Tag Archives: Boston Celtics

Murphy, Pavlovic, Arroyo — The Celtics that You Don’t Know

Carlos Arroyo Celtics

The Celtic's Carlos Arroyo

By Matt Moore, howiGit Contributing Writer, Boston, MA

Since the trade dead line in mid-February, the Celtics roster has been turned upside down.With 21 games left, it’s up to Doc Rivers to find a fit for all the new acquisitions, and for those players to learn the system and find a role. We’ve already had a pretty good look at what Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic can do. Krstic is fitting nicely as the starting center, and Green has found himself contributing late in games. But besides these two, the Celtics also have three other new players. Let’s take a look at each, and what they can potentially bring to the C’s for their playoff run:

Troy Murphy: Murphy is a veteran with size and good outside shooting. He looked pretty rusty in his first few outings, but it was expected after only playing in 18 games prior to arriving in Boston. Playing in Indiana last year, he posted an impressive 14 points and 10 rebounds per game, while having a decent percentage from behind the 3-point arc. Coming off the bench for the Celtics won’t give him an opportunity to match these averages, but it shows what Murphy is capable of producing. No one the Celtics brought in can match the defensive presence of the departed Perkins, but Murphy is another big body that can get rebounds, help control the paint, and also chip in offensively. You can see why the Heat wanted Murphy just as bad as the Celtics did, and thankfully Murphy chose Boston. It’s hard to say how much Murphy would play in a shortened rotation come playoff time, behind Green and Glen Davis. But if called on, Murphycan hit a big shot when needed.

Sasha Pavlovic: Pavlovic wasn’t a name that many people were talking about coming to Boston, but after being bought out the Celtics made a move on him. At 6’7”, he has good size and is a career 40% shooter from the field and 35% from behind the arc. He also comes with playoff experience, as a role player during Cleveland’s winning seasons. Doc Rivers has praised Pavlovic for his defensive abilities. One thing the Celtics lacked was a player off the bench who could shutdown, or at least contain, an opponent’s primary scorer. They had that with James Posey and then with Tony Allen; now they are hoping that Pavlovic can help along with Green. Pavlovic rounds out the roster and gives the Celtics another player that Rivers can put on the court with confidence when needed.

Carlos Arroyo: The most recent addition is Arroyo, who was let go by Miami after they signed Mike Bibby. There was some talk of Bibby coming to Boston, but in my mind that would not have been a great fit. Besides his past issues with Boston’s fans, Bibby isn’t the productive player he used to be. Arroyo is a welcome surprise to the Celtics, and a better pick up than Bibby. Primarily a back up his entire career, Arroyo puts up decent numbers for a reserve point guard. He can distribute the ball and shoots at a high percentage. Adding another experienced point guard was a key following Delonte West’s most recent injury. Avery Bradley can’t be expected to back up Rondo if West ever went down during a playoff series. The Celtics now have a little more insurance at the point guard spot.

Time will tell how these players work within the Celtics system and with the core players already in place. Expectations for these three aren’t as high as Green and Krstic, since the Celtics didn’t give anything up to acquire them. Nobody is claiming that these three are the final pieces that will guarantee the Celtics an 18th banner. But looking at the roster, you have to like it a little better than when it featured Semih Erden and Luke Harrangody. Any contribution they can make will be welcomed. How many healthy players we have and how deep of a rotation Doc wants will determine their playing time in the playoffs. But if it comes down to it, I have confidence that these three, especially Murphy, can make a difference in a few games.

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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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Kendrick Perkins Traded by Celtics — Why?

Kendrick Perkins Traded

Kendrick Perkins was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder yesterday, in a move that leaves nearly every Bostonian I’ve talked to scratching their heads. Shortly before yesterday’s 3:00pm trade deadline Celtic’s GM Danny Ainge apparently decided his team’s Eastern Conference leading 41-15 record wasn’t quite good enough, retooling the Celtic’s roster by sending 4 Celtic’s packing. Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson traded to  Oklahoma, backup center Semih Erden and Marquis Daniels sent elsewhere in exchange for draft picks. Now I know the Celtics are old, but are we really going to begin rebuilding in the midst of a season where we’ve got as good of a title shot as anybody?

