Tag Archives: Rajon Rondo

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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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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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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Paul Pierce to End Career with Euro-Trip?

Paul Pierce

While Celtic’s fans are thrilled that the team was able to bring back each of the big three, Rajon Rondo, and add Shaq for the upcoming NBA season, Paul Pierce threw in a curveball last week in an interview with Comcast SportsNet. Speaking of his future and his new contract, Pierce mentioned that he would like to play 3 or 4 more years before pursuing a change of venue:

“As far as retiring from the NBA, I think I will be done after this contract because, eventually, I want to go overseas and play and live for a couple of years. That’s why this is a big contract for me, knowing I’m going to retire a Boston Celtic. I want to go to either Italy or Greece for a year. I think I want to be able to bring my family over to just kind of share a different experience overseas for a couple of years, before I settle into retirement.”

This move caught me by surprise, but seems to be telling in that it is in-line with Pierce’s personality. This move tells me three things:

1) Paul Pierce likes to party. Stories of his conquests and lifestyle have reached mythical proportions in Boston and let’s face it, he’s really just looking for a good time in Europe.

2) Paul Pierce wants to massage his ego a bit — what could make you feel less washed up at the end of your career than ganging up and dominating some Europeans?

3) Paul Pierce is a classic basketball gym rat. He’s one of those players that’s going to have a terrible time walking away from the game. It’s all he knows. He’ll likely be the 60-year-old man playing pick-up at the local YMCA with the high school kids.

Good for you, Paul.

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