Heat. I think they will learn to click, and I think they will be a major force in the league. I’m sticking by that. But at this point, I think they need to take a page out of the Celtic’s playbook. I see Lebron playing much as he did in Cleveland — the offense seems to be running almost completely through him at this point. He had 35 points, great, but Wade had 8 and Bosh mine as well have not been on the floor. This team needs to learn to let a new star step up each night — they need to learn to feed the hot hand. And many nights that might not be any of the big 3, but rather a role player who is left wide open.

We’ll see if the Heat can get it together — I’m sure they will. But for right now, it certainly looks like we are steering towards another Celtics-Lakers NBA Finals. And God knows I’m good with that.

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Delonte West Headed Back to the Celtics

Delonte West

Delonte West is headed back to the Celtics, a pick up that I love. The Celtics were looking for a shooter, and will only end up paying West around $854,000 next year. A little known Delonte fact? In his junior season at Saint Joseph’s University he had a perfect game in which he shot 12-for-12 from the field, 3-for-3 from 3-point range and 6-for-6 from the free throw line.

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Lebron Going to Miami Means Much More than You Think

A Guest Post By: Jon Levin, Los Angeles, California

As much as everyone’s “sources” were saying LeBron was going to Miami, I thought the chances of it actually happening were slim-to-none. Maybe it’s because I’m a Lakers fan or because I’m not a LeBron James fan, but this entire free agency process made me like him even less.  I used to believe Lebron had something of a mental foundation in place, at least a  teaspoon of that “killer” in him that we see from  guys like Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett. The type of mentality that wills those around you to put forth  effort they might not have thought they had in them. Before the Boston series this year and last night’s announcement, I thought LeBron had enough of that in him to be able to be the primary leader of a team. I was  proven wrong when a mentally tougher Boston team took it to Lebron, who seemed disinterested in key stretches of the games. Now we see Lebron leaving his leadership role and his hometown to hit up Miami with D-Wade – a team with two proven stars and one in Dwyane Wade who, in my opinion, is most comparable to  Kobe Bryant in terms of displaying that “killer” mentality.

Lebron’s decision spoke volumes to me. I really think LeBron is not who many of us thought he was. LeBron seemed to desire the image of being a primary leader, a floor general as they call it. A Magic Johnson. A Larry Bird. A Michael Jordan. A Kobe Bryant.  None of these players left their team to join forces with others.  They recruited stars to their team to build a complete unit around them. They were the clear-cut leaders, both with their mentalities and with their play.  Tonight showed us who LeBron is. He joined forces with Wade and Bosh. Don’t take it from me, look what Pat Riley had to say about it,“We are thrilled that LeBron James and Chris Bosh have decided to come to Miami to join forces with our truly great player, Dwyane Wade.”

It may seem like I’m knocking LeBron’s game. That couldn’t be farther from how I feel.  He is the most incredible combination of size, speed, strength, and basketball skill that the league has ever seen. He’s the fastest and strongest guy in the NBA. It’s pretty insane to think about. I mean, he does seem to just bulrush the lane hoping to get an And-1 a lot, but it’s a smart call to make considering his size and speed even if its pretty terrible basketball to watch.

Many like to say, “Well Magic had Kareem and Worthy, Bird had McHale and Parish, Jordan had Pippen, Horace Grant and Rodman, and Kobe had Shaq” – but we can’t look at Lebron in the same light as Magic, Bird, Jordan, and Kobe anymore.  Those guys never gave up their primary role to co-lead with others on a different team.  Those four were born leaders; they weren’t forced into the role due to their overwhelming talent. I don’t blame LeBron. That type of role is an incredibly difficult role to play. It’s one you can’t force upon someone – it has to come naturally. Mr. James just isn’t that player — and therefore can’t be included in the type of discussions the legendary figures above are in.

So now to the state of the league.  Call me a homer all you want, the Lakers are still the team to beat. Period. Even without knowing the rest of the Heat’s new roster. I also still like the Celtics and semi-like the Magic over the Heat coming out of the east, but that could change with news that Mike Miller is going to be signing with the Heat and I’m sure a few other above average role players are soon to follow. I feel like the Celtics will follow a similar path leading to a deep run into the playoffs as they did last year. They will have multiple bumps in the road during the regular season and will go through stretches where they seem to be a bit disinterested in regular season action — but they are a veteran team and know how to turn it on come playoff time. Also, from personal experience, teams come out crazy-determined the year following  a Finals loss and the Celtics have retained their core players. Next year is going to be a blast to watch. I’m only three weeks off of a finals victory and I can’t wait for next year already. October can’t come soon enough.

(A side note: I don’t think the whole “King” nickname is appropriate anymore, or maybe ever was. Kings don’t leave their country (or team) to join forces as co-kings in other countries (or teams). Plus, you need to have accomplished something before being anointed a king metaphorically; something like winning a ring.)

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