While the Celtics acquired Jeff Green and his 15.2 ppg from Oklahoma, offense is simply not what the Celtics need. To draw an Alanis Morissette parallel, the Celtics roster is now “like 10,000 spoons (scorers) when all you need is a knife (defenders).”  This was never more evident than in the playoffs last year, when Perkins’ defense was a major key to containing the likes of Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol. Last offseason’s battle cry was “we need more depth at center,” and in Shaq and Jermaine O’Neal it looked as though Danny Ainge had complied. Then he goes out and trades his starting center and a backup center who had shown major potential? While Jeff Green is undoubtedly a much better player than Perk, this is simply a circumstance where the Celtics got worse by adding a better player. It appears as though Ainge has something of a love affair with Green, who he originally selected as the 5th overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft before trading him to acquire Ray Allen.

Also acquired in the trade was Nenad Krstic, a 7-footer cited for a lack of defense and rebounding ability (is that possible at 7 feet?). That’s exactly what we don’t need — another clumsy big body for Pau and Dwight to light up — it just doesn’t make sense. The good news is this seems to suggest that Ainge has indications that the O’Neal twins will be returning to the Celtics’ line-up soon — or that he’s got some other trick up his sleeve.

The only reason that I can see for this trade is that Danny Ainge has loved the spotlight being on the Celtics for the past few seasons. He’s looking towards the future, trying to keep the Celtics relevant, all the while hurting our title chances this season, not to mention greatly shaking up one of the best team chemistry’s in the NBA. Note to Danny — 2 or 3 years from now even if you can hang on to Rondo we’ve got no chance anyways. Those will be the years of the Heat, the Knicks, the Bulls — Jeff Green is not going to make an impact against Lebron or Carmelo.

So really, what the hell were you thinking Danny?

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Glen Davis — Midseason 6th Man of the Year?

Glen Davis Celtics

By Matt Moore, howiGit Contributing Writer, Boston, MA

With the NBA approaching its All-Star break, now is a time where a lot of experts and fans alike start to hand out midseason awards. Blake Griffin is the clear-cut choice for Rookie of the Year, the MVP race seems to coming down to LeBron, Derrick Rose, and Dwight Howard, and Garnett is making a strong case to recapture the title of Defensive Player of the Year from Howard. But what is probably the most surprising is the strong case one could make for Glen Davis as Sixth Man of the Year.

Davis is in his fourth and most productive season since being drafted by Boston in 2007. Through 53 games, he has career highs in minutes per game (29.5), free throw percentage (.756), rebounds (5.2), assists (1.4), and points (11.8). The numbers back up the fact that Davis is playing as good as anyone has seen him play in Boston, but where his real value comes is better stated in terms of when he is contributing. The first big man off the bench, Davis backed up Shaq for the first few months of the season, and now does the same for Perkins. With O’Neal often in foul trouble and fatigued late in games, Davis was part of the closing unit along side the other four starters. His role remains the same, as Perkins’ minutes are limited. Davis gives the Celtics a player that can score, play tough defense, and rebound late in games. He works well protecting the paint with Garnett, and has drawn an astounding number of charges. He is doing this all while being an undersized 6’9. Despite the apparent lack of height, Davis is active around the rim, scoring inside and collecting offensive rebounds. His ability to get shots up around taller defenders by using the rim and body position is impressive. You can also see an improvement in his post moves and jump shot. With the injuries the Celtics have had, especially to the front court, Davis has only started nine games, all when Garnett went down earlier in the season. He is by far the most important player off the Celtics bench right now, and is the foundation for the second unit.

So who is his competition for the Sixth Man Award? I think right now the popular choice, and deservedly so, is the Maverick’s Jason Terry. He’s averaging 16 points a game for Dallas and is a big reason why they are second in the West. Terry gives them instant offense off the bench,and is often on the floor with Kidd and Nowitzki. He can shoot threes and takes big shots at big moments. We saw it first hand earlier this month when Terry had 17 points in a 101-97 Dallas win in Boston.

There are a few other bench players in the league that have better numbers than Davis, but that shouldn’t be the only factor in deciding the award. Davis’s value to the Celtics can’t be measured completely by statistics. It’s also interesting to note that Davis is having his best season heading into free agency this summer. But for now, the Celtics are happy to have him wearing green, and making big contributions towards their goal of another NBA title.

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Rajon Rondo is the Celtic’s MVP

Rajon Rondo has quickly established himself as one of the 3 or 4 best point guards in the NBA. Sure, he’s playing with 3 first ballot Hall of Famers, which has undoubtedly led to his success. That said, Rajon Rondo has officially landed. In my eyes, he’s the most important player on the Celtics and will ultimately be the determining factor in whether or not the Celtic’s 18th championship banner will hang in the Garden’s rafters at the end of the season.

Yesterday’s 85-82 win over the Miami Heat was case in point. Trailing by 4 at the half, Rondo took it upon himself to guard Lebron James for most of the second half. Playing probably the most harassing defense I have ever seen on a basketball court, including harassing Lebron while he was in the Heat’s huddle (awesome!), Rondo was clearly able to get under the King’s skin. Rondo recorded yet another triple double, scoring 9 of his 11 points in the 3rd quarter resulting in a 14 point Celtic’s lead going into the 4th quarter. The Celts hung on for the win, and Lebron went home fuming.

After the game, nearly every Celtic credited Rondo’s energy as the pick-me-up that led to the victory. I’m a bit worried that yet another Heat loss to the Celtics will only fuel their fire come the post season, but after last week’s loss to the Lakers this was a big win. Despite lacking anything resembling a jump shot, Rondo has proven that his quickness, energy, and ability to spread the ball can take over a game. While Rondo is not likely to be hitting any game winning shots, I’d bet that if the Celtics have any playoff success this year Rondo will be their MVP.

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Congratulations, Ray Allen

Ray Allen

Ray Allen hit two 3-pointers in the first quarter against the Lakers last night, breaking Reggie Miller’s career record of 2,560 3-pointers and establishing himself as the best 3-point shooter in the history of the game. Ray embraced Reggie Miller on the sideline as well as his mom and his family, and even received daps and a congratulatory slap on the behind from Kobe Bryant. Bryant, who entered the league in the same draft class as Allen, called Ray’s stroke “water” and reflected on Allen’s ability to play at a high level for so many years. Kudos to Kobe for being a class act.

As a fan, this record feels particularly good. It’s authentic (See Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds). Ray has been an absolutely model player for the NBA throughout his career, and is one of the most highly thought of players in the NBA. I was at a Boston bar for the game, and I can’t tell you how excited fans were for this record.

Keep it going Ray. I have a feeling you’re going to make a couple big shots in the playoffs this year…

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Ray Allen — Move over Reggie Miller

Ray Allen 3-point shooting

On Thursday night at 8:00pm ET the Boston Celtics will face the Los Angeles Lakers. The best rivalry in the game will be on the line, as will the title of best 3-point shooter of all-time. Ray Allen will enter the game 1 measily 3-pointer away from tying Reggie Miller’s all-time record for 3-pointers made in a career — leaving him as a virtual lock to set the all-time record in the game.

While Ray has shot a slightly better percentage than Reggie both from 3-point range and from the free throw line over his career, the difference is essentially negligible. Ray has averaged 20.4 ppg to Reggie’s 18.2, and has averaged 2.4 3-pointers per game to Reggie’s 1.8. While those numbers are significant, I haven’t even dropped the bomb on you yet:

Ray Allen will break Reggie Miller’s record in 315 fewer games. Yes, 315. That’s four full seasons!

To me, that makes it very obvious who the best 3-point shooter of all-time is. Perhaps best of all, Ray is having his best 3-point shooting season yet, averaging 46% from behind the arc. How cool would it be if the Celts could pull out a championship this year and Ray could go out on top?

One last thought for you all…..this record could last a long time. The third all-time 3-point shooter is Jason Kidd. He’s more than 1000 3-pointers behind Reggie and Ray.

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Kendrick Perkins — What’s His Value to the Celtics?

Kendrick Perkins Celtics

By Matt Moore, howiGit Contributing Writer, Boston, MA

Tuesday marked the first time Kendrick Perkins played a basketball game since his knee gaveout during Game 6 of the 2010 Finals. After extensive rehab, Perkins returned to action sooner than anyone expected, coming off the bench during the Celtics 112-95 win over Cleveland on Tuesday. In 17 minutes, the center had 7 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists. He followed that up by playing 21 minutes against Portland on Thursday, and posting 10 points and 9 rebounds.

All things considered, Perkins looks pretty good, considering he’s only three games back from an injury that can be absolutely devastating for an athlete, especially a basketball player, and even more so for a big man like Perkins. Obviously he’s rusty. Obviously it’s going to take some time for him to get his rhythm back and get on the same page as the other starters. There will be some rough patches on the road to getting 100%. For his part, Perkins seems optimistic and the team is excited to start moving towards a completely healthy roster. Eventually when he is back to form, Perkins will slide into his spot as the starting center. Shaq will move to the bench and give that unit some strength and size.

The team is excited and so are the fans– the Garden gave Perkins a standing ovation when he came in the game on Tuesday. A lot of people maintain that had Perkins not gone down in Game 6, then the Celtics would have banner 18 hanging in the rafters right now. I don’t doubt the value of Perkins to the Celtics, especially on the defensive end. However, part of me questions whether this notion is something fans tell themselves to take some of the sting out of blowing a fourth quarter lead in Game 7 against the Lakers. All home fans overrate their players to some extent or another, and Perkins is probably just such a case. I’m almost positive most fans outside of Boston don’t care much for Perkins and feel he is overrated, annoying, or both. I know that at times I’ve been frustrated by watching him play over the last seven years. He tends to struggle with offensive post moves, constantly bringing the ball down on rebounds or catches rather than going up strong. The fact that he continually complains about calls also bothers me. But there are some positives. His post defense is solid, especially against Dwight Howard for some reason. In terms of team defense he is an important piece working along side Garnett. His pick and roll defense is worth noting. Plus his strength and ability to impose on other centers is an advantage.

Numbers wise, Perkins has ever done anything that really sticks out. His career averages: 6.4 PPG, 6 RPG, 1.4 BPG, .564% FG. Last season was arguably his best as a Celtic: 8.5 PPG, 7.5 RPG, .602% shooting. These aren’t exactly All-Star level stats, but Perkins play fits in with Garnett, Pierce, Allen, and Rondo. As many fans will tell you, Perkins value isn’t always something that can be counted or averaged out. Still, some people continue to say that Perkins and Rondo are just along for the ride by playing with the Big Three and benefit accordingly. Rondo is proving that it’s tough to keep that argument alive. However, for Perkins, it’s not as easy. His numbers have jumped since Garnett and Allen arrived, and so has his apparent value in the minds of fans. But this could just as much be attributed to Perkins coming along in his own development at the right time.

For all his inconsistencies and limited offense, what Perkins does give the Celtics is another experienced big man who knows the system and has succeeded playing within it. He takes the burden off Shaq and bolsters the team defense. In a playoff series against Orlando, he can keep Howard contained. Matching up with the Lakers’ bigs is another reason Boston brought in O’Neal to go along with Perkins and Davis.

So as the Celtics continue to work back towards full health, it will be interesting to see how the team dynamic reacts in the second half of the season. In the mean time, let’s let Perkins be Perkins and remember the type of player he is.

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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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Patriots or Celtics?

Patriots Super Bowl

Question of the day for all y’all — who would you rather win a championship this year, the Boston Celtics or the New England Patriots?

I look at it like this — if Tom Brady wins his 4th Super Bowl this year, you can make an incredible case for him being the best quarterback of all-time. That said, he’s got several good years left. I think that this is the last year that this current group of Celtics has a shot to win, and I think they are hungry after blowing it last season with the NBA championship firmly in their grasp. This group is too good to not have 2 championships. That said, I can’t make up my mind.

Make up yours and tell me why.

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